Friends of Priory Park, Warwick (FOPP) Meeting
13th January 2022
Dave Skinner (Chair), Andy Stewart (Secretary), Becca Woodbine, Lucie Titchmarsh, Matt Cox, Lesley Hall, Robert Shuttelworth, Hazel Underwood, Paul Underwood, Johnathan Branson, Patricia Gannon.
Jerry Birkbeck, Jo Birkbeck, Dianne Loftus
Dave welcomed everyone. He noted that the meeting was not a standard open meeting but was solely to discuss the forthcoming tree planting in Priory Park and to produce a list of the required tasks, hopefully with owners for as many of them as possible. All present at the meeting confirmed that they would volunteer to help with at least some of the pre-planting tasks as well as tasks required on the planting day.
Liaison with the schools etc.
Although Jerry had previously emailed details of the planting to Coten End, Westgate, St Mary Immaculate, Warwick Nursery, Tiny Town Nursery, Packmores Community Centre and Warwick Space to see if they were interested in being involved, only Westgate have responded. It is possible that the emails have been overlooked or not passed to the Heads. It was agreed that the schools should be contacted again with the following volunteering to contact:
Lucie and Matt – Westgate and Tiny Town Nursery.
Johnathan – Warwick Nursery.
Lesley – St. Mary Immaculate.
Dianne has already made further contact with Coten End (Mrs Sheepy).
It was agreed that a standardised approach to the follow up should be produced. One or more volunteers are required to complete this task.
Dave mentioned that he had a comment from Lauren Sime (The Gap Warwick / Packmores Community Centre) that she thought that Newburgh Primary School may be interested in being involved and that St. Mary Immaculate Parents Teachers Association had expressed an interest in the planting. Dave agreed to ask Lauren to ask Newburgh what their level of interest was and also whether the Packmores Community Centre would like to be involved.
It was thought that Warwick Space weren’t interested and so if the schools we are contacting (including Newburgh) do wish to get involved, that would be six trees for seven schools. If the Packmores Community Centre becomes involved then they could be allocated the seventh tree and if they weren’t involved then FOPP could ‘adopt’ it.
It was discussed whether the planting should occur on a weekday or at the weekend. It was thought that a Saturday was best as it would allow the children to visit the planting with their parents / carers. This approach means that we wouldn’t expect the teachers to necessarily attend on the planting day (although they would be more than welcome), but that we would be asking the schools to publicise the project. Matt commented that we could produce leaflets to hand out or to be included in the children’s book bags. Lesley mentioned that if parents / carers, rather than the teachers were accompanying the children then it would be more likely that we would be able to take photos including children.
Andy queried whether the WDC Green Spaces team work on Saturdays – according to Jon Holmes (WDC Green Spaces team), they don’t necessarily need to be onsite all the time, just to supervise the works and completed job.
We agreed that we should attempt to maximise the publicity for this project. Targets will include the FOPP Facebook pages and website and the Courier and Observer. As Johnathan has contacts, he agreed to write the press release. Johnathan also agreed to put details of the project on the Warwick University volunteer’s website in case any of them are interested in getting involved.
It was suggested that Geoff Ousbey, who regularly posts to Facebook photos of local interest, may like to be involved and as Geoff is Becca’s neighbour she agreed to ask him. Other potential targets for publicity include the WDC Green Spaces newsletter, local radio (BBC CWR) and WCC (who as they are funding the work may wish someone to attend on the planting day). It was suggested that maybe we should invite the Mayor of Warwick and Matt Western MP to the planting day. Mention was made later about the possibility of also inviting local celebrities such as David Bradley (who played the caretaker Argus Filch in the Harry Potter films) or Dame Judi Dench (Secretary’s note – I am not sure she lives locally but does have a declared interest in trees).
As we will be planting seven trees, a suggestion was made that this could be linked in the publicity to the Platinum Jubilee celebrating seven decades of the Queen’s reign.
We agreed to produce laminated publicity posters with some of these being displayed in the park and some in local shops / pubs.
Date and time for the planting and other planting details
Although initially we discussed whether the planting should happen across two days, with the holes being dug on the first day and the actual planting on the second day, we agreed it would be best to have the digging and planting occurring on the same day and Saturday 26th February 2022 was agreed as the planting day with the 5th March as a contingency day if there is bad weather on the 26th.We agreed a time of 09:00 for the volunteer team to meet in the park and for them to be organised. A schedule of the planting day tasks will need to be produced prior to the 26th and Lucie agreed to assist Dave with this. This schedule will need to specify the earliest that we expect children, parents and the general public to arrive.
Prior to the 26th, the WDC Green Spaces team will need to have marked the locations where they want the trees planted. We will also need to have an answer from Jon Holmes as to how he will require the newly planted trees to be staked and what type of tree guard we should be using and Dave agreed to include these queries with the others he will be asking of Jon. Lesley said that prior to the planting day she will have spoken to Sarah Ridgeway to ensure that we have all the planting and staking details correct, including whether FOPP will need to supply nails to use in the staking or whether Hintons Nursery will provide these.
Both Lesley and Lucie agreed that fertiliser will not be required for the newly planted trees but that they should be planted with watering tubes (with the open end probably covered with a tin can to prevent the build up of detritus) and with mycorrhizal fungi applied to the roots. It was mentioned that producing some information as to why mycorrhizal fungi is being used may be a good educational opportunity for both children and parents and Andy agreed to produce some brief notes concerning the role of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil ecosystem.
It was discussed what would be the approach if we needed a supply of water on the planting day. It is possible that the either the Green Spaces team or Priory Medical Centre may be able to supply this (Dave to check) but it was also mentioned that Vikki Blythe (who lives in Rock House) has an outdoor tap that we may be able to access but that would need to be checked.
This then led onto a further discussion as to where we should be looking for water sources for the years after the planting with suggestions for sources including those already mentioned as well as possibly the County Record office. Dave has already asked the WDC Green Spaces team about maintenance and ongoing watering. He was told that Dave Anderson (Jon Holmes’ manager) was going to make some suggestions about this but Dave hasn’t yet heard anything from Dave A.
WCC Green Shoots Fund Grant Money
The WCC Green Shoots Fund allocated the funding for this project. In order to get the funds released into the FOPP bank account, Sarah Ridgeway (Hintons Nursery) will need to send a finalised invoice. Dave has requested the FOPP bank account details from Trevor the Treasurer.
What will actually happen on the 26th?
Matt asked whether apart from the actual planting there would be any other activities planned for the planting day and asked if there is a tree related trail that we could promote. As there isn’t an actual formal trail, Matt said that if he could be forwarded the map, he would look to see if he could put something together, possibly in the form of a ‘treasure trail’ with the children having to recognise something at each point on the trail and then tick them off. Lesley mentioned that the Small Leafed Lime (which is what we will be planting) already has a presence in the park and this could be included in the trail to give an indication of how the newly planted trees will grow.
Johnathan said that maybe we could have some form of land art based activity, but the meeting thought that due to the requirement of a facilitator for this that this activity would be better left for a future date.
Johnathan also suggested printing some of the archive photos and accompanying text from the map on the FOPP website to display in the park on the planting day. Dave and Andy agreed to investigate this further.
It was queried whether we could offer refreshments, but the consensus from the meeting was that people should bring along their own.
Matt mentioned that he a current a qualified First Aider. Lucie said that she used to be but thinks that her qualification may recently have expired.
It was requested that any volunteers for tree planting who have a spade and fork bring them along on the planting day. Lesley commented that people might wish to label their own tools in some way. Lesley also mentioned that it would be useful to have a post rammer and said that she would query with Sarah Ridgeway whether we could borrow one of hers. If the answer is yes, it could be delivered along with the trees and the rest of the sundry items on the 26th. Lucie said that there was a possibility that we could borrow a post rammer from Hill Close gardens and she would check. Other tools required include secateurs, loppers, a pruning saw, possibly a hammer and although not tools, heavy duty gloves, kneeling pads (if required) and small tarpaulins to put the excavated soil on. Lucie queried what would actually be the children’s involvement in the planting and that if we were expecting them to be adding soil to the planting holes, then child sized tools would be useful. Andy said that he had some that he would bring along, although it would be useful to ask the parents to bring any that they may have. It is also possible that Warwick Nursery may have some that we could borrow.
Volunteers should be advised to wear solid boots and depending on the weather on the 26th, a waterproof jacket and trousers.
FOPP did used to own some Hi-Vis jackets which were stored at the Wild Boar but the location of these is currently unknown. Dave will check with the brewers if they know where they went. There is a possibility that the WDC Green Spaces team could supply Hi-Vis jackets. Hazel will ask the scouts if they have any we can borrow and Lesley said she has two. It would be worth mentioning these in the pre-planting publicity, asking any other volunteers who may be attending to bring a Hi-Vis jacket if they possess one.
As we are intending getting the children to write messages on leaves to plant under the trees then marker pens will be required and Lucie said that she would supply these as well as suitable leaves.
Dave will check with Jon Holmes (WDC) whether we would be permitted to erect a gazebo on the planting day. If we are allowed then Becca will be able to supply this.
Dave agreed to ask Jon Holmes whether the WDC Green spaces team will be able to supply the mulch from their stock. If WDC are unable to supply the mulch, Sarah Ridgeway has previously said to let her know as she may be able to get WCC to supply it for us.