AMBLESIDE NEWS –  15th June 2021

Ambleside Community Food Club

A new community group, the Ambleside Community Food Club, has been created at the Parish Centre to carry forward and expand the work started before and during the Pandemic. Throughout the past 17 months, Centre staff and volunteers provided essential community support, including delivery of hundreds of subsidised hot meals to the housebound and vulnerable in conjunction with Windermere School. Donations of fresh food were also available to take, making it accessible to households who suddenly experienced reduced incomes due to Covid and needed extra support. This initiative was combined with tackling food waste and sharing fresh food within the local community that would otherwise have gone to landfill. To progress this beyond the pandemic, the Ambleside Community Food Club has been created, with sustainability and community at its core.
The Club is open to all every Wednesday downstairs at the Centre from 10.30am-midday, when volunteers collect and receive donations of surplus food. There is no joining fee, although a weekly optional donation of £3 is welcome. Club members in need of support can also choose to collect a pre-packed selection of food with additional essential items and anyone needing further support can be referred directly to Windermere & District Food Bank. The Club is open to everyone needing food and anyone who wants to help prevent food waste, work towards becoming zero waste and encourage sustainable practices around food. It aims to share knowledge, especially about growing food, and to donate and/or receive surplus local food, or to support others in the community. The Club is also looking for support and donations from local businesses and organisations to help the group to become established and to grow.
More details on 015394 34172 or email

Rushbearing and Sports cancelled

Due to the uncertainty of Covid 19 restrictions being lifted, there will be no Rushbearing procession or Sports this year. However, instead of the colourful event which normally takes place round the streets of Ambleside, St Mary’s is holding a Celebration of Rushbearing inside the Church on Saturday July 3, 2-4.30pm, when many elements of the ancient custom will be on display for people to view. Primary School children will make and decorate rushbearings the day before to put on show, and visitors can also view the famous Rushbearing Mural created by Gordon Ransome during his wartime evacuation to Ambleside with the Royal College of Art.
Normally the procession is accompanied by Burneside Brass Band but this year they will be invited to play in or just outside the Church. There will be no Rushbearing church service this year, but instead at 3pm the traditional Rushbearing hymn will be sung in church and bearings raised, as traditionally happens in the Market Place. Volunteers are needed to help, contact the Revd Beverley Lock on 015394 33205, and it is hoped to serve refreshments afterwards in the Parish Centre including the famous Rushbearing gingerbread.
The display in Church hopes to capture the essence of Rushbearing by asking for mementoes of the event, especially photos which can be dropped in to the Vicarage in Millans Park or emailed to The origins of the ancient custom date back to Medieval times, when a celebration was held in many churches, royal palaces and other public buildings to mark the laying of sweet-smelling fresh rushes on top of earthen floors as insulation. The custom died when stone flag flooring replaced rushes, but remains in just a handful of parishes, including Ambleside, Grasmere, Warcop, Great Musgrave and Urswick in Cumbria.

Parish Council

Lakes Parish Council voted not to contribute funds towards a speed indicating device (SID) that a group of concerned Grasmere residents want to purchase. Coun Will Clark, Cumbria CC and Lakes PC, said this was regrettable but understandable in light of the uncertainty of Parish Council funds presented by the Covid pandemic. A community speed watch group authorised by police had monitored traffic for several months at Pye Lane and The Swan Hotel on the A591, and police agreed that a clear speeding problem had been identified. Excessive speed was also noted at the mini roundabout and police and Cumbria CC jointly approved use of a permanent warning speed device along this section of the A591, to be used at two locations. The speed watch group’s preferred sign would cost £4,320 and Lakes PC was asked to match-fund the £1500 that the speed watch group would be requesting for partial funding from Cumbria County Council. Speed watch representative Simon Hey said the SID would benefit Grasmere residents as well as tourists, including children having to cross the road to attend the village school or catch the school bus at the top of Pye Lane. The SID’s aim was to remind drivers of the speed limit and encourage compliance, making it safer for resident and pedestrians.
However, Grasmere Coun Ella Footit said an SID wasn’t worth the money, and as a resident of the neighbourhood for 54 years, only two fatalities had occurred over this time, neither involving speed. Local people were used to crossing the road, and used the refuge. Although the Council declined to part fund the SID, ward councillors can use their local funding allocation if they felt strongly about purchasing a speed device.
Councillors will contact SLDC to report that emptying of its 72 litter bins had got “out of hand” with bins left overflowing, and will ask SLDC to provide more or larger bins at Borrans Park and Rothay Park. Coun Jean Birkett said Elterwater had no litter bins whatsoever after two were removed last year, and visitors were dumping their rubbish in residents’ grey bins.
Parking on the pavement opposite Ambleside Rugby Club was causing safety concerns, but Rydal Coun Gilly Hodkinson said police had responded promptly when sent pictures of the registration numbers of vehicles illegally parked in Rydal, where yellow lines are due to be introduced through the village.
Coun Brian Hewitt reported on the filthy condition of LDNPA’s Waterhead toilets which were so bad that the public were requesting to use toilets in nearby hotels but had to be refused, due to Covid restrictions. Councillors criticised the Authority heavily for investing so much in acquiring World Heritage Status, then neglecting its own public toilets in the heart of the Heritage Site.
Members agreed to co-opt Coun Will Clark to fill the Grasmere ward vacancy as soon as he has resigned his position as Rydal councillor. This will leave Rydal with a vacancy for a parish councillor, which will be advertised in the usual way.

Ambleside Parish Centre

A Midsummer Green Giveaway is being held at Ambleside Parish Centre on Saturday week, June 26, 11am-2pm, by Ambleside Action for a Future (AAFAF) to celebrate plants, and growing, and all things leafy, flowery and edible. Following on from the success of last year’s planting workshop in March just before the first lockdown, AAFAF is holding a new event – The Midsummer Green Giveaway, giving away free young vegetable plants, herbs and pollinator-friendly flowering plants to local residents. AAFAF say the celebration will be “a lovely event for all the family with activities for children and five fabulous planted-up window boxes and other prizes to be won in the raffle.” The Giveaway takes place in the hall at the Parish Centre, with help available from experienced gardeners ready to advise on growing things in a variety of places, including gardens, patios, tubs, raised beds or on windowsills. Refreshments will also be available.


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