A look back on 2017 – an amazing year!


A very Happy New Year to everyone! As the new year starts, this is a look back on 2017, which has been an amazing year for the Friends of Weston Shore.

Our first event of the year was a spring clean and litter pick on the shore with friends from Surfers Against Sewage. They were an enthusiastic bunch and we quickly cleared up a lot of rubbish. It was a sunny day and cleaning up the beach after the winter months was enjoyable fun.

During April 2017, the Friends of Weston Shore were honoured to be the recipients of the Southampton City Care for the Environment Award at the St George’s Day Community Awards held at Solent University.  To receive such kind recognition was a wonderful surprise for the group and the award was presented to the group by well known Southampton celebrity Lawrie McMenemy MBE and the Worshipful the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Catherine McEwing.

We held our own spring clean litter pick on the shore in May and were joined by Bruce Larner, a volunteer who has helped several groups in the Southampton area.

We are regularly contacted by companies and organisations who want to help with our aim of making sure Weston Shore is as clean as possible and in June, new friends from the Royal Bank of Scotland did a great job of picking up lots of litter.  They were an energetic group and we are grateful for all their hard work.

In August, we were delighted to help with a special event on the shore, the Sea Life Discovery Day organised by Owain Masters from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.  Capturing Our Coast also participated in the full day event, looking at the plants and animals to be found on the shore. It was a wonderful day, helped with some lovely summer sunshine in the afternoon and thoroughly enjoyable.  We have a short vlog about the day, which you can watch here:

 

In September, we joined forces with the Marine Conservation Society as part of their Great British Beach Clean. This is a regular event run by the society with the help of volunteers, in which they carry out a survey of the litter to be found on the shore. We were again, as we often are, helped by a day of sunshine and it was great to see so many people getting involved. The survey is important in understanding what, exactly, ends up on our shores and has helped highlight the dangers of plastic debris.

The next event, in what was a very busy year for us, was another beach clean up on the shore – the biggest one ever!  This was part of the Autumn Beach Clean campaign from Surfers Against Sewage. Volunteers from Southampton Greenpeace, Solent Students’ Union and the Marine Conservation Society from the University of Southampton also took part. In total, we estimate around seventy people were involved and a huge amount of rubbish was cleared up. Special thanks to Mairin Williams from Surfers Against Sewage for all her hard work in organising the event.

Last year, 2017, has been a very busy one for the group and special thanks to all our volunteers for the invaluable work they do.  Being a volunteer is not only satisfying, its also great fun. As well as our core aim of trying to keep the shore as clean as possible, we are also learning more about the precious wildlife on the shore.

We hope more that more people can join us as we look forward to 2018! We are hoping for another action packed year and continuing to learn more about the shore and the wildlife that lives there. If you would like to get involved, please contact us at westonshore@gmail.com.

 

The Big Beach Clean Up!


What started out as an overcast morning soon, after a bit of rain, gave way to a wonderful Sunday on Weston Shore when the Friends group were joined by lots of volunteers in a litter pick.  After setting up the base, a flurry of keen participants signed up to take part and then they were off to clean up the beach! (click on the photos for a closer look)

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Chris Hammond from the Friends of Weston Shore at the litter pick

Our clean up crew made a great different to the shore in a short time. Amongst all the normal drinks cans, plastic straws, crisp and sweet wrappers and so forth they managed to find a “For Sale” estate agents’ sign,  tea bags, a large water cannister and a fishing rod.

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Philip Budd from the Southampton Natural History Society at the beach clean

The local bird life on Weston Shore were very much in evidence during the litter pick including roughly twenty oystercatchers seen off the shore and two egrets. 

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Two forks cleared up as part of the litter pick

The Friends of Weston Shore are very grateful to all those who took part in helping us with our goal of keeping the shore as litter free as we can.  We are also grateful for help from Groundwork South in organising the litter pick, to Southampton City Council for all their support and to the Daily Echo for covering our event.

Laura, one of our regular volunteers!

Laura, one of our regular volunteers!

Our next meeting is Thursday 25th September at 7pm at Woolston Community Centre, Church Road, Woolston – everyone welcome!

Weston Shore at the end of the litter pick looking beautiful in the summer sunshine.

Weston Shore at the end of the litter pick looking beautiful in the summer sunshine.

Details from our Annual General Meeting


Here are some notes taken from our Annual General Meeting, including a look ahead into 2014.

1. Chairman’s Report

The outgoing Chairman reviewed the year and concluded that 2013 had been the best year yet for the Friends of Weston Shore. We are pressing ahead to new and exciting ideas for the future and have been working on a plan of action for 2013.

2. Electing the new committee

After the vote the new committee was elected. Adam will be the Chairman, Sarah the Secretary and Georgie is the Treasurer.

3. The Plan for 2014

We have previously spent time working on a plan of action for 2014 and Sarah took us through this. This was presented to the group and approved.

In discussing our plan, a number of points were considered.

The plan has a number of proposed events in it and Nick suggested that we include our events on the Council’s events diary.

The bench project is to be put to consultation to the group so we can consider the design we want.

Our spring litter pick is to be held on a Saturday and we are hoping to involve the junior wardens and also students from the University’s conservation group.

We need to plan the big summer litter pick in advance. We hope to have hi-vis jackets with our group name on and use walkie-talkies to communicate during the event. We also need to tighten up our operation at the end of the event to ensure all those taking part are accounted for.

4. The Autumn Clean Up

The group had carried out a successful litter pick up on Weston Shore in early November 2013 on a beautiful autumn morning. The main lesson from the litter pick was to ensure future autumn events on the same day as Remembrance Sunday.

5. Funding from Ford

Sarah explained that the group has been successful in receiving funding of £100 from the Ford company and we shall write to them to thank them for their generosity. This money covers our room hire for 2014.

6. Community Chest Fund

With the help of Chris Smith from Groundwork the group has applied to Southampton City Council under its Community Chest Fund and we are waiting to hear the result of our application.

7. Nick Yeats

The group was pleased to welcome Nick from Southampton City Council to our meeting and he provided lots of information from his perspective. The following are some notes from his talk.

a.  Nick is looking for help from people in becoming judges for other areas for community awards.
b. The Council will be looking to update the management plan for Weston Shore and the group can be involved in this process.
c. The group is considering a walk along Weston Shore as one of it’s events in 2014 simply to enjoy the area and Nick suggested this could be combined with a survey as part of reviewing the management plan could be carried out during such a walk.
d. Nick mentioned the work proposed for the Victoria Road car park including the installation of a concrete skate park.
e. We also discussed the former pitch and putt course and the group put forwards its previous proposal of having a picnic area including some benches, surrounded by an area that was left to grow wild, almost like a miniature nature reserve
f. The shelters along Weston Shore were also discussed and their possible repair and the cost of installing plexiglass.
g. The group is interested in learning more about the wildlife on Weston Shore and is looking into, for example, learning about bird identification

8. Any Other Business

One underlying theme for next year is for the Friends as a group to learn more about the wildlife to be found on Weston Shore.

9. Next Meeting

The next meeting is set for Thursday 30th January 2014 at 7pm at the Woolston Community Centre.