Seventh Annual Report: December 2016.

From the Chairman. 

The WLAF year finished on a high note with a very successful Potato Day on 28th January.

The event was well attended both by members of the public and by WLAF Committee members who put in a good shift helping with setting up and taking down the display and assisting the punters. Thanks to their efforts the WLAF has managed to bank over £160 from Brighter Blooms as it's share of the proceeds.

We were once again represented at the Annual Schools Show What You Grow event, which is always a pleasure to attend. Unfortunately for Ray and Myra, they get the difficult job of awarding the prizes.

The WLAF also had a stand at the very successful Celebrate Skelmersdale Event last July which attracted a large number of visitors many of whom came to look at our stand to find out more about allotments and food growing at home.

Finally, in this my final term, it is pleasing to note that all our member allotment associations are thriving and that within the last twelve months more allotments have been created in Skelmersdale and more are planned in Burscough.

It is also great to see the recently created Burscough Community Farm going from strength to strength.

I could not finish without placing on record my thanks to West Lancs CVS, North West Counties Allotment Association and West Lancashire Borough Council for all their help and support and, last but by no means least to Ray Fowler, who has worked tirelessly to keep the West Lancs Allotment Federation on track since its inception.

Steve Kirby, Chairman.

From the Secretary.

There has been the usual mix of meetings throughout the year. We sent representative to most of them. I attended some with Myra, and Steve, Steve and JD went to others. 

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. The day started briskly but did not last. There were a steady flow of buyers but unfortunately the end result was not as good as expected. And as this event provides our only regular income, not a good start to the year. Skelmersdale library one again came along to support the day.  The committee agreed that should the same happen again in 2017 that one could well be the last.

The next planned event was the Green Fayre held in Beacon Park. The weather came out against us and the event had to be cancelled.  But all was not lost. Preparations undertaken were not wasted but used for the highly successful 'Celebrate Skelmersdale' event the following weekend. This took place in Digmoor and this time the weather stayed good enough for us to have our stand outside  on the lawn. We had a steady stream of visitors and I thank JD and Cecelia for manning the stand and entertaining the children all day. 

Earlier in July, after six months of planning and meetings, the CVS held their forth primary schools ‘Show what you Grow’ day. Once again held at the West Lancashire College in Skelmersdale.  Myra and myself  were two of the many judges for the many various disciplines. Steve Kirby also attended. This year nine schools were represented by groups of children. We continue to be amazed at the enthusiasm for growing these young people have. Should any of our member groups be approached by a school or by individuals I hope that you will all try to help keep their interest alive and find a small space on the allotments.  Plans are already in motion for 2017 when the event is expected to be even bigger. We hope to support these events again in the coming year.

In spite of the progress reported last year regarding new leases with West Lancs Borough Council, it seems that nothing has yet happened and they are still unsigned. On the bright side WLBC have come up trumps and the promised new site in Skelmersdale  was opened to growers in July. The 34 new plots in Tawd Vale were quickly taken. The new site is classed as 'Statutory' and is currently being managed by the Skelmersdale Horticultural Society.

A considerable amount of time was spent on preparing an application for 'Asset of Community Value' on behalf of Tower Hill Allotments Ormskirk. WLBC are reviewing this and we expect to have a result mid March.

WLAF continues to grow. We now have 11 allotment societies across the Borough. Representing 363 individuals at the last count, 68 of whom are new allotmenteers this year.

At this AGM we will be electing a Chairman for a one year period and a Secretary for two years.  As secretary I am now a year over my 'use by' date. It is time for me to step down. Neither job is difficult, so please raise a hand and have a go.

Once again we must thank West Lancs Borough Council and West Lancs Council for Voluntary Service for their help and support during 2016. Finally a big thanks to all the other individuals who have helped and supported WLAF throughout the year.

Ray Fowler, Secretary.