Growing Groups

Working for the Voluntary Sector in Hastings

The Weekend

I didn’t finish putting the copy together for Hastings Community News until about 8pm on Friday night. Not that its a great problem, since over the years I’ve come to enjoy late evening working on publications for print. I think its a habit I developed in the early 1980s when I lived in Reading. While everyone else went out to the pub, I was part of that small band of people who were conviced they could change the world by spending Friday and Saturday night pasting-up, plate making or litho printing some sort of community publication.

On Sunday I visited my allotment to see how the fruit bush cuttings were getting on. I took cuttings of redcurrent, gooseberry and blackcurrent plants in November 2005 and these now need transplanting . I’ve been really surprised at how easy it is to produce new fruit bushes from cuttings. All you do is wait until the leaves fall off an old bush in October / November, then cut a foot and a half of thats years growth off the end and stick it in a bit of sandy nursery ground.  Wait for about a year and a half – until its  grown some roots of its own- dig the cutting up again and plant it where you want it.


February 26, 2007 Posted by | Allotment | 1 Comment

Monday morning

A weekend of not very much – newspapers, laundry, Tesco and garden.

I learned, from a colour suppliment article on pruning,  that Dan Pearson has four sets of Felco secateurs. Quite why anyone needs FOUR sets of secateurs is a complete mystery but the rest of the article was really interesting. In a geeky sort of way I even started thinking about the relationship between pruning and website design (hard pruning at the right time stimulates new growth, at the wrong time bleeds the plant too much, soft summer pruning is an additional benefit, needing to find the main leader branches etc).

Continuing the pruning theme, I gave myself a super short hair cut on Saturday, with my trusty clippers (I should add here that I don’t have four pairs!) and looking at to todays papers this now seems to be ‘the Brittany Spears look’ look.

Anyway back to work, do some more website updating and have a look at the potential of using some wiki technology linked to our website.

February 19, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

First Steps

Its getting on for 5pm so I’m going home.

All I need to do is upload the first part of the new HVA website to the web and see what happens.

The new website is by no means finished (if any website ever is) but I can see that putting effort into updating 2 sites is just going to be wasted effort now. I don’t know how other people get round this so all I have done is put a link to the old website onto the front page of the new one.

We shall see then!

February 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Filling the website

Today will be dull in parts (sounds like a weather forcast) because I’ve got to start filling up the new website with some of the text content of the old site – I see a long day of ‘cut and paste’ ahead.

I caught up with some chums from Hastings Rock and Fell Club last night at The Grove School climbing wall. I seemed to have spent the whole evening chatting and doing very little actual climbing. We all swapped stories about our adventures on the way back from Glen Coe the week before.

February 13, 2007 Posted by | climbing, Hastings, voluntary, walking | Leave a comment

The first frogs of spring

Well I woke up this morning (without a blues song in my head!)

Sorry about that, this morning the wildlife pond in my back garden was full of frogs, already doing what frogs tend to do as the day length increases. Anyway, a facinating half hour before going to work wondering quite where they all come from, since there now seems to be more frogs than pond. Still, I’m glad to see them back since they always give the feeling that spring and Bill Oddie will soon be with us.

Fellow allotmenteers from around the country also seem to be experiencing a froggie February as I checked out my local allotment blogsite Allotments4all

Anyway, back infront of the PC today, picking up some enquiries about people who want to do our new training courses on developing community groups, called The Committee Conundrum. People seem to be picking up on this through our Community News by email service, which I started when I first came into post about 6 months ago. As well as the  savings that Community News by email is providing in terms of stamps, printing and envelopes, its also means we can spend less officer time collating. The other bonus is that people who get Community News by email, get full colour PDFs and we get something in their their email inbox every month (which increases the amount of feedback we get from other voluntary organisations).

February 12, 2007 Posted by | Allotment, Frogs, voluntary | Leave a comment

Learing to be human on the web

Its Friday afternoon and I am taking steps to add a bit more ‘human interest’ to the web presence of Hastings Voluntary Action.

I’m changing our own website quite soon, making it more usable and this is a  a good time to start branching out into staff blogs, podcasts, youtube links, flickr pics, (maybe even a wiki if I learn how to set one up).etc.

 Credit is due to Paul Caplain who did a free presentation for a Voluntary and Community Groups yesterday as part of a Media Trust seminar called : new media made cheap and easy.

Just learned how easy it is to set a wiki up using!

Anyway, you can see how all this develops over the next few months if you like, by visiting

February 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment