Friday, 17 March 2017

TREE WORK IN SPROTBOROUGH PLANTATION

As you will have seen from the notes of the AGM, it was brought to our notice that a lot of trees are being cut down in Sprotborough Plantation and concern was expressed that too much was being cleared.  

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have the contract to maintain the woodland at Sprotborough and, as a result of the question raised, an approach was made to explain the reasoning behind this clearance.  What follows is the reply and I hope this explanation will be sufficient to answer the questions raised.

"The woods at Sprotbrough Flash are very evenly aged (all tree are the same height and girth and a small number of species), which isn’t ideal for the variety of other things (plants, insects, birds) that live in the woods. Having areas with differently aged trees, enables an understory to develop (hazel, hawthorn etc. are good for this). Some bird species like areas that have been cleared within the last 5 years and some like woods that are 5-10 years old, etc. 

As the areas we are clearing are a small proportion of the entire woods, the existing things have plently of space to remain, but hopefully we’ll encourage a few more species to nest on site.  

As none of the YWT staff or vols are entomologists, then it’s harder to prove a difference in insect populations, but studies by others have shown that it is beneficial to insects.

Jim Horsfall, Reserves Officer, (South Yorkshire)"

Thursday, 16 March 2017

BERNARD PEARSON


We are sorry to report that Bernard Pearson who has been a stalwart of the Group, acting initially as Chairman before relinquishing that position more recently, has had to resign this year due to ill-health.  He will be greatly missed and we would like to acknowledge the time and effort he has put in to supporting the preservation of the Don Gorge, both as a conservation volunteer and as our representative on several partnerships, over many years.

THEMED WALKS IN 2017



AGM REPORT

The AGM was attended by 13 people.

The Annual Report & Accounts were received and can be found on our website. However, the notes of the presentation by our very interesting speaker, Pat Hagan, Head of Service and Communities at Doncaster Council, are shown below.

The Election of Officers and Committee Members can also be found on our website.

DGCG AGM 13.3.17 at Sprotbrough library Presentation by Pat Hagan, Head of Service & Communities, Doncaster Council

Job covers 4 main areas:

• Anti-social behaviour and low level crime
• Community engagement and capacity building
• Stronger families programme
• Adult well-being and to enable older people to live in their own homes for longer

These four also include sports and leisure facilities and interpretation and translation facilities, eg in relation to asylum issues.

Research had been done into what people want most out of the council and the issues that came up were what most people want:
Quiet, clean areas, reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour and good local services rather than centralised ones. Generally a nice place to live.

How do they achieve this:
10 neighbourhood with a team leader.    Sprotbrough and Mexborough have Glyn Smith in charge and 5 others.
All issues can be covered by special people allocated to them and this method seems to be effective. 

Some statistics:
• 500 individuals receive support through Well-being Services
• 1300 volunteers help out
• 720 families receive support through the Stronger Families initiative
• 1200 incidents of anti-social behaviour have been dealt with, including 300 cases of persistent offenders, and are reducing.

Seed funding of £13000 is available to help establish new groups, eg gardening, catering, etc. 

Some Challenges:
• Mexborough – localised gang crime has been eliminated when 13 people were imprisoned.
• Edlington – anti-social behaviour was targeted and was damped down. These types of behaviour often flare up again and have to be focused on again.
• Rough sleepers/homelessness issues in the town centre can lead to anti-social behaviour. A problem before Christmas was solved through discussion to establish specific needs.

Questions:
• There are currently only 5 or 6 rough sleepers in town and approximately 500 beds covering a variety of needs available.
• A self-funding bureau is available for anyone needing an interpreter which covers about 27 languages.
• The Neighbourhood Response Team is still operative on a 24 hour basis to cover any problems which arise. Video recording and night-time patrolling also spots more general problems, eg street lamps which have gone out. It is linked to the police via Tel: 101 or Doncaster Council on Tel: 736000
• Litttering and fly-tipping are a big problem. Some covert surveillance methods or sorting through rubbish to identify where it has come from are used and can lead to prosecutions. 3500 fines have been given for littering and dog fouling. Gates have been erected to prevent access to lanes and dark areas where rubbish is known to be tipped. Food outlets, eg KFC and Macdonalds, are also targeted to reduce packaging to a minimum.
• At Cusworth park, litter is picked up on a nightly basis by a volunteer, but by next morning, it can be all over again from people parking and eating takeaways in the night.
• Although good work is done in the Don Gorge, there is room for enhancement and it would be nice to have new benches on the TPT which has just been tarmacced, some of which is already finding its way into the river in places due to misuse by fishermen climbing down the bank. Woodland is also being cut down by YWT which seems unreasonable.

Friday, 3 March 2017

AGM & OPEN MEETING

All are welcome to join us at this event to learn more about the work of the Group

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

NEWS, FEBRUARY 2017

With Christmas behind us, a new year is upon us and, with all resolutions broken by now, I expect we are all looking forward to new adventures. It’s a bit gloomy here in the Don Gorge as I write, with damp and cold prevailing, but despite the fact that all the perennials in our garden have well and truly gone, winter-flowering shrubs are in bloom, catkins and snowdrops are coming along well, bulbs are sprouting, and buds are beginning to show on several other shrubs.

Spring is always the time for a good spring clean and with that in mind, we have joined the Keep Britain Tidy weekend event and are having another litter pick on Saturday 4 March, so please put this date in your diary to come along and join us. As last year, when we ‘Cleaned for the Queen’, we will cover the trans-pennine trail, the island and the fish pass area and really hoping that it won’t have to be postponed due to flooding again. Posters and more information will be displayed a bit nearer the time.

We have applied for a Tesco grant to enhance the area behind the fish pass where there is an historic wall. If we get the money, we expect to start around April time by clearing the area of fallen trees and other debris before rebuilding the wall and steps where necessary and planting appropriate shrubs and trees near the sculpture. We haven’t heard whether we have been given this opportunity yet, but I hope Tesco shoppers will make sure they get a token with their shopping so that they can vote for us if we are chosen as one of three projects to benefit.

Our Himalayan Balsam project last year was considered to be a great success, but will need following up again this year. It will be interesting to see whether the overall amount has been reduced when it starts to grow again, as it surely will. We will be looking for new volunteers to help with all this work so please give it your careful consideration and see if you are able to join us. We have a hardy band of conservation volunteers who turn out regularly, but few are young and we need some new blood if we are to continue to carry out the much-needed work.  Anyone who bought our 2017 Calendar will have easy access to the Tuesday working days; if you didn’t get one, please get in touch. Perhaps we could organise some weekend working if that was easier for some people. Please let me know.

Talking of calendars, our first was a great success, having sold out before Christmas. We intend to repeat this next year and would welcome photos covering the whole year. Please send jpeg images to me if you think you have a good one – or more!

I am also in the process of arranging themed walks, perhaps once a month, during the summer so look out for posters or add your name to our Friends list by emailing me if you would like a more direct contact. If you are already a Friend, please encourage others to join us.

 Finally, it will be our AGM on Monday evening 13 March, when we hope to have a speaker again. We are returning to Sprotbrough for it, but really hope Warmsworth residents will join us. We have been looking for a new Treasurer for a couple of years now and, as half the Don Gorge is in Warmsworth, would also welcome one or two residents from there. Again, please contact me if you are interested.

 Liz Reeve, Secretary Tel: 01302 313030
Email: lizreeve@dongorgecommunitygroup.com
Website: http://www.dongorgecommunitygroup.com/

Monday, 10 October 2016

THE DON GORGE CALENDAR 2017

Our first ever calendar of the Don Gorge for 2017 is now available. With thirteen full-colour photographs, it shows the Gorge at different times of the year, as well as showing useful dates and reminders of our Conservation Volunteer working days. It also comes with an envelope so that it can be sent to friends and family. Copies may be purchased at a cost of £5 each and enquiries should be made by email to lizreeve@dongorgecommunitygroup.com or by telephone to 01302 313030.