FareShare food distribution

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The charity ‘FareShare’ is working with the Tesco store in Alresford to ensure that food that is no longer suitable for sale is distributed around the local community. Basically the food has reached its ‘sell-by date’, and is surplus to their requirements. FareShare and Tesco wish to see that this food is not wasted, but distributed to anyone who can make use of it.

Various local community groups have undertaken to distribute the food, according to the FareShare principles: two of the first organisations to sign up in Alresford were the Giles Group and the ADCA, the Alresford & District Community Association. Both operate from the Alresford Community Centre:

Tuesdays: the Giles Group

The Giles Group is arranging to distribute the surplus Tesco food that is available on Tuesday mornings, from their ‘Drop-in’ coffee morning held every week in the Community Centre. This operates from 1030 till 12 noon. Any food remaining is then delivered to the Makins Court Common Room, at around 1230.

Fridays: the ADCA Coffee morning

On Fridays, the food available from Tesco is distributed to those who attend the ADCA coffee morning, also held in the Community Centre. Again, any left over at the end of the morning is delivered to Makins Court for the residents there.

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Some of the surplus food recently made available by Tesco, with the Alresford Society Salver, recently awarded to the Giles Group for 2018. 

Giles award from The Alresford Society

At the AGM of the Alresford Society, in October 2017, Chairman Jan Field announced that the 2018 recipients of the Society’s Silver Salver would be the Giles Group of Alresford. This award is to recognise the work of the Giles Group in helping the disabled and less mobile members of the Alresford Community, and their carers, by organising monthly meetings where suitable topics are presented, and members can also discuss and learn about mobility aids and other services that are available. In addition the Group has a weekly “Drop-in” coffee morning, in the Community Centre on a Tuesday, enabling somewhere for members to meet for a tea or coffee, talk and rest during a shopping trip to Alresford town centre – and also to make further enquiries about equipment or services that might help them. Anyone is welcome at the coffee morning, even if only to find out more about what the Giles Group does!

Tessa Purkiss and Clive Earthy, two of the Giles Committee members, attended the AGM to accept the award, and are photographed below, with the salver. It is planned that this will be on display at the monthly Giles Group meetings throughout the next year. Tessa was one of the founder members of the group, which was formed in Alresford some 23 years ago – which was in the dark ages, before the advent of the Internet as an information source!

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Jan Field assumed that everyone would have heard of the Giles Group’s existence, but felt that not everyone knew about their activities, or what help they can offer to local people. In co-operation with the Alresford Pigs Association, they also provide help with getting mobility aids for those who might need them, like 3 and 4-wheeled walkers, and even mobility scooters. The meetings and coffee mornings also give the opportunity for friendly, occasionally lively discussions, covering the use and sourcing of other mobility aids. A stock of low cost items is usually available, like electric plug “pulls” to safely remove plugs from their sockets, and hi-vis yellow jackets for winter afternoons. The local Age Concern Village Agent, Denise Buxton, also regularly attends Giles meetings and coffee mornings, to make contacts and off any further advice, when needed.

The Alresford Society AGM closed with a talk from Graham Curtis about the history of the Dean School back in the 1950s! Despite the torrential rain that evening, the meeting in the John Pearson Hall was well attended.

Life as a Harbour pilot

The October meeting was delighted to welcome Gareth Rees, who spoke to us about his work as a Pilot for the liners and container carriers arriving and departing from Southampton, down the Solent. The climb up the rope ladder dropped down the side of the ship or tanker attracted most attention, particularly as often this is used when both the ship and the pilot boat are still cruising along!

Following his slide show and presentation, Gareth also demonstrated the life jacket he wears to climb this ladder, which automatically inflates when immersed in water: not something that one pilot’s wife understood, when she decided that it could do with a clean, and put it in the washing machine!

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Gareth’s land office is in the blue building, in the centre of the pic: the two ships to the left (a cruise liner) and right (a car transporter) are typical of where he works – they offer different types of challenge, when he has to climb up the side, out in the Solent – sometimes up a rope ladder! The harbour tugs are the blue boats near the office building.

After the talk, and raffle, various of the Giles Group’s stock of disability aids and fluorescent jackets were offered to Giles Group members, in return for a small donation.

A cruise down the Solent, the 2017 trip

In July 2017 the Alresford Giles Group outing included a trip on the Alison MacGregor launch up and down the Solent, from Hythe Marina. For once it was a beautiful day, so we stopped for a snack in a pub in Dibden Purlieu on the way, and then had a nice evening for a boat trip.

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Basically, the little launch, with 12 passengers, set off down the Solent, really quite dwarfed by other ships coming and going from Southampton.

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The  Alison MacGregor went downstream to look at the yachts moored on the River Itchen, and then returned for a look round the port.  Activity there was high, with the departure of a ship carrying two big turbine blades headed for a wind farm off the north-east coast, and as ever the Hythe ferry darting in between the bigger ships. There was also a very large container ship arriving, and overhead a procession of aeroplanes coming in to Southampton airport.

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The driverless train on the pier out to the ferry mooring point

The little launch soon appeared back at Hythe Marina to deliver everyone back for the minibus.

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As you can see, a lot of the volunteer crew this time were ladies, who did a great  job of looking after everyone. Amongst the passengers you can see Liz Lawrence of the Giles Group, up near the bows on the photo below, and Jeanne Perry, a new member, brought along her relations from Australia, who had only just arrived on a trip over here to celebrate her 90th birthday.

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Back in Hythe Marina

Giles Canal boat trip from Hungerford

After maybe 5 years of trying to arrange a trip on a canal boat, finally the Giles Group members managed it! For the April 2017 monthly outing, on Bank Holiday Monday at Easter, the canal boat and the Minibus schedules coincided, and 17 Giles members travelled by car and Minibus to Hungerford, for a 2 hour sunny afternoon trip along the Kennet and Avon canal.

The boat was the ‘Rose of Hungerford’, a purpose built wide-beamed trip boat sailing from Hungerford Wharf. The Rose has sliding picture windows for warm days, but is fully enclosed. A refreshment bar serves hot and cold drinks, and is also fully licensed! There is also a toilet on board, and apparently there is a lift arrangement to get wheelchairs on board: some power complications meant this was not working, so undaunted out old ladies climbed in using the standard steps, which was quite an achievement for many.

However the cruise towards Newbury was very enjoyable, and peaceful, past many not too disgruntled fishermen, and through two locks. The view from the front was very interesting, and was actually where the Queen had sat for her journey up some bits of the canal to celebrate its re-opening, maybe only around 50 years ago.

Diann threw herself into the spirit of the adventure, and helped with opening the sluices round the locks.  This was OK until a slight hiccup, when the crank handle somehow was fixed on the valve the wrong way round, which took two burly boatmen and a metal lever to get it off.

Nevertheless we all came home safely after a nice cruise and then a Minibus ride…. a selection of pictures from the day are below.DSCN5609

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AGM report 2017

Minutes of the AGM held on 13th February 2017 in the Community Centre

Attendance

Approx 26 members (apologies received from Olive Gillespie, Ann Bravery, Jean Bax, Joan Wimbleton, Joan Mantell)

The meeting was opened by Nick Denbow who read out the 2016 AGM minutes in summary. Copies were also provided at each table. These 2016 minutes were proposed for acceptance by Diana Goulding, seconded by Jeanne Nicholls, and voted as approved.

2016 Report

Nick Denbow as Secretary reviewed the year, which had included some very enjoyable and memorable talks, plus enjoyable events in the garden party and Christmas party. With membership still at around 40, the Group is still active, and not many members have dropped out. The Committee have spent a lot of time on trying to identify new sources of funding, and two new sources have been approached for 2017.

Treasurer’s Report

Clive Earthy made his report as Treasurer, after thanks to Jackie Earthy for typing and printing the accounts, and to Jenny Hayes for checking them. Copies of the report were available at each table.

The income last year (2016/17) compared to the previous year was much increased. This was because the membership subscriptions were increased to £15 per person, giving a total of £562 (cf £340). Donations at £717 included two external grants, one from NATC for £350, and one from the Pigs for £145: but the largest proportion (£222) came from the members themselves in donations for recycled equipment, and purchases of other aids. The Raffles income increased yet again, to £150 (cf £117). All Social Services and HCC or similar funding has disappeared. So total income was £1430, (compared to £638 previously).

Cost totals year to year were up slightly on the previous year, (£1335 cf £1153 last year), where we had committed to some expensive speakers, giving their fees at £175 (cf £98), and a more expensive garden party + Christmas party at £270 total (cf £142): this was what the Pigs donated the £145 to support. Clive did note that a lot of mulled wine was consumed at Christmas. With £713 in the Bank, the group financial projection was reasonable, and better than last year: Clive proposed that the membership fee should remain unchanged.

The Treasurer’s statement and report for 2016/17 was proposed as accepted by Audrey Chalk, seconded by Tessa Purkiss, and agreed in a vote by the meeting.

Chairman’s Summary

Nick Denbow explained that the Chairman, Lin Parker, had resigned in July, and so with Brian Purkiss also stepping down, the Committee had co-opted two new members, Patrick and Angela Hartley, to help with running the Group. This was in accordance with the Giles Constitution – which also requires that three long serving Committee members step down after three years. The three stepping down this year were Nick Denbow, Clive Earthy and Jeanne Nicholls, who all offered themselves for re-election. This was proposed by Una Yeates, and seconded by Wynn Stowell, and the meeting voted to approve this unanimously.

Next it was necessary for the Committee to find a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman: after receiving suggestions and discussing options, the Committee proposed Patrick Hartley as Chairman and Diann Adam as Vice-Chairman. The formal vote was proposed by Nick Denbow and seconded by Clive Earthy, and agreed by the meeting, unanimously.

Thanks were then expressed to Diann, Nan and Gina, as well as Audrey Chalk, for their constant and varied supply of teas and cakes for the meetings, and for the drop-in Tuesdays. Plus a major vote of thanks to Peter Cutler for driving the Minibus. Clive will supply Membership cards for 2017 in return for the new subscriptions, which gives the future schedule of talks.

Members Proposals 

Jeanne Nicholls asked as ever for Member’s suggestions for the Minibus trip destinations: mostly these have concentrated on garden centres, but this next week the destination is Petersfield.

Rosaleen McDonald suggested a possible speaker in Neil Macareth, who had spent some long periods in Nepal with the Gurkhas.

Wynn Stowell expressed her thanks to the Committee for the work they do, on behalf of the Members.

The 2017 accounts are attached below

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