Diana Toynbee (far left) and Ellie Chowns (far right) congratulate 6th Form Green election candidate Anna Ricks (right) and her campaign manager Lily (left)

Sixth Form Students inspire hope

Hereford Sixth Form students from three political persuasions inspired a crowd of attendees at De Koffie Pot this week with their hopes for the future.

Mock Election candidates Anna Ricks (Green) and James McClelland (Communist) were joined by Campaign Managers Lily Andrews (Green) and Henry Jenner (Labour) to talk about their recent election campaign, what they had learnt, and their hopes for the future of politics.

They then joined in discussion at tables for a serious of topics including ‘What are the top worries for young people today?’, ‘What do we feel positive about?’ and ‘How do we engage young people more in politics?’.

Organised by Hereford Green Party but open to all, Big Green Conversations cover a wide range of political and ethical topics and take place every fourth Wednesday at De Koffie Pot at Hereford’s Left Bank. They are a relaxed, participatory and sociable event to which all are welcome.

Organiser Rob Hattersley said ‘These students were truly inspiring and a credit to their college and to Herefordshire. They understood the issues and although they had concerns for the future they also gave us a lot of hope.’

Top issues raised were not surprisingly tuition fees, student debt and poverty, and the need for better paid jobs in Herefordshire. Young people were also concerned about increasing division in education between schools who compete instead of co-operate, and a high-stress academic system which has implications for mental health as well as undervaluing vocational skills. They did however express real hope for the future of politics, with student Anna Ricks (Green) saying: “It seems that things need to get quite bad for people to get involved, so now we are seeing more young people engaged because it suddenly seems really important.”

Anna added: “We really enjoyed the evening. We felt very welcome and it was great to see older and younger people discussing important issues together and understanding each other.’

Henry Jenner, Labour supporter in the mock election added: “This is a great event which I’d recommend others to come along to, whatever party you support. In our election we actually found we had more in common with each other than we had thought.’

The mock election was won by Labour’s Adam Hill with 136 votes, second was Green Anna Ricks on 64, and third James McClellend (Communist). The Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates, who could not attend the event, came fourth and fifth respectively. It is run most years at the college with Labour winning last year as well, and the Greens the year before that.

To engage more young people in politics, the students suggested lowering the voting age to 16, and proper political education for all from an early age, both of which happen to be Green party policy. They also warned older political activists against trying to be too clever with social media! “It has to come from us”, they argued.

Green Parliamentary candidates Ellie Chowns (North Herefordshire) and Diana Toynbee (South Herefordshire) also attended the event and ended the evening congratulating the students for their inspiring input.

Spring Greens is Back!

Spring Greens Fair is a family-friendly sustainability event for mutual education, training and the demonstration of innovative skills and ideas. Held every Early May Bank Holiday it aims to showcase inspiring, enjoyable and healthy solutions to the difficult social, environmental and economic issues which confront us regionally, nationally and globally; whilst being a fantastic day-out.

If you are Going to the Fair, you can watch demonstrations of traditional crafts and new technologies; listen to live music and poetry; attend talks and discussions on anything from local conservation to carbon credits; meet old and new friends; buy organic plants and green products; enjoy freshly prepared food and drinks; join interesting and amusing activities; expand knowledge on guided walks; or just stroll around the beautiful grounds of Court of Noke.

Find out more here.

Leominster Apple Fair: Blossom Walk

You are invite to a walk of approximately 3.5 miles led by Pete Blench of Walkers are Welcome. It will include the lovely old orchard on Risbury Hill Fort, where we will have a bring-and-share picnic tea.

Meet 2.30pm at Humber Woodland of Remembrance on Sunday 7th May 2017. £3.00.

Transport can also be arranged from Broad Street car park, Leominster. Ring 01568 780886 to arrange this or to find out more.Our thanks to Diane and Robert Thomas of Risbury Court Farm for allowing us to walk on their land.

Lots going on at Wildlife Trust

There’s lots going on at Herefordshire Wildlife Trust in April and May. For further information on any of the following contact:

Anastasia Calder, Publicity and Events Officer

Email: a.calder@herefordshirewt.co.uk

Telephone: 01432 356872

Lower House Farm, Ledbury Road, Tupsley, Hereford.  HR1 1UT

Bromyard Downs Project: Spring Family Foraging                                                                                                                           Mon 10 April 2-4pm

An afternoon of foraging for wild food on the Downs with Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods.  This is a free workshop running as part of the Bromyard Downs Project, in partnership with the Bromyard Downs Common Association.

Venue:  Meet at the Main Car Park, Bromyard Downs, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4QP

Cost:  Free

Booking:  Advance booking is essential.  Contact Hannah on 07341 736182 or emailh.welsh@herefordshirewt.co.uk

Adventure Club – survival skills                                                                                                                                                                 Tues 11 April 10am-3pm

Develop your survival skills over the Easter holidays and learn how to forage for your own food with the WildPlay team at Queenswood.  Bring a packed lunch.

Venue:  Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Dinmore Hill, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PY.

Cost:  £15 per child aged 7+

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org or call 01432 356872.

WildPlay – Get Crafty and Play                                                                                                                                                                Wed 12, Wed 19 April 1.30-3.30pm

Fun activities with WildPlay over the Easter holidays at Queenswood.

Venue:  Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Dinmore Hill, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PY.

Cost:  £2 per child, children under 2 years free.  Usual parking charges apply.

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org or call 01432 356872.

Plant Detectives                                                                                                                                                                                               Thurs 13 April 1.30-3.30pm

Discover spring plants and enjoy fun activities with the WildPlay team over the Easter holidays at Queenswood.

Venue:  Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Dinmore Hill, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PY.

Cost:  £3 per child, £2 per adult.

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org  or call 01432 356872.

Adventure Club – survival skills                                                                                                                                                                 Tues 18 April 10am-3pm

Develop your survival skills over the Easter holidays and learn how to use knives safely with the WildPlay team at Queenswood.  Bring a packed lunch.

Venue:  Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Dinmore Hill, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PY.

Cost:  £15 per child aged 7+

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org or call 01432 356872.

Lake Play at Bodenham Lake                                                                                                                                                                      Thurs 20 April 10.30am-12.30pm

Seasonal wildlife inspired activities, crafts and games at Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve over the Easter holidays.  Bring a picnic and relax by the lake.

Venue: Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve, Bodenham, HR1 3JT.  Meet in the car park.  Grid reference SO 529 509

Cost:  Free.

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org or call 01432 356872

Annual Fritillary Day                                                                                                                                                                                     Sat 22 April 10am-2pm

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust (HWT) staff and volunteers will lead guided walks of the rich array of wildflowers and in particular, the nationally rare snake’s head fritillaries which grow on the Lugg meadow and talk about the history and wildlife that make this nature reserve unique.  The first walk will depart between 10.15am and 10.30am and then roughly every half hour with the last one leaving at 12.30pm.  There will also be WildPlay activities on offer for children in the garden planting fritillaries, making bee crafts, playing pollination games and pond dipping.

HWT and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership will also be surveying the fritillaries for the sixth year running.  This is part of a national project which is looking at fritillaries on a number of important floodplain sites.  Please come and help us count the fritillaries on the Lugg Meadow.  If you are interested in taking part please email Emma Rothero at emma.rothero@open.ac.uk or leave her a message on 01908 655645.  No previous experience is required.

Venue:  Lower House Farm, Ledbury Road, Tupsley, Hereford HR1 1UT. Directions: A438 out of Hereford turn left opposite the Cock of Tupsley (signposted- Herefordshire Nature Trust), Lower House Farm is the 17th Century black and white farm house down the lane. Grid ref: SO 536 404.

Cost:  £5.00 per adult.  Children up to 14 years old go free.

It is advisable to come equipped with warm clothing and good footwear as the Lugg Meadow can be incredibly cold and windy at this time of year and there is no shelter.

Bromyard Down Project:  Project Celebration, an evening of film and theatre at the Conquest                                 Sat 6 May 6-9pm

An evening of film and theatre to celebrate the achievements of the Bromyard Downs Project.  There will be drinks and canapes, followed by film screenings and a performance by the Conquest Theatre Youth Group.

Venue:  Conquest Theatre, Tenbury Rd, Bromyard HR7

Cost:  Free

The Bromyard Downs Project is a collaboration between Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and the Bromyard Downs Common Association (BDCA).  For further information about the project, go to http://www.bromyarddowns.co.uk/

Launch of Lugg Wetland Gem Project and Wildlife Watch Club                                                                                                 Sat 6 May 11am-2pm

Information event to launch Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Heritage Lottery funded Lugg Wetland Gem Project .  There will also be children’s nature craft activities to mark the launch of the Trust’s junior membership of Wildlife Watch and the Herefordshire Ornithological Club  will be on hand to help identify birds in the new bird hide.   This will be an opportunity to find out about how you can get involved.

Venue:  Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve, Bodenham, HR1 3JT

Cost:  Free

Please contact Sophie Cowling s.cowling@herefrodshirewt.co.uk or Hayley Herridge h.herridge@herefordshirewt.co.uk for further details.

Ewyas Harold Festival of Arts                                                                                                                                                                    Sat 27-Mon 29 May 10am-5pm except Mon 10am-4pm

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Artist in Residence, Richard Bavin, will be exhibiting a selection of his paintings as part of the ‘Inspired by Nature’ exhibition at the Temple Bar Inn during Ewyas Harold Festival of Arts in May. This is a new festival with venues across the village showcasing the work of local artists, along with events including Morris dancing, choral singing and llamas!

Richard will be unveiling a huge painting, 4 metres wide, of Lea and Paget’s Wood Nature Reserve in summer, begun as a public art project during h.Art 2016. More than a hundred visitors worked with him on the canvas and he has continued to develop it in the studio. All profits from the sale of the painting will be donated to HWT.

Free entry.  Details can be found on Richard’s website: www.richardbavin.com.  Meet Richard at The Temple Bar Inn on Saturday, 1-5pm & Monday, 1.30-4pm.

Adventure Club – survival skills                                                                                                                                                                 Tues 30 May 10am-3pm

Develop your survival skills over the May half term and learn how to make knots, swings and bridges with the WildPlay team at Queenswood.  Bring a packed lunch.

Venue:  Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Dinmore Hill, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PY.

Cost:  £15.  For ages 7+

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org or call 01432 356872.

WildPlay – Get Crafty and Play                                                                                                                                                                Wed 31 May 1.30-3.30pm

Join WildPlay for some magical forest fun with elves, fairies and pixies over May half term at Queenswood.

Venue:  Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum, Dinmore Hill, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0PY.

Cost:  £2 per child, children under 2 years free.

Booking:  Book your place online at www.queenswoodandbodenhamlake.org or call 01432 356872.



March For Europe

Greens are opposed to the ‘hard’ Brexit being pursued, we think recklessly, by Theresa May. We think this will damage the economy, makes Britain a more backward and inward looking nation, and wastes valuable time and resources when we should be focussed on much more pressing emergencies. We do not think most Leave voters wanted to pull out of the single market (in fact Leave politicians stated this would not happen), nor see EU and British citizens used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

It is also dangerous to sideline parliament in its crucial role of scrutinising the process and the outcome. Democracy is not a single event on the 23rd June 2017 after which we abandon power to an unelected prime minister to do whatever she wants. This is totalitarianism and un-British. We voted by a narrow margin to leave – we have not voted on where we want to go. Our MPs not only have the right, they also have a duty we gave them when elected to ensure decisions made in our name are good ones.

We are therefore happy to promote the March for Europe on 25th March which is being attended by the Herefordshire in Europe group who would be keen to welcome more locals aboard! There is a Facebook Group here, and you can contact the organiser, Polly Ernest, here.


Make Votes Matter in Herefordshire

Following a well attended Big Green Conversation at Left Bank, a cross-party campaign group on proportional representation is being formed and it’s first meeting is on Monday 20th.

With 100,000 people now having signed the petition, this issue will now be debated in parliament. We want to raise awareness of this in Herefordshire, and make the link between a fairer voting system and things voters care about such as a better NHS, action on air quality and schools funding. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm to help us make votes matter!

The meeting details are as follows:

Monday 20th March
7:30 – 9:00 pm
De Koffie Pot (upstairs), Bridge Street,
Hereford, Herefordshire

Check out Make Votes Matter news on this site, and on Facebook. To join the group, contact co-ordinator Natalia Waring or message the group on Facebook.

‘Thank you’ tea

We are having a tea party to thank all those who have helped in any way with the by-election, at The Folley, Luston Leominster HR6 0BX at 4pm on Sunday 2 April. There will also be a walk beforehand for anyone feeling energetic. Meet at the Highwood end of Bircher Common, just over the cattle grid at 2pm. (Instead of going left up the Croft Castle drive, continue up onto the common.) Contact Felicity on 01568 780886.

Spring Clean Leominster

Leominster Greens run regular volunteer litter picks in Leominster and have an extra big event coming up as part of THE GREAT BRITISH SPRING CLEAN on Sunday 5 March, 10-12. Meet Corn Square, Leominster. Equipment and bags provided. Bring your own gloves. You can join us in the town or clean up a street in your own area. More info from 01568 611734 or 780886.

Love Trumps Hate

A joint peaceful protest between several groups is convening at Hereford High Town on Monday 20th at 6pm.

This is part of a National Day of Action on 20th Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice.

It is to express the view that although Trump can come to the UK his visit should not be given the honour of a state visit due to his appalling views on people with disabilities, women and migrants. It is also to make clear that most people wish to welcome immigrants as fellow human beings. They pick our fruit, clean our shops and offices, and staff our hospitals. We are ashamed at the way our government is turning away child refugees who are left without carers.

Whatever our political views, we should treat all human beings with kindness. That is what protests across the UK on 20th are about.

Have your say on Hereford’s Big Green Conversation

We’d love supporters to complete a quick and easy survey about our first six months of Big Green Conversations at De Koffie Pot – even if you’ve not come along yet. This will help us to plan the next six months! Head along here.

Big Green Conversations are a new kind of sociable and participatory workshop event looking at the big issues we face as a society. We hold them in the fabulous upstairs room at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, and welcome supporters of other parties, and none. So far we have covered Brexit, progressive alliances, personality types and politics, why people won’t believe evidence on traffic, and fair votes. Have a say on the future of Wednesday Night Politics! Head along here.


Big Green Cabaret thanks

Thank all of those who attended our fund raising event, The Big Green Cabaret in Bromyard in September. We had six acts, all of whom performed for free, we raised £290.00 and everyone seemed to have a good time. On reflection, the event probably was a little too long, so next time, we’ll make it a bit shorter. We are thinking of making it a regular bi-annual event, so the next one will probably be in September 2018, if the planet still exists.

Trip to Swan Brewery

Herefordshire Greens will be visiting Swan Brewery in Leominster on Saturday, 4th February 2017 from 2-4pm.

This recently-established family-run brewery majors on sustainability. Experienced brewer Jimmy Swan has won green awards in the industry. We will join Leominster Allotments Society members on the tour (they use Swan’s spent hops for compost). Entry free/donation to Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital if you wish. Contact Pete at folley.farm@btinternet.com or 01568 780886.

Swan Brewery, Enterprise Park, Brunel Road, Leominster HR60LX

Skill Up!

As we move into 2017, a two year run up to winning more seats in local elections in May 2019, and a possible early general election, we urgently need to think about skilling-up our members and building an organised and effective campaign team.
So let’s start the new year as we mean to go on with a large Herefordshire contingent to the West Midlands Regional Conference on January 7th, which will be at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham City Centre 10am-5.15pm. This is the training and networking event of the year in the West Midlands, and is a fantastic opportunity to skill-up members and volunteers.
There are some great training sessions lined up, covering issues such as engaging more members and volunteers, producing engaging newsletters, and crafting election-winning messages.
It’s also a chance to inspire newer or less active members to get more involved. There is a session with our fantastic West Mids Mayoral candidate James Burn, and Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack is a special guest speaker.
Entry to this event is at the bargain price of £8 on the door, or £6 if people pay in advance via paypal. Those on low or no incomes can book the bursary fund rate, which is free.
Donations above the cost of the ticket are gladly accepted in order to help cover costs and contribute to the bursary fund. Whichever attendees decide to do, we’re still asking people to register in advance so we have an idea of numbers.
Members should register using the booking link. Any problems please get in touch: julien.pritchard@greenparty.org.uk. And if you do register, let Herefordshire branch know too – we might be able to share travel or sit together on the train!

BGC on Thursday 24th: Fracking the shire

A reminder that ‘Fracking the Shire’ is the title of our Big Green Conversation at De Koffie Pot on Thursday 24th November, 7pm for 7.30pm. Come along to find out what the fuss is about, what’s going on globally, and how it could affect Herefordshire specifically.

We are trying this event without the complication of Eventbrite – just turn up. But if you use Facebook please do click ‘Going’ and share the event as this really helps us to spread the word.

All welcome – please invite family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. If you can, download and email this poster around – or print and display!