2016 Annual reportLast update: 2.03.17 First posted: 19.11.16 by Estelle in Blogs
Annual Report and
for the period
27th October 2015 to
30th September 2016
Incredible Edible Todmorden Limited is a Community Benefit Society, registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered number 7230. The society was incorporated on 27th October 2016
20 Hare Court
Judy Audaer (Secretary)
Mary Clear (Chair)
Jude Cohen-Phillips (Treasurer)
Joseph Mobbs (resigned 25th July 2016)
For the period covered by this report, Todmorden Council representative, Councillor Penelope Marrington, attended as a non-voting observer to the Board of Directors
The objects of the Society are to carry on any business for the benefit of the community by:
(a) Building a strong local community by developing and offering volunteer opportunities and skills development
(b) Developing and capitalising upon opportunities to reclaim unused land and grow food to share.
© Protecting and enhancing local biodiversity.
(d) Offering workshops and materials to local residents to develop skills in growing food.
(e) Offering workshops and demonstrations to local residents to develop skills in cooking tasty, nutritional food on a budget.
(f) Developing and promoting the Todmorden green route and otherwise encourage visitors to the town.
(g) Encouraging and supporting local businesses to source food locally and reduce food miles.
(h) Encouraging reuse, upcycling and repurposing of goods and thereby reduce landfill.
(i) Developing partnerships with other local groups to encourage and support voluntary action for the benefit of the community.
(j) Organising and supporting events to unite and/or strengthen and/or support the local community.
(k) Promoting a greater understanding of the work of Incredible Edible Todmorden, locally, nationally and internationally.
The Directors present their report with the financial statements of the Society for the period 27th October 2015 to 30th September 2016.
Washed out and wonderful
We began 2016 wet, very wet, the floods gave us an opportunity to join in with others and help the wider community.
Incredibles could be seen cooking, shopping, helping rip up carpets and empty equipment from cellars, fetching and carrying, washing clothes and generally helping townsfolk wherever we could.
A few days later we met with Jon Stopp from the Canal and River Trust (CRT), together we committed to helping as much as we could the fixing up of our devastated towpath. We can proudly say our section of the canal is now open again.
We ran brew kitchens in wild weathers and mild weather, we shifted muck and stones. It’s been great to work with CRT, and wonderful to see the cut open for business and our canal side gardens flourishing.
This year has seen a lot of activity, new ideas, new gardens and new volunteers.
The creation of the ASDA beds and working with partners from the Recovery Centre at the Community College and elsewhere has been so worthwhile. Todmorden has high quality public spaces, fairies cut the grass and the public keeps it litter free.
We worked with artists who used the fencing at the site to showcase live art.
We are the proud winners of an RHS community award, achieving Outstanding for our planting and community work. All of our beds have looked wonderful this year; and as well as rebuilding the Community College beds the train station and market hall herb tubs have been revamped.
Pollination Street is as well used as ever; as a village green, a quiet spot to sit, and a focus for a food festival. We are thrilled that folk love the space and see it as important to any future plans.
The apothecary garden team has worked hard on this unique space, you would never know there had been a flood, despite the damage it caused. And patient groups from the health centre are now working with our team.
The Burnley Road herb garden was also redesigned and replanted after the flood, And the towpath gardens continue to give pleasure despite the trials that flooding brought. Our tour guests love that stretch of town and we have invested in new and wonderful signage to brighten the area up, as we work to create a new green route.
Partnerships / working with others
Whether it’s churches or children we are always up for helping. We have lent our resources and led workshops. The Recovery Project people have worked wonders with us, as have bankers. The Canal and River Trust volunteers have been great fun to work with, particularly as they have great kit we can play with.
We have a reputation for great food and have cooked for fundraisers, worshippers, singers, people otherwise alone on Christmas Day and refugees.
The Local economy
The organised tours of our growing sites – over a thousand people a year – are all focused on town, whether we fill hotel rooms or cafes, there is no doubt that our actions contribute to the economy.
Positive media coverage also contributes, we often meet visitors – and folk who say they are moving to town – who are here because of what they have seen and heard.
Very soon researchers interested in whether what we do can be replicated elsewhere will be able to tell us their findings from their study.
And the tourist information centre staff have informed us of the frequency of enquiries, and they distribute hundreds of our ‘Incredible tour of Todmorden’ maps to those who come asking about us.
We know how to have fun, we know how to share, and in 2016 our annual harvest festival was another great event. The skills folk have developed really shine through, from tent erecting to straw bale humping. We can cook until we drop and make the sun shine.
It never stops, the talks, the tours and the presentations. We continue to inspire and encourage folk all over the UK and Europe. Sometimes we visit and sometimes we Skype, sometimes they come to us. This year we have had visitors from mainland China, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and France and all places in between.
That’s not to mention all the other stuff, building, pruning, planting and digging. Students from around the globe write with queries, not a day goes past without a call or mail from people needing advice. Our website is rich in learning resources, free to access by any interested party. And a current research project will enhance our offer, as we will have ownership of the results and the learning resources that will be developed.
Our tour guides have been kept busy all year. The tours are so important to us, a source of revenue and joy. But we still stick to our Kindness approach – when it comes to money, folk who can afford to, pay. And those who can’t give us a present.
Our best gift this year was from a group who printed tea towels (and with all those brews we need them!) As well as organized tours there are those seen about town with maps printed out from our website and the Information Centre, and residents and friends walking around – on any sunny day you can spot folk admiring our gardens.
Who are the team? We have the committee, folk who can take a meeting without getting bored. Then we have our muckers-in, who make the town the jewel it is. They do the graft, make stuff happen, share food together, watch the children and help the less able.
But we also have a team that comes and goes – everyone is welcome, however much or little time they can spare, and whether regularly or just as a one-off. So we have freedom and routines, because between all of this and magic we are able to achieve what we want.
Sometimes the cooks get frustrated when lunch for ten turns to thirty. But they work their magic and feed us all.
We have shopkeepers, café owners, bakers and makers, artists, drummers and dancers who we support and who we know will support us in all we need. Weavers of magic. And our door is always open to new people and new ideas.
The Great Town Award
Our boldness has no boundaries and having nominated Todmorden we have been short-listed for the Academy of Urbanism Great Town Award.
The very act of entering has created a whole new network of local businesses and good people coming forward to help us give the judges an amazing experience.
From councillors to complete strangers, the input was amazing. It doesn’t matter if we win, we are already in the top three, so already have a medal! But who knows?
The legacy left in 2015 by our dear friend, Richard ‘the Fork’ Swaine, has allowed us to reprint the Incredible Edible Story as a children’s colouring book, rebuild the Community College beds for easier maintenance, and begin developing the new Green Route, to be completed in 2017.
But many others have helped us, too. Volunteers. Supporters. Visitors. Businesses and individuals. Kindness keeps us going, kindness has been shown to us in buckets.
We continue to strive to model what we believe in. Our kindness has inspired hundreds of others to try to solve their own community challenges. And we have continued to keep our work and our words simple. No office. No paid staff. Just volunteers doing their best for the town they live in and love.
We have everything we need to continue our work, and kindness will carry us through any difficulties.
the full report and lay review of IET accounts available to download below
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