Capital Clean-Up

Disappointingly, I have had absolutely zero response to my appeal for help with this in my last news update.
We have received a significant grant from the GLA, together with some great equipment, for a Capital Clean-Up programme that I have proposed.
We have a partnership with Head Start in Woolwich that will produce some regular volunteering and our CWP partnership will continue in a reduced form (see below), but we have a chance now to get some more members actually volunteering "in the field", so to speak.
I'd like to get started in the coming week. It has been difficult to plan because of an unpredictable rehearsal schedule, but I know I can certainly organise some volunteering from Tuesday 7th June to Friday 10th June. Please let me know if you can offer some hours on those days.
As you will have seen, the general state of the common is better than it has been for years thanks to some hard work from the CWP volunteers. It would be good for the PCEG itself now to manifest our care and commitment to this beautifully diverse area. Please drop me an email with (ideally!) a selection of times this coming week when you could lend a hand.
We can continue throughout June, so do give me other dates that you might manage as well, but the coming week will be best to get the common into mint condition for the Make Merry.
I hope you've been doing your daily voting to get the £25,000 of funding.
Click this every day:

It's not cheating. It's how it works!

Saturday 11th June

As you will know, the Plumstead Make Merry is a great annual event run entirely by volunteers. The PCEG has always undertaken litter clearance at this event in exchange for a free stall. Kay Bartlett has volunteered to coordinate this so I am appealing to members to give a lot of help to Kay and to support this splendid community event.

Kay, Chris and I will be there at 10.30am with the gazebo and the display board. It will be good if members can come to help set up. We will need tables! - can anyine help with that?

We will need to man the stall and litter=pick throughout the event.

AND if anyone has any plants that we can sell, please bring them, and suggest prices!

If you can offer help, time, plants, quality bric-a-brac, do get in touch with Kay:

Our Three Green Flag Award Applications
We've had the assesement for the Slade Ponds, and it seemed to go very well. The initial feedback was very positive.
The nature reserve inpsection had to be cancelled at the last minute but, in view of the torrential rain that day, that might have been fortunate. We are waiting for an alternative date. It would be good to keep an eye on the site with frequent visits because it has been suffering some litter, dog-poo and overnight camp-fire problems of late.
Workhouse Wood will be inspected on the 13th June at 10am. It would be great to see some members there. Only two came to the Slade Ponds inspection, and you will remember my despair at the total lack of support for the volunteer session at the nature reserve in readinness for the inspection there.
These Green Flags are community awards recognising effort and commitment by community groups. That effort and commitment really does mean doing something positive and practical for the local environment. So come on, members, don't just leave everything to the handful of peopley turn out. Now is your chance to get together, get to know everybody and be part of a family of caring, lovely people who want to give something back to this beautiful world.

The Community Work Placement Scheme

My own twenty-six week commitment to the scheme came to an end on the 20th May. In that time I was most grateful to the six PCEG members who covered for me on no less than thirty one days.
I am now managing things a bit more at arm's length because the CWP workers want to continue. One of them is doing an excellent job of being deputy supervisor.
The government scheme has been somewhat controversial and has been deemed to be ineffective. That is most certainly not our experience, as was made evident in the wonderful tribute we got from the Plumstead Manor Nursery that I posted on the PCEG Facebook page:

". . . They worked in all weathers, using their initiative. Voluntary work is giving these people skills to work as a team, confidence and building on their self-esteem to work in our community. Their contribution is amazing."

The Government is scrapping the programme, described by charities as a “work for your benefits” scheme. Basically, it required people to do up to 30 hours a week unwaged work in exchange for not losing their benefit payments.
Three years ago an analysis by the department found that the scheme was largely ineffective at getting people into jobs and that it had no impact on employment prospects.
That has not been our experience. We have had about thirty people in all. Four of them have found employment during the short time they were with us, and I strongly believe that the commitment and spirit they found in our working together was a factor. When they leave, everybody gets a certificate paying tribute to their hard work and the tremendous difference it has made to our local environment. I would, and will, give serious recommendation to potential employers for many of our workers, We have not tolerated slackers or people who manifest that they cannot work in a cooperative team. I have had to turn only five people away during this six months. There have been some people clearly not up to the daily commitment who have failed to attend regularly and the scheme has been useful to the DWP in identifying those who will find a work habit difficult to acquire.
We have workers, who have completed their commitment, returning to the team to say hello and check on our progress. I would say that the whole scheme has been a model of what can be achieved and am sorry that I just cannot give it more time.

Chrissie and I have just returned from a week in Tuscany. They don't seem to be very good at removing graffiti there, but we were pleased to see very little litter.
We think our own council could really learn from the way the implement their refuse policy. All the bins for various types of refuse are very clearly labelled with huge stickers to help people know what to put in where. Robust fines are issued for non-compliance.
Driving home from Nightingale Vale to Plumstead Common Raoad and seeing rows of red-tagged wrongly filled litter-bins made us think that, here in Greenwich, residents need to be better educated and coerced into more responsible management of their refuse. In our own street I regularly see so many black bins over-filled with stuff that could easlity be recycled.
What are our council doing about what seems to be a growing problem?
What a shame that the sign board created by one of our CWP workers has been smashed up by some sad individual.
I have found a dumped bed head that will make a robust replacement.
Watch that space!
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