Before I come on to the item in the title I thought you might like to see the audience for a recent Coasties task www.northyorkmoors.org.uk. Whilst we cut back the trees encroaching on a bridleway next to their field they watched and watched and watched. They say cattle are curious, well these certainly were. It was earlier this month, when there were still some sunny days and I took this picture on the right on the way home. Not for the first time I thought how lucky I am to be able to volunteer in such a beautiful area. It seems to have been a month for bridleways, until last week when we had the most wonderful bonfire, working with the National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk at Ravenscar, alas I forgot my camera, so you will have to take my word for it.
The addition is a truly shocking fact, that here in a comparatively wealthy part of the country we have a food bank, ryedale.foodbank.org.uk. And no you can't just get a parcel if you feel like it, or don't want to go shopping. You have to fulfil strict criteria and then be referred by someone like a health visitor or a doctor. I am going to be helping by moving donated food from the collecting places to the 'warehouse' where it is checked for dates, sorted and packed into suitable packs for families, single people etc. I had a long chat with the organiser, whose dearest aim is not to have a job, but we both thought that, sadly, that might be a long term aim. I have slight issues with the fact, that, like most food banks, it is part of the Trussell Trust www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects, which is a Christian based organisation, but as they are happy to have Humanists like me involved I won't moan any more. What a disgrace it is that one of the richest countries in the world has reduced some of its citizens to having to rely on food parcels.
I had a good evening at the LASSN lassn.org.uk offices; after meeting my friend and once again spending time on the phone trying to sort out the endless saga of her fuel bill. I gave up trying to understand when a helpful young man told me that, despite the bill showing an increased amount, actually she could now pay less each month. Later several of the volunteers had a useful hour discussing how we could meet up more often and share ideas and good practice. I have agreed to become a Trustee (if I am elected at the AGM), in the New Year, having said no committees when I retired, we shall see how long I last!
There have been several Fairtrade www.fairtrade.org.uk/ stalls since I last blogged. At this time of the year the crafts always sell well; people still surprised that Fairtrade now goes well beyond the original coffee, tea and chocolate. Our latest venture was at a craft fair in the Milton Rooms in Malton www.themiltonrooms.com/. A bigger picture than usual so you can see some of the crafts available. Tomorrow I will be taking some of these and other pocket money items to two local schools so that their pupils can buy presents for their families and help families in developing countries at the same time. Thank you to West Heslerton and St Mary's Malton. Trade is better than Aid. thanks to Fairer World in York for providing the goods www.fairerworldyork.co.uk/
A bit of a sad week ahead as Coasties says goodbye to one of our Rangers; a victim of the wholly unnecessary cuts that are decimating out public services for vindictive political reasons that have nothing to do with any sensible economic policies.