April brings with it another festival instalment of Beatroots. Local art, music and people coming together to enjoy the elements and the sounds.
After the debut 2012 March festival success, the management team are happy to announce the second instalment on the 28th of April.
The unusual warm March weather provided plenty of sunshine and good tunes from local musicians for those that attended the first festival.
Over £250 was made from the last event, which went towards the developments on the site. We are interested in hearing from musicians that would like to play and share the good times, contact Sophie or Dom on firstname.lastname@example.org, please attach a demo or web link too.
This date also marks the first Antonelli-less Beatroots, placing it in the hands of the management team, expect a few exhausted volunteers at the end of the day.
Food and soft drinks will be available on site, plus there will also be face painting, crafts and stalls plus more to come.
Spring is officially here and we celebrated in the best way by putting on this year’s first instalment of Beatroots.
Live music from DJ Urb, Niksays, The Last T-Rex, Richard Hall and more entertained the busy gardens on Saturday 24th, anti war speakers Bruce Kent Vice Chairman of the CND and Lindsay German also graced us with separate talks in the classroom. Knitting, jewellery making and clay modelling commenced outside, plus there was plenty of delicious homemade food to enjoy.
Despite getting a bit chilly later on, the entire day beamed with blue skies and very warm weather, ending with a relaxing twilight bonfire for the management team (who were worn out). The event was of course raising funds for your favourite green space, which took in almost £300, a big thank you to all that came and gave.
Due to the success of the event and the great vibe, we have decided to put on numerous Beatroot festival’s this spring and summer- stay tuned!
Sunday 25th marked co-founder Renny Antonelli’s birthday, resulting in a bacon and egg sarnie fry up and toffee chocolate cheesecake – needless to say he had a good day!
Since the last update The GBY has continued to work hard to create an even better project, with help from other organisations the lands are getting stronger every day.
Axiom housing arrived on Wednesday 14th sowing flowering plants, garlic and wildflower beds, whilst giving the grounds a good weed. Richard from Buglife also gave a very generous donation of new tools, consisting of hoes, racks, trowels and more.
Co-founder Sophie also appeared on Radio Cambridgeshire, early on the 15th to talk with presenter Jeremy Sallis about the proposed plans for the new building, plus the future of The Green Backyard as we await confirmation from the council for a longer lease.
Kung fu classes have also been running strong with new arrivals as spring settles in, plus the return of sifu’s Rob Doran (Yi Quan) and Kim (Tai Chi). David Hughes has been running the classes over the winter every Sunday, rain or shine, with over 25 years experience in Wing Chun (kung fu), he tutors all the above styles between 1-3pm. Please note that the first lesson is free, lessons thereafter are £5.
Peterborough’s Evening Telegraph are also set to write another feature on the project, all the details haven’t be revealed yet but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.
There’s always more coming up at The GBY, so stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, news feed and brand new blog http://thegreenbackyardproject.blogspot.co.uk/ for regular updates.
By Kim Hughes
As spring begins to bloom more faces have been seen emerging onto the grounds of the GBY, ready to sow a seed, have a cuppa and help get the gardens growing.
Since the New Year the project has already been well under way preparing to make this year our most prosperous. Behind the scenes, the management team have been cooking up some tasty ideas to treat the loyal volunteers and any new members that want to come along to one of our volunteer days on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Before we go into that, here’s a catch up of what’s been happening the past few months.
After the excitement of the project featuring in Permaculture magazine last year, we are proud to announce that in first three months of the New Year, the GBY have had articles in two national magazines. Grow it! The gardening magazine showcased a double page spread of the 2011 gardens and highlighted all the great things we’ve been doing to 1000s across the UK.
Also in light of the new building plans we have for 2012, Architects Choice magazine included a news piece on page 6 of their March edition, inviting architects from across the UK to get stuck in and help out with our proposed recycled community centre.
Our rabbit haven now has two furry little friends to coo at, Blue the beautiful grey bunny has a new house mate. Moony the white rabbit came to live with her in February; come and say hello as they are very friendly.
Sunday Kung fu classes have been running throughout the winter, with students learning three forms of holistic exercise. Yi Quan (Yi Chuan), Tai Chi and Wing Chun are the arts practised between 1-3pm, come along and enjoy the first lesson for free. Lessons are then £5 a week after the first session.
The winter period has also seen the Peterborough in Transition classes, bike workshops, willow weaving and clay sculpture courses. Not to worry if you missed them though, as more of these will happen again – stay tuned to the website for updates.
Moving onto the here and now, plus what’s ahead. Saturday 10th of February saw the project host another educational film screening entitled The War You Don’t See. In association with the Peterborough Peace Campaign, the documentary reveals the main stream Medias perception of conflict. This was another free event, with food and wine – another success. More screenings will be coming later in the season.
Another monthly craft fair saw unique and handmade items displayed for sale outside in the sunny weather last Sunday, featuring gorgeous pressed flower vases, jewellery, jams and preserves, cakes and more - don’t miss the next one on Sunday 15th of April.
This Wednesday (14th of March), Axiom Housing roll up their sleeves to get down and dirty on our lands, come along and help them set us up for spring. These lovely people who help disadvantaged people find affordable homes; manage 2000 households across Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. They have also kindly offered to donate £150 to us, to help with everything from building materials to seeds.
The week commencing 12th of March, also sees us begin changes on site due to the scheduled work by UK Power Networks, starting with the move of the poly tunnels.
Wednesday 21st of March from 7:30-8:30pm, get your creative caps pumping and your groovy vibes jumping as the drum circle gets together to bang out some unique beats. Get down and enjoy for just £4.00.
Finally, on Saturday 24th of March we see the return of Beatroots and the beginning of festival season. This popular event last held in July 2011 sees local artists come together and perform multiple genres of music, a talk from the vice president of CND Bruce Kent, wildflower seed bomb making sessions, artists illustrating a range of graffiti, wood turning and clay modelling. Plus there will also be stalls with handmade items and clothing, workshops and of course a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Come along and delve right in, funds raised on the day will help pay for developments on site.
By Kim Hughes
I’d never been to The Green Backyard before. I pass it at least twice a day on the way into work, and always wondered what was on the other side of the fence. My brother, Dan, is quite involved and helps out a fair bit there, but I’d never tagged along. I’d been to some of their fundraisers and events in town, but, still, never bothered to wander down there.
So, with the event of their third birthday last week, I thought I’d finally take the opportunity to do something worthwhile with my day and go and have a look!
Needless to say, I was pretty amazed, on a number of levels.
The place is huge (I didn’t really know just how big 2.3 acres was) and the amount stuff inside the Backyard is inspiring. Especially considering it has all come from donations and volunteer work.
A frog pond, a row of buildings and rooms, chicken pens (although, the chickens do seem to strut about as if they own the place, almost as if to taunt the presence of KFC next door), masses of plants, greenery and such. Greenery and plants, in January? I know, it was brilliant!
And it doesn’t stop there. While there, and wandering about talking to Renny about the place, I noticed that they’d had some visitors from a specialist school or college, who’d come down to get involved with some work. Art groups, music groups, bands, even tai chi, go on there.
And, if that wasn’t enough, their events and fundraisers have always been a favourite of mine. They’re almost like a complete alternative to night out in Peterborough. A total, happy contrast, to the usual ear-bashing that you’d receive in the city’s bars and clubs. Thoroughly refreshing!
And, all this, from two people with passion and a vision to make some change, with a growing group of friends and supporters.
However, the Green Backyard isn’t without its woes. Some unhappy news broke over Christmas, that high power energy cables would need to be laid across some of the site, meaning that all of the buildings would have to be relocated, and there was a question raised over the site continuing. Mind you, it almost seems that this bad news has had a positive effect on the project. You could almost feel peoples’ support for Renny and Sophie last week. And it wasn’t with sandwich boards and banners, just people being really happy to be involved in something that’s really striving for some positive change in the city.
Everyone there was drawn by the work of Renny, Sophie and all their friends and co-workers, as well as by the need to encourage this sort of thing in a society that is supposed to be encouraging these sorts of works.
But, the thing that got me the most was something a little different from the sheer volume of achievements and support, or even the cocky chickens!
What got me the most was the overwhelming sense of community I found there. There were so many different kinds of people there, on my first visit, and everyone was welcome. At no point did I spot a questioning glance at anyone that was there (something I pick up on, as I get a lot of them)
There are few places in Peterborough that I’ve ever found where I can wander into, alone, without getting looked-up-and-down at, in a not so pleasant way. Just a friendly smile and hello, and the offer of a cup of tea, and general appreciation of my being there. That, I rarely see, in this city, or anywhere I’ve ever been, and it was nothing short of lovely.
And to me, that is the magic of The Green Backyard.
The warmth, the welcome and the heart.
By Nathan Kerr, January 2011
Happy birthday GBY!
Check out four years of the Green Backyard in photos - here
"I like the Green Backyard because it gives me something fun to do and it's better than staying inside" - James Humphries, age 11
"For me the Green Backyard is a really satisfying and therapeutic family environment" - Jo Schofield
"There's loads of good people here and I really enjoy being outdoors" - Molly Chambers, age 15
"A slice of heaven in a concrete jungle filled with wonderful people"
"An asset to community and social values, promoting change, peace and sustainability"
"It is a place where people, plants and life can grow organically. It is a space where new things can happen"
"The Green Backyard is the living, growing, healing heart of community in Peterborough and it makes the city a better place"