We went to make contact with Yvonne, who is doing a stellar job of setting up Lydney's own Food Bank with the Tressel Trust. You may have heard them on the news recently, highlighting the food shortages caused by the current economic conditions. I am interested in helping out to learn more about how they organise things. One of our aspirations is to have a community garden one day, where members can grow their own fruit, veg and flowers (e.g. lavender for craft projects) and give a tenth of the produce as a fresh Food Bank. Going along once a month on a Saturday seems like a great way to get to know the folk there who are making it happen and Yvonne has offered help and advice for our projects. I have found that this is one of the great things about living in the Forest. People are very willing to share their ideas and help out. Kate Wyatt at the FoDDC has helped a great deal simply by putting us in touch with like-minded groups. It's an important and valuable part of their work at Community Engagement.
After seeing Yvonne and getting my forms into her, I took my son up to Coleford Library, where more of the FoDDC team, the Street Wardens, were running a joint project with library staff. The children had a demo of how to catch a stray dog safely - with the Bookstart Bear standing in for the dog. Then they heard some more about the work of the Street Wardens, who do a huge variety of work, including coming down to Oakale in the summer to organise a play afternoon for our children. They were supposed to leave at 3.30pm and ended up (with tea and biscuits) staying in the September sunshine until 5pm. They have recruited one young man for their team when he is available for work experience. He will do a great job for them, I'm sure. He is a young entrepreneur who has started his own business making cake stands, taking after his artistic mum.
The library staff had laid on some fantastic crafts for children and we now possess a bug mask, complete with fly eyes and fuzzy pipe cleaner antennae - the theme being 'Litter bugs'. The children had a chance to try and throw rubbish into the library bin from a distance and make a beautiful dragonfly with sweet papers. Lots of sticky, happy children and we even got a book out.
Then back through the Forest and home to Lydney, which is becoming home now, after 2 years here from 1st November for the little and I. His dad stayed behind in Walsall to decorate our rented (Bromford) house from top to bottom so we could return it in perfect condition. When we came down to Oakdale, we felt so homesick because all the fittings were so similar! We never thought we would be able to buy a house here and it was only through the generousity of friends and family that we did. Then our sale fell through four times or so and we had two weeks wihout anywhere to live, but once again, kind friends took us under their wing. But here we are now with a roof over our heads (good job - marquees and tents are all very well, but not in gales), and this afternoon, Kate's boss phoned to talk about an obesity group. She has obviously been reading about the Oakdale Cake Festival at the weekend...what are you trying to say, Tess? :-)
I'm looking forward to seeing how Oakdale develops this year. It's been wonderful getting to know new neighbours here. As we develop project ideas, I will put information about them on the Community Events page or expand the website, with the committee's say so. If you have your own ideas, we would love to hear them and have a meeting on Saturday with an open forum so that you can come and meet us and have a say in how we grow. Hopefully one day we will be deciding what to grow as well!