SULLY VILLAGE GROUP (SVG) CHAIRMAN’S REPORT APRIL 2021
The pandemic made this last year very different and took the SVG in a different direction. We moved away from event organisation and focused more on community projects. The early months of lockdown prevented any projects other than online ones which we ran via the Sully Village Hub group on Facebook.
The first main project was a Covid19 Community Volunteer Project, we successfully found a volunteer for every street in the village and leaflets were distributed giving name and contact information for each street volunteer. This took some time to organise from home but within about a month it was running smoothly and the feedback we received said that residents felt reassured and knew they had somebody there for them, which was the ultimate aim.
The Jubilee Celebrations had to be held privately, we ran a competition for the best dressed house and many residents took part with decorated houses and picnics in front gardens, it created a wonderful sense of togetherness. During the summer we also ran many competitions such as best Sully Baker, cutest Sully Pets, best Sully Crafter and we even tried an online Sullyfest which saw many local bands and artists coming together and singing live via our event page. All of our online activities helped our community to feel we were still together, whilst having to stay apart.
When restrictions lifted we were able to run two beach cleans, one of which was a full MCS (Marine Conservation Society) survey clean, both were a great success. This year we have been told that a package full of beach clean equipment will be gifted to the SVG from MCS and in return we will pledge to run four cleans within 12 months. We will be organising the first clean in June and this will be done with Sully School who we are now working with on environmental community projects.
In the Summer all of the Butterfly Garden materials from our successful Keep Wales Tidy Grant arrived and we created the garden in the Jubilee Park. A large area was cultivated and we bought a large supply of extra plants to add colour to the garden, all of which were planted and were a great success. A volunteer garden team was set up and the garden is now maintained via a regular rota.
During lockdown the community made many painted stones to thank the NHS and to cheer up the village, enabling collect and hide games for children out on their walks. We set up a project to remember this period by setting some of these stones in our Community Garden in Jubilee Park. Many people participated, both children and adults with our best stones coming from an 85yr old resident.
When restrictions allowed we placed our Beach Clean Station in the car park behind the Pavilion building, sadly this was destroyed by vandals but is soon to be repaired and put back in place in a safer location. Photos and project details were sent to Welsh Water who provided the grant for this project and they added this to their National Newsletter.
In the Autumn both Sully Brownies and Jubilee Playgroup worked with us planting a variety of bulbs in our community garden - all of which provided some lovely early colour to our garden the following Spring.
During Halloween we ran a competition for the best dressed garden and one of our residents filmed live coverage of her walk around the village so that everybody isolating could feel part of it.
Many additions were made to our Community Garden in the last year. We put up a trellis, a water butt was donated to us and we added solar lights to the trellis. In the run up to Remembrance Day we ran a competition, asking for residents to paint stones with the remembrance theme and offered prizes for the three best stones. The stones have since been set on boards and displayed at the back of the garden. At Christmas we asked residents to send in requests for memorial stars for lost loved ones and we painted gold stars with their messages which were then set on the trellis. In addition to this we bought a Christmas Tree for the garden and ran a project with Sully Scouts, Brownies and Jubilee playgroup to make Christmas decorations using natural materials to decorate both the tree and the trellis. This was a great success. We had solar fairy lights donated and these finished off the Christmas Community Garden perfectly.
During the year we ran a monthly photo competition and the 12 winning entries were used to create a Sully themed Calendar, we sold over 200 calendars, the profits from which were put back into our projects pot.
A local resident created Sully Village Hub wooden carved Christmas Decorations and donated them to us to raise funds for SVG projects. A very generous donation, from a talented and thoughtful resident.
Christmas brought devastation to the village with the worst flooding on record, several homes were flooded out on Christmas Eve. A team of volunteers was organised via Sully Village Hub and the community came together in an incredible way. We set up a Fund for the flood victims and we were overwhelmed by the response. We added the money from our calendar sales to this fund and were able to send payments out to all those residents who requested it, to help them with their immediate expenses.
Due to other commitments two of our members sadly left SVG in 2020, Nicky Parry and Louise Morgan, we thank them both for all their hard work and dedication to the team. Special thanks to Nicky Parry who was my wing-woman throughout the formation and first year of SVG and continues to be our greatest supporter.
These positions were soon filled by Phil Baguley, Kay Francis Bowring and Andy Clifton who all became constituted members of the team. Their enthusiasm, dedication and expertise make them invaluable!
The New Year saw us back in full lockdown and unable to run any projects. In March the anniversary of the first lockdown came and the world stopped to remember all those who sadly passed during the pandemic. In memory of this we added yellow ribbons to the Community Garden.
As the weather improved and weeds started to surface our garden team started work again on the Community Garden. Weeding and tidying up was completed and we purchased several colourful plants. Our volunteers added seeds to several areas and we think this year it will be bigger and more beautiful than ever! In May we are working with Sully Brownies to cultivate one area in the garden that is currently just grass/weeds and will scatter wild seeds and plant bee bombs, in the hope that this will attract more butterflies and bees. The Brownies are hoping to release butterflies into the garden later in the year.
Our first new project for 2021 has been with Sully School who are making a beach themed fence for our Community Garden, using materials sourced by SVG and financed by local sponsors. This will provide a lovely splash of colour in one section of the garden that is currently empty and will allow the children to make their own unique mark on their community garden.
Our Garden Team are running a new project with Sully Sports and Social Club to create a wildflower area near the roadside of the club which will provide a colourful entrance to the village.
Our next upcoming project will hopefully be a community beach clean (pandemic allowing) towards the end of the Summer when the beach is likely to be most in need of cleaning. This could be tied in with the Great British Beach Clean which is an annual MCS UK event held in September.
We have our ongoing 2022 Calendar Project, residents are sending in pictures to us which will be voted on towards the end of the year and our Calendar will go on sale late November.
We have no other immediate projects planned for now, our current ones will keep us busy throughout the year but we always look forward to receiving requests or suggestions from the community and if we can run them, we will. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received for all of our projects, we live in a fantastic community who have shown the incredible sense of togetherness we have here in the village. This is what drives us to run our projects and makes each one a very rewarding experience.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to everybody who has supported us with donations, sponsorship and grants, without you we would not be able to run any projects and we value every single one of you.
I very much look forward to seeing what the next year will bring and would like to thank all of our amazing SVG team members for their hard work, support and dedication.
Sully Village Group Chairman