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Action for Stannington II

Stannington, which had been our second task of the academic year, was incidentally also our second-to-last. “Action for Stannington” was formed about 20 years ago by Danny Piermattei, merely with the intention of making the neighbourhood a cleaner place to live. As Danny explained, a lot of people were discontent with the state of the area, but when you’re on your own you feel powerless to change anything. All it took was a mad Italian man like Danny to help the locals realise they weren’t alone in wanting to clean up Stannington, and together, they went on to accomplish great things, winning the highest award for voluntary work in the United Kingdom, The Queen’s Award For Voluntary Service, and being invited to meet the Queen three times.

Here I find an important lesson applicable to life in general, but especially environmentalism. A lot of the time, the work we do at Stannington doesn’t seem like regular conservation, but in fact the core values of Action for Stannington are the very spirit conservation needs to be successful. The lesson is: we may feel like we’re alone and powerless, but rest assured there are others with the same concerns and when we all work together, we can make a change.

But enough of all the sentimental, motivational rhetoric… On May 7th, our volunteers met Action for Stannington at the old pavilion in Stannington Park and after an introduction to Action for Stannington from Danny, we split into small groups and got to work on a variety of tasks around the neighbourhood. Some of us were tasked with planting flowers at the old war memorial, others with helping to refurbish and paint the pavilion and other structures around Stannington.

Come lunch time we all converged on the pavilion for the traditional Stannington buffet. Whilst at our previous visit to Stannington the buffet had been larger and greater than ever, this time the buffet had suffered a reduction, which Danny informed me was due to the absence of one of the volunteers involved in its preparation. However, all the best parts (the lasagne and pasta with truffle and pesto) had been retained, so no harm done.

After filling our bellies, we resumed our previous tasks, eventually all focusing on the painting of the pavilion, managing to get most of it done by the time we had to leave. The forecast had been for thundershowers this afternoon, but the weather turned out to be beautifully warm and sunny all day; in fact, in all the times I’d been to Stannington (eight of this day) it had never once rained…

Many thanks again to Action for Stannington for their hospitality and to all the volunteers who attended!

Jamie (Task Leader)

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