Second Annual Braehead Pumpkin Festival a spooky success

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Nearly 300 people enjoyed a spooky Halloween fun-day at Braehead Community Garden on Saturday 28th October.  The second Braehead Pumpkin Festival  started with a pumpkin carving workshop in the morning, with local children and their parents undertaking the messy business of scooping out the innards of their pumpkins ready for carving.

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Serious pumpkin carving activities!

Then with the help of some of Braehead Community Garden’s more artistic members, everybody set about creating some scary or funny or artistic lanterns.

halloween 4The discarded pumpkin flesh and seeds weren’t put to waste with Garden member Donna Rodgers, who also works for local charity Forth Enviroment Link, running a cooking workshop.  Participants made spiced and roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin curry and pumpkin soup.

Donna helping Patsy, Katie and Fiona make some tasty soup.
Donna helping Patsy, Katie and Fiona make some tasty soup.

All of the lanterns made at the workshop, along with pumpkins carved at home across the area, were entered into the after pumpkin show, with prizes for the scariest, funniest and most artistic creations.  There were also awards for the best pumpkin carved by an under ten year old, an under fifteen year old, and best pumpkin that references a movie.

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Then, as the sun began to set, the pumpkins were all lit up for a lantern display in the Community Garden event polytunnel.  Two hundred people came to the garden to see the fantastic creations, enjoy some homemade soup and try traditional Halloween activities including “dookin’ for apples”.   Many Braehead Primary School pupils walked in a lantern procession from the school to the community garden.

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Community Garden Chairperson Chris Kane said,

halloween 7“Carving pumpkin lanterns and cooking together are great family activities, which are even more fun when turned into community events.  The carving workshop was messy and creative and fun.  The cooking workshop showed you don’t need to waste anything and the lantern display at night looked stunning.”  

“Here in Braehead we’re showing that communities who create together and grow together, can thrive together.”

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Braehead Community Garden runs a number of free community events throughout the year.  Membership, and year round access to the two and a half acre garden, costs just £12 per year.  

Even the Braehead flock of hens got to enjoy some of the pumpkins!
Even the Braehead flock of hens got to enjoy some of the pumpkins!

The Future of Braehead’s Post Office

ckcastleChris Kane is the Chair of both Braehead & Broomridge Community Development Trust and Braehead Community Council.  In 2017, he’ll be publishing a regular series of blogs on what both organisations are doing within our community.  

The current consultation on the future of the Post Office at the shop in Springfield Road has been a hot topic in recent weeks.  I’ve tried to find out more about the move but, to be honest, I’ve hit a bit of a public relations brick wall.

The owners of the Springfield Road Post Office say they aren’t allowed to talk about the consultation and are referring all questions to the Post Office.

The Post Office tell me that while there is a consultation going on, they’re not going to say anything other than what’s in the press release sent out on 5th January.

What’s being proposed?

There is a consultation underway, finishing on 15 February, asking for your views on a proposed move of the Post Office from Springfield Road to the Broomridge Mini-market on Wishart Drive.

The Post Office say “the proposed move, in agreement with the current postmaster, is part of a major modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern open plan environments.”

Why move from Springfield Road at all?

What’s been bothering me is why the owners at Springfield Road are in agreement with the move, particularly as it could lead to less customers using the shop.

What’s also been bothering lots of people in Braehead is the move could disadvantage some of our elderly and less mobile residents who may find it more difficult to access the services in Wishart Drive.

To be fair though, if you’re elderly and live in Wishart Drive I’m sure you’ll be delighted by the move.

Changes to the way sub Post Offices are operated

The UK Government has for many years provided a subsidy to the Post Office to help secure the network but in recent years have been reducing the amount given, which in turn has had a knock on affect on the way local post offices are run.  The bulk of these sub-post offices in the UK are run as franchises, as is the one in Springfield Road.

Post Office Ltd want many of their sub-post offices to accept a new contract which would see these independent businesses offer a shared counter and opening hours with the rest of the store.  Crucially, they’d also have to take a reduction in the rate received from Post Office Ltd, reducing their guaranteed income.

I run my own business and I can imagine how I would feel if I were asked to work longer hours for less money.

Post Office Media Spin

In the press release, Suzanne Richardson, Post Office Regional Manager says,

“we are making it easier for customers to get their cash, send and collect their mail and do their banking because we know how important these services are to local residents.  We are confident that this vibrant new-style Post Office at the heart of the local community will meet customer needs.  This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office.”

Are they making it easier? I think it will be easier if you live in Wishart Drive and harder if you live in Springfield Road.

Will this new style Post Office be at the heart of the Community?  That’s a question of perspective and one that Suzanne Richardson probably isn’t as qualified to answer as you and I.

Is it that the Springfield Road shop don’t want to work longer hours for less money?  Is it that Post Office Ltd aren’t prepared to keep things as they currently are?

Is there anything you or I could say in the current consultation that could reverse the proposals?

Conclusion

Personally, I have a great deal of sympathy for everybody involved.  The Post Office are operating in a tough market because we don’t post as much and there are more operators such as Yodel or DPD chipping away at their business.  The owners at Springfield Road are trying to run a business in a way that works for them and their customers.

The times, they are a changing.  If you’d like to take part in the consultation, then you can click here (you’ll need the Springfield Road identification number which is 152868)