Putting Our Best Foot Forward

Climate Emergency – making small steps locally is our way to help avert it

Gorgeous Gorse Hill is five! For those of us who set up this resident-led community group it’s fairly unbelievable. What started as a conversation about how we can help make our area better, make everyday spaces less drab, reduce the grey that surrounded us has led us to this point. The underlying purpose of Gorgeous Gorse Hill was always about “making the mundane marvellous” (yes, I know I’m really over fond of alliteration); an attempt to make our everyday journeys brighter and cheerier. But beneath that was also an attempt to bring more nature to the area, to enable planting, flowers, fruit and vegetables to thrive where previously there was nothing. In our small way we’ve brought a little bit more biodiversity to Gorse Hill but fundamentally we’ve brightened things up.

Brightening things up, that was what it was about making journeys better. Journeys by foot – to school, to work, to the shop, to the match, to the pub, even just to the bus stop. These types of journeys are more important than ever and how we make them is the most pressing. We have to get out of our cars, we have to start walking. It’s hard to believe that 60% of all car journeys we make each day are between one and two miles; that is a staggering number and one we can easily affect. Can you imagine how different our journeys to school and shops would be if we were all walking there? How many more people we’d see and get to know. How many more hellos we’d be able to hear. How many flowers we’d get to see, you might even find that elusive final piece of GGH art. These are the journeys we need to focus on.

There is something that stops us making these journeys, whether that be the roads don’t feel safe, it takes too long to walk, the weather, the route is boring. Some of these we can’t do anything about (it’s Manchester folks, it’s always going to rain) but there are some we can and as such a new group has been set up to try and get more of us out making everyday journeys by foot.

Living Streets Stretford has been set up by some local residents to try and make our journeys better and to get more of us making them.

Stretford presents some challenges to the everyday walker, the first is the A56 it’s massive, full of cars and means walking along that route is not particularly nice. The work of Gorgeous Gorse Hill and Stretford in Bloom is trying to do something about this by adding more plants, trees, shrubs you name it to brighten up our journeys and at the same time make a small dent in air pollution. But Living Streets Stretford feels there’s something else that they can do (with all of our support) and that’s make those journeys easier. At the moment there are some (likely not enough) crossings on all the main roads through Stretford, the problem is pedestrians are an after thought at these crossing. At some we can’t even cross the whole road in one go, at others we stand there for ages waiting for the lights to change, at others there aren’t even pedestrian elements (green man etc) to help you get across. Living Streets Stretford thinks this needs to change, if we’re going to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and walk then we need to make walking easier and driving more inconvenient.

Living Streets (is a national charity), they aren’t the enemy of the car driver, all of us involved are drivers, what they (and we locally are saying) is we need to walk more. Simple as that. It’s better for us (both physically and mentally), it’s good for our local area, it’s good for our neighbours and it’s good for the environment.

In this current climate emergency we can all feel a little helpless at the enormity of the challenge, but this is a literal small step we can make to help change things for good for us, for our neighbours and our children for years to come. If we can all do this, Gorgeous Gorse Hill will continue trying to make those journeys less mundane.

If you’re interested in getting involved you can join the Facebook group or get in touch with us at: Stretfordgroup@livingstreets.org.uk

2020 Activities and Events

Ħ meeting or event                 * activity

  When & Where?
Feb * Saturday 22nd, 11am – 12, Avondale
March * Saturday 14th, 11am – 12 lavender planter
near Bishop Blaize pub
  Ħ Monday 9th, 7 – 8pm, Gorgeous Gorse Hill AGM:
Trafford House, Chester Road (all welcome)
April * Friday 3rd time, 11am – 12, Avondale:
Easter Holiday special!
May Ħ Saturday 2nd, Spring Fair, 11am – 2pm:
Gorse Hill Studios
  * Saturday 9th, 10:30-11:30am – Pocket Paradise Park
June * Date TBC, lavender planter nr Bishop Blaize
July * Date TBC, Burleigh Gardens
August * Date TBC, Avondale
September * Sunday 20th, 10:30 – 11:30am, lavender planters:
near Bishop Blaize
October * Date TBC, Pocket Paradise Park
November Ħ Saturday 21st, 2pm – 5pm – Winter Fair:
Gorse Hill Studios Ħ
  * Saturday 28th,  10:30 – 11:30am:
Ravenswood Rest Space
December * 5th December, 11:00am – 12:00 – Avondale

One Hour Pledge Challenge

Could you pledge one hour of your time to Gorgeous Gorse Hill for the year 2020?

Finding enough volunteers, particularly for regular activities where we clear up our planted areas, is one of our biggest challenges. You really don’t need any experience at all, or to like gardening – just a willingness to help out and maybe get your hands a bit dirty (though we do provide gloves!).

We have regular activities throughout the year, or if you’d like to do things in your own time then you could adopt a tree pit on your street, or do some regular weeding at one of our sites in your own time. Or design us a poster?

Just head over to our Facebook page (search for ‘Gorgeous Gorse Hill’) and find the pledge challenge post. All you need to do is pledge in the comments and look out for activities coming up. You’ll need to be a member of the group to join.

Some activities are suitable for children but must be supervised. We’ll let you know on the event listing.


Shopping Local and Helping Your Community

I’ve been the Chair of Gorgeous Gorse Hill for five years, Wow! Five years! That’s just sunk in. We started this group, essentially sat round a dining table talking about what we liked and didn’t like in Gorse Hill. We are just ordinary residents who’ve never really got involved in running a community group before. Five years on we’ve learned so much and done so many things in Gorse Hill, if someone had told me we’d have mosaiced 15 concrete bollards I’d have fallen off my chair.

But here we are, all still local residents, all still volunteers. Everything we do for Gorgeous Gorse Hill is in our spare time: funding applications, writing blogs, meetings, Christmas Fairs, planting 5000 bulbs, planting 1000 snowdrops, digging, weeding, painting, sweeping and there’s lots more.

When people offer to help us, or we win a funding bid, it is huge! Every minute of help we receive, and every penny of donations are incredible, making a huge difference to what we can achieve for Gorse Hill.

So, when we were chosen to be one of the Co-operative’s Community Fund recipients for 2019/2020 we were over the moon. This means that every member who chooses us as their Community Fund, who shops in their local Co-op and buys Co-op brand products, 1% of that goes to us. This is amazing and could mean a huge amount of money raised for us.

But to achieve this we need everyone to sign up as members and choose us as their Community Fund, then we need them to get their friends and family to become members and do the same. It’s easy to do that, just follow these simple instructions.

This is an amazing opportunity for Gorse Hillers to show their love and support to their local community group.


Calling all GGHs: We’re looking for a new Treasurer to join our committee

I’m stepping down from the role of GGH’s Treasurer and I want to ask you for your help: could you be GGH’s next Treasurer?

Treasurer… are you thinking that doesn’t sound like something you’d be up for?

Think again 😊 I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and it’s a pretty straightforward role. More importantly, it’s one of those things that you can do in 2-3 hours per month but it has a massive impact on keeping the wonderful activities of GGH going. The main responsibilities of the Treasurer are quite simple: mainly making online payments from the account, keeping a record of invoices and receipts, and tracking the group’s finances on a spreadsheet.

I’ve recently moved away so I’m not able to continue doing this role but I have such admiration for the work that everyone in GGH does that I am reaching out to encourage anyone and everyone who loves our fantastic community group to consider helping out by volunteering to be our next Treasurer – it’s a great way of getting involved, you will make a BIG difference, and you’ll be part of improving our community even if you don’t have much time.