Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

Next members' meeting: Monday 20th March, 7.30pm, Union Chapel, Wellington Road, Fallowfield.

Sherwood Street hedge

We planted this hedge on 8th February 2015.  It was our second attempt after the first planting of small shrubs were accidentally mown down by Sustrans contractors!  Over the intervening eight years most of the double row of trees and shrubs round the Sherwood Street/Wellington Road corner and the single row by the fence on the left of the entrance have grown well. Ian Barker's work group gave the plants a good pruning workday on 2nd February.  Most of them were cut back well, but a few were deliberately left as taller specimens.

Update – Mayor's Challenge Fund Development and Improvement Project.

The latest news is that there has been no progress in acquiring further information about what might be planned for the Loop and (more likely) the 'Yellow Brick Road' from Debdale Park to the Ashton canal.  This is despite several FotFL members lobbying their councillors by email and visits to their surgeries.  Our Chair has been promised a report from Cllr Tracy Rawlins, the Council's Executive member for Environment and Transport, but this has yet to materialise.

On a related issue, it is reported by a member that the long promised work is about to start on improving the Yellow Brick Road. In particular, it may be that the steep junction where the Fallowfield Loop goes over the Yellow Brick Road at Debdale is going to be eased. If you pass this point please let us know of any progress!

Information from a Council Press Release dated Feb 26th:

 'The feedback from past surveys/consultations has been used to inform the Council's plans for using  £300,000 Safer Streets funding that include the following measures.'
    • Site clearance and landscaping
    • Access point improvements with new entry markers and illuminated bollards
    • New and replacement signs along the whole route, and linked to access point
    • New fences, guard rails and barriers.
Additionally, the funding will look at areas that need resurfacing prioritised such as where tree routes have caused the current surface to buckle/break up.

Orchard projects and workdays

Dick Venes reports that Ian Barker's Sustrans volunteers have had a very productive two months.  Together with personnel from the Orchard Project the newest orchard ('Chervil') trees were cleared of surrounding growth and pruned as necessary.  At another session at the Levenshulme 'Quadrants', the volunteers tidied round and weeded the Incredible Edible Levenshulme's raised beds and pruned most of the Levenshulme orchard apple and pear trees.  The group has also worked on the willow maze and overgrown vegetation in the Abbey Hey section of the Loop.
In addition, the remaining apple and pear trees in Levenshulme and those in the Fallowfield and Debdale orchards have also been pruned.  The soft fruit trees are earmarked for pruning in the summer, as they are more susceptible to fungal diseases at this time of year.
If you are interested in helping with orchard work please contact Dick Venes via email: rjvenes@waitrose.com.

Litter picking

Charles Kinniburgh reports:
    1. On 10th February, an enthusiastic group of parents, pupils and teachers from Cringle Brook Primary School joined in on a litter pick organised by the school.  They concentrated on the section of the Fallowfield Loop between Slade Lane and Lindleywood Road and retrieved an impressive 31 bags of litter in little more than an hour.  They were ably supported by Zoe from Keep Manchester Tidy who provided the equipment. Erica and I from FotFL/Sustrans assisted where we could.  If you have a child at a school near the Floop and are considering holding a similar event, feel free to contact me for advice.
    2. Alston Road, which crosses the Loop just past the Debdale Park exit, in particular was very littered. It is a popular route for school children and in its current state sends them the wrong message with regard to looking after the environment.  So we organised a litterpick on 2nd March and cleared the road up, plus the adjacent playing field. 

Tree work on the Loop

Some of you will have noticed tree work taking place along the Loop between Slade Lane and Levenshulme.  It has been pleasing to see that Sustrans put up some very useful signs about the work, so that Loop users were well informed about the reasons for the work.  This is particularly good as many people get rather agitated about tree loss.  In the past, environmental surveys of the Loop have highlighted the variety of habitats along the route, and self seeded tree removal and pruning helps this biodiversity.

Sign boards

At the Levenshulme quadrants work day, we 'broke in' to the heavily graffitied signboard and found that the Loop map under the plastic cover was in very good condition.  The signboard at the Debdale Park exit was recently cleaned up successfully with paint remover but several others, including Levenshulme, look to be beyond recovery.  We have measured the polycarbonate plastic cover at Leve and are looking to replace the really badly defaced covers at several other locations.

Nature News

The January and February Sunday walks saw 2023 off to a good start. Despite being a grey murky morning, the walk round the Gorton Reservoirs gave us a good count of bird species (28) both on and around the water. The February walk from Withington Road to Platt Brook,on a much brighter day,gave a count of 25 bird species and many signs of spring with hazel catkins showing and many trees and bushes in bud. A pair of long tailed tits were seen preparing to nest in the brambles.
A big thanks to Erica for tirelessly recording and counting all of our sightings over many months 😄!

The March walk will start at the Quadrants (Crayfield Road) at 10.30 on the 26th. A separate reminder will be emailed nearer the time.

The future of the Friends

Currently we are operating with a soon to retire Chair, no Hon Secretary and a stand in Hon Treasurer.  Past appeals for members to volunteer for Officer positions have failed to attract anyone so far, so we are currently facing disbanding the Friends organisation at the next AGM.  If this happens, our Constitution states that ' in the event of the dissolution of the Association, once all liabilities have been met, any money or property left over shall be transferred to such charitable organisations as members deem suitable.'

If you are interested in helping the Friends group continue in the future,the time to volunteer is now!

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Thursday Jan 12th

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Orchard Care Day

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We were very pleased that the staff at Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield chose the Friends to be the community group that they worked with as part of the Sainsbury’s 150th birthday celebrations! We agreed three volunteering activities to carry out with the staff:

  • A stall for the Friends in the foyer of the Fallowfield Sainsbury’s store. The information stall proved to be a success with many visitors; we hope that we can repeat this activity during 2020.
  • Undertaking a survey of users on the Loop, with the aim of providing further data to support the Friends and help Sustrans further develop the Loop as a community resource. Erica led this activity with Bryony, the Sainsbury staff volunteer co-ordinator. In all over 80 survey forms were completed and the information gained will be shared in due course.
  • Holding a litter-picking event to familiarise some new people with the Loop while also producing a measurable change in the quality of the Loop environment. Here is a section of Charles’ litter-pick report: “On 11th August manager Gareth and his team showed up to super-charge the litter-picking regulars this month and we completed cleaning the Sainsbury’s to The Quadrants stretch in good time – and despite the littering being light, we managed to remove 6 bags of the stuff as well as having a good time to boot.  Thank you Sainsbury’s.”

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Apologies for the late notice, but this weekend the residents of Scarisbrick Road are planting Rosa rugosa ‘Rubra’ bushes (a pretty pink-flowered native species) along the Loop at the rear of their properties.

Rosa rugosa 'Rubra' © RHS

Rosa rugosa ‘Rubra’ © RHS

It is hoped these will be a wonderful addition to this stretch of the Loop and funding for the bushes has been provided by the Council.  Please come and help with this if you can!  Planting times have been arranged as follows:

• Saturday 27th from 10am; and
• Sunday 28th from 11am.

It doesn’t matter whether you can spare only an hour, or help from start to finish, all and any help would be very much appreciated.  There will be a break for a bite to eat at 1 p.m. each day; you are welcome to bring some lunch for yourself (and maybe to share with others) for a refuelling picnic.  Everyone welcome!

For more details please contact David (07886 932 554) or Aysha (07882 682354).

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A call for volunteers to join the committee of the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop please!

After many years of service, several members of the Friends’ committee are wishing to reduce their level of involvement and therefore there is a need for new members.

Please consider volunteering for one of these roles to help keep the Friends running! The present incumbents have helpfully provided a summary of roles which give an idea of what is involved; tasks are not excessively onerous and the committee rarely finds it necessary to meet other than at the members’ meetings every two months. If you would like to find out any more informally or just have a chat with someone from the present committee, please contact us.

The Friends’ Annual General Meeting will be on Monday 15 July 2019. Committee roles available are as follows (if you would like to be involved but not necessarily for one of the specific roles below, then please still get in touch as more general roles are also available).

Membership secretary

  • Deal with new member applications, either via email (from website), post (rare) or from stalls. Add new member details to our definitive list of members (maintained on computer file) and the MailChimp circulation list.
  • Remove details from the membership list and MailChimp system of those members who fail to renew their subscription (e.g. moved away, deceased, lost interest).
  • Send pro forma reminders to members whose membership subscriptions are due – by email or by post as appropriate. The majority of members have standing orders set up for their subscriptions, so this process only applies to two or three members each month.
  • Mail out the newsletter (once every two months) and occasional other notices to members via the MailChimp system, plus to those members (about 8) whose email systems have rejected the MailChimp method. Provide Honorary Secretary with computer-generated labels for those members not on email (about 10 currently).


  • Record payments into and out of our bank account. Payments out are easy because we only use cheques currently. Payments in are more complicated as members’ subscriptions (the overwhelming majority of receipts) include those by cash, by cheque, by standing order and by bank transfer. Currently we only get bank statements every 3 months.
  • Get cheques countersigned by a listed officer and sent off (usually by post) for our outgoing payments.
  • Pay cheques into our bank account (Co-operative Bank).
  • Prepare annual accounts for the Annual General Meeting in July each year. These are very simple – just income and expenditure summaries.
  • Deal with any occasional problems relating to payments e.g. banks making payments into our account monthly rather than annually.
  • Maintain and alter as necessary the list of officers who can countersign our cheques.

Meetings secretary

  • To attend and write the minutes for meetings of the Friends (once every two months), committee meetings (approximately twice a year).
  • To circulate draft minutes to all attending the meeting.
  • To ensure the Secretary has copies of final minutes.

Web and social media

  • To work with the chair and other committee members to maximise the potential of web and social media resources to publicise and encourage engagement with the aims and objectives of the Friends.

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Certificate of appreciation

Certificate of appreciation

Congratulations to the volunteers who have helped to look after and enhance the Loop over the last year, as they have won the Sustrans 2018 Group Award in the North West! This is for everyone who has been involved, in whatever way and whether as a signed-up Sustrans volunteer or otherwise.
Some of the volunteers were at a meeting at the Sustrans Charlotte Street office this week, talking with staff about what might be worked on over the coming months – when a big cake appeared and this certificate of appreciation was presented.
Well done everyone!

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Autumn clean-up of the Loop

An autumn clean-up of the Loop has taken place over the past weekend (20th and 21st October), almost exactly six months after a similar event in the spring.  Fortunately the weather was warm and dry on both days which made for pleasant conditions!  As previously, volunteers started from The Quadrants, Levenshulme on both days and headed east on the Saturday and west on the Sunday.  The task was over by 1 p.m. on each day which was partly due to the fact that the Whalley Range Scouts took responsibility for some of the Loop at the St Werburgh’s Road end and The Abbey Hey Neighbourhood Forum did the same for the Fairfield end. It was also helped by the fact that there was only about 40% of the litter collected this time and there were no blatant fly-tips to be dealt with. The detailed statistics were as follows (where the numbers in brackets are the corresponding numbers for the spring clean-up):

  • Number of volunteers participating Saturday = 15 (20).
  • Number of volunteers participating Sunday = 8 (17).
  • Number of volunteers participating more than once = 3 (8).
  • Total volunteer-days = 23 (38).
  • Total volunteers participating = 20 (29).
  • Number of bags filled on Saturday (Levenshulme to Fairfield) = 26 (61).
  • Number of bags filled on Sat/Sunday (Levenshulme to St Werburgh’s) = 28 (65).
  • Total bags of litter collected = 54 (126).

These figures only tell half the story as they don’t take into account the amount of litter picked up in the months prior to these events. Undoubtedly there was significantly less removed before this clean-up as compared to the previous one; we hope that this all points to the Loop becoming less littered!

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HandleBards on the Loop

Yesterday and last Wednesday the Loop acted as a great venue for performances by the HandleBards, a troupe of cycling actors who carry all the set, props and costumes they need to perform extremely energetic, charmingly chaotic and environmentally sustainable Shakespeare plays!

The HandleBards have an all-male and an all-female troupe, and this summer both are touring the UK.  On 25th July the Loop therefore hosted the boys performing “Twelfth Night”, and on 31st July it was the girls’ turn to appear, this time to give us “Romeo and Juliet”.  Both evenings were blessed with good weather and the Levenshulme Quadrants were awash with bicycles as good crowds turned out.

A large number of volunteers helped everything to run smoothly, so huge thanks to all concerned – and here’s hoping for repeat visits in the future!


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A clean-up of the Loop took place over the weekend of 28th and 29th April. Thanks to organiser Charles for this update!

Volunteers principally from the Sustrans Volunteers and the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop took part in the event and over the two days filled bags and bags with litter and collected piles of un-baggable waste. These were left at the side of the track for collection by Sustrans staff with their truck. Fortunately the weather was dry and not too windy although it was unseasonably cold, particularly on the Sunday.

The statistics were:

  • Number of volunteers participating Saturday = 20
  • Number of volunteers participating Sunday = 17
  • Number of volunteers participating Monday = 1
  • Number of volunteers participating more than once = 8
  • TOTAL Volunteer-days = 38
  • TOTAL Volunteers participating = 29
  • Number of black bags filled on Saturday (Levenshulme to Gorton Reservoir) = 55
  • Number of black bags filled on Saturday (St Werburgh’s to Withington Road) = 14
  • Number of black bags filled on Sunday (Levenshulme to Withington Road) = 51
  • Number of bags filled on Monday (Gorton Reservoir to Fairfield) = 6
  • TOTAL Bags of litter collected = 126

(N.B. The bags used were large (100-litre) refuse bags equivalent to approx 1.3 bags as used by the council for litter collection.)

Unfortunately not many pictures were taken to record the event as we had our work cut out completing the route. The real record fortunately is on the Loop for everyone to see – it’s looking a real picture!

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