Sixth Annual Report: December 2015.


From the Chairman.

The Secretary's Report follows my report on the AGM Agenda and, having read Ray's fullsome account of the last year, there seems little point in me going over the same ground.

Like Ray I signed up for a two year slot in this post, as there was no other volunteer at the AGM two years ago. Now, having done my time, I can honestly say that it has been a pleasure to work with the other committee members on the WLAF, but I do not feel I have the time to continue in the role, given my other commitments. That isn't to say that it is hugely demanding. Rather, it is to say that I have my greedy little fingers in a lot of pies and am finding that If you spread yourself too thinly you can't be as effective as you might like in any of your roles. Moreover, coming from Hesketh Bank in the remote northern wastelands of West Lancs, when most meetings and events tend to cluster around Ormskirk and Skelmersdale has been an added problem.

So we are now looking for a bright enthusiastic and energetic person to take the place of the current tired, hard bitten chair to inject some new life into this very worthwhile organisation.

I could not step down without extending my sincere thanks and appreciation to my fellow committee members and in particular to Ray and Myra for all the good work they have done. The WLAF has also received considerable help and support from the WLCVS, the North West Allotment Association and West Lancs Borough Council for which we are most grateful.

I wish everyone involved with the Federation the very best of luck and would urge member allotments to continue to support the WLAF which has done a wonderful job in helping to develop, maintain, protect and preserve the allotment movement in West Lancashire.

Best Regards

Steve Kirby, Chair WLAF.


From the Secretary.

Another quiet year on the surface but lots happening behind the scenes 

There has been the usual selection of meetings throughout the year with Myra accompanying me to most. We have stayed closer to home this year with meetings in Frodsham, Penwortham and Southport.  Your committee thought that Leamington Spa was a bit too far so no one went to the National AGM.

Our first event of the year was the annual Potato Day. Once again held in the Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale, again in the West Square. Business was brisk and started early, Even before we had all the tables set up. And once again proved an even bigger success than previous years. Which is good as this event  provides our only regular income. Skelmersdale library one again came along to support the day. 

Next was the Green Fayre held in Beacon Park. On the Saturday the Fayre was overwhelmed with visitors, but not so on Sunday when the weather did its best to keep people away, and we all packed up early. We had decorated our stand with six vegetable shaped balloons, but during the night between someone took three of them. Most annoying as we had a buyer for them. 

In July the CVS held their third schools ‘Show what you Grow’ day at the West Lancashire College in Skelmersdale. Steve Kirby attended along with Myra and myself who were two of the many judges for the many various disciplines. This year ten schools were represented by groups of children. Their enthusiasm for growing is just amazing. We should all try to keep their interest alive by getting them on to the allotment plot.  There are plans for this event to be repeated again in 2016. We hope to promote and support all of these events again in the coming year and would welcome other members along to help man the stands for a few hours.

West Lancs Borough Council have been very active this year. For those allotment sites leasing from the Borough Council there has been progress made on the new leases. Although very little of what we had suggested for inclusion in the lease has been taken on board.  Notable WLBC have agreed to leases of up to 25 years for statutory sites.  Site managements have, or are very close to, getting
those leases signed.

Early in the year WLBC approved an amount of £50,000 to provide more allotments. A site in Ashurst has been agreed and work is due to start any day now with plots available for the 2016 growing season. Although the extra wet weather may delay this.  Finance has also been set aside
for two small sites in Burscough and Skelmersdale. Suitable land is now being sought.  Unfortunately in is not all good news. The site at Roby Mill is effectively gone. Part of Digas in Digmoor is still under threat where the church building is up for sale. In Ormskirk Tower Hill is in a similar position with the old water tower back on the market.  

North West Counties had another very successful Southport Flower Show and are planning to do it again in 2016. Andy Percival has resigned from his post as Regional Manager and is replaced by John G Irwin from Tameside.

WLAF continues to grow. We now have around 275 active allotmenteers in 10 allotment societies across the Borough.

At this AGM we will be electing a Chairman for a two year period and a Secretary for three years.  I have enjoyed my years as both Chair and Secretary but I have now reached the 'magical-retirement-age' and would like to pass the secretary's job on to someone more able.  So we are looking for new faces to take up the reins. Neither job is difficult to do. If you would like to give one of them a
go let me know now. The coming year could see some changes in the allotment movement here in the north west.  The Federation needs to be a part of these changes.  It is all up to you, the members.

Once again we must thank West Lancs Borough Council and West Lancs Council for Voluntary Service for their help and support during 2015. Finally a big thanks to all the other individuals who have helped and supported WLAF throughout the

Ray Fowler, Secretary.