Thursday 26 March 2020

Spring Newsletter

Our Spring 2020 newsletter is ready for download, shortened and shaped by these extraordinary times.

We hope, even so, it's of interest to you and may provoke thoughts and actions geared to improving our well-being, and that of all around us. if you've thoughts about what we might include in future newsletters, do please let us know.

In this issue:


Thursday 19 March 2020

Looking Up In These Downcast Times

Many of our lives are being circumscribed, with 'social distancing', and exhortations to stay at home. How can we most easily make the best of these strange times, helping ourselves, our community and beyond? Here's a few suggestions:

Keeping In Touch

  • make an effort to talk with your neighbour (over the wall, or the 'phone) - a human voice can be such a comfort;
  • ask if help's needed with some shopping;
  • if you're already part of a community group, whose meetings have been cancelled, consider buddying up with another member, and share your experiences;
  • Jocelyne Underwoood, Sustainable Hayfield supporter, has asked about organised schemes for supporting the most vulnerable. The two already running are:
    • New Mills and District Volunteer Centre, a well-established community volunteer service, running several schemes. Details are displayed prominently on Hayfield Parish Council website;
    • High Peak Council for Voluntary Service, a coordinating body for many local groups, and able to give advice. They're on 01663 735350 and at Please recognise there will be a delay on getting a response.

Tending The Garden

Many of us know the soothing effects of gardening. Why not reconsider your plot by:

  • redesigning some feature, if only in your head/on paper to begin with;
  • getting some seed (flowers or veg) and nurturing a new area;
  • consider opening up more space for wildlife in your garden, perhaps linking with neighbours. There's wildlife gardening ideas from Springwatch here.
  • using your surplus imaginatively, for community benefit. Sustainable Hayfield supporter Trevor Williams has been planting out native English bluebells and snowdrops around the 'old school field' for a few years. And now's the time to split up your snowdrop clumps and further beautify the area. Subdivide your snowdrop clumps and join Trevor on the slopes near the Scout Hut on Saturday at 11.00.a.m. to augment planting there.

Supporting Local Businesses

Businesses - such a key part of our community - are facing huge, and immediate, threats. Let's help by:

  • shopping local wherever we can;
  • supporting them by paying for appointments (hairdressers, physio etc.) which may have to be unavoidably cancelled, helping their cash flow and building loyalty.

Helping the Poorest

Who, as ever, will be the hardest hit by local, and global, dislocation:

  • keep giving to the Food Banks, and, if you can, give a little more. Donations are already down, as demand grows;
  • give, as birthday/other presents, virtual gifts via or
  • we recently held a very successful sewing event for Dress A Girl Around the World. But there's still surplus material and dresses which are either cut out or partially finished. If you'd like, in the current situation, to do some sewing at home, and help restore dignity to children abroad at risk of sexual exploitation, please contact Pennie Roberts, Sustainable Hayfield Committee member on 07749 710127 or Material and instructions can be provided and left in a suitable place for completion.

Loving Your Home

One of the paradoxes of the current crisis is that the environment is benefitting through less pollution. Can we sustain these improvements close to home by;

    doing what you know makes sense, by switching your energy supplier to a green supplier. It's so easy.
  • ensuring that more time at home doesn't always mean excessive use of electronic appliances, and more expense. Remember to disconnect appliances (TVs, phones etc) at night (no red lights);
  • reducing your food waste with these tips from Love Food Hate Waste.
  • chilling out, economically - set your fridge to the right temperature to save energy.

Let's make the best of the challenges we face - together! Thank you, and take care.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Suspensions, Cancellations and Postponements

With regret, I'm advising that, given government advice about 'social distancing' and linked matters, we have decided that:

  • The operation of the Terracycle recycling scheme for 'unrecyclable' plastic is being suspended forthwith, with boxes withdrawn from local shops etc., until such time it is judged appropriate to resume collections. When you consider all items will have been touched by others' hands, and sometimes their mouths, and that children at the primary school and adult helpers, some with underlying health conditions, separate these out for despatch, this is the only sensible thing to do in the current circumstances. But we hope the suspension will not last too long, and we, as ever, thank you for your support for this enterprise which diverts substantial sums of plastic from landfill and raises funds for the school. We'll advise when the service resumes;
  • The Village Spring Clean and Litter Pick event, Saturday March 28th, is similarly postponed, for related reasons. This has usually benefitted from the voluntary involvement of dozens of supporters and other villagers and does great service in sprucing up the village, with a good part of the waste collected being separated out and diverted from landfill. Again, this is greatly regretted but the organisers considered we could not proceed with such an organised event, involving many hands, at this time. There is nothing, of course, to stop individuals actively recovering litter from your immediate locality and popping it in your bin, from which we'd all benefit.

These are strange and sober times. These notices will, for many of you, be very similar to messages you've received from elsewhere. It does feel, for many of us, our habitual pattern of activities is shrinking. All the more important, therefore, that at a very local level, we do things we can to sustain our local community life. Making, and keeping in, contact, with older, and 'self-isolating', neighbours and other villagers, assisting where we can with shopping etc., continuing to support local businesses and the like are the more important in these straitened times. In doing what we can, we - again - all benefit.

May you enjoy good times these coming weeks and more.

Monday 2 March 2020

Two new invitations and two reminders...

1. You know the value of tree planting as one means of offsetting carbon emissions and locking in carbon...…but did you know that, short to medium term, little old sphagnum moss is many times more effective, especially on peat soils? Now we've the chance to do something practical and increase the sphagnum cover on our moorlands, by planting sphagnum plugs in association with the National Trust! (Read more: Scattering moss can restore key carbon sink.)

Next Sunday, 8th March, the National Trust has invited us to join them for a day's planting on high moorland near the Snake summit. A number of folk have already signed up, but more would be very welcome! Could this be you and yours, outdoorsy types as so many of you are? National Trust rangers suggest meeting up at Birchen Clough Car Park (A57) at 9.30a.m.

The 'planting party' will be out all day, returning to vehicles no later than 4.00p.m. You need to be prepared for a day on the moors, so...walking boots, gloves, hats, outdoor/waterproofs and lots of layers, with plenty of food and (warm) drink. A couple of Land Rovers will transport people to the planting site, which will also require about 30 minutes' uphill walking, but there may also be need for some car sharing, depending on how many people join in. For now, can you please:

  • let me know if you'd like to attend, and;
  • indicate whether you need or can offer a lift from the village to Birchen Clough car park. I hope I'll hear from some of you!

2. In quite different vein, you may know Derbyshire County Council is proposing to close a number of its old peoples' care homes, to include Goyt Valley House in New Mills, where a number of former village rs live. The reasons given are some homes' underoccupancy and their need for extensive refurbishment to meet current standards. Nothing is known about what will happen to current residents, except that they will be relocated - somewhere. Opposition to these proposals, on which DCC is consulting, is growing. If you'd like to take part in the consultation, making your views known, go to or, if you want your MP to do something about it, go to

3. A reminder that, this Wednesday, 4th March, there's a Dress A Girl Around the World sewing evening at The Threadmill (just past the primary school down Swallow House Lane from 7.30p.m. It aims to use old or unwanted materials to make dresses and shorts for children in poor countries who have none, or insufficient. Particularly for girls, a lack of suitable clothing is a matter of personal and family shame and makes them vulnerable to sexual abuse. These evenings help make suitable clothing which is then despatched via the Dress A Girl Around the World charity to where it’s needed.

Can you help? Experienced and novice sewers are welcome plus anyone who can help with cutting out, ironing, making coffee etc. Cash donations are also welcome towards sewing supplies. We've material from previous sessions but please bring along any cotton you would like upcycled into shorts and dresses for children who have none. It needs to be pure cotton and not too flimsy. There’s no need to book, just turn up …and enjoy! If you’ve any questions, contact Pennie Roberts on or at 01663 747132. Thanks!

4. Last, a reminder too of the 'Ecobricks training workshop' on Saturday 7th March 11-3p.m. at Hayfield Village Hall. Ecobricks are a way of capturing non-recyclable plastic and turning it into building blocks, which we can all make! In 2019 20,000 kg of plastic was 'ecobricked', with millions of pieces of plastic put to good use in local building around the world. Have a look at for how they're used. It will amaze you!

A certified ecobricks trainer, will help us get started with this great initiative, so we can add ourselves to the list of places working to remove plastic from our environment. School age children as well as adults can attend. There'll be a presentation and discussion as well as practical activity. Lunch will be a 'bring and share' event. It should be informative, interesting and fun! If you’re interested in this event, please email Meantime, please save any plastic bottles you have plus any plastic that can't go into your brown bin. Bottles and plastic must be free of food contamination.

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