It’s been really lovely over the last couple of weeks to start receiving contact forms through this website! It’s something that doesn’t get updated as often as it should, as social media is so fast-paced and easy to update that things like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seem to take precedence, but it’s made me realise we need to update this more often.
So here we go :
Our crowdfunder raised £22k!!!!!
TWENTY TWO THOUSAND POUNDS!
You are all amazing.
This money will hopefully ‘break the back’ of the refurbishment of the buildings. We just need to now source tradespeople and materials to do so.
We’ve also really got to prioritise the shifting of the last few mounds of soil (which is a bigger job than it sounds when I put it like that!). So – if you know anyone with a digger/dumper combo who would like to come and help us out / give us quotes -please do get in touch!
I’m not going to spend time discussing COVID19, or lockdowns…. I’d like to share our progress with you and concentrate on good times, things we’re looking forward to etc.
This past year has seen us increase our volunteer list to over 50 people. So many of you have enjoyed coming along to the site, getting outside, moving around, chatting to people etc. It’s been wonderful. It has been limited, yes, but it’s been wonderful to see things change on site, to meet new people and to add new skills to our midst. Between us, and with some help in the form of discount on machinery hire from Speedy Hire, we’ve moved the majority of 1000 tons of clean soil around the site!
Last Spring, Shelley stepped down as director. This project is far bigger than any of us envisaged and it just wasn’t working for her alongside other priorities. James stepped up to take the role of director so that we still have 3.
In the last week we’ve planted up our 500 saplings in to pots, as the hedge bank is not quite ready for them just yet.
We’ve also gone live with our Aviva Crowdfunder, attempting to raise £10k for our refurb of the buildings, in just 34 days.
But exciting too.
If you’d like to pledge, you can find our Crowdfunder here. There are some great pledge rewards available, so worth checking them out when you donate.
We’ve been lucky enough to receive some funding from Stronger North Stonehouse recently, to light up the path next to our fence with solar lighting and to prettify the boundary (yarn bombing, solar string lights, seed packets, wildflowers / bulbs etc). We’re also very happy to be working with other projects who have received funding from the same source – Tess Wilmot is starting her Generous Earth project off at Snapdragons, with her Fertile Edges mini project. Focused on our boundary, based near the fence/gate, Tess is at the site regularly to showcase different types of composting and chatting to people about how they can have a go. We’re also going to be home to a dye garden, created by Barbara, Dorothea and Helen – very exciting. Volunteers will be given seeds to plant and start off at home (window sills, conservatories etc), to then bring back to the site once a bit hardier, to plant in our raised beds. These plants will then be harvested to make plant dyes, to dye material which will be used to create items of clothing for a fashion show organised by Fashion Fix. We can’t wait to see how the project progresses.
SO, my lovely parents looked after our children for two days straight so that James and I could spend some time on site.
We employed Chris Strong and Ollie Price all week to carry on laying the geotextile/geocell and shifting soil, plus had some wonderful volunteers and visitors on site – Dave Curno (Friends of Ham Woods), Dean Bowles (Talk Shop Stonehouse), James Lankester (The Copper Pot Campsite near Cotehele), Majiec (Plymouth Parkour).
So much has been achieved this week, and yet it’s also PAINSTAKINGLY slow to move the soil. It’s very wet and very clay-like. Wheelbarrows are just not cutting it really so I think we’re going to need to get some form of light machinery in to help move it. If you can help with this, please do get in touch!
We’re still getting quotes for the refurbishment of the buildings and have been sending in funding bids, as the money we have is starting to run out.
Tree work has started, sorry to see a few go, but know that it’s for ‘the greater good’ in the long run and that the work we are doing will really enhance the site’s biodiversity once we’re going with it.
How are we in January of 2020 already! We’ve officially been a company for TWO YEARS and yet we are still not trading!
However… things ARE moving along.
We’ve had the new fencing put in, the hole in the car park wall cut and so far 9 out of 55 loads of topsoil have been delivered (thanks to Dunchaul who have been bringing it over from Forder Valley). Unfortunately, rain has stopped play on that for the minute so it’s a bit of a waiting game.
Chris Strong from Hired Hands SW has been a lifesaver this week – Speedy Hire at Pennycomequick sorted us out an amazing deal on a rotivator and Chris has worked his socks off all week to get the soil turned over for us in preparation for laying the geotextile and geocell.
Next steps – we’re applying for funding to get the refurbishment works done to the buildings. Exciting times ahead!
2 years after we first expressed interest in the site as a venue for our project, Gia and I signed the lease on Friday with Adrian Beddow of Bright Solicitors. YAY!
Now the journey really begins! As you may have seen on our Facebook page, we’re now looking for help with the various steps of work that needs to be done before we can start running sessions…
It looks like we have our soil! All of it! With transport included!!! I really hope that stays the case – as long as we can move quickly I believe it will.
There are a number of things we now need help with, so if you can offer help, or know someone who could, please please do get in touch!
What we need:
* someone to knock down a wall between us and the car park (we have permission – the car park owner has said we can bring soil through that way rather than cause havoc bringing trucks through the park)
* people with gloves, strimmers, power assisted tools, determination, wheelbarrows etc to 1) cut back all the grass/brambles/nettles/shrubbery on site 2) lay down geotextile fabric and geocell squares 3) wheelbarrow the soil around to cover the site
* someone with an excavator/mini digger?
* tree surgeons to remove 9 trees
* people to plant 420 saplings in Nov/Dec
Please do get in touch if you can help / recommend people to do any of this. Thank you x
We have finally got our planning permission for change of use for the site. It’s been such a difficult, stressful year but so much has been learned from the journey and hopefully we can help make positive change in the city with how other companies can succeed with similar projects.
So…. what next?
The lease is currently with our solicitors (Adrian Beddow of Bright Solicitors – you are amazing! Thank you!) and will hopefully be signed in the next few weeks once our enquiries are sorted. Then we need to get the fencing in place and also find… wait for it…
1000 tons of clean top soil!
That’s right. 1000 tons. We need to cover the whole site in 600mm of clean, imported top soil to make sure that there is no chance of anyone touching any contaminated soil.
As part of that work, we have to remove a small number of trees, put in place some Geocell slabs in any root protection areas and plant some new trees.
As a date for your diaries folks – November 2019 we will be receiving 420 saplings from the Woodland Trust for planting as a new hedge (along the new fence) as well as to replace some of the diseased trees we are removing.
We’ll then start looking at what we can do with the buildings.
Lots to be done! Exciting times indeed.
We visited the site today to meet with Ed and Tom from RIO (Part of Power to Change/Places) and had a great chat about support moving forward. We also took the opportunity to take lots of photos of the site in the height of summer – lots of greenery and the sun shining, beautiful!
The three of us had a fab day today, down at Devonport Guildhall to take part in the All Ways Apples festivals. Organised by Tess Wilmot, it’s a fantastic event that celebrates… well, everything apples! The whole event depends on external funding to run each year, and the hard work of a small but dedicated team. Lots of food and drink to try, different varieties of apples to taste, children’s activities (including storytelling by our lovely Shelley and also Lily from Grow Stonehouse), games and lots of information stalls. It really was a lovely day and we managed to raise an extra £60 for the Snapdragons crowdfunder.
We’re already looking forward to taking part in 2019, which will be the 10th anniversary of All Ways Apples – coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Waldorf Education, so a special one for sure.
We’re sorry it’s taking so long for this to all get moving – two different planning decision deadline dates have been and gone, so as you can imagine it’s been very frustrating.
We think, hope, we are now getting somewhere.
Public Protection have said that we need to make absolutely sure that the ground is safe for children, growing etc, so we have had soil testing done and have been looking into gas testing. The likely remediation work required will be to cover the site surface with clean, imported top soil.
To cover those extra costs we’ve had to use some of our savings, so we’ve set our Crowdfunder to go live much earlier than we originally planned. Due to not being in the venue yet to be able to hold fundraising events, we are (pretty much) relying on the power of social media and the goodwill of those who are aware of the project.
Currently the Crowdfunder total stands at £1725 (17% of our £10,000 target) with 11 days left.
There are a few ways you can help us out:
Like and share posts from our Snapdragons Plymouth page on Facebook
Just a little post to check in… Many of you are probably wondering why we have gone so quiet. It’s not been on purpose and things are definitely still rolling towards our end goal. We’ve just got caught up in the dreaded process of planning applications! Our application has been submitted, with a MASSIVE thank you due to Ruth Dreyer and Bob MacDonald of Plymouth Architect Design Group who did this for us. We have a planning officer and a date of 13th August for a decision.
We have bats in the roof! Accordingly, the planning application requires certain environmental reports to be done which take time and cost money, but we are quite excited about the wildlife on the site.
We’ve applied to Awards4All for a lottery grant of £10,000 as this is pretty much what the fence and gate are going to cost. It’s a hefty sum but a really important item that is very necessary to make the area safe and secure.
As soon as we have news- so will you!
We picked up our t-shirts from the lovely local screen printing business Il Pleut today – Sam and Daniel are fab, really helpful and friendly – we highly recommend them.