March was a busy month in Milford. I had spent some of February preparing for an important and much-needed event and wanted to be sure that as many people as possible had a chance to come. The purpose of this Community Planning Meeting was to give me a steer for this current 12 month period of the Rural Wisdom project. The meeting was originally scheduled for the 2nd March but, unfortunately, this was the week that the snow chose to arrive! It was frustrating to cancel a meeting of busy people who had found the time to come but we managed to reschedule for the 20th March – good discussions were had and summaries were sent to all. We’ll be addressing some of the proposals for action in the coming months.

Carol, our NDTI colleague carrying out evaluation work on the project, had held a really good day with the community in February to ask how best she should go about her work. She had some great suggestions from everyone and over the course of March and early April, she and I worked on arrangements to speak with diners at the luncheon club, community activists and other local people who have had some contact with Rural Wisdom. I’ll report on that next time.

You might remember me mentioning our little Wednesday social group, PALs (Pill Activities & Laughs) which takes place at the Pill Social Centre in Milford. We have been a very small group, sometimes only 4 or 5 of us, but it has been hugely valued by the local people who drop in to have a game of Scrabble and a chat. However, the last three or four weeks, we have been 11 or 12, with noise levels at, shall we say, boisterous, and all manner of discussions taking place….craft, photography, sculpture, family life, London roots….oh, and fierce competition over the Scrabble, which is as savage as ever. I think extra daylight and milder weather have had a lot to do with the busier sessions – we’re all enjoying them hugely. The accumulation of weekly “subs” has made it possible for us to do something a bit different over the summer – it will be for the group members to decide but we might end up having a lovely lunch at one of the lovely cafes in Milford. I should mention my colleague, Tess, one of the Community Connector team….Tess has really supported PALs as she recognises that this is a little group she can recommend to local people who might be isolated or experiencing low confidence, because it is small, friendly and cosy…..”cwtchy”, as we say down here!

Natasha, Shereen and I have been looking at venues in order to welcome our Scottish Rural Wisdom friends to Wales sometime in the autumn. We had such a great time up with Anne and co back in November and learnt a lot from our experienced and driven colleagues developing the project in Scotland.