Is everyone else feeling festive?
After Christmas In Abbotswood we certainly are! And what an amazing day it was too...
Some of you may have heard this little poem recently, after a special advert popped up on Facebook...
It's November in Abbotswood, and all round the green
Our elves are rushing, trying not be seen
Christmas is coming, there's lots to prepare
For Father Christmas, soon will be there...
And it all came true!
Hip Hip... Hooray!! Great effort everyone!!
There are a few special words of thanks to be said, so on behalf of all of us in Abbotswood:
Phil, Nessa, Barbara, Kerry (Abbotswood Action Group) and Alex (Southern Brooks Community Partnerships) for your hard work throughout the year organising Christmas In Abbotswood. Thanks also go to all the volunteers who helped us out on the day.
Dodington Parish Council for your help with advertising.
Yate Town Council for funding and installing the Christmas tree.
South Gloucestershire Council, Councillors Tony Davis and Louise Harris for funding the event.
We estimated that 500 people joined us to celebrate this year so we wanted to thank you all for helping us keep our community Christmas spirit alive.
It's the time of year for indulgence, so here's a few extra festive photos just for fun...
Before we head off and take a well earned Christmas break we thought you might like a quick trip down memory lane. A few reminders of the good times we've had over the last 12 months... They've been keeping us motivated and thinking ahead to make 2020 an amazing year for Abbotswood...
From all of us here in Abbotswood we would like to wish a you a very happy Christmas and a fabulous new year.
We'll see you in 2020!
No arguments. Today is a happy day! Just accept that today is a happy day.
Even in times of sadness or hardship there will be a reason to smile. Just one smile can make a lot of difference and lift your spirits, so make the effort to find the thing that makes you happy today.
It could be something amazing that has taken you surprise... Like winning the lottery!
Or it could be something that value and gives you a purpose and strength... The love of your family. Aww, nice warm fuzzy feelings.
Or it could be a teeny tiny gesture from a stranger... Holding the door for you're running for cover from a rainstorm.
We're happy because it's nearly Christmas, we love Christmas In Abbotswood. It might have been a laborious task cutting out flyers but it shows that there's not long to wait until the big community event. Hooray!
So what makes you happy today?
If you ask yourself often enough, every day could become a happy day...
We've only got time for a little one today folks... We've been having more than a few technical difficulties today, so please excuse us if anything looks a little odd...
But anyway, let's get to it!
We've had another case of the community coming forward with their own suggestions for Sustainable September. Keep them coming, we love to hear them all. Today's post is all about online peer support.
Who's heard of Working Towards Zero Waste - Yate and Chipping Sodbury Facebook group? Well we hadn't until the wonderful Paul told us about them. They're a growing online community group made up of local people all giving each other support with sustainable living and reducing waste. It's a fantastic thing to be part of because they value non-judgemental attitudes. You can search for advice and make suggestions of your own. Wondering what to do with your old holey tights? Just ask! Found a local group collecting bottle tops for charity, tell others! Post a comment to promote and support local campaigns and initiatives. It's that simple...
What are you waiting for? Hop on over to Facebook and take a look for yourself!
If you've got children (or pets) we're sure you'll be familiar with this story. You decide to give your little loved ones a treat, something fancy, possibly expensive and...
They ignore it completely and have more fun with the box.
As frustrating as it is they may well be on to something... We're all aware of the importance of recycling, but doing the weekly sort and separate can be pretty dull and just feel like yet another chore to add to the list. Rummage through your rubbish and turn it into something you feel proud of. You can start simple, like we did with our piggy banks, bird feeders and Christmas decorations. When you've got the hang of it you can let your imagination run wild!
Over to you Gainsborough...
Gainsborough Court is an independent living home for people who live with disability. The residents have formed their own art group and proudly took up the sustainability challenge when they heard about our photography competition. For the 'Doing Our Bit' category they gathered their recycling and worked together on their sculpture of the Severn Bridge... And yes, it does stand up, we have photographic proof! Great work everyone!
It seems like child's play...
Wrong. It's not childish, it's called honing your artist talents! Who cares how small you start, one day you could be the talk of the town. What may seem silly now could soon turn into skills you can share with your community. With some practice, teamwork and some inspirational rubbish reuse, you could one day find yourself leading projects like these:
Thank you to LitterArti for helping us with various community projects over the years.
Recycling doesn't have to be boring...
Have fun with it!
Sorry folks, we're opening this blog post with some rhetorical maths questions...
Take a little walk around your home and think about how much you spent feathering your nest... Furniture, decorations, paintings, cooking equipment, blankets, DVDs, ornaments... Getting a headache as the price rises? We know the feeling and your friends probably do to. Speaking of which, try multiplying the amount you spent on your home by the number of friends you have...
Pretty big number huh?
But that means there's plenty of penny saving that could be done! Stay with us for a minute, go back around your home and think of all the things you only use occasionally... CD's, board games, that cake tin you whip out once a year for your partner's birthday. Between you and your friends, how much could you save if you have one of each thing per group rather than per person.
Starting to sound a little better? You could swap almost anything if you wanted to. Fancy something different to do in the evenings, raid your friend's games box. Not just board games, that could mean computer games too. Are you a little bit of a bookworm? Instead of trying to cram yet more books onto your already overflowing shelves, worm your way through your friend's shelves. School bake sale coming up, and the children want to make their own... Don't splash out on a muffin tin you know will never see the light of day again, speak to your friend who basically has their own personal bakery set up in their kitchen...
Have some fun with it!!
Arrange a social night every so often, where you can swap to your heart's content! You could meet in your favourite coffee shop and bring what you're swapping with you. Or you can be really brave, take turns hosting and let your friends loose around your house!
If that sounds too much for you, or you're just short on time, you can always just ask. Set up a group on your preferred messaging app, it only takes a few seconds to send a quick message.
Get together, swap, share, save money and have some fun along the way. We declare the swap shop officially...
Anyone feeling crafty?
If crafting doesn't come naturally to you, don't panic... This one's EASY! And has the added bonus of giving a helping hand to our feathered friends.
What you need:
Looking simple so far...
The birds will thank your few minutes of not so hard work. They might even peck the tube to pieces and fly away with it to line their nests. Aww.
Now you've done it once, you can get creative! Here's some suggestions:
A little note from Alex...
In previous years we have applied for grants to enable us to do large projects during Sustainable September. Local residents may have noticed the underpass mural or the sculpture outside St. Nicholas Church. Well this year we're doing things a little differently with lots of small activities spread throughout the month, rather than one or two big ones. Sometimes I've been asked is it worth it? It's a lot of work for maybe not so much of a noticeable difference...
The answer is simple. Yes. Sometimes the difference goes unnoticed but has much more of an impact than you realise, because sustainable communities are just as important as everything else we've talked about so far. What makes a sustainable community? Social interactions, fun and laughter, inspiring each other... team work.
I was talking to Debbie, one of our event volunteers a while ago about Sustainable September. We talked about the planned events, the photo competition and the blog. One of the things that came up was showing people how to make bird feeders out of stuff you might find around your house. I planned on posting this a bit later in September, but then yesterday I received this and couldn't resist bumping it up the calendar...
From the residents of Nutfield House...
After hearing about Sustainable September, the residents of Nutfield House - Filton, with the help of their activities coordinator and carers had been saving up their own recycling to have a go themselves. They ran two sessions making bird feeders out of what they had collected and put their creations to good work in the gardens. It might seem such a small thing, but they've brought their friends together, kept their minds and bodies active all while doing something great for the wildlife sharing their home. Well done to everyone who got involved throughout the project!
It doesn't matter who you are, what your abilities are or what community you're from, there is always something you can do towards sustainable living.
There's just one last little thing we wanted to say...
You're both doing great! Keep up the good work everybody!
For those of you who don't know, we were joined last week by a fantastic group of volunteers from Mercer Financial Planning, so we just wanted to take a moment to say thanks on behalf of Abbotswood.
We were initially approached a few months ago by the lovely Helen, asking if there was any possibility of having a volunteer work day in the area. The poor woman had been asking around several groups before us who were all more than willing to help, on the condition that Mercer pay for the privilege. We don't know about you, but charging people for volunteering was news to us! Anyway, being the heroic obliging group that we are, we happily welcomed them on board.
What started as a few emails between Helen and Alex, very quickly developed into a cuppa while taking a stroll around Abbotswood with Ruth. This gave us a few ideas of some areas that could use a little TLC. We asked around the local community groups to see if there were any jobs that could be added to the day's itinerary, and all of a sudden Mercer were the exciting new toy in town! People came out of the woodwork with suggestions from the Abbotswood Action Group committee, St. Nicholas Family Centre, Dodington Parish Council and Mercer themselves. Even Barnwood Buddies threw a surprise task in at the last minute...
Tidying The Flower Beds
Removing Graffiti From The Underpass
Washing Down The Public Staircases
Replacing Ceiling Tiles In The Family Centre
AND AS A BONUS:
Saving All The Toys From The High Ledges In The Sports Hall!!!
We think the children from Barnwood particularly enjoyed supervising that last one... Mercer must have saved at least 20 lost toys that day. Who knew ceiling turtles were a thing? The various teams outside did a fantastic job with the other tasks. It's been a long time since we've seen the staircases looking so pristine! We also owe a thank you to Kemp's Garden Centre, who kindly donated some plants to give Abbotswood a fresh look, when they were approached by Mercer. It looks brilliant out there, beautifully bright and vibrant!
We were kindly joined by Dodington Parish Council in the afternoon, to help guide the volunteers around the area for a good litter picking session. OK, so there may have been a few grumbles to start with when the litter picking equipment (borrowed from South Glos. Council) made an appearance... But, in the end, we lost a large group of the volunteers. It seems that a gentle stroll with friends, having a gossip, while doing something good for the community is actually quite a nice way to spend an afternoon. We suspect they may have deviated from the map and just kept walking, so if parts of Yate are suddenly much tidier than they were a few days ago, thank Mercer! Eventually they reappeared after one of the rubbish bags starting smelling particularly, umm, ripe...
WELL DONE TEAM!!
We hope you enjoyed the well earned trip to the pub, and that you weren't too stiff and sore the next day. If all goes to plan, see you again next year... We're already in cahoots, aren't we Helen?
Thank you to everyone who made the day a success, you have all been fabulous!
Photographs supplied by Mercer Financial Planning.
We have lots of things to talk about at Abbotswood Action Group. We're sure you do too, get in touch if you would like to be a guest blogger...