The Chilworth2gether Annual report of activity 2017

We are delighted to report that our accounts for 2017 have been examined and signed off as being accurate, so we are now able to publish our annual report of activity for the year.

This information has also been sent to both Parish Councils.

Chilworth2gether Annual report 2017

Activity this year has been targeted on more substantial projects, which have taken more time and effort to fulfil, but which we believe will have a lasting impact and benefit to the village.

To start with the bad news; it is regrettable that we have to report two instances of vandalism targeting equipment Chilworth2gether has previously installed for the benefit of the village.

The first of the three defibrillators installed strategically throughout the village was broken into, and the locking mechanism damaged. This has meant that the whole machine has had to be decommissioned, whilst a compatible replacement lock has been ordered and installed. We are pleased that thanks to volunteer support, the machine is now operational again and is recommissioned with the Emergency Services. All three machines C2G has provided for the village are accessed by phoning 999 – the emergency services will provide the code for accessing the defibrillator. Luckily, the defibrillator itself was not taken when the box was vandalised. This equipment was subject to a recall by the manufacturer; Chilworth2gether arranged for its collection and repair.

We also have to report the attempted theft of the Memorial Bench, donated to the village by Chilworth Massive, and situated on the verge of the main road at the Hornhatch end of the village – well used by visitors to the Fish and Chip Van. We think thieves attempted to winch the bench out of the ground, but fortunately were thwarted by the security devices and concrete below ground level. The bench has been removed for safe keeping and volunteers will reinstall it when new security clamps have been ordered, and the weather improves. Shalford Parish Council has kindly offered to pay for the new fixings, an offer Chilworth2gether has accepted.

In contrast to these disappointing incidents, Chilworth2gether has been delighted to complete the major project made possible by a generous donation from one of the Pimms and Picnic evenings 2016. A complete new audio visual system has been installed in the village hall, with an electric screen and surround sound. This equipment has been gifted to the village hall. All the public meetings held in the hall now benefit from the improved equipment.

As a result of this, Chilworth Community Cinema has been created, with the same values as Chilworth2gether. Reliant on volunteers, and underwritten and strongly supported by Chilworth2gether, the new cinema meets once a month and is a runaway success story.

Although Chilworth2gether has handed the running of the Duck Race over to the PTA of Chilworth Infant School, Chilworth2gether still had a presence providing the Duck Race Barbeque in 2017, the proceeds from which help to finance Chilworth2gether activities.

Chilworth2gether, and the Forest School, donated the funds for the giant Stag Beetle sculpture, now erected by the Countryside Wardens in the Picnic area of the Gunpowder Mills. Its intention is to draw visitors, and especially young people towards the “Bug Hotel” created by Chilworth2gether and Gunpowder Mills Group volunteers for Forest School, with the intention that Chilworth C of E infants will be able to help conserve nature and encourage insects.

A free BBQ was provided for the regular volunteers who give their time to help in the Gunpowder Mills.

Chilworth2gether also ran the Heritage Weekend special event in partnership with the Gunpowder Mills Group and GBC. Splendid stag beetle biscuits were on sale, together with a BBQ and children’s activities.

It was a special year for the Gunpowder Mills Group, that has tirelessly acted in a “advocate” role, bringing specialist expertise on the archaeology and conservation of this scheduled site. At the annual meeting they were thanked by St Martha Parish Council; Chilworth2gether provided a toast, as well as the usual refreshments.

St Martha Parish Council also invited a representative from Chilworth2gether to sit on the Working Group trying to stop West Lodge, the historic building at the entrance to the Gunpowder Mills site, from being sold off by GBC. Despite exploring many avenues, the restrictions of the building prevented the Group from being able to find a viable commercial alternative, as required by GBC, and it is likely it will revert to a sale.

To close the year, Chilworth2gether again worked with the Wrigley Family, who generously donated two Christmas trees for the village. Chilworth2gether added Christmas tree stands and a few more strings of lights to its collection, and erected the tree at Hornhatch and the obelisk structure on the railway triangle.

We also arranged for a third donated tree to be delivered to Chilworth Brownies, who spent their last meeting before Christmas decorating it with butterflies. It was displayed at the end of Blacksmith Lane.

Chilworth2gether has funds available for 2018. It has set £500 aside for another year which it hopes will contribute towards the refurbishment of Hornhatch play area, which Shalford Parish Council recognises needs upgrading.

Further funds are earmarked for further training, if needed, on the audio visual equipment, and to underwrite the Community Cinema if necessary as it goes through its first year of screening. Chilworth2gether is committed to working closely with the Community Cinema, providing back up and support through advertising and other volunteering efforts. We have indicated we are willing to provide a loan, should the Cinema need to purchase any further equipment.

Chilworth2gether will continue to host a village website, and hopes groups and individuals will be inspired to contribute items to it, and advertise local events and fund-raisers.