We are now coming to the end of what has been a tumultuous year for the village and although, unfortunately, the pandemic is still with us we are now, optimistically, operating on a ‘business as usual’ basis. This has seen the reopening of the Village Hall, St John’s Church and the Methodist Church and also a number of new ventures started including the Milk Barn which has proven most popular. For those of you, like me, who can remember that far back, I wonder if Maggie Thatcher is looking down watching the children enjoying their milk!
Volunteers are the cornerstone of Barlaston without which the Village would not be the same. The Womblers are active in keeping our environment looking beautiful; the Walking for Health group are actively keeping us fit; Mr David Norman coordinates the Speed Watch group and has been instrumental in raising speed issues in the village with the Police and Staffordshire County Council Highways Department, the work David and the volunteers undertake is invaluable in keeping us safe. We have seen ad-hoc canal works being undertaken where new volunteers have worked with the Canal and River Trust Volunteers to repair much needed damage to the towpath so we can all walk and cycle safely. We are working closely with Barlaston First School and have seen our first volunteers for the walking bus scheme, all being well this will take pressure off Longton Road and Broughton Crescent. We have seen a new School Crossing Patrol Officer, Mr Gordon Taylor, say “hello” if you see him, he has also volunteered to participate in Speed Watch and the Walking Bus Scheme. The Voluntary Transport Scheme continues providing a key service for those in the village who do not have access to their own or public transport, they go above and beyond. I must thank the WI for their imaginative ‘yarn bombing’ in the village, craftmanship is second to none regularly bringing a smile on our faces. The Community Group are back being very active in putting on a programme of entertainment, sign up to their Facebook page to see their schedule of events. The monthly coffee morning at the Methodist Church has also restarted, a great opportunity to pop in for a chat, a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, in the process you’ll be raising much needed funds for local charities. We are all thrilled that Joe Poultney is recovering well following his bicycle accident, Joe’s green fingers keep the planters around the Village looking amazing.
The Village Hall Committee have worked hard to ensure the Hall was ready to re-open with a new fresh feeling, their efforts have included overseeing repairs to the renown sprung dance floor, re-decorating and implementation of a new heating regime. The Parish Council as Trustees are looking forward to working with them to implement further improvements over the forthcoming year, plans have already been drawn up to alter the façade of the hall which will vastly improve its appearance and resolve some long-standing dampness issues.
Alas there are far too many volunteers to thank individually, many of whom don’t advertise their efforts, but at this festive time it is time for me to take stock and thank you all for making Barlaston the Village it is. I would also take this opportunity to thank my fellow Parish Councillors and our Borough Councillor who do a splendid, though often difficult, job maintaining the Village as a place where we all want to live.
We (the Parish Council) are actively putting together an exciting programme of improvements to the Village and organising what we hope will be the most memorable of events, a fete to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen in June of next year, an occasion which we hope the whole of the Village will take to its heart and participate in to give us something to speak of for years to come.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year
Barlaston Parish Council