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Bread making on Mental Health Day

Mental Health Day 7th October 2018

The Isle of Wight Festival of Mind, organised by AspireRyde, was held as part of Mental Health Day and there was a range of activities on offer to help people relax and enjoy life a little more.

I took part in the bread making course run by Vectis Housing. It was an excellent course and was enjoyed by all of us who took part. The end result was tasty too!

Just out of the oven!

The Festival of Mind was held at their community buildings, formerly Holy Trinity Church. Within the grounds of the old church was community growing project called Growing Great Things aimed at improving the health and wellbeing and reducing isolation of local people. I met up with Alice the organiser who told me the project was really well attended  with activities happening three days a week. Numbers of people attending were high with the limiting factor being time and money.

Tomatoes from the Growing Great Things project

Growing Great Things is just one of several green centered activities to be found on the Island aimed at connecting people with the outdoors and the natural environment.  It seems to me that perhaps more could be done to promote these excellent activities to both the wider public and to the health and care profession so that they can be better accessed by more people and better funded.

 

 

 

Photos by Pete Johnstone

More photos of Mental health day can be seen here

Pete’s pictures now up in the New Rembrandt Gallery, Newport

A new venue for my pictures in the centre of the Isle of Wight! Throughout October they can be found at the New Rembrandt Gallery in Newport.

All the scenes are of West Wight and the images have been printed on Aluminium Dibond, a process which ensures excellent picture quality and durability. The matte finish reduces the glare that can often be seen when pictures are mounted behind glass. The prints are 21x28cm priced at £55 each.

The images, all taken over the past year are of the coast and mostly shot in winter, when I reckon the light on the Isle of Wight can be at its best.

New Rembrandt Gallery, 15 Scarrots Lane, Newport PO30 1JD

 

 

Yar Estuary walk and AONB boundary review

A walk along the Yar estuary

I can join the Freshwater to Yarmouth walk just down my road. It is currently my favourite walk as it seems to capture the best landscapes of lowland England. I head out one glorious September morning.

The prominent landscape feature of the walk Is the Western Yar estuary and I cross the river at the Freshwater causeway with a warning sign alerting driver to be aware of the possibility that swans might be in the road. Are Swans that small that they could be overlooked?

Then the walk is along the old railway line that once served Yarmouth town. The railway line which closed in 1953, is long since dismantled but you can still spot the old metal fence posts that once ran along side the line. The woodland growing up here is quite diverse and on previous walks I have once spotted a dormouse and on numerous occasions red squirrels. Today, I spot a Buzzard lurking in the wood and it flies from one tree to another before flying off across the river.

Past Backets copse the view of the estuary opens up and takes centre stage. Today, I see curlew, lapwing and an egret but later in the year, the estuary is full of wading birds and I have seen Avocet, Spoonbill and my favourite goose, the Dark Bellied Brent Geese where at times, they can be seen in their hundreds. And a  perfect sight it is too.

Wildlife designations

The Yar Estuary is internationally recognised for its special wildlife and the designations include a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a  RAMSAR and a Special Protection Area.   Each one of these designations is from a different body and should give the area, particularly the wildlife and waterscape protection against any potential damaging development. The fourth designation afforded to the river and surrounding hinterland including Yarmouth town is the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is a national government AONB boundary review currently taking place and I sincerely hope that more of the Island will be given AONB status as the current boundary makes little sense to me.

As I head towards Yarmouth I take a diversion to Mill Copse. This lovely woodland manged by the Wight Nature Fund has a rich variety of trees to be found in it. My favourites must be the coppiced Field Maple to be found on the far side along the footpath. Goodness knows when they were last coppiced, but they do look magnificently ancient.

Yarmouth Town

Back on the old railway line, past the old water mill into Yarmouth. Plenty to see and do in Yarmouth, best pub is arguably the Kings Head but I go and look at the newly restored pier – built in 1876 it is said to the oldest  wooden pier in the country and has just been beautifully restored, thanks to the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £778,000. I want to see the lobster boats, but all I see is their gear squeezed between some posh yachts.

I cross the Yar over the bridge, bypassing Norton Spit with its sand dunes habitat – the only sand dune habitat that I know of on the Island. Up through Saltern Wood with its No Trespassing signs, I see evidence of badgers and onto the highest point of the walk and views of the chalk downland hills and of Tennyson Monument. But I will leave that walk for another day.

 

Photos and text Pete Johnstone

Isle of Wight hedge laying competition

This was the first hedgelaying competition I have been to on the Island. It was an enjoyable day, well attended with wonderful sunny weather.

The standard was high and it was good to see younger entrants as well as the more experienced hedge layers.

Also a good rich source of images for me including of course portraits.

Plenty of sponsors – Landscape Therapy; Wight AONB; Pinkeye Graphics Ltd

All entrants had given their photo permissions.

Coombe Farm, Isle of Wight

Photos: Pete Johnstone

 

West Wight People and Place

My aim over 2017 with West Wight People and Place was to try and capture a sense of place of the area, through photographing people in the rural community of West Wight – and through them their activities and connections to heritage, land, sea and community.

Whether I have achieved my ambition or not is open to question, but personally I have certainly learnt a lot about this part of the Isle of Wight such as the social issues around living in coastal towns and the management of landscape of the Wight AONB and Heritage Coast.

The people in the photographs are undertaking a whole range of activities to be found on this western tip of the island and include cattle farming at Alum Bay, next to the world famous Needles to willow weaving an arbor on the wildlife rich Yar estuary, just a few minutes walk from Yarmouth.

James Osman, Warren Farm, Alum Bay

Each picture in the exhibition has some accompanying text about the person in the photograph to explain who they are and there connection to the West Wight area. Other people featured include a shepherd, artist, historian, community activist, cabinet maker and more.

Kingsley Hollis, Shepherd, Newtown National Nature Reserve

An image from West Wight people and Place

Joanna English, Artist, Headon Warren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is being held at the Dimbola Museum and Galleries in Freshwater Bay from the 26th January until the 13th May.

Further details to be found Here 

West Wight People and Place

The West Wight People and Place project is taking shape. A few more portraits to take and then final preparation for the exhibition early next year.

Remember those old grainy black and white photographs of farm workers starring at the camera, their names, now long forgotten?

Well, the idea behind West Wight People and Place is to try and capture a more modern version of the community in the West Wight area. People who are, in some way, connected with the land, sea, community or heritage of this wind-swept corner of the Isle of Wight.

Its a moment in time.

Photography: Pete Johnstone

 

New crowdfunding initiatives and support for community pubs

Funding update.

Crowdfunding is a tried and tested way of raising money via the internet for a project or cause that requires financial support. Originally crowdfunding was a way that entrepreneurs could raise funding to get a new business venture off the ground, but as crowdfunding is becoming more popular, community and environmental groups are using it as a practical way of raising funds for social projects that benefit people and/or the local environment such as play areas and nature reserves.

As crowdfunding becomes more widely known bigger companies and financial institutions are now taking an interest and I highlight three new initiatives below, one from a supermarket giant and two from high street banks. If you are thinking of raising funds for a project via crowdfunding and one of the initiatives below meets your criteria then it is well worth considering putting your project through that crowdfunding platform, however, there is of course no certainty of receiving any funding from these companies so if you do apply and get support then treat it as a bonus.

My other funding news item this month is around support for communities wanting to take on running a local pub. Having recently moved to the Isle of Wight I have seen the sad closure of several village pubs. Pub closure has a real impact on the local communities, particularly if there is no other pub in the vicinity. So, this support offered by the Plunkett Foundation with funding from the Government and a new charity supporting community business is to be welcomed.

Tesco Backit

Small food and drinks businesses have the chance to show off their products and campaign for funding through Backit – a Tesco and Seedrs run crowdfunding platform.

Tesco will review the campaigns and will provide advice and mentoring from industry experts. There is a £2000 minimum target with no maximum. The costs to the business are 1.4% (=20p) payment processing from Stripe the payment provider.

The offer is open to all UK businesses and might be useful for small Isle of Wight businesses who are developing their local produce ideas. Details and further information can be found here.

Life skills on Spacehive

Barclays is using Spacehive and crowdfunding to encourage young people running crowdfunding campaigns that develop their skills. If you are 16 – 24, they could pledge up to half of your funding target up to a total of £500. The idea of the fund is to develop skills such as marketing, creating videos, pitching to businesses as well as improving your local area.

Crowdfunder

And mentioned in a previous blog, Santander through their Changemaker Fund is putting up to £200,000 to support social enterprises, community groups and small charities in the UK that help disadvantaged people in local communities.

More than a Pub

The Community Pub Business Support programme is a unique two-year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England. The programme has a value of 33.62 million and is jointly funded by Department of Communities Local Government and Power to Change.

The programme is being led by the Plunkett Foundation and is well worth investigating if your community has lost or about to lose your pub.

As always please let me know how you get on if you do apply for any of these funds.

Photo Credit: Pete’s November travels on the Isle of Wight.

© Pete Johnstone.

 

A Great Place

October has been spent meeting some interesting people – perhaps you may know some of them from my mosaic – and in visiting places around the island to get to know my new home.  I am learning a lot of what the Island has got to offer and what it has not.

Finding the funds to do valuable work is a common theme when talking to people be it on church or parish projects, landscape improvements or those working on regeneration projects such as the Pluto Project in Sandown, mentioned in my last blog.  It is good to know that crowdfunding is being talked about with enthusiasm and hopefully my crowdfunding video – tips for success will be of help to those who have yet to venture into this form of fundraising.

I was really chuffed that On the Wight chose one of my photos, Abstract Sands to be their photo of the week – particularly pleasing for me as most of my photography tends to be of people rather of landscapes.

The two best venues I have been to this month are the Piano Cafe in Freshwater which serves excellent coffee and the Neil Williams Gallery in Ventnor whose landscape photography is truly stunning. The Island is certainly a great place and I look forward to seeing more of it and meeting new people in the months to come.

Help save the Pluto Pavillion, a WW2 remnant of the D-Day landings on the Isle of Wight

It’s good to see crowdfunding being put to good use help safeguard a unique World War 2 structure at Yaverland near Sandown on the east coast of the Isle of Wight.

Ian Boyd of the Arc consultancy showed me around the old Pavilion which is one of the last known intact structures of the PLUTO project – the Pipeline Under The Ocean that supplied essential fuel to support the D-Day landings and the Allied invasion from June 1944.

The Pavilion housed the generators (and still does) which powered the 16 Sandown pumps and delivered thousands of tonnes of fuel under the English Channel to France, a vital part of the whole operation but now in urgent need of repair.

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to raise £5000 to help stabilise the walls – once the building is restored to the original design the plan will be to ensure this amazing story can be fully told.

JustGiving Crowdfunding page

Image from the Justgiving Crowdfunding page

To help save the pavilion go to the Just giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/PLUTO

Thank you for your support.

Pete Johnstone