A Letter from our new Chair

A few words from our Founder first;

'The Boston Spa, Wetherby and Villages Community Green Group all started when a group of local people including myself got together, in May 2019, to discuss what we could do within the community in the face of the overwhelming evidence that the world was in a Climate Emergency.  Rather than just sit and ring our hands in despair, we all decided we needed to take collective action and decided to see if anyone else locally felt the same way and would be interested in forming an action group.  So we placed posters around the local community and posted on social media: “Want to save the planet? Then come along to discuss how we can make a difference locally …”

Boston Spa, Wetherby & Villages Green Group

In June 2019, we held a meeting at Boston Spa village hall café with six of us leading.  We thought we might get half a dozen people turn up, but to our astonishment, 25 people came along.  We presented the science behind climate change, then broke into smaller groups to discuss and get down on paper what we could do on a personal level, community level and national level to influence these three things:

  1. To reduce our carbon footprint
  2. To reduce waste and increase recycling
  3. To increase biodiversity

It was a successful meeting which we followed with another meeting, this time at Boston Spa Methodist Church where we had 40 people attend.  We took ideas from the group for projects and voted on which ones to focus on.  From that date, we started:

  1. A Trees group to protect and increase tree canopy locally
  2. A Wildlife Corridors group to increase biodiversity by protecting and creating new wildlife corridors
  3. A Recycling group to increase recycling locally
  4. A Food Waste group to reduce food waste locally
  5. A Cycling group to increase safe active travel
Bike Repairers and Organisers
Bike Repairers and Organisers

Over the last four and a half years, we have set up a Steering Group of about 9 people who decide on the direction of the group and lead the subgroups, as well as plan and manage the Big Meetings which are open to all.  Over that time, we have refined the subgroups, focused on our strengths and achieved amazing results.

We have planted well over 1,000 trees, including the new Wattle Syke Wood, several small community orchards, and helped and/or advised on planting schemes on private land and schools; we have managed groups of people doing work to improve biodiversity; we have run a Terracycle scheme that has collected enormous amounts of used crisp packets, pens, toothpaste tubes and old toothbrushes with the help of Yeadon’s; we have set up a Big Bike Fix that has taken in, repaired and serviced over 600 bikes, which have then been donated back to those that can’t afford to buy one; we have been into almost all the local primary schools to talk to the children about what they can do to help reduce their carbon footprints and help wildlife locally; we have led cubs on nature walks; we have visited and talked to all the local businesses encouraging them to move away from single-use plastics, and worked with town and parish councils to gain single-use plastic free status; we have planned and executed three Eco Fairs in Wetherby Town Hall; and we have achieved Charity Status – we are now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation with a board of trustees.

Tree Planting and Wildflower Meadow Management at Church Fields in Boston Spa
Tree Planting and Wildflower Meadow Management at Church Fields in Boston Spa
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I am immensely proud of what we have achieved as a group over the last 4½ years whilst I have had the privilege to be Chair.  However, it is now time for me to handover the baton to a new chair, Adrian Balcombe, who I know will lead and nurture the group going forward, to continue to work with the community, to achieve our goals, and to address the pressing need to do all we can to help mitigate against climate change and biodiversity loss.  I look forward to continuing to work with the group on the Steering Group as a trustee.'

Very best wishes,

Penny Stables

Penny Stables
Penny Stables

So, welcome to 2024 and a new Chair.

I live in Boston Spa with my family and we are involved in lots of local clubs and activities (mainly in the great outdoors!).

I'm sure that I've met many of you on the journey we've shared over the last 5 years, participating in many of the activities described above by Penny.

Adrian Balcombe
Adrian Balcombe

I remain very concerned about the state of nature, the effects of climate change getting closer to home (in many ways) and also the legacy that we will leave our sons, daughters, grandchildren and generations to come.

To that end I believe, we all have a duty, to ourselves and others, to embrace the changes offered to us by the 'green' revolution.

That starts with getting everyone talking!  Lets spread the word.  You'll have seen that we've recently moved our monthly newsletter to a new format - read our back copies here.  This is where the power of people comes to the fore.  Imagine each of you sharing our newsletter with a friend, neighbour, colleague, family, and they then participate in the conversation.  Imagine that repeats and repeats each month so that before long, our reach is 1,000s and all from our armchairs!  That's what I want you to do: talk, share, and be curious, kind and brave.

In the meantime, we'll be working behind the scenes as a Steering Group to bring you fresh ideas and initiatives for you to support, share and talk about.

If you think we are missing something, then please let us know since this is your Community Green Group and as a CIO, we are here to:

a) promote biological diversity and sustainability, for the benefit of the public, the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment;
b) protect and safeguard the environment for the benefit of the public through the promotion of repair, and re-use of products as a means of preventing and minimising waste disposal; and
c) advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment.

We have a thirst for feedback, knowledge, inspiration and ideas, so please don't hold back!  You can contact me at adrian.balcombe@bostongreengroup.co.uk.

Looking forward to continuing our journey with you all.

Adrian Balcombe

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