Community Group Newsletter Autumn 2021

Members may remember that our last newsletter in 2020 made reference to the time when life went back to “normal” amidst the worst of the Covid pandemic and the limitations this caused to our day-today activities. So perhaps there are signs that, one year on, we have all become accustomed to moderating our lives so that we can achieve a life as close to the “normal”, which we crave. Although the wide success of the vaccination programme has been tempered by recent rises in infections, there have been fewer hospital admissions. Several members of our community have been more closely affected by the virus, but thanks to the sterling efforts of our local medical centres the effects have been minimised. The sight of so many people trudging down the valley to the medical centres during a snowstorm early this year, was a great credit to the NHS and to local residents who took the opportunity to protect themselves. At least two of our members who had moved out of the area reported abandoning their cars and making a round trip of 10 miles on foot to “get their jab”! The queues at Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre recently, where eligible people were waiting for their “booster” doses of the vaccine this October, is a reminder of how many people still remain vigilant nine months later.

Against this background of uncertainty you will be pleased to know that Bolsterstone Community Group (BCG) has managed to maintain contact with other local organisations throughout the year and, where appropriate, has commented on, agreed with or made recommendations about measures affecting the community. An important issue, which you will all be aware of from the local free newspaper, was the Planning Inspectorate’s investigation into the developer’s appeal against Sheffield City Council’s (SCC’s) decision to refuse permission to the Hollin Busk Planning Application. BCG gave written and verbal support to the “Friends of Hollin Busk” group and like the many local people who wrote in their own, personal capacity, we were sorry to learn that the Inspector rejected the local objections and allowed the appeal to go ahead. Interestingly, anyone trawling through the lengthy and detailed Inspector’s report, will have noted the frequent references to the absence of a detailed, updated “Local Plan” from SCC. Some years ago BCG, on behalf of members and village residents, submitted their own contribution to the Local Plan, but, regretfully this has never been acknowledged.

Attention has also been given to questioning why the re-surfacing of More Hall Lane (originally scheduled to take place six months ago) did not happen and why the work underway this Autumn has been “on and off”, making the route down to Manchester Road from Bolsterstone Village even more hazardous. Recent communications from SCC indicate that a “revolutionary” re-surfacing machine is being used, which recycles and relays old highway materials. Thanks must go to another particular member whose persistent chasing with Yorkshire Water, via SCC, seeks to improve sight lines at the dangerous exit from the bottom of the same (More Hall) lane. At the time of writing we await a response!

Another member continues to lobby BT/Open Reach in order to convert the village telephone box into a small community library and book exchange. Like so much recently, this bright idea was somewhat overshadowed by Covid, but is a sure indication that people still remain optimistic about future developments.

Village Maintenance

Without making any specific arrangements regarding volunteers meeting collectively to look after the public areas of Bolsterstone, it has been pleasing to see that, once again, numerous individual BCG members, in their own time and at their own pace, have removed leaves for composting from under benches and pathways, strimmed the roadside verges, and planted up troughs/hayracks/hanging baskets along the road, under the Jubilee tree and around the Village Hall, the telephone box and the public toilets. Some of the benches are a potential problem because they show signs of rotting, being exposed in all weather 24/7. BCG is investigating bench replacements using recycled slats.

Fund Raising

BCG’s “In Bloom” activities are a major cost from our annual outgoings and we continue to rely on the financial reserves we built up over the last few years, however we still have ongoing commitments, including public liability insurance, allotment rent and website/ internet and defibrillator maintenance. We lost income from our annual fund raising activities last year (The BCG Christmas Fayre and Wreath Making Evening) and after careful consideration BCG’s Committee has reluctantly made the same decision this year too. We have decided to cancel both the Christmas Fayre and Wreath Making Evening again in 2021. This is because we do not feel that we can provide a safe or well ventilated and secure environment for the hundreds of visitors, including children and volunteers, at a time when the UK’s Covid infections continue to rise to some of the highest numbers in Europe. We are pleased to report, however, that The Village Hall Trust will be hosting another popular “Cream Tea” event nearer Christmas, on 11th and 12th December.

Other Village Events

Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir has re-started its regular practices in time for Christmas. Subject to the current Covid situation, they have pencilled in performances at Wortley Church on 12th December and another at Wortley Hall on 14th December. The annual and very popular annual Christmas performance at St Mary’s Church in Bolsterstone, at the time of writing, is yet to be confirmed. The Choir is pleased that they have 6 new members and ask anyone else interested in joining to telephone 07535648964 for details.

Bolsterstone Quilters continue to meet regularly each month. They host a road show on 30th October, with a leading fabric retailer at Grenoside Village Hall from 10am to 2.30pm. Everyone is welcome and tea, coffee and cake will be available. The Bolsterstone Quilters’ big event – their own quilt show – will be held in Bolsterstone Village Hall next year in Spring with a date yet to be finalised. It’s always worth a visit so watch out for details.

Bolsterstone Archaeology and Heritage Group continue to meet regularly at Christ Church Hall in Stocksbridge and they have 2 special events planned during November, which are open to anyone interested. These are firstly, a talk about the Rural Cutlers of Bradfield Parish, with Mike Dyson and a workshop on pen knives (including how they are made and who made them) in Bolsterstone Village Hall at 2pm on Saturday 6th November and secondly an update on Sheffield Lakeland landscape Partnership projects, with Alex Sotheran in Christ Church Hall, Stocksbridge at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17th November.

We hope that this newsletter lets you know how Bolsterstone Community Group continues to work on your behalf, with “all things Bolsterstone”. So, members and friends, keep safe and keep aware! You can contact BCG via its Secretary on 0114 2830781 if you need us.