During this time one of the local clergy recommended that, as we were hoping to develop more wildflower areas, we should seek help and advice from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. This we did and a whole new aspect of our volunteering work evolved. The officer was most helpful in carrying out soil tests, providing a small grant for tools, seed and plug plants for the development of the east side of the Church under the Meadow Links scheme. The scheme’s aim is to develop wildflower corridors throughout the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In the meantime we had established small wildflower plots which are now beginning to mature. It was great that the YDMT officer and her husband joined us for the ‘Rake up call!’ and enjoyed the ‘coffee and cakes’. This ‘coffee, cake and chat’ has now become a regular weekly mid-session event!
As the GGG has continued to grow, so has the diversity of jobs and activities within the Village. The Parish Council invited us to clear part of the Ribble Way route of vegetation from the path. To enable us to do the work safely Craven District Council, through a Ward Councillor’s grant for tools, a wheelbarrow, high viz. jackets and notices were purchased. This year, while clearing the track from the village to the Memorial Bridge, a comment was made to a passer-by that some daffodils amongst the trees would be attractive. The next day that person gave us £100 to buy bulbs! The Parish Council were in full support but an objection was made by a member of a local conservation group because daffodils are not beneficial to wildlife! Settle Swimming Pool committee requested help to fill and plant up decorative flowerpots by the entrance to the building. The flowerbeds at St Alkelda’s Church are lovingly tended by members of the community who provide plants, small trees and bushes to plant in ‘their’ flowerbeds and other places. The result being an attractive approach to the entrance and other parts of the Church grounds. Many visitors come to chat with us and marvel at St Alkelda’s Church and grounds. We are heartened to see the Primary School using the grounds as part of their science lessons.
Such is the enthusiasm and dedication to enhancing the appearance of the Church Grounds that one member of the team undertook the mammoth task of grass trimming both the Old and New Churchyards. He was able to use an old heavy-duty mower, gifted by Giggleswick School, to cut the grass to a level that he can now use one of the two petrol mowers to keep the grass at a manageable height. He also keeps small areas of grass cut in the village.
All the grass cuttings and leaves are composted. Weeds etc. are bagged and very kindly removed to be recycled by a ‘man with a van’. Giggleswick School kindly provided a trailer for taking away some dead branches and wood.
Ivy Cottage roof has been repaired having a replacement beam fitted by a member of St Alkelda’s and battens and hooks attached to the walls to hang up tools etc.
The ‘Pride in our Parish’ slogan includes our Litter Picking section which operates on the first Monday of each month. Grant aid for tools, rings and high viz. jackets were provided by Craven District Council who also arranges to collect the litter sacks that are filled during the ten set routes we cover in the Parish. Between 140 and 150 sacks, plus reporting fly tipping, are collected each year by the average number of 10 + members who turn out in all weathers!
The GGG team now consists of more than ten regulars from the local community and beyond; they have their favourite jobs, be it mowing, tending flowerbeds, cutting back, developing wildflower areas, collecting leaves and clearing paths.
While keeping the grounds as tidy as we can; we encourage wildlife by keeping ‘wild’ areas round the walls and at the east of the grounds, wooded parts, wildflowers for insects and bird boxes for nesting birds. However, people do complain about the rabbits eating bunches of flowers they put on memorials!
All these activities are co-ordinated through a weekly email newsletter outlining ‘What we did last week’ and ‘Jobs and tasks for next week.’