We are amazing. People keep telling me that, so it must be true. And when you think about it I guess we are. Redlingfield is a tiny village of less than 60 houses.
We don’t charge a local council tax, instead we hold fund-raising events, which are a lot more fun than a bill through the letterbox. While other villages struggle to attract people to join their Parish Councils, our Village Committee has 18 members, with people happy to volunteer. (Though some of us are getting on a bit so younger people are very welcome). We regularly have 20 plus people at the monthly coffee mornings, in people’s houses in winter and at the coffee caravan in summer.
Over the last year or so we raised nearly £100,000 to replace our church roof and we plan to update it with a kitchen, toilets, heating that works,and revamp the space so it can also be a community space for events and meetings.
We decided that we wanted to honour the memory of the American WW2 air force crew who sadly died when their plane crashed at Green Farm, so, with the help of the Red Feather Club, we built a memorial.
Some ten years ago we created our Doorstep Green. We had lots of help, from Governments grants and the local council and Suffolk Wildlife Trust. During its creation more than 30 village volunteers contributed more than 2,000 hours of their time to the project. An extraordinary achievement and shows just how keen people were. Since then it’s been incredibly popular. We use it for our annual Summer fayre and BBQ. During summer we have our monthly pop-up pubs. Loads of people use it as a place to take the kids, to sit and contemplate or to exercise the dogs, and we even have a dog poo bin now.
For ages we’ve wanted to make the Doorstep Green bigger. To have more play equipment for younger and older children, including that oft-requested zip slide. To have a better space for sports and to improve the areas for sitting and relaxing.
We have bought 2.05 acres of land between the existing Doorstep Green and the footpath to the Church. The installation of a bridge over to create highway access is nearly complete – the bad weather is all that is holding up the work. Peter and Joyce Saunders donated £10,000 towards this.
Tough grass seed has been planted across the whole area and thanks to a long weekend of hard work by many villagers the rear hedge is in.
Using an under-grass mesh system, we will build an access road from the new bridge to the furthest corner where we are putting the parking spaces. We will also be installing a stock fence.
We will continue to fundraise as we still don’t have enough money to buy all the materials. It’s a massive task. Received wisdom says that when it comes to eating something the size of an elephant – the secret is to eat it one bite at a time (not that I wish to offend vegetarians or suggest we harm endangered animals). Alternatively, getting loads of people involved to help, also works. Combining these two approaches is probably our best way forward.
You are all being invited to be amazing again. If you fancy slaving away for few days installing fencing or under-grass mesh, or planting wildflowers please don’t be shy.