Friday, 28 January 2011

Some of our crocus.......

The Josefina de Vasconcellos Arts Care Trust visit

While in Barrow to meet Barrow Borough Council Regeneration Offcier Val Holden to discuss potential facilities around the town which may or may not be appropriate for the trust to use to display scultures and possibly use for stonemasonary/sculture/art related training members of the Josefina de Vasconcellos Arts Care Trust also visted the Green Heart Den.

In the pictured are:
Shawn Williamson (sculptor), Martin McCreedy, (trainee stonemason), Val Holden (Barrow Borough Council Regeneration Officer),  Mrs. Santa Tattersall (Josefina de Vasconcellos Arts Care Trust) far right and her daughter. 

The Trust was set up in honour of the work and ideals of Josefina de Vasconcellos MBE and is striving to work in the community with people of all ages, cultural and educational backgrounds.
If you would like to learn a little more about the Trust please visit their website here. 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Some of our snowdrops.....

Meeting with members of staff from CADAS

CADAS  members of staff, Natalia Wealleans and Adam Greer visiting the Green Heart Den.

The visit was arranged to allow an opportunity for Natalia and Adam to meet Project Coordinator Graham Bromley and learn a little more about the project. During the visit we discussed how we may work together,  highlighting potential opportunites for participation and the involvement of members of staff and clients at CADAS.

Before they left Natalia and Adam very kindly signed our visitor book, providing the following comments:
  • Natalia -"What an amazing, well considered and planned community space. Impressed by the hard work and commitment of the group in creating a community green space. Well done"
  • Adam - "A really inspiring project - I love the space and think this will provide valuable opportunities for the community and our clients at CADAS
A very promising and optimistic meeting...........................Fantastic

Bats are good for us......

The UK's bat populations have suffered severe declines, largely due to loss of habitat. Human activities have increasingly and continue to change the environment we live in resulting in substantial declines in biodiversity. However, bats are fascinating ...animals and make a substantial contribution to the UK's biodiversity, comprising around one third of all our mammal species. They are a vital part of our native wildlife and are indicators of a green and healthy environment, so their future is directly linked to our quality of life and the quality of our environment.
If you would like to learn more about bats please visit the Bat Conservation Trust website here.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Keeping an eye on the Green Heart Den.....

A pair of wagtails keep a watchful eye on the Green Heart Den from a ledge on Greengate bridge while taking in the sun.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Cumbria Wildlife Trust - Barrow Wildside Project

"Barrow’s Wildside project connects communities with their local green spaces to turn underused and neglected land into better places for people and wildlife"

"Community gardens, redundant land, woodland, parks, cemeteries, under-used playing fields and allotments are some of the places we want to see thrive. With the help of local people Cumbria Wildlife Trust hope they can help make Barrow and Walney Island an urban haven for wildlife"

"If you live in Ormsgill, Hindpool, Central, Risedale, Barrow Island and Walney North you will have a chance to develop your skills by taking part in volunteer action days and learn about wildlife days. In fact, there will be lots activities for everyone such as family events, training, conservation work parties and surveys, practical workshops, walks, and an annual celebration event"

You can follow the Barrow’s Wildside project as it develops on the Cumbria Wildlife Trust website here.

In the meantime, if know of a green space in Barrow you would like to see thriving with wildlife you can email:  or telephone 01539 816300.

Monday, 24 January 2011

188 Marsh Street frustrations

Although frustrated, we remain hopeful that we will receive news confirming the puchase of vacant and derelict 188 Marsh Street shortly. Following the purchase, the property will need to be demolished before we can begin works associated with the introduction of the main pedestrian access route onto the Green Heart Den.

188 Marsh Street as viewed from the Green Heart Den.

The purchase is heavily reliant on:

1. Network Rail who own the property. We understand that this would be of mutual benefit to them as their property has been vacant for decades, is derelict, in very poor condition and an eyesore to the local community.

2. Barrow Borough Council who have been working hard to secure the purchase of 188 Marsh Street from Network Rail.

Friday, 21 January 2011

And now the hard work begins.......

Over the following months we will be extremely busy as there is a great deal of work to be delivered. In the main, our immediate priorities include:

i) Providing the main pedestrian access route onto the Green Heart Den.
This in itself is a great deal of work and heavily reliant on confirming puchase of 188 Marsh Street. This is would involve:
1. Network Rail who own the property. We understand that this would be of mutual benefit to them as their property has been; vacant for decades, is derelict, in very poor condition and an eyesore to the local community.
2. Barrow Borough Council who have been working hard to secure purchase of 188 Marsh Street.
Among the various actions needed are:

• Purchase of 188 Marsh Street from Network Rail
• Confirming party wall agreements with Network Rail
• Agreeing and circulating tenders for the demolition works
• Appoint contractors
• Conduct demolition works

In turn, we will need to confirm a design for gates and paved surface, secure quotes for the associated works, agree and appoint contractors to conduct the works. This will provide for the main pedestrian access route onto the Green Heart Den. This part of the work to be provided by funding from Our Green Space.

ii) Development of the north plot community grow your own scheme. This work will include, among other tasks:

• Confirm demolition the north plot/back street boundary wall - demolishing the wall, installing new footings, rebuilding the wall and the provision of a secure gated access
• Agree processes and a way of working with Groundwork
• Confirm funding
• Agree tender document specifications and circulate to potential contractors
• Appoint contractors

iii) Securing formal permission from Network Rail to use arches D, E and F
iv) Securing formal work consents from Network Rail allowing us to provide a secure gated access to arches E and F
v) Increasing our volunteer data base and identifying additional volunteers and helpers.

The latter may be the most crucial as without people we may not be able to deliver many of the above activities. Tasks need people to do them.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

North plot boundary wall

We remained concerned with the rapidly deteriorating condition of the north plot/back street boundary wall but are hopeful this issues will be resolved, as agreed, over the next few weeks following recent reassurance that the wall is to be demolished.

It is understood that this work will involve; the wall  being demolished, the provision of new footings and the wall rebuilt.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Various visitor feedback received during 2010

For the purpose of learning and development and for accountablity we regulary collect various information that is used help make judgements about the project and help to identify potential changes and improvements. Below are some of the comments we received from various visitors during 2010.

Following activities with Central and Hindpool Junior Wardens we asked:
In your own words, what did you most enjoy about the Green Heart Den?
• "The planting. Really everything is cool and the climbing frame entertains the little children that come to visit the Green Heart Den"
• "It is very peaceful, most enjoyed the plans and seating area"
• The flowers, no litter, it's fun"
• "The flowers and bees"
• "Everything"
• The different plants, flowers and animals"
• "The peacefulness"
• "Green area, nice and quiet"
• Beautiful, fun and educational"
• "Cool"

Furness Youth Council visit:

Members of the Youth Council were kind enough to complete visitor feedback forms. Among their comments about the Green Heart Den and the arches included:

• "It" so peaceful, I love it"
• "Great place, fascinating story, keep up the good work!
• "Quiet and peaceful, It will be a good place to come back with friends"
• "It was well maintained and a great way to use the space"
• "Looked gorgeous, so quiet"
• "Great place, I will be watching with interest"
• "Fantastic resource for the community"
• "Nice and clean. Lovely, what a great place to come to"

Suggestions in regard to the potential development of the arches included:

• "Cafe, health centre and a games room for when it rains. Could hold small events there"
• "Cafe with cake shop and a tea room maybe"
• "A youth cafe"
• "Art gallery and climbing wall"
• "As a sheltered space, so that the garden and area can be used on rainy days"

Feedback from Family Sessions;

• "We had a nice afternoon and are looking forward to next week. Our cuttings are now in the garden"

Karen Y Hull, Furness Inclusion Worker - Short Breaks, Cumbria Children's Services said of the initial session:

"The event reflects the true spirit of community, partnership working and promotes the innovative opportunities being made available through the Aiming High - Transforming short breaks agenda".

We are hopeful that our activities throughout 2011 will attract similar feedback from those visiting and using our facility.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Friday, 14 January 2011

Suggested new way of working

Our project Coordinator Graham Bromley is hoping that the Management Committee will agree to a suggested new way of working. The suggestion being that we form a working/advisory/critical friends type sub group in which we could invite key stakeholders, partner organisations etc to join us, offering additional advice and guideance in helping to progress our core aims and objective and helping us to deliver our core activities - working together and in partnership towards a common goal.

This group could meet during the normal working day on a monthly basis and/or as needed, reporting to the Management Committee say bi monthly. By working in such a way it could also help to:
  • increase our capacity
  • increase participation and involvement
  • build confidence
  • generate a greater sense of ownership
  • build on our excellent relationship with partner organisations
  • prompt fresh thinking
  • help each other 
At the same time it could be of mutual benefit as it would offer an opportunity to learn more about what others are doing in the community, raise awareness and help each other by sharing; experiences, resources and best practice.

This approach works particularly well when organisations are busy and have a lot of activities to deliver. We did used to work in a similar until about three years ago and it did prove to be very successful indeed. The main reason we stopped working like this was due to a lull in actvities, a quiet spell, while we were awating funding to begin the project and while we were forming the CIC.

Based on possibly his unique position in being hands on involved with every aspect of the project from its onset; and on a daily basis, it is understood that, if agreed, and we return to this way of working it could offer a realistically way of helping the project achieve its core aims and objectives and deliver its core activities.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

North plot community grow your own scheme

Following recent confirmation of a long term lease and additional funding from Barrow Borough Council we will are actively progressing the development of the north plot “community grow your own scheme”; working closely with new partners such as - Groundwork,  Local Health Improvement Team and Mark and Spencer who have also provided funding towards delivery of the scheme.

We believe that, among the main health benefits of such as scheme would include; increased opportunities for physical activity, improved mental health and well being and the increased availability of fresh food. We also hope that by working in partnership with health organisation involved in both the mental health and disability sectors it will help to reduce the stigmatisation and isolation that both those suffering with mental health conditions and those with disabilities can feel.

Dependant on final costs and confirmation of funding streams, it may be that the completed project will need to be delivered as a phased development and in stages.

Below is the initial north plot community grow your own scheme design as produced by Groundwork landscape architect John Nuttall in consultation with our Management Committee.

We would like to thank all of our key stakeholders -  friends, neighbours, partners and funders -  for the quality of their continued support. We could not do this without you.

Central and Hindpool Inspiring Communities: URGENT MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PEOPLE IN FURNESS!!

Central and Hindpool Inspiring Communities: URGENT MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PEOPLE IN FURNESS!!: "Do you think you could make a difference to your local area? Do you believe in the power of Youth Voice? Do you think you can communicate ..."

Central and Hindpool Neighbourhood Management: Neighbourhood News #93

Central and Hindpool Neighbourhood Management: Neighbourhood News #93: "For the latest news about what's on and what's happening please click on the link here.

Meeting members of staff from Croftlands Trust

Following previous discussions our Our Project Coordinator Graham Bromley arranged to meet members of staff from Croftland Trust who were interested to learn more about the north plot community grow your own scheme, the project as a whole and any potential opportunities for the involvement of the Trust and its clients. The Trust supports people who may be suffering from mental health conditions and people who may possibly have learing difficulties, helping them to become more empowered -  by encouraging them to say, become involved in community based activities.
They were very intersted in all the various elements of our project as a whole, particularly the north plot community grow your own scheme, and the range and variety of opportunities our project could provide for their involvement.
Our Project Coordinator believes that this initial meeting could lead to a very meaningful relationship with the Trust.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Opportunities within the project - Volunteer Coordinator

In an effort to increase participation and build on the capacity of our organisation we are continually looking to offer opportunities, should you wish, to become a valued volunteer within our project and help to make a real difference in your community. You can choose how you want to become involved and it need not take up too much of your time.

Currently we are looking to appoint a Volunteer Coordinator. If you would like to learn more about this oportunity, a copy of the role description can be viewed and/or downloaded here.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Lisa Millard at Cumbria CVS in Barrow. Lisa can be contact by:
Email at:
Tel: 01229 825630

By post to:
Cumbria CVS in Barrow
Lesser Kings Hall
57-59 Hartington Street

Monday, 10 January 2011

Favourite picture memories - part 8

Margaret Burrow (Barrow and District Disability Association) and members of the local Soroptiist group help with planting some of the various flowers and shrubs they very kindly donated.

Central and Hindpool Junior Wardens relax and enjoy our facilities after completing their John Muir Award activities.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Pedestrain access route......188 Marsh Street

As it has been a long standing, unresolved issue, we are hopeful that Network Rail will complete the transfer of 188 Marsh Street to Barrow Borough Council as a matter of urgency.
Until this matter is concluded we remain in a position whereby we could potentially lose tens of thousands of pound in funding. Funding which we secured from Our Green Space in 2008 and would, among other elements, provide for the works to construct the main pedestrian access route onto the Green Heart Den. 
Our Green Space project is a Cumbria-wide three-year partnership project running from Jan 2008 to Dec 2010 and has now been extended until December 2011. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s 'Your Heritage' grant scheme.

Friday, 7 January 2011

RSPB big garden bird watch

Big Garden Birdwatch is fun, free, really easy, and only takes an hour. You can do your birdwatch wherever you like - at home, in your local park, or do it as part of a group at one of our events near you.

For more informtion please visit the RSPB website here.

Feeding our feathered visitors

A guide to feeding birds can be found on the BBC Nature webpage here

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Our lawn area appears to be surviving the winter weather

Previous treatments to the lawn in preperation for the winter period look to have worked asthe lawn appears to be in very good condition considering the recent extreme weather conditions.

General maintenance

General maintenance and repairs to the post and wire fencing.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Policy and procedure update

Since forming the Marsh Street Arches and Garden Community Interest Company we have used resources such as Volunteering England and worked in partnership with Cumbria CVS in Barrow,developing various policies and procedures. To view various adopted policies, please click on the appropriate links below.

Data Protection Policy
Child Protection Policy
Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy
Equal Opportunities Policy
Health and Safety Policy
Environmental Policy

Volunteer Policy
Volunteer Agreement
Volunteer Application Form
Volunteer Assessment
Volunteer Exit Procedure
Template Volunteer Role Description
Draft Volunteer Expenses Claim Form
Problem Solving Procedure
Disciplinary Procedure
Confidentiality Declaration
Volunteer Induction Checklist
Volunteer Induction Checklist Reference

Performance Management Guide

External Risk Assessment + Guide

As with our strategic, management and business plans the above documents are reviewed and amended where appropriate on an annual basis.

North Plot wall concerns....Thank you

We would like to thank all at the Town Hall for their quick response in regard to our most recent concerns in regard to the visibly deteriorating condition of the North Plot/Marsh Street back street boundary wall. In particular we would like to thank Val, Brian and Kevan -  your action was very much appreciated.