We have been working hard to bring the Greening Grey Britain campaign to life this year in a variety of ways. We have been focusing on wildlife habitats to attract insects, birds and hedgehogs.
In April 2017, we built a massive Bug Hotel on Shaw’s Green which we call Altrincham’s Airborne BnB. It was built with the help of the Welton family using both natural and discarded materials. We have just finished planting the roof with alpines and succulents.
In addition to the bug hotel, we have spent the year planting for bees and other pollinators on our Walkway, on the Central Reservation and our Wildflower project.
We also took part in the Great British Bee Count in June and challenged the Eco-Team children at Navigation Primary School to spot a variety of insects on a printed list.
Carefully secreted on Barrington Green and the Four Seasons Walkway we have a total of three new hedgehog houses which were installed in 2017. Our hedgehog food keeps disappearing so we hope that they are being made use of by our prickly friends.
In January 2017, we ran two free Bird Feeder Making Workshops at Altrincham’s Wyevale Garden Centre. Children enjoyed talking about the wildlife in their garden whilst decorating empty drinks bottles and upcycling them into bird feeders which we then filled with bird seed.
The Mouse House is a sad story because building contractors destroyed it in June 2017. We had been using four compost bins on Shaw’s Green for 18 months. One of them attracted a family of mice so we let them have it and left them in peace. Unfortunately, the rear boundary wall was condemned and contractors who demolished it also emptied our precious compost out and buried it under rubble. We haven’t seen the mice since.
Since July 2016, volunteers with ‘Our Altrincham’ collected 325 bags of rubbish. However, they’ve been cleaning up Altrincham since July 2010 and have just topped their 2,000 bag milestone – a remarkable achievement and an endlessly positive contribution to the community.
Come rain or shine, once every 8 weeks or so, volunteers of all ages (over 5) don their high visibility vests and follow designated routes to clean up the town - picking up litter, removing fly-posting and fly-tipping and sweeping up broken glass. Our Altrincham also supports community events like Altrincham Festival either with full waste management or just by lending litter picking equipment. The group also facilitates litter picks for youth groups such as Cubs, Beavers, Brownies and Guides. The group is largely financed via donations and fundraising activities, but Altrincham Unlimited has recently assisted by funding the purchase of new equipment and supplies to the value of £1,035.
Our Altrincham supports Altrincham In Bloom all year round and involves volunteers in other cleaning activities such as graffiti removal and street name sign cleaning. Over the course of a year, some signs can become illegible so regular cleaning is very helpful. The group also do their bit to report environmental issues which need attention by the One Trafford Partnership.
It has been acknowledged that in our ever-increasing disposable society, that town centre waste volumes are rising and that the local authority needs to provide larger bins. Together we have considered solar-powered trash compactors but decided in the end to trial public recycling bins in the town centre. A prototype bin is currently in production and the plan is to replace existing bins with these new, larger, more environmentally-friendly bins and to use what is removed to replace some of the smaller, open-topped bins around the town. One Trafford are hoping to put a display in an empty shop window with a ‘coming soon’ type message to help prepare the public for the arrival of these bins and to encourage them to use them properly. Altrincham has been substantially revitalised in recent years and footfall has grown particularly around the Market Quarter. The provision of additional bins and replacement of small open-topped bins is largely a result of lobbying on the part of Altrincham Unlimited and Our Altrincham.
In 2016/17, Trafford recycled over 60% of its household waste, more than any other Greater Manchester District and is in the top ten of all English Authorities for recycling.
Altrincham In Bloom are fervent advocates of reusable bags so we decided to put our money where out mouth is and launch our first piece of merchandising which is not only very useful, but also spreads a positive message to encourage civic pride and makes a small profit to help support our work. In early May 2017, we launched our ‘Altrincham’s Blooming Gorgeous’ bags, designed by Jo Cushing from Open Studios.