Midhurst is pioneering a ‘Big Society’ experiment as a new army of volunteers take to the streets in a bid to improve the town.
The Midhurst Green Volunteers are part of a trial being spearheaded by West Sussex County Council to give communities the power to tackle their own projects.
The county council has provided a shed which has been placed next to Midhurst’s fire station and tools so that townspeople can take on clearance projects.
Working through Midhurst Town Council, long standing resident Graham Pooley has been appointed to co-ordinate the volunteers and their tasks.
Graham and the volunteers are all to be trained so they can work under the county council’s public liability and insurance.
“It’s the Big Society in action,” said Graham, “and I see it as a positive thing in that councils are just ignoring things like potholes and footpaths in the town and that is not acceptable but here is a council that accepts it can’t do everything and is giving us the facilities to help ourselves.
“We are not professional gardeners, we are just volunteers but we are willing to have a go.”
Graham has already enlisted 12 volunteers and is on the look out for more.
He has also gained sponsorship from Proven Kia, the Haslemere motor vehicle dealer, and Cockburns Tearooms of Midhurst and Arundel for high vis jackets, which were provided by Lavant Workwear.
The team has already carried out its first clearance projects, including regular mowing of the town’s orchard on Jubilee Path. They have also done clearance work in the National Trust car park off the A272.
They have a list of some 20 tasks involving clearing brambles and litter, mowing, trimming hedges, removing vegetation and soil and clearing blocked drains. Anyone who would like to volunteer or who has a project, should email Graham on firstname.lastname@example.org