Civic Association update April 2021

Dear Members,

As we are all too aware we are in the midst of very challenging times and we do hope you are keeping safe and well. Following the disappointing cancellation of nearly all the 2020 events the Civic Association plans for 2021 are having to adapt to the changing circumstances as they unfold; we can be certain that this year’s Lamb Feast and Hidden Gardens won’t happen on their traditional weekend in June.

We are monitoring this situation closely and it may be possible to hold some kind of event later in the year. Any event that we do put on will need to fully comply with whatever guidance and restrictions are in place at the time and as everyone will be aware the advice about changes has been challenging to all organisers and businesses. We are clearly duty bound to ensure any event can be delivered safely. We are considering the Hidden Gardens and Lamb Feast as two separate events so that if it is feasible to run the Hidden Gardens in the earlier part of the Summer we don’t lose the opportunity.

We will definitely be entering “Britain In Bloom” this year and so it would be fantastic if people are able to display either window boxes, hanging baskets or pots outside their houses and also take some time to tidy up some of the more public outside spaces to help the village look it’s absolute best. We will share more details about this separately in due course, but just wanted to take the opportunity now to hopefully get you thinking about what you could do!

The lack of events is a financial challenge for the Civic Association, and in particular, not being able to run the Lamb Feast and Hidden Gardens last year clearly had a significant impact on our income. We have some outgoings that need to be covered but perhaps the most significant issue is that we need have sufficient cash available to underwrite the next Lamb Feast and a reasonable expectation that it can with the large numbers of people who normally enjoy the day out it offers.

On the positive side, and despite the pandemic, the Advent Windows and Father Christmas on his Sledge brightened the December evenings and the Easter windows provided colour to the emerging spring. We would usually have held our AGM in January, but obviously we are unable to hold this at present and we will look to hold the AGM as and when guidelines and restrictions allow us to.

We will obviously keep you updated once there is an air of certainty about our options for outdoor and indoor events.

We did manage some “virtual” events last year and it has been great to see the different ways we have been able to engage with the wider community as a whole. The ”Virtual Hidden Gardens” did highlight the diverse and creative nature of many of the gardens in the village and is still available to view on the website if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet. We held a quiz night and bingo party that was completed over Zoom and were very enjoyable distractions in the time before Christmas and I think everyone would agree that the fantastic advent windows that were on display really brightened up our “lock down” walks around the village. A massive thankyou to everyone involved in our on-line efforts.

Amidst all this we would like to offer a big thankyou as well to those who have been involved in some of the open space upkeep by weeding and litter-picking and the upkeep of the Woodland Walk and the hanging baskets around the village.

The work of FROGs (Friends of the Guildhall) has continued. The highlight is the amazing transformation of the entrance area, stairs and doorways into all the main rooms of the Guildhall, this was a real labour of love by Andy Cooper. At the same time both the alarm and fire/smoke detection systems were updated. We now need to encourage Plymouth to undertake some of the urgently needed exterior renovation work on the front and the ‘Council Chamber’ roof.

In addition, SMaRRT (St Maurice against Rat Run Traffic) has engaged constructively with both Plymouth City Council and the Joint Authorities team responsible for Sherford working with a National Highways consultancy ‘WYG’ seeking a solution to the growing volume of traffic in the conservation area, it is not clear that Plymouth want to honour their commitments underpinning the approval of planning permission for Sherford.

We hope to arrange some on-line activities this year, but as already said we are looking to see if/when we can put on live events either in The Guildhall or in some of the fantastic outside space we are lucky to have and enjoy. If anybody does have any ideas about any on-line events or activities they would like to see happen, please do let us know.

You can email us direct at hello@plymptonstmaurice.com

Many thanks,

Pete Lock, Membership Secretary

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