Southend Apple Day – Saturday 7th October

As some of our friends (South East Essex Organic Gardeners, Southend In Transition and Spiralseed) are supporting this, it would be rude of us to not help to publicise this event! Also, we support it because we like the idea of community orchards and bringing food production as close to home as possible…

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Cleaning up the Pattocks

Pattocks is a sheltered housing complex run by Basildon Council. By definition it houses elderly, vulnerable, people many with mobility problems. One would have thought that anyone with a responsibility for the pathways would prioritise maintaining those around sheltered housing. The paths around Pattocks are broken, cracked, and overgrown, with weeds coming up in abundance. There is also rubbish dumped around the site and broken walls. The paths are not fit for purpose – they are clearly a health hazard.

Thumbs up to the estate manager who was not content to keep reporting broken paths and dumped rubbish around a sheltered housing complex with no result. She got in touch with the local councillor and a clear up was organised. Basildon & Southend Housing Action were there to lend a hand and share experiences of how to get things done. A few local people came out, either from the complex who expressed their gratitude or who came along to help. The “Pride Team” from Basildon Council were there to do the heavy stuff and take away the rubbish that had been collected. The result was a great improvement but needs to be kept up. There was cake and tea as a reward!

Yet again, it’s down to volunteers to undertake basic cleaning and maintenance on an estate in Basildon. If volunteers from the community are having to put in more of their time and effort to bring their estates up to an acceptable level, it has to be said that it’s not an unreasonable demand for those at the grassroots to have a real, meaningful say in how their neighbourhoods are run…

It’s starting to happen

Following on from a post about the troubled ¾ estate in Vange on our sister blog, The South Essex STIRRER: The fightback starts herehttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/the-fightback-starts-now/ – as you can see from the flyer depicted above, things are starting to move in a positive direction. If you live on the ¾ estate or nearby in Vange and feel you want to make a positive contribution to your community, get in touch using the contact details shown on the flyer and get stuck in:) There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the estate and no one’s pretending it’s going to be an easy task – however, the more people who step up to the plate, the greater the chances are of achieving success…

Positive developments in Vange

Our sister blog, The South Essex STIRRER has had plenty to say on the problems afflicting the ¾ estate in Vange: Where the new town dream has died…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/where-the-new-town-dream-has-died/ and: Eight weeks!https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/eight-weeks/ Both of these posts have an analysis of how the problems developed with some indications as to how they can be tackled.

What The Estuary Alternative is partly about is promoting and celebrating community based groups who are doing their level best to make a difference at the grassroots. When it comes to the ¾ estate, there are some positive developments to report. Firstly, there’s the Vange Hill Community Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/180311358699122/ – who are lobbying Basildon Council and Circle Anglia Housing (who are responsible for much of the social housing on the estate) to pull their finger out and do the job they’re paid to do. They also encourage residents to take more responsibility for keeping the estate clean. Then there’s The Plot (Vange Hill Drive Community Allotment)https://www.facebook.com/theplotvange/ who as the title of the Facebook group suggests, run a community allotment next to the estate. We’re big fans of community allotments: Get digging!https://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/get-digging/ as they help with neighbourhood resilience through building solidarity and providing self sufficiency as well as being a source of healthy food and an opportunity for exercise. Last but by no means least there’s Basildon & Southend Housing Actionhttps://www.facebook.com/basacton/ – who see their role as facilitating and offering practical and logistical support to groups such as Vange Hill Community Group.

Turning around the fortunes of the ¾ estate is a massive undertaking and no one is under any illusions that it’s going to be a long slog. However, as you can see from the above, the elements are in place on the ground to start to make a real difference, creating the community spirit that’s needed to make a difference to people’s lives…watch this space for developments…