Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Aldcliffe Road Triangle News Archive 2017

December 2017

Mince pies!

We will be having a meeting/festive gathering this Monday 18th December at 7.30pm. We need to talk about about options for replacement doors and when to fit in next year’s fair, but we will aim to move on to the consumption of mince pies in reasonably short order. The minutes of the last meeting are ho-ho-holed up here.

This year we pretty much finished off what we set out to do five years or so ago, and while there is still work to do (most notably on the buttress shelf and the pergola framework), the focus is moving more towards maintenance of the landscaping, finding regular uses for the workshop, and enjoying what we have produced.

Thank you for helping us get there!

(Posted 17 December 2017)

November 2017

Break-in & next meeting

Last week the workshop was broken into via the big doors, and the generator was stolen. Duncan helped provide an emergency repair and Paul the joiner has since installed a robust temporary repair.

Needless to say, security needs to be reviewed and we will be doing this at our next meeting, which is on Monday 20th November at the later than usual time of 8pm as the Chair has an earlier meeting to go to.

The minutes of the last meeting are languishing here.

(Posted 17 November 2017)

October 2017

Bulb planting

This Sunday 15th October starting at 2pm we will be having a bulb and rhizome* planting session. *Rhizomes look like little bits of twig but work on the same principle as bulbs: shove ’em under the ground at the specified depth and in the spring a flower appears. Magic!

(Posted 13 October 2017)

Next session & a Light Up Lancaster opportunity

We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 8th October at 2pm. Tasks will include planting the remaining three mushrooms, replacing the pond with a more suitable water container, filling in holes in the workshop, and a bit more gardening work.

And now the opportunity:

This year’s Light Up Lancaster community production involves a light and sound artist called Dan Fox who is creating an installation in Dallas Rd Gardens. He has been recording some voices and so far has children from Dallas Rd Primary and the Girls Grammar, but is also looking for some adult voices.

Dan would like to record people talking about the local area, what they love about it, the nature, green spaces and wildlife locally. He has a list of questions to get you going. Your voices and comments would then become a part of the installation on the 3rd and 4th of November this year.

Dan is proposing to hold a drop-in session in the Triangle workshop next Wednesday 11th October between 3.30pm and 5.00pm. He would be hoping to record 3-5 people during this session. If you are willing and available could you please as soon as possible so that I can confirm back to him that it is worth coming.

(Posted 5 October 2017)

July 2017

Art at the Triangle

Over the past couple of weeks we have had a few visits from the decorating elves, who have been busy preparing the workshop for our first pop-up art gallery event, to be held at the start of September.

This Wednesday 2nd August at 10.00am we will be having a volunteer session where we will continue to clear and tidy the workshop, and make a start on fixing timber battens to the wall for hanging tools and, occasionally, artwork.

In the meantime, please admire the flyer for the exhibition (click to enlarge), and below that see an invitation from the Dukes to release your inner Thespian as part of a community show about the Storm Desmond flooding. If the latter is of interest contact Alex Summers at a summers at

(Posted 30 July 2017)

Sunday session & Monday meeting

We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 16th July starting at 2pm.

The main task will be preparing the inside of the workshop for a paint job, including getting stuff out of the way wherever possible; removing dirt, cobwebs, loose paint, redundant fixings, etc; filling holes and cracks; and applying stain block over the existing ‘artwork’. There’s a lot to go at, so we’ll have to see how we get on.

Also available, for those that prefer the outdoors, will be hacking back some of the rampant vegetation, pulling weeds out of paths, and general tidying.

The plan was to have a break from meetings over the holiday period, but a few things have come up that mean we could really do with a midsummer meeting, and this will be held on Monday 17th July at 7.30pm.

You may wish to look at a possible design for converting the boat into a bench, which can be found here. Also on the agenda will be anti-social behaviour, a pop-up art event, and the use of the Triangle as a pit-stop for a charity walk.

(Posted 12 July 2017)

June 2017

Sunday sort-out

The forecast looks OK, so this Sunday 11th June at 2pm we will have a session that will focus on tidying up and clearing out the workshop. Some of the things in there require bright ideas for how to use them on the Triangle, other items can very much go on the freegle list. We have a tentative new plan for turning the boat into additional seating. The mushrooms might well turn into a fairy ring.

Fair result, an award, next meeting

Once again our Spring Fair was a great success. Many thanks to everyone who prepared, leafleted, helped set-up, donated, cooked, served, entertained, tidied up, showed up, and had fun. Even the rain couldn’t stop us.

The final result is in, and we made an excellent £730.45 to add to Triangle funds. To re-live the moment, or see what you missed, have a look at the photo gallery here. And now a Special Announcement:

The Fairfield Association has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017. This award was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

This is an award for all of us as volunteers. It recognises our achievements as a grassroots community in creating more than 50 acres of green space for people to enjoy. This is a great honour and a wonderful way to mark 21 years as a volunteering community.

The Triangle project has only been going for about five years but we are very much part of the Fairfield Association and were very much part of the evidence submission for this award so give yourself a regal pat on the back.

(Posted 7 June 2017)

May 2017

One week to go

We have one week to go until our Spring Fair on Saturday 27th May. A reminder that Gillian is looking for donations for our tombola stall, and it would be a great help to have these in advance if possible. If you can offer something, or if you are not sure whether something is suitable, please contact us and we’ll get back to you.

In the meantime we will be having a final pre-fair tidy up session this Sunday 21st May starting at 2pm. A priority task is to relocate the pile of cobbles to a more discreet location, and we will also be trying to make a bit of space in the workshop, and finishing off some other bits and pieces.

Our water butts are connected and almost full, and the inevitable leaks plugged..

(Posted 19 May 2017)

Session, meeting, spring fair

We will be having a volunteer session this Sunday 7th May at 1pm. If we can get hold of the wacker we will be doing some final work to the paths (which now run all the way from one entrance to the other!), with the other priority being to get the water butts plumbed in and complete the irrigation supply pipework.
There is also some work to do at the main entrance to assist Bob with plans to cobble up the gap in the setts, and general tidying in preparation for our Spring Fair event.

We have a meeting on Monday 8th May at 7.30pm. This will mostly be about final planning for the Spring Fair.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we will be having a Spring Fair on Saturday 27th May, which will double up as a celebration of the completion of our Tesco Bags of Help funded project, which has paid for the raised beds, plants, paths, railings, compost bins, water butts, pointing to the top of the wall, and some other bits and pieces that have together made a huge difference to the Triangle.

On offer at the Fair we will have the renowned Triangle cake & drinks stall, the delicious Triangle BBQ, the verdant Triangle plant stall, the captivating Triangle children’s games, the tempting Triangle tombola and a special guest canal art activity, all accompanied by sustained bursts of melody from our visiting musicians.

As always we will be welcoming donations of cakes and savouries for the cake stall; plants for the plants stall; and fancy goods, unloved gifts, or surplus comestibles for the tombola. Baked goods should be brought on the day, but we can make arrangements to receive other items in advance.

(Posted 4 May 2017)

April 2017

Sunday session

A brief note to say that we will have a session this Sunday 23rd April commencing at 1pm, but latecomers are always welcome. It’s looking likely that we will have a second batch of herbs to plant in the beds, and we will of course also be doing more path work, and possibly plumbing in the water butts.

(Posted 20 April 2017)

Easter Monday

We will be having a short session starting at 10.00am in the morning on Easter Monday. The main priority is to plant out some wild primroses, but there will also be path digging available, irrigation pipework, and general tidying.

Later on in the afternoon, starting at 2pm (I think), it is the Easter Egg Hunt at Fairfield Orchard. If you are minded to work off the chocolate, setting up is from 12 noon, and there will be packing away to do afterwards at 4pm.

(Posted 15 April 2017)

March 2017

A session, a meeting, a celebration!

In recognition of the hard graft put in last weekend, we will have a shorter session this Sunday 2nd April, starting at 2pm. Priorities will be fixing the last of the quarter barrels to the workshop wall, planting up some of the barrels, and working on getting the water butts plumbed in. Digging for paths will also be very much available as a task, but we won’t be laying any this weekend as we won’t have the wacker.

We have a meeting on Monday 3rd April at 7.30pm.

One item on the agenda is… To celebrate the (imminent) completion of our Tesco Bags of Help funded project, we will be holding a Spring Fair on Saturday 27th May. This will feature the usual assortment of cake, drinks, barbecue, games, stalls, music, merriment, and cake. We think we can still fit everything in. Put the date in your diary now, and look out for more information.

(Posted 31 March 2017)

A sunny weekend

The forecast for the weekend is looking pretty fab compared to the weather’s recent efforts, giving us an excellent opportunity to bring our Tesco Bags of Help funded project close to completion.

We will have a volunteer session this Saturday 25th March starting at 10.00am and possibly extending into the afternoon (with some form of lunch provided) if there is the will. There are a variety of jobs to do – not just digging – so we can try to pace ourselves.

For those who can’t do Saturday, or are extra keen, I’m proposing also to be around for a session on Sunday 26th March starting at 1.00pm.

As always, it would be useful to know who can come along and when. It is very acceptable to drop in and out to suit your energy levels and other commitments.

(Posted 22 March 2017)

Next session

Ric is available to bring a wacker again on Wednesday (15th March), so we will be having a session in the afternoon starting at 1pm. This will mostly involve digging turves and laying paths, although there is also a bit of work to do to protect the buried irrigation supply pipework.

(Posted 12 March 2017)

Two volunteering opportunities & a meeting

Stone for the paths is due to arrive tomorrow (Thursday), and we need to get on with laying it. Ric Caunce, who helped us start the raised beds and is going to help us get going on the paths, can’t do weekends, but is available this Friday afternoon.

So… with apologies for the short notice, there will be a session this Friday 3rd March commencing at 1pm to do some digging and laying of paths, so that we know what we are doing when we have our next weekend session.

Our next weekend session will be this weekend on Sunday 5th March, again commencing at 1pm, when we will continue digging and laying paths, subject to the current weather forecast being reasonably accurate.
Our next meeting is on Monday 6th March at 7.30pm. The new railings are due to be installed imminently.

(Posted 1 March 2017)

February 2017

Next sessions and meeting

Our next volunteer session will be this Sunday 20th February starting at 1pm. The priority tasks are shifting some more topsoil to top up the raised beds, transporting some oak tubs and bags of strulch from my house to site, planting two vines, more digging for new paths, and continuing the irrigation link pipework. It is also time to think about pruning the buddleia.

(Posted 16 February 2017)

January 2017

An auction, a session and a meeting

You may have noticed that an auction board has been erected on the Triangle. Don’t panic! The Canal & River Trust who own the land want to sell it as a ‘ground rent investment opportunity’. This means that any new buyer would receive the rent that our landlord, Lancaster City Council, currently pay the Canal & River Trust to lease the site. This should have no effect on our sub-lease of the site, which doesn’t expire until 2043, and is registered with the Land Registry. The City Council’s lease doesn’t expire until 2070.

The guide price for the Triangle is £70,000, which is a lot of money for less than 1/3 of an acre. It is based on an approx 5% annual return on investment at the current level of rent that the City Council pays. The Fairfield Association were offered the opportunity to directly purchase the land at this price a few months ago, but resolved that even if we could raise the money, it would not represent good value to pay £70,000 for a site that we already occupy until 2043 for £1/year (prepaid in full).

If you have any questions about this please contact me and I will do my best to answer them.

In other news, weather permitting we will have a volunteer session this Sunday 5th February at 1pm. We will continue to progress water butt installation and irrigation pipework, and do some digging for paths, with the possibility of some more planting, workshop tidying, and very final touches to the compost bins.

On Monday 6th February at 7.30 we have a meeting.

(Posted 31 January 2017)

Happy new year!

This time last year we had just submitted a bid to Tesco Bags of Help for £8000 for paths and raised beds, and were crossing our fingers for a good result. This time this year we have built our raised beds, installed compost bins, finished pointing the towpath wall, and have until the end of March to finish spending the £10,000 we were awarded.

So… this Sunday 22nd January at 1pm we will be getting on with it! Jobs will probably include: fixing the compost bins lid to the wall, getting water butts into position in the workshop, planting some fruit bushes, and marking out for paths.

Some of you may have noticed that the website disappeared over Christmas and Triangle email addresses weren’t working. This was due to a short notice requirement to move to another web server, which resulted in a transfer that went a bit wrong. We are now back up and running, however, with no further problems anticipated.

(Posted 18 January 2017)