Volunteering is good for your health

Often, in small (and not so small) communities, the same few souls seem to volunteer for everything, leaving the majority to remain largely uninvolved.

Surprisingly, at the three Pantry community markets we’ve held so far, the number of people who have volunteered to help has been much larger than we could have hoped for. We’re not entirely sure why this should be – maybe because nothing like The Pantry has ever happened in Piddington before, or because it taps into the current trend for fresh seasonal, local produce, or perhaps simply because the Pantry People are just so ridiculously optimistic and enthusiastic about it all. Whatever the reason, people have stepped forward to help in droves, and their cheerful and friendly presence makes the market feel very welcoming – to both locals and outside stallholders alike.

More surprising to some of us was just how much people enjoy being volunteers. There’s an awful lot of laughter on Pantry days, and people are always ready to stay longer and help with the clearing up and putting away.

Clearly, people are getting something from volunteering, as well as giving something. I don’t think it too fanciful to say that joining together with other people to help with a worthwhile project can be good for your health – mental and physical.

With this in mind, I’d like to encourage people who haven’t yet tried volunteering for something in their community to give it a go.

In Piddington, for example, we have several village causes well worth supporting.

Of course, there’s the regular Pantry markets – the next one is on 7 September. If you’d like to be part of the very jolly band of volunteers, please email Maggie.

Then there is the Village Hall Management Committee. It’s frightening to think what Piddington would be without its Village Hall, but keeping it open and running as a vibrant part of our community needs a bit of organising. More members would not only mean more individuals to share the tasks but would also ensure that as many villagers as possible share the decisions taken about how best to use this precious resource. If you’d like to help, even if you don’t feel you can spare much time or commit to regular meetings, the committee would be really pleased to hear from you. Please email me.

St Nicholas’ Church has been part of Piddington since the 13th century, but over the next few years many costly repairs will be needed. We are such a small village, it’s hard to keep asking the same pool of people for funds for various causes, but I can’t imagine many Piddington residents would be happy to see this beautiful little Grade II* listed historic building closed up and sold off to a private buyer, as is the fate of so many village churches. Keep an eye out for notices about events relating to St Nicholas’ Church, and, if you are able to help with fundraising, please email Heather.

Last but not least, if you prefer a more outdoorsy type of activity, there is an opportunity to join Piddington’s  own Green Gym – the area of field and woodland at Widnell Park that is gradually being transformed into a nature reserve and wildlife haven. A lot of work has been done on it already, both by villagers and by the Oxfordshire Conservation Volunteers, but much more is needed, as well as ongoing maintenance. If you find going to the gym far too boring, why not join the Widnell Park volunteers and give yourself a workout with a purpose. Email Stan to be added to the list.

Summer Market photos

Here are a few photographs from the Summer Market, which, I think you’ll agree, give a flavour of the fantastic atmosphere on the day. Thank you, John, for taking them.

Another great day

Thanks to everyone who came to The Pantry Summer Market. It was another really enjoyable event – lots of cake eaten, coffee and tea drunk, and, of course, many bacon baps consumed.

It was great to welcome back some stallholders who’d come to our first two markets, and to meet new faces, who we hope will return at some point.

The Pantry People would like to thank everyone who helped make the event such a success – not least our wonderful volunteers, who worked hard all day and yet always had smiles on their faces. Several stallholders commented on how welcome they were made to feel, and this is largely down to the friendly and helpful volunteers.

We’re already looking forward to the autumn market on 7 September. In the meantime, thanks again to everyone who helped and to everyone who came to buy goods, have a drink and a chat, sell some of their lovely produce or gifts, and in doing so helped support Piddington. We couldn’t have done it without you all.

If you’d like to help with the next market, please contact Maggie. If you’d like to sponsor the market, or for general enquiries, please contact Francesca.

Phew, what a scorcher! Cool off with Pimm’s at The Pantry

There’ll also be The Piddington Bakers, strawberries and cream, news about the transformation of Widnell Park into a nature reserve and details of how you can help, lots of new stallholders and some old favourites, delicious things to buy and, of course, the popular coffee shop with its fantastic bacon baps.

Why would you want to spend a sunny Saturday morning anywhere else?

And, once again, please don’t worry about the road closure signs – all roads into Piddington will be accessible.

Pantry poster 4 summer for printing A4_A5-page-0

Raffle prizes

I’m just preparing the poster for the raffle at the summer market on Saturday, and thought you might like to know in advance what some of the excellent prizes are, so you can make a beeline for the raffle tickets when you arrive!

It’s sometimes easy to miss the raffle tickets in all the busy coming and going, and there are such great prizes on offer that it would be a shame not to have the chance to try your luck. At the spring market, we had the most incredible donation of a methuselah of champagne – yes, really! – but lots of people hadn’t spotted it on the raffle table until it was too late.

So here (drum roll) is the current list of fabulous raffle prizes – though there’ll no doubt be more by Saturday:

Free entry for two to Waterperry Gardens for 12 months

Golf for four at Studley Wood Golf Club

The Pantry hamper (worth over £20)

Grocery bag of products from Bucksum

Tree log planter with herbs from Springhill Farms and Gardens

Sewing basket

Boxed bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry

Boxed set of 6 Pimpernel place mats

Bulgari After Shave Lotion, Body Lotion and Eau de Cologne

Good luck!

Who is coming?

Here is the current list of what’s on offer at The Pantry Summer Market. It should be great – now all we need is summer to stay around for a little bit longer.

And please be assured that all roads into Piddington will be accessible – the local council have been very accommodating, and have made sure we have free access at weekends. So do come along – and, to make a perfect day of it in our lovely corner of the world, why not go on to Ludgershall Fete afterwards?

You can make the list bigger by clicking on the rectangle at the bottom right; clicking on a link will take you to the supplier’s website.