Kettering Allotments Society
Secretary's Annual Report
2018, to be presented at the 2019 AGM
This report covers
January to December 2018
The year started
wet and cold, with snow and the “beast from the east” delaying
Spring. Then came a long dry spell and heatwave with over 9
weeks of hot dry weather. Allotment gardeners were out in all
weathers enjoying their plots.
As in previous
years, our four fields are generally fully let, with a
reasonable level of turnover, meaning that those on our waiting
lists do not have to wait long. Clearing vacant plots of rubbish
and waste (such as carpet) before re-letting them is important
to give new members a clean slate, to enforce our rules and
improve the overall appearance of our fields. We are grateful
for all the hard work done by our stewards in this respect as
well as all the other unseen duties they perform. The system of
putting 100gsm weed control fabric on vacant plots continues to
be successful. New members are not overwhelmed with weeds and
are less likely to give up; if they do give up the following
tenant has a much more manageable plot too.
Our rents remain
low and allotments are very affordable The treasurer will report
separately on our finances.
functions efficiently. We appointed our first Data Manager
(Ilona Bickle) who now assists the treasurer and secretary and
advises the committee to ensure that we are compliant with the
new GDPR law that came into effect in May 2018. May I take this
opportunity to ask all members to keep us updated of any changes
to phone numbers, emails etc, so that our database is
One of the
committee members, Brian Nix, died suddenly in September. Brian
had been a Bridstock cup winner twice and will be greatly missed
by everyone who knew him.
Security on our
fields continues to improve. We purchased Heras panels to
reinforce the fence at Margaret Road and these were secured
thanks to the hard work of our members. These panels together
with thorns and brambles do eventually provide a very good
barrier at our boundaries, as has been shown in previous years.
The committee is very grateful to the volunteers who erected
these panels. Northfield Avenue security needs further
improvement, but we have been fortunate in the offer of new
gates free of charge courtesy of Network Rail in return for
access when they install infrastructure for the programme to
upgrade the railway line. We also obtained a few more IBC water
tanks and blue barrels at Scott Road and these were sold at cost
to members, further increasing our water storage capacity and
reducing future water bills.
despite our continued efforts to improve security, we have
suffered some break-ins. Thieves with cut straight through our
very expensive padlocks at Scott Road twice and removed
cultivators and strimmers. Another time the thieves found a weak
point in the boundary. Committee members spent time to reinforce
the boundary and we paid a tree surgeon to cut some of the
overgrown hedge plants down and allow them to thicken out.
A major improvement
to Scott Road has been the clearing and levelling of the main
car park. Early in the year we paid KBC to heap a massive pile
of tree leaves and mulch in one corner. Later in the year we
were able to fill in some significant hollows and remove weeds
and debris to create a fabulous space for mulch deposits from
tree surgeons. Many thanks to all who helped in this
project that has transformed the car park.
We continue to be
grateful recipients of tree shreddings and wood chips.
Increasing numbers of members are using these and other
materials as mulch. Members who mulched heavily in 2018 found
that their plots did not need watering during the drought and
heatwave, so saving effort and reducing the water bills of the
newsletter on WordPress has continued every month and has a wide
readership. More members are now “following” so never miss out
on news and updates from the committee. Nearly 200 people read
some editions and currently 41 people are followers.
The winner of the
Bridgstock Cup in 2018 was Pat Mullins. Pat was runner-up in
2017 and surpassed his previous best with the help of his
grandson Ryan. The runner up was Norman Elson, on Margaret Road
and the best newcomer was Sonia Wasowska of Northfield Avenue.
Well done everyone and many thanks to the cup judges for their
Finally, a big
thank you to all the committee members, field stewards and other
Society members who have contributed time, money or labour to
help the smooth running and improvement of our fields.