As January comes to a close and I watch the busy squirrels scrabbling around outside the window. I have a few grounds and garden updates to share and a request to hear your stories about Adult Learning.
Gardening and volunteering opportunities
We have employed a professional gardener for ½ a day a week to help tidy up and get control of our borders and the gated garden. His name is James and he is currently working on Wednesday mornings so if you see him do say hello.
James is keen to work with anyone who might like to volunteer or help out in the gardens and we are also keen to get suggestions or ideas for garden developments and projects that we could do as we move in to spring.
On the next two Wednesdays James and I will be around for a bit of a ‘gardening coffee morning’ – tea and a chat between 10.30 and 11.30. If you fancy volunteering with James, have a suggestion or just want to say hello we would love to see you.
Wednesday 5th February 10.30-11.30 and Wed 12 February 10.30 – 12.30.
Hopefully this is the start of some projects and ideas to smarten up our garden and involve more people in the process!
The second bit of news requires a bit more information so apologies for the longer post this time.
Stoke Lodge Access Improvement Project
In October I worked with a local resident to develop an application to the Neighbourhoods and Communities team for S106 and CIL funding to provide accessible routes into the green space at Stoke Lodge. (S106 and CIL funding is funding from local building developments that is made available for community improvements.)
We have recently learnt our project has been allocated £24,981
We summarised our project as: Stoke Lodge Access Improvement Project
Proposing to create accessible all weather routes that will improve access into the green space surrounding Stoke Lodge, in particular the arboretum area.
To ensure that disabled people, in particular wheelchair users, people with reduced mobility and parents with small children and buggies can access this local green space, make us of picnic spaces and participate in recreation activities.
Due to the nature of the space and the protected trees in the area we are proposing path options that have low environmental impact, retain the nature of the space but allow more people the opportunity to enjoy the area.
As part of our project bid we explained that we would take some time to consult with local residents, sharing some of the potential routes and types of paths that we could develop. We will share with you the possible types of path, the pros and cons of each type and the costs of different paths.
Although £24,981 sounds like a lot of money, how far (literally in meters) it takes us, will depend on the path options we choose.
Once we have your feedback on those options we will draw up a final plan and share that as widely as possible. We will then agree work with an appropriate contractor and share details of the planned work and dates.
We know you will want us to pay particular care to the wellbeing of the trees in the area and consider the environmental and visual impact of any routes. This project is about opening up access to the natural environment for more people to enjoy. Caring for and protecting what makes that space special will an integral part of any plans.
We are currently compiling information about the various options, the different benefits and costs. We will also measure out some routes to give an idea of the square meters needed to get around.
Once we have this information together we will be making it available online, on view at Stoke Lodge and asking for your comments. We are also planning to hold a couple of drop in sessions for your feedback and questions. We don’t have a favourite route or type of path yet, this consultation stage will be about exploring what will work best for improving access and for the site as a whole.
And finally… Share your Story
Many of you tell us how much you are enjoying your courses and how important to you Adult Learning is.
We are hoping to collect some personal stories that share what Adult Learning means to you and how taking part in course has impacted on your life.
So if being a learner has
- helped you develop a skill that has changed your life
- if you have made amazing friends and developed a new social circle
- if your course has had a particular personal impact
- if you are willing to share your story I would love to hear from you.
I am going to be collecting stories and, I hope, interviewing some people to find out why Adult Learning is so important to them. If you would like to talk to me about your experience please reply to this email or speak to someone in the office.
As the autumn term comes to an end on behalf of all the staff here I would like to thank you all, for your continued support of Adult Learning and wish you a peaceful Christmas break.
We have many exciting courses starting in the new year and look forward to welcoming many of you back to new classes and new challenges!
Fancy trying something new in January …
- Japanese Gardens (GJG2) and Garden Design (GDJM)
- Holiday Italian (LIGB) and Holiday Spanish (SGBC)
- Moroccan and North African Cookery (CMNA) and Pastry – Savoury and Sweet (PSS1)
- Singing – Exploring Your Voice (W17C)
- Colour Mixing – First Step (K28B) and Oil Painting for Absolute Beginners(K41D)
- Linocut for Beginners (K40D)
- Dress Making and Textiles (D47B) and Getting to know your Sewing Machine (D52D)
- Tai Chi for Better Balance (W11B)
- Pastels – Mixed Ability (K29B) and Painting and Drawing – Mixed Ability(K15B)
- Plus taster workshops in Reiki (W18A) and Design History (D50A)
Roots Homeless Donations
I would like to say a really big thank you to everyone who brought in a range of items, some cash donations and some very thoughtfully packed rucksacks to support the work of The Roots Independent Street Team and their work with homeless people, particularly over the holidays. We all know there are many reasons people find themselves homeless. The work of projects like Roots acts to remind homeless people that they are valued and they are seen. Roots offers hot meals, clothing and toiletries as well as mental health support and signposting to other services available. Once again thank you for your generous donations.
Milk Bottle Tops, Crisp Packets and Christmas Stamps!
Do you remember that song from school days about ‘Milk bottle tops and paper bags…’? Well we have a few recycling collections going at Stoke Lodge that make recycling easy, although they won’t get you a Blue Peter badge I’m afraid!
Recently our friends at PROPS asked us if we would mind hosting a crisp packet recycling box at Stoke Lodge. PROPS collect up the empty packets and are paid by a company which uses them to make things like garden furniture. So a bit of cash for PROPS and a little less to landfill seems like a ‘Win Win’! The packets don’t have to be washed out and can be big or small bags but they do have to be crisp packets and not other similar products. PROPS are also collecting plastic milk bottle tops.
We have a box for your Christmas postage stamps which will be in the foyer till the new year. Stamps are collected for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) an amazing charity making a real difference to people with sight loss.
Whilst I wish you an enjoyable break I know Christmas can be a difficult time for many of us, for a whole range of reasons. If Christmas is difficult for you I would encourage you to look at some of the great support on offer from organisations like Mind, Time to Change and the Mental Health Foundation who have lots of ideas for looking after yourself at Christmas.
Our course guides will be available from Stoke Lodge from Wednesday next week and will be heading out to libraries and other distribution points as soon as possible.
You can see a digital version of the new guide as well as more course information including dates on our website www.bristolcourses.com
If you know exactly the course you want, you can go straight to our online booking at
You can of course give us a ring or pop into Stoke Lodge.
We are open for bookings from 9.00am till 4pm on Friday and then again the following week from 9.00am to 4.30pm.
If you don’t get through first time please bear with us we may be on another call or dealing with a learner in person.
We are really pleased to be offering such a varied range of courses and really hope you will find something in there you fancy.
Enjoy the sunshine
All the best