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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.

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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!

Over the past six months we have been alerted to a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour, robbery and assault on the Fallowfield Loop and adjoining routes.  This has been a matter of great concern and the Friends have, along with others, raised the matter with the police, Sustrans and other bodies.

There has also been some concern that some of the press coverage has described some incidents as “on the Fallowfield Loop” when in fact they have not been – some have been near to the Loop or on other nearby parts of National Cycle Network Route 60.  However, these crimes are deplorable wherever they occur, and it is promising that the latest news is that police have arrested four people.  The police progress in this is greatly welcomed.

Please remember that if you experience or witness any anti-social behaviour on the Fallowfield Loop the action you should take is: in an emergency call 999, otherwise call the police on 101. Also notify Sustrans on 0161 923 6050 or by email.

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!

Levy-Front-5.jpgWe were delighted to hear from our friends at Station South that their crowdfunder has successfully raised £66,561 from 1,161 supporters in 64 days!

Pauline Johnston (Director of Station South CIC), has provided us with this update: “Station South are continuing to make good progress with the building. The roof is near completion, save for the insertion of glazing, which will be done at a set date in the future. The collaborative restoration with the building owners Railway paths Ltd is continuing at pace and planning and change of use applications are being drawn up for submission in preparation for the second round of vital repairs, which are out to tender currently. The successful crowdfunding campaign will go some way to supporting the continuation of some of the vital repair works that we are leading on, including the creation of a new floor throughout the building and connecting to main utilities.

Station South are also developing outline plans for the external site and are keen to progress a detailed co-design with community stakeholders along with offering opportunities to volunteer in Spring 2019. We’ll be sure to keep the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop involved in the process as we’re keen to have your continued support and input.”

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!

FloopFest – a great success!

The FloopFest on Saturday 15th September was a huge success!  A lot of thinking and hard work had been put in by organisers Sustrans and by volunteers to ensure a fantastic day happened.

Bee ride - winners

Sustrans photo: Winners of prizes for their costumes in the Bee Ride (picture: Lorraine Taylor).

There were three hubs of activity along the length of the Loop, each with stalls, arts and crafts activities, local food and drink, live music and more.  A family bicycle Bee Ride also took place, covering the length of the Loop.

Big thanks to Sustrans and all who helped this to happen!

Don’t forget that Sustrans’ online survey, relating to this event and use of the Loop, remains live for contributions until the 30th September.