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The staff at Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield have chosen The Friends of the Fallowfield Loop to be the community group that they will work with as part of the Sainsbury’s 150th birthday celebrations! We have agreed three volunteering activities to carry out with the staff:

  • A FotFL stall in the foyer of the Fallowfield store on Saturday 27th July.
  • Undertaking a survey of users of the Loop. This will provide data to support The Friends of the Fallowfield Loop and Sustrans in further developing the Loop as a community resource. This will take place in August.
  • Holding a litter-picking event which will familiarise some new people with the Loop and produce a measurable change to the quality of the Loop environment. This will be on Thursday 8th August.

Volunteers are needed to work alongside the Sainsbury’s staff.  Please contact us if you might be able to volunteer for an hour or two at any of the events, or get in touch with Frances on 07933 088484.

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My Wild City survey

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside has partnered up with Manchester City Council to celebrate and improve the wildlife and wild spaces on our doorsteps.

Organisation logosFriends who value the Loop’s status as a wildlife corridor across Manchester might be interested in completing this survey and sharing their views of wildlife’s importance in general and of the Loop in particular.  The survey is intended to help shape the way wildlife is protected and to contribute to the new 10-year vision for biodiversity in Manchester.

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).

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).

Treasurer

  • 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.

The Fallowfield section of the Loop runs through a sandstone cutting. At this week’s meeting of the Friends, James Astbury of GM RIGS introduced himself and the purpose of RIGS (Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites), then gave a very interesting slide presentation to explain why the 500-metre long section of the Loop between Ladybarn Lane and Slade Lane is special.  This section shows a variety of different types of rocks, including Collyhurst sandstone (laid down about 290 million years ago) and the younger Chester formation, which exhibits interesting fault lines. The geology of the site was assessed by Standish and Draper in the 1970s.
Criteria for a site to be declared RIGS include rarity, good examples of something more common, being of educational value and of historical significance. This site has been put forward for a RIGS designation by this group recently, and they are awaiting the result of the assessment. When registered, the site condition will be checked about every two months. James would like to agree with the Friends and with Sustrans a maintenance strategy for vegetation for short sections (each about five metres wide) in order to allow the geological features to be displayed whilst maintaining the existing ecology of the site. GM RIGS believe the site offers a good opportunity for education given its proximity to the universities and local schools. There have been brief discussions at meetings between GM RIGS and the Friends about the possibility of information signboards or QR code signs either at the main site or at nearby entrances to the Loop.

At the Friends’ meeting on 21 January 2019 we were joined by three members of Greater Manchester Police (GMP). Sergeant Craig Hodson gave an overview of the work that has been undertaken by GMP in combating anti-social behaviour and crime on the Loop and the Yellow Brick Road. Sergeant Hodson presented the meeting with information about the discrepancy between the perceived and actual amount of crime and anti-social behaviour taking place.  Following investigations of reported crime a small number of individuals have been identified as perpetrators of most of the robberies; these individuals are currently on bail awaiting trial. The Fallowfield Loop and Yellow Brick Road have now been incorporated into relevant community policing action plans, and regular foot patrol and drone monitoring is now taking place along the routes and adjacent areas.

PO Lucy Cawood has been identified as the police liaison officer for the Fallowfield Loop. She is happy to work with the Friends, community groups and others who are connected with the Loop, or have any concerns about safety on it.  Lucy joined us at the very successful wassail that we held on 6 January at the Levenshulme Quadrants.

Following the meeting Sergeant Mike Duzinkewycz (East Neighbourhood Team, North Manchester Division) sent us the following:

“I would like to first take the opportunity to reiterate that the Loop is a safe place to commute through and spend your leisure time, and that your local policing teams have taken robust action to tackle a small minority of people who would spoil the Loop for everyone else.  This work will continue and we are committed to supporting the Loop community.  

In terms of personal safety when out and about, there are a few simple steps that are easy and straightforward to take:

  • Wear high visibility items of clothing, or clothing with reflective strips, so that you can be easily seen.
  • If cycling, always wear suitable safety gear such as a helmet.
  • Cyclists ensure that your bike has suitable lighting, but please be respectful of other users and have front-facing lights dipped.
  • Walkers ensure you have a torch with you for the hours of darkness.
  • Let someone know where you are walking or cycling and when you are expecting to arrive.
  • Always wear clothing appropriate to the conditions.
  • If possible, travel in groups to support each other.

This list is not intended to be prescriptive, but rather offer general guidance on staying safe in the community.  Further information is widely available through a number of resources such as www.cyclinguk.org and your local Policing Teams are always happy to offer further support and advice.”

NB: As always, if you see anything of concern taking place on the Loop or Yellow Brick Road please inform GMP by calling 999 in an emergency and 101 at other times.

A Wassail for 2019

Earth Granny

Earth Granny

Around 100 people congregated just before sunset at the Quadrants in Levenshulme for this year’s wassail on Sunday 6th January.  After wassails in earlier years, then a break in 2018, the Friends decided to celebrate the orchard trees once again. New this year was the Earth Granny, in her pinny, declaiming “Wassail Wassail” – chanting her poem to bless the trees, their roots and the worms. Old Father Time made his usual appearance and the Choir with No Name sang three songs, wonderfully.

Attendees were offered cakes, mulled cider and apple juice, provided by Pam and Angelique and other helpers.  Brenda lent her gazebo and reusable cups. People brought food to share.  We made a ceremonial tour of the orchard to hang toast dipped in cider on the trees to ward off evil spirits and ensure good cropping; and the occasion was completed with a roaring bonfire looked after by Ian and Farooq.  A short firework display brought a sparkling end to proceedings!

Thanks to everyone from the local community who attended and contributed to the lively spirit of the event!