Growing Groups

Working for the Voluntary Sector in Hastings

Fix my street

We put our office recycling out on Yesterday morning and since it was still there on this afternoon I have tried using to see how the council respond to reports from this website.

 Almost as soon as I had sent the report I got a holding reply which said:

You have reached the mailbox of the Waste Management Department. Your e-mail has been received and will be actioned shortly. We are currently experiencing a high number of enquiries for Refuse, Recycling and Street Cleansing.

If your enquiry or complaint is relating to the standards of Street Cleansing, Recycling or Refuse Services please be assured that your enquiry or complaint has been recorded and the necessary information has been passed to our contractor for response.

If your matter is unresolved after 5 working days please contact us again.

If you have run out of recycling bags please use any other type of plastic bag until the next delivery is made.

If you wish to speak to someone directly please telephone 0845 274 1077.

 I also had an enjoyable few minutes looking at what else had been reported in the same town.

I’m impressed, they emailed be back within 10 minutes and said the stuff should be collected before the end of work tomorrow.


August 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I’ve not yet worked out how to put pictures on a wordpress blog so lets have a go.

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victorian Values

Friday was spent advising a small boy on how to climb chimneys. A while back I had a phone call from a friend who works for one of the refuse & recycling collectors in Hastings, because one of his children wanted to learn to climb. Did I know of anywhere that taught people? Indeed I did, but they mainly teach people who live near Tonbridge Wells, gross over 50K a year and have children named after a famous Bronte or something like Oliver or Tobias. Because none of this matched our current situation (very little of Hastings gets minstaken for Gosford Park) it was pretty clear that only direct action would bring satisfaction. So I fixed a date when we would all be able to go up to Harrisons Rocks for an afternoon.  At half one on the first dry day for about two weeks we headed up to the sandstone in Ashdown Forrest for a session on the sandstone crags. Idling away an afternoon in the forest, with a flask of tea and teaching someone how to climb an off width chimney a very satisfying way of spending time off.

Today I’m putting membership renewal forms into our database and updating the records on our intranet. This way, all the staff at work can see which organisation has renewed their membership straight away.

I’ve also got to update our intranet Logo library. This is so that due credit can be added to all leaflets, PDFs and posters when organisations make contributions. I never kow how I feel about partnership logos though, I mean its good to let people know which organisations are involved in doing stuff but the mushrooming of partnership logos often tells the uninitiated very little. I’ve seen some leaflets that could put Formula One advertising to shame.

 Information about how to shimmy up chimney

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Tomorrow I’m going to learn about ‘bookmarking’, which I have only just learned exists as a facility on a site called

All this comes from reading an excellent Blog by Beth Kanter (go there now!)

If you want to learn about bookmarking have a flick through the presentation slide show she wrote a year and a half ago

August 22, 2007 Posted by | voluntary | 1 Comment

Membership by email

Bit by bit, I’m introducing a membership renewal by email process to Hastings Voluntary Action. Preparation for this started when I came into post (just over a year ago) by building our email records through offering our newsletter as a PDF by email. As a result, we have now assembled enough accurate email records ( those that don’t reply with ‘message undeliverable’ or ‘mailbox full’) to send just over half our membership renewals out as email forms. Inevitably a few organisations received the form by email and asked for a paper one, while others had a form in the post and then then asked for it to be sent by email, but there isn’t much effort in altering a few database records to make that happen in the future. Since our membership form also forms our Directory of Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations, I thought it may save some time if I sent member organisations the details we were presently printing about them, which they could then edit if they wanted. This will hopefully save people having to try and remember exactly what it was they put on the form the year before and also avoid us re typing the same thing worded slightly differently. I also had an early morning shock today when renewing my annual swimming ticket at Summerfields Sports Centre – last year it cost £140, this year £200!. Still, compared with things like gym costs,  and since I use the pool every weekday,  – its still pretty cheap at 70p a dip (not much more than it would cost for the gas to have a shower at home). I can appreciate that its not everyone’s favourite early morning start. Some people just don’t feel that communal at 7.30am and resent sharing their bath water with 40 others. But once you get into things like stroke style and try reducing the number of strokes per length, perfecting your turns and all that, its something that does carry its own set of interesting challenges.

Now I shall go and teach my blogging Director how to fly our database and intranet.

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Returning to the blog

I started today with a swim at the local baths, which is now a daily habit during the week, followed by a quick communications meeting with our director and a drive over to Bexhill on Sea to pick up the printed copies of our newsletter. 

The newsletter was folded, stuffed into envelopes and posted out during what was left of the morning. We normally do this on Friday (folding Friday to be precise) but because it was staff barbi last week, it was moved to mailout Monday (sorry but alliteration comes wit the production of anything smaller than broadsheet).

Over the past year I’ve moved us away from printing and folding roughly 1000 copies of our newsletter every month,  to printing 600 for postal distribution and 4oo distributed by email. Production / distribution is consequently both faster and cheaper plus other benifits which are not quite so obviouse at first.

August 20, 2007 Posted by | voluntary | Leave a comment