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 Government 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 “Pub on the Green”. 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.
We will install a bridge over the ditch and create highway access. Peter and Joyce Saunders are donating £10,000 towards this. We will start by planting tough grass seed across the whole area. 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 and planting around 500 hedging plants. 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 – planting hedges, installing fencing or under-grass mesh, or planting wildflowers please don’t be shy.
Over the next 12 months we plan to:
- install 200 metres of fencing;
- plant 125 metres of hedging (500 plants);
- sew 8,300 sq metres of grass seed;
- sew/plant around 500 sq metres of wildflower meadow;
- create road access to the site and install a five-metre wide concrete bridge;
- using under-grass mesh install a roadway six metres wide and 80 metres long (480 sq metres);
- using under-grass mesh install a parking area 12 metres wide and 30 metres long (360 sq metres);
- mow it all several times and clean out the ditches before we start.
And for the existing Doorstep Green:
- more play equipment for younger and older children;
- fence the small children’s play area;
- redo the paths;
- decide what sports we want: basketball, netball, football, rounders and where we will put them;
- install a toilet or two.