Newsletter February 2020


Get sowing for plant sale

It is time to start planning for the plant sale on Saturday 9 May. We would like to offer as wide a range of plants as possible, from all sorts of vegetables to lots of annual flowers.

For this reason we are calling on all of you to sow some extra seeds and donate the future seedlings to the plant sale.

We raised £185 at our very first plant sale last year and would love to double the takings for the club this year.

Send more entries for photo competiton

I am asking for more entries to the photo competion. So far I have received seven photos, which, together with a few of my own, are not enough to submit to a judge.

So, please search your surely extensive collection of garden-related pictures and send them in quickly!

Toilet survey results

Every single plotholder received our survey asking for their opinions on toilets at the allotment. We received 41 completed surveys. For this sort of exercise, at nearly 30% of the total this is a good turnout.

After counting the results, I can tell you that a clear majority of our members do not think we need to spend money on toilet facilities. To me, this result is at least partly due to Mel’s great achievement renovating the composting toilet last summer and keeping it in good nick every since. To the first question, whether we needed a new toilet, 26 respondents said ‘no’ and only 15 said ‘yes’.

The survey indicated furthermore that a majority of members wishes to spend no more than £1 to £1000 per year on toilets. Based on this answer alone, temporary chemical toilets – as we had last summer – are not supported in the future.

Given the survey results, the board decided not to progress any plans of building new toilets and will not hire the chemical toilets we had last year. Instead, the board once again thanks Mel for his great contribution.

I  want to leave you with two comments made in the surveys:

“I am grateful to whoever cleaned up the composting toilet. It is fine now.”

“Current loo is fine – thanks to Mel’s refurbishment.”

Skills and volunteering

After suggestions made by some of our members, the board is keen to collate information that could come in useful in the future.

We want to find out what specific skills our members have. Therefore, we are asking to let us know if you are a plumber, an engineer, a writer, good at woodwork or painting, or anything else.

Please drop me a line at communications@pointalls.org and I will collate a skills list of members willing to volunteer if required.

Furthermore, the board is also keen to know who would be willing to volunteer as a gardener on the allotment site. This might be to help out one of our members who is no longer as fit as they were in the past or to assist with work on the communal jobs that need doing around the site.

Once again, please drop me a line at communications@pointalls.org

Fee for green bins in Barnet

Starting in April, Barnet Council will be charging £70 a year for garden waste collections. This was decided despite 82% of respondents to its consultation opposing the charge.

A petition against this plan is collecting signatures. You can find it on: https://www.change.org/p/barnet-council-scrap-barnet-s-proposed-garden-waste-collection-charge

At the time of writing, more than 5000 people had already signed the petition.

This new charge could well have an impact on Pointalls in that it may tempt some allotment holders to bring green waste on to the site and dispose of it in the green waste skip.

Tempting it may be, but it would definitely be against the rules. Site regulation 8 stipulates that we must not bring any rubbish whatsoever on to the site.

Next ‘Have your say’ meeting in April

At the second ‘Have your say’ meeting on 19 January questions ranged from toilets, to skills lists to the cost of green waste skips, among other topics. Some of the questions raised in this very informal gathering are covered elsewhere in this newsletter. One of those is the idea to create a volunteers’ list plus a list of members’ skills.

Another topic was plot 102. Half of it is now ready to be let, the other half will be levelled, grassed over and used to turn a vehicle around. Some of the members at the meeting were unhappy that Pointalls was paying for the clean-up of dilapidated plots before letting. However, sometimes it is essential to make it even lettable because it is in such a state.

Training members to use the large mower was brought up. The board subsequently discussed this idea again but came to the same conclusion as before that the risk of damage to the mowers, and the attendant cost of fixing the damage, was just too large for this to be considered. There was also an offer from one member to make A-boards as a way of asking for volunteers for specific projects. The idea will be on the agenda at the next board meeting.

Some members urged us to reduce the cost of the green waste skips. With exactly this in mind, we are encouraging plotholders to compost themselves and we sell compost bins (for only £17.50) and compost enhancers. On Sunday 19 April at 11.00, we will be offering the next composting workshop.

The next ‘Have your Say’ meeting is scheduled for Sunday 26 April at 11.30 at the trading shed.

Subscriptions nearly all paid

We want to thank all allotment holders who have paid their 2020 subscriptions – which is in fact nearly everybody! The change in process away from cash and towards bank transfers and cheques has fortunately not caused any issues. There were one or two members who paid in cash this year, but by next year we trust these last few will have moved to more convenient ways of paying as well.

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