Wales and Britain in Bloom – Mathern with Pwllmeyric & Mounton

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Mathern with Pwllmeyric & Mounton going for Gold as finalists in RHS Britain in Bloom 2016

We are the community of Mathern near Chepstow in Monmouthshire which has been selected from more than 600 entrants to take part in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals 2016.

Mathern is one of 72 finalists from towns, villages and cities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Jersey and Guernsey. The group was selected to be entered in the Village category for its outstanding commitment to environmental responsibility, community participation and gardening achievement. Other finalists from Wales are Colwyn Bay, Gogarth (Llandudno) and Tenby.

In August this year, Mathern’s passionate volunteers will be showing off their commitment to a greener, healthier Britain. They will lead RHS Britain in Bloom judges on a tour of local projects and initiatives in the hope of bringing home Gold at the annual award ceremony in October.

Mathern in Bloom chairman Greg Howell, said “After more than a decade of successes in Wales in Bloom, missing Gold by just a few points in 2015, we are delighted to have been named as finalists for the national competition. We are one of only four Welsh communities to make it through to the finals and we have strong competition from Bellingham in Northumberland, Castlecaulfield in Ulster, Elswick in Lancashire, Fordham in Essex and Middleton by Wirksworth in Derbyshire.”

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, said: “We would like to congratulate Mathern with Pwllmeyric & Mounton for reaching the UK finals of RHS Britain in Bloom. It’s a tremendous achievement and illustrates the group’s impressive commitment to improving their local environment.

Volunteers of all ages and all walks of life participate in Britain in Bloom, making extraordinary efforts to improve streets and neighbourhoods in towns, villages and cities across the country. It is vital we celebrate and recognise their efforts to strengthen their communities and inspire others to get involved.”
Britain in Bloom groups are assessed on a wide range of initiatives, such as the maintenance of parks and communal gardens, the management of natural spaces, community campaigns to promote recycling and environmental awareness, and projects involving local residents and schools.

In recognition of challenges some RHS Britain in Bloom 2016 UK finalists face as a result of the recent floods, the RHS has created a new award to honour those who have battled against adversity. The RHS discretionary award for overcoming adversity will recognise those groups that have worked in difficult circumstances to put the bloom back into their communities.

 2015 – Awarded Silver Gilt

Presentation to “Wales in Bloom”

Background and Introduction

“Villages in Bloom” was formally constituted in April 2012 as a not-for-profit organisation with the following charitable Aims and Objectives:

“Working together as a community, involving all age groups, we endeavour to make Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeyric villages more attractive places, not only for its residents but also for visitors and commuters alike. We will liaise closely with Mathern Community Council, and as a community take part in fund raising events, grant applications, sponsorship and donations.

We will maintain, to a high standard, planted areas in and around the villages, with use of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees as appropriate. This will help the villages to be beautiful places to be part of and to visit.”

A copy of the constitution is included at the end of the report. “Villages in Bloom” has a Community current account with NatWest and, through the RHS, Employers’ and Public Liability Insurance.

The group now has an active Committee of about 25 residents which meets on a regular basis and this year has involved, in various ways, more than 100 adults and children.

“Villages in Bloom” first entered “Wales in Bloom” in 2013 and was awarded Silver and in 2014 was awarded Silver Gilt and was 1st in its category.

In 2015 it was decided to increase the number of perennials and to do more to promote the creation of pollinator friendly habitats and to do more in succeeding years. The installation of a new sub-station by Western Power in Bishop’s Mead gave an opportunity for a new wildflower garden to be created on what was left as barren soil.

In total 500 red geraniums, 100 yellow Million Bells, 100 orange Million Bells, 360 Marigold Duranga, 360 White Alyssum, 720 Blue Lobelia, 100 Red Surfinia, 100 Blue Surfinia, 150 New Guinea impatiens, 150 small hardy fuchsias and 50 Lavender Hidcote were planted across about 140 planters. Volunteers have been free to add other plants as they wish.

The cost for this financial year has been in the order of £3,800, an increase on 2014 due largely to the planned replacement of 10% of planters each year and the additional planters introduced this year.

Our Report

This report is mainly a compilation of contributions from group members which is, as last year, probably the best way to reflect what people have done and how they feel about what they have done using their own words. Our photographic report is on flickr for all to see

https://www.flickr.com/photos/134798964@N04/albums

Introduction – Greg Howell, Chairman, “Villages in Bloom”

Over the last year “Villages in Bloom” has continued to flourish, the number attending our meetings has risen. The situation regarding the facilities at Mathern Palace has been resolved. Helen & Philip Carter have completely taken on the concept of village life, so we now have use of the whole renamed -‘Village Garden’. They have also provided a venue for meetings. Many thanks to them.

The New Inn, Pwllmeyric, has a new owner who is completely supportive of our efforts and intends to enter the Pub Category of Wales in Bloom next year.

The Millers Arms, Mathern, also have new tenants who although not gardeners are taking part enthusiastically. They will be given gardening lessons!

The villages look good again and many people who do not live in the area have commented on it.

Our fundraising event – the Valentine’s Ball has allowed us to plant the three villages again and to replace a significant number of planters and to add a few more. The replacement of planters on a planned basis is an ongoing commitment.

Our planting has been more varied this year and includes 50 more lavender and 150 hardy fuchsias which we hope to over-winter, so building up the stock of sustainable stock as well as reducing costs for next year.

Although the wildflower trial at the entrance of the village is slow to be a success, we will continue with it. The number of wildflower areas has also increased; we hope we will have more success with these. We have also signed the Bee Friendly Monmouthshire pledge and installed some of their signs.

Many thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers who have continued to keep the villages looking good.

Fundraising – David Harris

Raising sufficient funds continues to be essential to the success of “Villages in Bloom” and since its inception the monies raised have grown year on year.

Our principle fund raising event is the Valentine’s Ball, a dinner dance accommodating 100 people and held in the Mathern and District Village Hall. Volunteers set up the event ably directed by Elizabeth Merrett. Each year more and more people ask to attend the event but we are restricted to the number of people who can be accommodated. There is live music and a hog roast with the serving cleaning and washing up all done by volunteers including Greg Howell, our Chairman with his washing up gloves, Chris Wheeler our Treasurer as barman and on the tea towel with Carol, Chris’s wife, counting and processing the money. Chris Hughes our a true local personality comperes the event in his own inimitable style and ensures all have a good night and that they dig deep into their wallets and purses!

Income from ticket sales prior to the event covers all costs; the main fundraising part of the event is an auction where parties donate items that can be bid for by all. The items donated to the auction vary, but are significant and most generous. These include David and Elizabeth Merrett who donated a week in each of their holiday homes in Minorca and Saundersfoot, Paul and Julia Kelley who donated a week in their holiday home in Cyprus, Peter Keates who donated a barrel of beer for the bar, The Millers Arms which donated a dinner for two and Robin Lewis who donated three walking sticks that he handcrafted himself. A raffle complements the event with generous prizes all donated by members of the community. These tickets are sold prior to and at the event to ensure involvement of the broader community.

People attend the event as it is an excellent social gathering but also to donate in their own way to the cost of improving the quality of the environment in which they live. In true community spirit the resources necessary to drive “Villages in Bloom” derive from people donating their time and effort freely but also from people donating tangible assets.

An Organic Wildflower Garden – Gill Bell

In my report last year I explained that as a conservationist I am keen that not only is my garden organic but that it provides a haven for our declining wildlife. Last year I started to create a wildflower meadow in my front lawn. In addition, to attract butterflies I planted shrubs such as lavender and buddleia as well as foxgloves, aquilegia and teasels. Elsewhere in the garden, I have herbaceous perennials such as globe artichoke, globe thistles and Sedum spp, a wildlife pond, bird, insect and bee boxes.

Like all gardens, this year has seen a change in the mixture of plants coming through in the wildflower meadow. Last year had a lot more poppies but these are annuals which like disturbed soil so not so many this year. Perhaps due to the dry conditions, the daisies are tall and stand above the other flowers, which leads you to over look the understory plants but they are still there. As with all the meadow, they have also flowered much earlier and most of the flowers have finished but I have left them so they can spread their seeds.

The area nearest the entrance to the garden behind the wall has been the biggest disappointment, as this was supposed to be an annuals bed. I turned this area over and disturbed the soil and planted a native annual mix and also over-sowed the main meadow with some annuals to add to the mixture. However, this has not worked and the annual bed has been overrun with other plants and grasses, so I think I will allow the whole area to become an undisturbed meadow, as clearly my heavy clay soil is not suited to this mixture. I am also looking into prolonging the flowering season, with the corn cockles helping to fill the gap this year.

Mathern Athletic Club: 1st Mathern Brownies & Wild Flower Bank – Stella Lovett

This year we have so far had a wonderful display of perennials and biennials in the wild flower border. The first off the block was the Red Campion which was a wonderful sea of pinky red. We have since had Red Clover, Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Sorrel, Hoary Plantain, Musk Mallow and Ox Eye Daisy. Bursting through are Yarrow, Knapweed and Scabious. Every day is a new scene with new plants appearing and old ones leaving.

Plans for this year went a little awry with the cold weather in the spring, lack of time on behalf of volunteers and personal issues.

The intention was to extend the wild flower section and to get rid of the bramble and other difficult weeds nearer to the club.

We have managed to do a very late sowing of one section of wild flowers and have dug over another section ready for Autumn sowing with the Brownies. These seeds are from the “Grow Wild” project from Kew and the National Lottery.

The brambles have nearly been overcome and we have sown some grass and flower mix in the bare patches they have left nearer to the club.

There is still a lot more to do but this year has been a turning point for us.

We have been joined by Mencap who do gardening jobs in the area and bring the compost to a section they have built in the corner of the club site. They have expressed an interest in helping out which will be very welcome.

There is a now a new designated purpose-built composting area and three compost bins on the site.

Yew Tree Cottage Wildflower Garden – April Thatcher

When we moved here I envisioned creating my own miniature wildflower “meadow” to continue with the informality of the rest of the garden.

Being from Texas, we tend to have more formal and precise gardens. And I have always loved the romance of a quintessential “Cottage Garden”.

I also adore bees and wanted to increase the number of bee friendly havens on our property as well.

New hedgerow – Orchard Rise, Chapel Lane, Pwllmeyric – Martin Brady

Following a community effort in October 2013 a new hedgerow was created at the entrance to Orchard Rise, Pwllmeyric. Over 100 saplings were bought bare rooted at that time and planted in the heavily banked site.
A mixture of tree varieties was chosen in order to recreate a classic country hedgerow and one which residents could maintain. We chose the following, Hazel, Dogwood, Field Maple, Common Oak, Beech and Rowan.

As the hedgerow is located at the foot of an adjacent property in Chapel Lane, with interwoven fencing at the foot of their garden, the management of the growing saplings alongside recovering older hedgerow stumps takes on importance. The height of the hedgerow is some 12 feet high from the road and the depth – in three planted sloping rows – is some 6 to 8 feet.

Sadly a few gaps have occurred where a number of saplings, mostly if not all Beech, did not survive through the winter. During the 2013/14 winter a number of unused saplings were planted temporarily in land made available in Mathern Village by a member of MMPVB and subsequently relocated to a friendly farm north of Chepstow. These saplings have prospered and will provide a stock of growing replacements for replanting in the Autumn of 2015.

The support of community members in “Villages in Bloom” is much appreciated by the residents of Orchard Rise, Pwllmeyric and having a mixture of plantings in three rows has seen the process of renewal taking shape at the entrance of Orchard Rise.
The goal of a country entrance hedgerow is now in sight as the site returns to its former green abundance. With better management the hedgerow can contribute long term to the country byway of Chapel Lane, being restored to a timeless rural tradition. Before and after pictures are on the flikr website.

Mathern War Memorial Garden and Village Sign Beds – Chris and Carol Wheeler

The long term development of the Mathern War Memorial Garden is nearing completion. The works over the previous years are maturing and by and large are achieving the village’s aim of the War Memorial being a place that acts as a centre point for remembering the fallen of all wars that is accessible and able to be enjoyed by all; the planting and layout is respectful but also provides a sensory and bee friendly garden where villagers and visitors can remember and admire the splendid stone memorial.

One of the challenges and “joys” of gardening is that sometimes best laid plans are thwarted by nature; some of the herbaceous shrubs introduced last year have not thrived and have been replaced by other species. The dwarf buddleias planted in the raised planters have been removed as they were becoming over vigorous. The replacement of sedums with a sedum species more suitable to the environment continues.

The large lavenders planted 3 years ago are reaching full maturity and a revised experimental pruning regime has been tried to retain the shape and flowering whilst not dominating other adjacent plants. It is envisaged that metal plant supports will be required to maintain the shape and structure of the plants.

The Community Council has installed an information panel detailing the history of the memorial.

The four ground level beds adjacent to the village signs at the entrance to Mathern have provided challenges to provide a suitable welcome to the village. Two of the beds are overshadowed by trees giving a dry shaded environment; longer term with the Community Council agreement it is planned to trim the branches in the dormant period to provide more light and water; the other two beds are adjacent to a field and have suffered from invasive weed encroachment due to the boundary with the hedgerow not having a physical edge; to remedy this concrete gravel boards have been installed; early indications are the weeds are less prolific. These beds are consciously planted with formal bedding to give colour and impact and enable the beds to be replanted giving year round colour.

Overwintering and Oversummering Plants – Mathern Palace – Norman Stephens

Again my main focus has been on sustainability and preserving and protecting the valuable plants we used in 2013 and 2014, summer planting the nearly 400 polyanthuses and over wintering some 300 geraniums in the Village Garden at Mathern Palace. We are most grateful to Helen and Philip Carter for allowing us to continue to use the ground. Autumn 2014 through to Spring 2015 was again relatively mild which aided my efforts considerably. With team mates, Jayne Harris and Robin Lewis, a covering was again constructed over the base of an old greenhouse where the geraniums, mainly from 2013, were planted and nurtured for re-use in 2015. They were tended, watered and brought to full bloom with few losses. The plants were so strong that we took many cuttings which were grown on in another polytunnel in the Village Garden and used in the summer planting in Mathern.

The ground is now home to the polyanthuses planted last autumn across the village and they will be brought on for re-planting in the Autumn.

Wildflower Trial – Mathern Verge – Greg Howell, Chairman, Villages in Bloom

In 2014 we reported that “Villages in Bloom” was given permission by Monmouthshire County Council to plant a wildflower trial on land which they own, namely the verge near the village welcome signs at the entrance to Mathern. It was expected that the trial would take at least three years before results were evident.

There are three trial areas. The first was mown, grass cuttings collected, scarified and sown with meadow seed from Gwent Wildlife trust (Pentwyn Farm). The second sown with meadow seed from Plantwild and the third area was sown with yellow rattle seed provided by Monmouthshire County Council.

The purpose of the third trial was to try and weaken the stronger grasses so that any wildflowers present were given a chance to grow. This trial has so far had remarkable results with grass growth being significantly suppressed.

We will have to wait to see whether the first two trial areas will show results next year.

Pwllmeyric – Martin McHugh

Despite sitting on either side of the A48, which is a busy, major trunk road, Pwllmeyric successfully manages to achieve a “pretty village look” with planters sited at both entrances to the village to welcome visitors and those passing through each day. Our efforts are about engagement for a village that has particular challenges around its ribbon development with micro communities in the form of numerous closes that clearly interact in a group but not as a whole.

We continue to add to the floral stock each year with the planter count now approaching 30 with nearby residents committed to planting and maintaining them each year. This has helped to cultivate stronger relationships between groups in what would normally be a difficult situation due to the busy road and the village layout.

General grass cutting and trimming continues to be done by Greg Howell and Martin McHugh who can be seen most weekends in hi-vis jackets doing their bit for the community.

The “Green” at the junction with Chapel Lane having been transformed by the Sweetings from what was a few years ago, a scruffy litter-strewn area continues to be an area of flower displays, mown grass and a wild habitat bank alive with Spring narcissi. The County Council has given permission for a large planter to be placed on the bank at the “Green” but we have not had sufficient funds to build one. This remains a project for a future year.

Planters grace the entrances to the main closes at Orchard Rise, Orchid Meadow and Badgers Meadow and more recently we have added Pwllmeyric Close and Pentwyn Close. Again these are planted and maintained by local residents to include Elizabeth Dickenson, Diana Morriss, Martin McHugh and Mrs Chapell.

The entrance to Orchard Rise now sees the benefit of the new native species hedge planted last year as it continues to mature.

“The Green” with its enthusiastic micro community and its two new planters from last year continue to add colour and complement Willowbrook Guest House across the road with its hanging baskets and roadside planters at the lower end of the hill.

The New Inn which was closed this time last year for refurbishment is now open. It has become a thriving and well respected Gastro Pub for locals and visitors alike and also boasts a separate coffee shop with floral displays. It was bought by Peter Ferrer who lives in Mathern and he is committed to being involved with “Villages in Bloom” and we look forward to the pub’s involvement in coming years.

The Texaco garage is kept neat and tidy with the grassed area regularly cut by Graham Pitt who also, with Simon Jones, tends St Tewdric’s Church churchyard in Mathern.

St Tewdric’s Church, Mathern – John Charters

St Tewdric’s Church is an ancient monument with an extensive churchyard. This year the PCC decided to adopt a new approach to churchyard maintenance and adopted a policy of restricted mowing leaving edges to grow naturally and to have designated wildlife areas where grasses and wild flowers would flourish. In the autumn seeds from “Grow Wild” will be used close to the entrance to the church to establish a wildflower garden.

The Crescent Mathern, Mathern & District Village Hall and Bus Stop Shelter – Robin Lewis

The Crescent looks immaculate all year round. The herb garden created last year has matured successfully and is available for the villagers to harvest as needed whilst the four hanging baskets are doing well. To encourage insect life the planters now include lavender, fuchsias and marigolds and are tended by several householders whilst Mr & Mrs Bell from number 12 have created a whole garden especially for wildlife.

The Village Hall started with a floral display of seven wall planters, now six as one regrettably ended its natural life span and fell to the ground, and seven hanging baskets which forms a vivid backdrop to the car park which is maintained regularly by “Villages in Bloom” as is the Tennis Court. As part of the planned maintenance of all the planters those at the Village Hall will be replaced in 2016 in consultation with the Village Hall Committee.

The Children’s Play Area continues to be very well maintained as is the field, “Hut Field”, and the Bus Stop shelter.

I would like to say that the new owners of Mathern Palace, Philip & Helen Carter, who moved in nearly a year ago, have enthusiastically embraced Wales in Bloom and have generously provided the use of part of their garden for the use of “Villages in Bloom”, thus continuing a custom established under the ownership of Tata Steel.

In return for “Villages in Bloom” keeping the area tidy, they have provided a polytunnel and cold frame (and endless cups of tea and coffee to the main gardeners namely Robin Lewis, Norman Stephens and Jayne Harris). A greenhouse will also be erected in the near future once a base has been laid.

The garden has, for the second year, been used for over-wintering pelargonium (some 400 last winter) which have been re-planted for this summer’s display and currently some 350 polyanthus plants taken out from the winter/spring planting are in situ ready for planting out this autumn.

It should be noted here that “Villages in Bloom” ensures a colourful display during the winter and spring months, as well as the summer months and that the all year round display prompts many appreciative comments from both residents and those simply passing through the village.

Mathern Palace – Helen Carter

Having moved into Mathern last August we were amazed at the hard work and effort that everyone puts into the preparation of not only planters throughout the village but also the growing of the next round of plants….for future planting.

At the Palace we decided to let the dedicated team have more planting space in the kitchen garden, and the full use of the polytunnel.

The “bloomers” team come religiously to water, plant and generally tend the kitchen garden throughout the year, and we genuinely love them coming. It has helped us meet people in the village and now we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else!

The “Village in Bloom” organisation is not only to make our communities look neat and tidy, but to create a sense of care and community spirit which we can whole heartily vouch for……so many thanks to all the team

Regards – Philip and Helen, Amy and Leah Carter

Mounton

A description is perhaps best given by repeating what others have said about Mounton over almost the last 200 years.

In 1826 Edward Mogg in Paterson’s Roads said “the vale of Mounton abounds in beauties of the most picturesque description, and will amply repay the visit of the traveller.” In 1901 Kelly’s Directory of Monmouthshire recorded, “It is very picturesquely situated about half a mile from the great road from Chepstow to Newport, in a narrow valley, with steep cliffs and hills on either side. A trout stream runs through the valley, called the “Meurig”, but now better known as Mounton Brook. The church (said to be of very ancient foundation), was restored in 1881, and is a very small building of stone, consisting of chancel, nave and vestry with an open bell-cot containing one bell. The parish presents some pleasing views, especially through the picturesquely wooded valley, which is about a mile in length, with very high rocks on either side, crowned with finely-grown yew trees. The soil is loamy, resting on limestone.”

The population in 1891 was 48 and in 2012 there were some 13 properties and 20 electors in the hamlet of Mounton village.

In previous years the village has been judged as the best kept hamlet by the Gwent Association of Voluntary Bodies “Gwent Best Kept Village Competition”.

Planters sit on the well-maintained grassed roundabout and at the side of the Church of St Andoenus with its well tended churchyard which straddles the road. Planting in the hamlet reflects the nature of a valley which has micro-climates which can be shaded and humid in parts, light and in full sun in others.

The Millers Arms

We would like to thank Rachael and Chris who were at the Millers Arms from 2011 until April 2015 for taking such a significant part in “Villages in Bloom” in so many ways all the time they were in Mathern and for hosting a joyous celebratory evening after the 2014 results were announced. While we were sad to see them leave, the villages welcome Mike and Margaret who have in 2015 entered separately in “Wales in Bloom” just days after they took over the pub.

Our Thanks To Others

We would like to thank Mathern Community Council for the grant of £500, Keep Wales Tidy for the provision of equipment, Monmouthshire County Council Grounds, Cleansing and Highways teams who have again paid us particular attention; they have pride in their work and enjoy seeing the result of their efforts. We also thank James Boyle, Chepstow Garden Centre, who has grown most of the plants we have used, for his continued support, involvement and enthusiasm.

Local Environmental Quality

Fortunately the quality of our local environment continues to be outstanding. The A48 is a year on year challenge regarding litter which is managed well by regular litter picking by volunteers and augmented by Monmouthshire County Council. All the verges around the Pwllmeyric bus stops are mown by volunteers. Mathern has had no significant fly tipping this year and those areas prone to this activity are monitored regularly by the Lower Wye Police team. Fly posting is controlled by providing noticeboards across the area and any postings on street furniture, apart from those about lost pets, are removed. Dog fouling of streets and pavements is not common. However, the disposal of dog waste is an issue which the Community Council hope will be resolved by the provision of dog waste bins which will be emptied on a regular basis.

Conclusion

We have continued to build on what we have and have made important progress in areas which needed development. The villages look splendid, clean and tidy. People are proud of that achievement and know that they, collectively, have achieved that result, and, possibly, most importantly, they have enjoyed being involved and doing the work – it is, after all, – their community. the Community holds the view The community is also delighted, thrilled and proud to have, in 2014, come 1st in the Wales in Bloom, Class 7 Village Trophy category with the recognition given to us by the prized Silver Gilt Award, narrowly piping Cemaes Bay thanks to the 1st Mathern Brownies.

Summary of Judges report for Wales in Bloom by John Woods:

” It was a great pleasure to return to Mathern, Mounton, and Pwllmeyric this year and see the ongoing improvements in all three villages. The generosity of Philip and Helen Carter the new owners of Mathern Palace deserves a special mention. Through the partnership working in the kitchen garden they have provided a very valuable resource for the ‘Villages in Bloom’ group.
This was a very good entry and with only 9 points now separating you from achieving a Gold Award we look forward to seeing your entry in 2016!
Very well done / Llongyfarchiadau lu a daliwch ati!

2014 – Awarded Silver Gilt

Presentation to Wales in Bloom background and Introduction

For a decade “Mathern in Bloom” brought summer colour to the villages achieving numerous successes in “Wales in Bloom” and the “Gwent Best Kept Village” competition organised by the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO).

In early 2012 the committed and hardworking organisers of “Mathern in Bloom” decided to hand on the baton, as well as nearly one hundred planters, to a new group, Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeyric “Villages in Bloom”.

“Villages in Bloom” was formally constituted in April 2012 as a not-for-profit  organisation with the following charitable Aims and Objectives:

“Working together as a community, involving all age groups, we endeavour to make Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic villages more attractive places, not only for its residents but also for visitors and commuters alike. We will liaise closely with Mathern Community Council, and as a community take part in fund raising events, grant applications, sponsorship and donations.

We will maintain, to a high standard, planted areas in and around the villages, with use of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees as appropriate. This will help the villages to be beautiful places to be part of and to visit.”

A copy of the constitution is included at the end of the report. “Villages in Bloom” has a Community current account with NatWest and, through the RHS, Employers’ and Public Liability Insurance.

The group now has an active Committee of about 25 residents which meets on a regular basis and this year has involved, in various ways, more than 100 adults and children.

“Villages in Bloom” first entered “Wales in Bloom” in 2013 and was awarded Silver. Four hundred of the geraniums used that summer were over wintered for re-use in 2014.

Autumn and Spring planting took place in 2013/2014 and some 200 over summered polyanthus were re-used.

It was decided in 2013 that it would be appropriate for the colour theme for the 2014 Summer planting to be red, white and blue in recognition of the centenary of the start of World War I.

In addition, it was decided to increase the number of perennials and to do more to promotes the creation of pollinator friendly habitats in 2014 and to do more in succeeding years.

In total 600 red geraniums, 300 White Cosmos, 60 Marigold Duranga, 700 White Alyssum, 700 Blue Lobelia, 200 Red Surfinia, 200 Blue Surfinia, 45 Ivy Geraniums, 60 Tuberous Red Begonias, 40 White Impatiens and 100 Lavender Hidcote across about 140 planters. Volunteers have been free to add other plants as they wish. In addition a kitchen herb garden of some 30 different culinary plants has been planted in The Crescent.

The cost for this financial year has been in the order of £2,300 a significant reduction on 2013 but with far more effective results.

Our Report

Our report this year is somewhat different from last year’s. The report you are reading is mainly a compilation of contributions from group members which is probably the best way to reflect what people have done and how they feel about what they have done using their own words. Our photographic report is on flickr for all to see

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/ and contains over 400 photographs in 17 albums https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/

For many of the albums there is the same text as appears in this report.

There is also a new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MMPVB.

By using flickr and Facebook we can communicate more information, more quickly, to a much larger audience and for no tangible cost.

Introduction – Dave Merrett, Chairman, Mathern Community Council

It has given me tremendous pride & satisfaction as Chairman of Mathern Community Council to have witnessed the gradual progression of the “Villages in Bloom” project. Initially it was run by only a few dedicated individuals on an ad-hoc basis & it has evolved into a well run Committee which meets regularly at the Millers Arms. Meetings are enjoyed by as many as twenty members, and have become a means to integrate new residents into village life.

I attended the main fund raising event again this year a St Valentine’s Ball which was a fantastic fun occasion held at our beautifully decked out Village Hall. Everyone had a wonderful evening & raised a fantastic sum to be used for the beautification of our villages.

Planting day was a joy to behold, when it seemed everyone turned out to plant. Our ever increasing bank of planters and general tidy uppers turned the “chore” into a fun family morning and a good time was had by all. Visitors to Mathern invariably comment on how beautiful our villages look.

And what a credit the planting it is to our village community and how fortunate we are to live here. Thank you and well done to everyone involved.

Fundraising – David Harris

The raising of sufficient funds is essential to the success of “Villages in Bloom” and since its inception the monies raised have grown year on year. We have one main fundraising event but also benefit from kind donations from generous local companies and individuals.

Our principle fund raising event is the Valentine’s Ball, a dinner dance accommodating 100 people and held in the Mathern and District Village Hall. Each year more and more people ask to attend the event but we are restricted to the number of people who can be accommodated. There is live music and a hog roast with the serving cleaning and washing up all done by volunteers including Greg Howell, our Chairman with his washing up gloves, Chris Wheeler our Treasurer as barman and on the tea towel with Carol, Chris’s wife, counting and processing the money. Chris Hughes our a true local personality comperes the event in his own inimitable style and ensures all have a good night and that they dig deep into their wallets and purses!

Income from ticket sales prior to the event covers all costs; the main fundraising part of the event is an auction where parties donate items that can be bid for by all. The items donated to the auction vary, but are significant and most generous. These include David and Elizabeth Merrett who donated a week in each of their holiday homes in Minorca and Saundersfoot, Paul and Julia Kelley who donated a week in their holiday home in Cyprus, Peter Keats who donated a barrel of beer for the bar, The Millers Arms which donated a dinner for two and Robin Lewis who donated three walking sticks that he handcrafted himself. A raffle, with ticket printing donated by Frank and Mary Sainsbury, complements the event. These tickets are sold prior to and at the event to ensure involvement of the broader community.

People attend the event as it is a very good social gathering but also to donate in their own way to the cost of improving the quality of the environment in which they live. In true community spirit the resources necessary to drive MPMVB derive from people donating their time and effort freely but also from people donating tangible assets.
This year we raised some £4000.

You can see pictures of St Valentine’s Ball here
https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645228650017/

An Organic Ecology Garden – Gill Bell

As a conservationist I am keen that not only is my garden organic but that it provides a haven for our declining wildlife. Last year I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to create a wild flower meadow in my front lawn by scarifying then sowing seeds and plug plants however the grasses out-competed the wild flowers. With the help of Robin Lewis, he rotovated the garden and I removed the turf last autumn then left the ground fallow over winter. We repeated this twice in spring to try to remove as much grass seeds as possible. I then sowed 2 wild flower mixes. Both were grass free mixtures, one a specific clay meadow mix but as this can take a few years to establish I also planted an annual mix and additional native poppy seeds as I wanted this to be a key feature of the garden in this commemorative year. This has been more successful than last year, with in particular many poppies and corn cockles.

To attract butterflies I have planted shrubs such as lavender and buddleia, for bees lots of single headed flowers of purple colour such as foxgloves and aquilegia (also slug and snail proof) and double benefit of teasel – flowers for bees and seeds for the birds! Elsewhere in the garden, I have herbaceous perennials such as globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus); globe thistles (Echinops spp.) and Sedum spp, a wildlife pond, bird, insect and bee boxes. I have a camera bird box and my resident sparrows are on their second brood. I would encourage everyone no matter what their taste in gardens, whether it be very structured or more cottage garden style to think about their planting and reduce the use of chemicals so wildlife can also benefit for their green spaces.

You can see pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645246811637/

Mathern Athletic Club: 1st Mathern Brownies & Wild Flower Bank – Stella Lovett

The Chairman and Committee of Mathern Athletic Club were keen to be part of village activities and as they had wasteland around the periphery of the grounds they wondered about having a wildflower area as they had noticed the trial at the beginning of the village.

I discussed this with them and looked for a suitable spot with full sun. We were keen to keep the natural plants and flowers that existed already and then add British meadow flowers. As there was grass on the bank already we did not want a mix of seeds which included grass.

The volunteer groundsman, Clive Jones, was keen to get involved and started to take off the hummocks of grass with a pull hoe. Without doing this it would have been impossible to rake the area to provide a seed bed. We decided to make the bank approx 30’ long and 9’ deep. We did not want the bank to be too wide as it would be hard to get into to weed and we also weren’t sure how successful we would be.

Seeds were chosen on line and the amount was ordered in accordance with their instructions of 2g per m2 for perennials and 1.5g per m2 for annuals when sown with perennials. We felt a mix of the two was needed to ensure there would be some display this year.

We decided to involve the Brownies who have also helped with planting up the barrels at the front of the Club in previous years. They meet every Thursday at Mathern Athletic Club and between us all decided on a date of 3rd April as this was the first Thursday after the clocks went forward giving us a light evening. Unfortunately it rained solidly all evening and was unsuitable for sowing anything! We then decided to postpone until the following week.

I had put together a pamphlet for the Brownies with all the different flowers that we were going to be sowing so that they would have some idea.

Organising the actual event went smoothly. I decided to divide the seeds up into small pots and also divided the area up into small plots with canes so that the seed got distributed evenly. The Brownies were extremely excited and very interested asking lots of questions. They came over from the club in small groups and filled the pots with fine sand to bulk up the seed mixture and either individually or in groups sowed the seeds on each area and then raked them in. As rain was forecast we did not water the seeds in on the night.

The Brownies go down to have a look at the flowers on some of their evenings there and are pleased with the progress.

Clive and my elf have ensured that the seeds were watered in dry spells and I have tried to keep down the thistle, nettle and bindweed population.

What has been heart warming is that neighbours have been seen walking past and doing a bit of weeding. The bindweed has proved a problem but otherwise we feel the bank has been successful this year producing Corn Chamomile, Corn poppy, Cornflower and the most recent flower to open, Corn Cockle. There is also Vetch, Mallow, Cow Parsley and Sorrell that existed prior to the sowing. We can’t wait to see what else is produced over the next few years and also intend to extend the flowers towards the Club.

Have a look at our pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645686074853/

Other plans include spring woodland planting under the trees around the parking area at the Club. I have already got Primroses ready and have sown some Foxgloves this year.

There is a compost bin on the site and we are hoping to get rain water butts shortly.

Get Up and Grow Project: Mounton House School

This project has run for a number of years under the direction of Dawn Purkiss, Monmouthshire Youth Service, supported by Sally Jenkins. The project was designed to encourage young people to develop their interests in Horticulture working towards their BTEC modules in various aspects of gardening. Alongside this, pupils used the gardening aspect to complement their ASDAN work and has also been utilised as a therapeutic resource for young people and the community.

We have worked with “Villages in Bloom” for a number of years, wintering polyanthus, and geraniums in the polytunnel, supporting “Villages in Bloom” with our own planters, producing wild flower trail signs made by young people. Greg Howell has been invaluable to us as a font of knowledge, i.e. putting lime down prior to planting cauliflowers!, helping to erect the polytunnel, securing bids for a composter and supplying compost seeds and plants for us to develop the project further.

We are saddened that Dawn will no longer be with us as the Youth Service has re-directed Dawn’s timetable to work in the community in Abergavenny. Greg has kindly agreed to work with us voluntarily to sustain and maintain this valuable relationship. To recognise Mr Howell’s help and support, he has been nominated for a GAVO individual award. We look forward to a long and flourishing relationship.

Tree planting – Chapel Lane / Orchard Rise, Pwllmeyric – Martin Brady

In the Spring of 2013 the existing hedgerow at the foot of Orchard Rise where it meets Chapel Lane, had become overgrown and was encroaching on the adjacent property. To bring order to the situation the old hedgerow was removed leaving bare ground and some stumps.

The adjacent residents took the opportunity to erect an interwoven boundary fence leaving the outward side in need of replanting as both a screen and a restoration of the entrance hedgerow.

Because of the prevalence of bindweed, brambles and nettles the need for access for weeding between future new plantings meant that the hedgerow trees chosen needed to be thorn free varieties.

Saplings were bought and delivered in October comprising Hazel and Dogwood for the top row, Field Maple and Common Oak for the middle row and Beech and Rowan for the lower row. The rows were designed to bring density quickly and to take account of the marked slope of the ground between the roadside and the foot of the new fencing.

130 trees were bought bare rooted and in October a team comprising Orchard Rise residents and members of Villages in Bloom set about planting over 100 tree saplings, leaving a surplus to be planted elsewhere and over-wintered as a strategic reserve. Given the driving Winter winds from the Severn Estuary there was a real need for a reserve against the possibility of a percentage failure, given that the banking of the ground was 45 degrees in places and rainwater would tend to run off.

Accommodation was made available for the surplus trees and they came through the Winter successfully. Unfortunately the front row Beech saplings experienced a high failure rate with some 12 out of 32 planted having not lived. They have been left as markers and will need replacing this Autumn from the reserve of trees which have been moved yet again to a friendly farm north of Chepstow. They have prospered so the next replanting is expected to bring a favourable outcome.

Meanwhile the new trees are becoming established next to, and between, the sprouting former stumps from the old hedge and a new hedgerow is coming about. The community effort was much appreciated by residents and this corner of Pwllmeyric has been enhanced.

Have a look at the difference between Autumn 2013 and now https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645687073973/

Mathern War Memorial Garden and Raised Beds – Chris and Carol Wheeler

Mathern War Memorial Garden continues to develop. All ground level beds are stocked with perennial plants, the bark mulch has been replaced with decorative stone both for aesthetic reasons and to ensure maximum rainwater reaches plant roots. Following an assessment of the current planting scheme selective introduction of St John’s Wort , shrubs and herbaceous perennials (Papaver, Dianthus and Achillea) has been undertaken to enhance and extend the summer flowering period and to provide a variety of pollinator friendly plants, the Sedums have been replaced with a more robust sedum species, which were propagated by volunteers. Autumn hardy chrysanthemums are currently being “grown on” from home propagated cuttings and will be planted out at the end of July.

Herbs with symbolic meaning are included in the raised planters – thyme for courage & healing and rosemary for love & remembrance. The use of herbs and dwarf buddleia has reduced seasonal planting by 40% and consequentially reduced the water demand of the garden and continue the theme of making the garden sensory and bee friendly. To mark the anniversary of the outbreak of World War I the Community Council has replaced the turf and improved access to garden ensuring it can be enjoyed by all.

The Community Council continues to support the enhancement of the floral environment and funded the construction of 4 ground level beds adjacent to the village signs at the entrance to Mathern. These recently constructed beds were adopted by “Villages in Bloom” some weeks ago and have been planted to welcome residents and visitors to the village. Given the time of handover, the beds are planted with a variety of perennial and annual flowers; longer term, the annuals will be replaced with herbaceous perennials and low growing shrubs to provide a sustainable but visually striking gateway to the village. Many of the plants will be raised by volunteers in the village.

Photographs of the Memorial Gardens are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645230646807/ and those of the 4 ground level beds adjacent to the village signs at the entrance to Mathern are here https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645643870734/

Overwintering and Oversummering Plants – Mathern Palace – Norman Stephens

I have been a resident of Mathern village for seventy years, and, as a keen gardener I am delighted to be part of the Villages in Bloom team. My main focus has been on sustainability and preserving and protecting the valuable plants we used in 2013, summer planting the nearly 400 polyanthuses and over wintering some 200 geraniums in the Kitchen Garden at Mathern Palace. We are most grateful to Tata Steel for allowing us to use the ground and thank Andy Davies and Dawson Williams for their help and patience. Luckily Autumn 2013 through to Spring 2014 was relatively mild which aided my efforts considerably. With the help of my team mates, Jayne Harris and Robin Lewis, a polytunnel was constructed over the base of an old greenhouse where the geraniums from 2013 were planted and nurtured for re-use in 2014. They were tended, watered and brought to full bloom with few losses. The plants were so strong that we took 180 cuttings which were grown on in another polytunnel in the Kitchen Garden and used in the summer planting in Mathern.

The ground is now home to the polyanthuses planted last autumn across the village and they will be brought on for re-planting in the Autumn.

I stained all the troughs in green wood stain to preserve them and we then worked together to plant up the twelve troughs from St Tewdric’s Well to St Tewdric’s Church.

I do hope you will enjoy viewing the efforts of myself and fellow villagers. https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645643336504/

Wildflower Trial – Mathern Verge – Greg Howell, Chairman, Villages in Bloom

“Villages in Bloom” was given permission by Monmouthshire County Council to plant a wildflower trial on land which they own, namely the verge near the village welcome signs at the entrance to Mathern. It was expected that it would take at least three years before the wildflowers looked their best. It was not expected that the verge this year would look like the wildflowers outside Newport. It must be stressed this is a trial.

The verges were sown last Autumn (and marked with signs provided by Mounton House School) after taking advice from Gwent Wildlife Trust.

There are three trial areas.

The first was mown, grass cuttings collected, scarified and sown with meadow seed from Gwent Wildlife trust (Pentwyn Farm) at the rate of 5g per sq metre, and then trampled in.

The second was mown, grass cuttings collected, scarified and sown with meadow seed from Plantwild at the rate of 2g per sq metre, and then trampled in.

The third area was mown, grass cuttings collected and sown with yellow rattle seed provided by Monmouthshire CC at the rate of 1g per sq metre, and then trampled in. The purpose of was to try and weaken the stronger grasses so that any wildflowers present were given a chance to grow.

Although we were told not to expect a good show for several years, the results so far have been disappointing, only a few vetch plants have appeared in the areas sown with the wildflower plant mixture. However the yellow rattle grew and it is obvious that grass in that area is significantly weaker than that in areas sown with a wildflower mixture. At some time in August we intend mowing the trial areas, leaving it for a week, then the cuttings will be collected.

We will consider and take advice on how best to develop the trial later in the year.

Pwllmeyric – Martin Lusmore

With 26 planters and 16 locations we may be the poorer relation to Mathern but Pwllmeyric with its 15 volunteers certainly pulls its weight. Greg Howell and Martin McHugh can be seen mowing and striming the grass on either side of the A48 almost every weekend.

Set as it is astride the busy A48, planters have been sited at both entrances to the village to welcome our fleeting visitors, as well as at various intervals on Pwllmeyric Hill.

The “Green” at the junction with Chapel Lane been transformed by the Sweetings from what, a few years ago, was a scruffy litter-strewn area into an area of flower displays, mown grass and a wild habitat bank alive with Spring narcissi. The County Council has given permission for a large planter to be placed on the bank at the “Green” but we have not had sufficient funds to build one. This is a project for a future year.

Planters grace the entrances to the main closes at Orchard Rise, Orchid Meadow and Badgers Meadow.

The entrance to Orchard Rise sees the successful creation of a new native species hedge.

“The Green” has been provided with two new planters and they give colour across the road from Willowbrook Guest House with its hanging baskets and roadside planters.
The New Inn which has been opened and closed off and on for the last 18 months has now been bought by Peter Ferrer who lives in Mathern and while the pub is currently closed for refurbishment Peter has greatly improved the frontage with hanging baskets and planters. Peter is committed to being involved with “Villages in Bloom” and we look forward to the pub’s floral displays for the coming seasons.

The Murco garage is kept neat and tidy with the grassed area regularly cut by Graham Pitt who also, with Mike Bryant, tends St Tewdric’s Church churchyard in Mathern.

The Crescent Mathern, Mathern & District Village Hall and Bus Stop Shelter

The Crescent looks immaculate all year round thanks to the unstinting labour of Robin Lewis and now all the residents of The Crescent who have adopted and tend their own planters. The grass is regularly mown by Malcolm Fox and by Monmouthshire County Council. Planters, hangings baskets and herb garden blend to form an excellent village green overlooking the Village Hall and Children’s Play Area as you can see at https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645650613925/

The Village Hall has a floral display of seven wall planters and seven hanging baskets which forms a vivid backdrop to the car park which is maintained regularly by “Villages in Bloom” as is the Tennis Court. https://www.flickr.com/photos/126084263@N02/sets/72157645596736726/

The Children’s Play Area is very well maintained as is the field, “Hut Field”, by Malcolm and Andy Llewelyn who mows and strims after a hard day’s work.

The Bus Stop Shelter is Miriam’s and little does she know how much her attention to the plants and the Shelter are appreciated .. she does now.

The Millers Arms

While the Millers Arms is entered separately in “Wales in Bloom” we would like to thank Rachael and Chris for taking such a significant part in “Villages in Bloom” in so many ways. We have been pleased to replace all the front car park planters and are pleased that the pub floral displays match the planting scheme adopted for the villages.

Our Thanks To Others

We would like to thank Alison Howard – Sustainability Community Officer and Nigel Leaworthy – Operations Manager and Tom Ward-Jackson of Keep Wales Tidy. Monmouthshire County Council grounds maintenance and cleansing teams have paid us particular attention; they have pride in their work and enjoy seeing the result of their efforts. Gwent Wildlife Trust continues to provide help in the areas in which they specialise. Members of “Villages in Bloom” have attended meetings on composting, verge management and have also taken part in the clean up of the foreshore in Portskewett.

We are grateful to Tidy Wales for the provision of an industrial quality leaf blower and collector together with a first aid kit and several dozen high visibility vests to be worn by volunteers when they are out and about looking after the planting by roadsides.

Thanks also to Glynn Edmunds, Business Unit Manager (Cleansing), Monmouthshire County Council (who retires this July after 45 years with the Council), for organising Kevin Williams to road sweep Mathern village so meticulously.

We also thank James Boyle, Chepstow Garden Centre, who has grown most of the plants we have used, for his continued support, involvement and enthusiasm.

Local Environmental Quality

Fortunately the quality of our local environment is normally outstanding. The A48 is a challenge regarding litter which is managed well by regular litter picking by volunteers and augmented by Monmouthshire County Council. All the verges around the Pwllmeyric bus stops are mown by volunteers. Mathern has a few isolated spots prone to fly tipping but these are monitored regularly by the Lower Wye Police team and cleaned almost immediately by the Council. Fly posting is controlled by providing noticeboards across the area and any postings on street furniture, apart from those about lost pets, are removed. Dog fouling of streets and pavements is not common.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the villages look splendid, people are proud of that achievement and know that they collectively have achieved that result, and, possibly, most importantly, they have enjoyed being involved and doing the work – it is, after all, – our community

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2013 – Awarded Silver

Congratulations to everyone involved with Wales in Bloom 2013.

Of Mathern Parish our judge, Jennie Judd, says “I was really delighted to visit and meet the newly re-formed In Bloom/Community Group representing Mathern Parish, who were all extremely enthused about improving and safeguarding their local environment.
I was struck by the sense of community spirit and belonging to the Parish and I believe that subject to some coaching and direction Mathern Parish will soon be a Wales in Bloom Gold Winner! Please keep up all your good works – you are a real credit to the community.”

Category 7 – Village (Population 300 – 1,000)
1st Llanwrtyd Wells  Silver Gilt
2nd Mathern Parish  Silver

Read the Judge’s report.

Category 9a Hotels, Guest & Public Houses and Restaurants – Frontage only
1st Giltar Hotel Tenby           Gold
2nd Millers Arms –  Silver Gilt

Jennie Judd said “I was delighted to visit the Millers Arms and learn about the new and exciting initiatives which are being implemented and planned. The whole frontages of the facilities were exceptionally well dressed with hanging baskets and containers, all of which had excellent balance of colour and form. I was extremely pleased to learn about the efforts to recycle and reuse as much material including perennial bedding plants, compost and felled timber as means of fuelling the open fires in the pub. Really delighted to see that herbs are being grown within the gardens to support the function of the restaurant, and I think it’s fair to say your pub is the only one I know of who uses your own elder to make your own champagne – excellent!

The Millers Arms is at the hub of the Mathern community and provides an excellent and safe family environment.”

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Following the 2012 success in the Gwent Best Kept Villages Competition organised by the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations and sponsored by Chepstow Garden Centre, where Mounton won the Best Kept Hamlet class, Mathern won the Best Kept Village (Population 351-1000) class, and Mathern won Best Kept War Memorial, the villages have been entered again for 2013. The parish has also been entered in the Wales in Bloom competition.

We would like to thank every one for making our villages such pleasant places to live.

Last year we managed to provide both Summer and Autumn plants, we hope to do so again this year. We also hope to replace some of the older planters and provide additional ones. The plants will be sourced from Chepstow Garden Centre.

We are in the process of planting up hanging baskets, and would like to acknowledge that TATA steel has provided growing space at Mathern Palace.

Summer Planting Day – All (including children) are invited to meet at Mathern
Village Hall at 10:30 on Saturday June 8th 2013 to help plant the various containers in Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeyric.

Can you help? – If you can help by either maintaining a planter, litter picking or by making a donation then it will be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made to either John Charters, 18 Wyelands View, Mathern, or to Chris and Rachael at the Millers
Arms. Cheques should be made payable to “MMPVB”.

Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeyric Villages in Bloom is a voluntary not-for-profit
organisation. Email MMPVB@btinternet.com

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Constitution of Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom

Name of our Organisation
Our organisation is known as “Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom” with the abbreviated title of “MMPVB” added for the purposes of banking.

Aims and Objectives
Working together as a community, involving all age groups, we endeavour to make Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic villages more attractive places, not only for its residents but also for visitors and commuters alike. We will liaise closely with Mathern Community Council, and as a community take part in fund raising events, grant applications, sponsorship and donations.

We will maintain, to a high standard, planted areas in and around the villages, with use of plants, flowers, shrubs and trees as appropriate. This will help the villages to be beautiful places to be part of and to visit.

Membership and Officers
The Officers will consist of a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer and will constitute the Executive Committee.

Membership is open to anyone who feels they can provide input and make a worthwhile contribution towards the organisation.

Voluntary members of the community, local groups and organisations from all age groups are welcome and are invited to participate.

The Executive Committee shall have the power to refuse membership and the power to terminate membership where it is considered such membership would be or is detrimental to the aims, purposes or activities of the organisation.

Finances
“Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom” is a voluntary, non-profit making organisation and no member of the Group shall stand to gain from any monies raised.

The funds of “Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom” shall be deposited into a bank account named “Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom (MMPVB)” set up specifically for the organisation. All cheques drawn on the account must be signed by at least two Officers authorised by the Executive Committee.

Meetings
Meetings of the Organisation will be held on a regular basis as required. Agenda and Minutes will be communicated to members for their action. There must be at least three members present for the meeting to be quorate. At meetings it is envisaged that most decisions will not require a vote, however if a consensus cannot be reached, a simple majority of a vote by show of hands will be taken where each member shall have one vote. In the case of a tie, the Chair shall either choose to cast a second vote, or choose to defer the item under discussion until further information can be gained.
An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place at no more than fifteen month intervals and the Agenda will consist of: –

Receipt of Annual Report for “Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom”
Distribution of Statement of Accounts
Election of Officers for the coming year. These Officers shall hold office from the conclusion of this item
Any other business

Proposals for amendments to the Constitution shall be made in writing to the Secretary four weeks prior to the date of an AGM. Any changes to the Constitution must be agreed by at least two thirds of those members present at the AGM.

Dissolution
If the Executive Committee decides that it is necessary to dissolve the organisation, any assets remaining shall be given or transferred to the Mathern Community Council which will decide how the assets shall be used.

Equal Opportunities Statement
“Mathern Pwllmeryic and Mounton Villages in Bloom” welcomes local people to take pride in their surroundings, by improving the appearance of all public areas and private gardens in the villages.

Putting these objectives into practice “Mathern, Mounton and Pwllmeryic Villages in Bloom” will seek to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment in all contacts so that no one wishing to become part of the organisation or any school, company or organisation benefiting from the work of the organisation will be treated less favourably because of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, disability, physical appearance, marital status, sexual orientation or age.

The Constitution was formed and adopted by the Organisation at its meeting on 17 April 2012 by :-

Greg Howell Chairman

John Charters Secretary

Chris Wheeler Treasurer