Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sustaining rural villlage life - bring, buy, barter, be a part - belong.

Clams (and mussels and oysters) for sale in the village on Saturday morning - lunch sorted!
The church with a crooked spire.
The reading rooms
Welcome to the small South
Devon village of Ermington.
This is where I spend my working week so I can commute to work. Here I am not 'The Curate's wife'.

We have lived here for over twenty years and enjoyed the changing rhythms of village life.I have written before about the difficulties of living in a village when petrol costs so much and central Government seems to care only for those who live in cities. It is a case of having to help yourselves when the post office (which was also the only shop left in the village) closes

Ermington has a reputation for arranging community events. Years ago we helped to organise the Golden Jubilee celebrations. There was a millennium party and fireworks and New Year's Day walks. The village is lit up each Christmas with lights and there are Carols in the village centre. There is a rhythm to  village life - sometimes people are enthusiastic and there is no difficulty in getting people to muck in. Other times a few individuals are the driving force. For some years now, there has been a village fund committee who drive forward community events. Since the post office was closed,  people found that they were missing the social aspects of shopping in the village on a Saturday morning. A community shop would be too difficult to keep open in such a small village as ours, but there was a decision to try a fortnightly market. Here people could meet, sell, buy or swap produce and crafts - as the slogan says - ' bring, buy, barter, be a part - belong.' The first market held in March was a great success- read the press release here.  
I guess the Government would say this is what they mean by 'The Big Society'. Ermington has proved that it is a resilient village and it has had to learn to deal with the lack of Government interest in rural living long before any 'Big Society' label.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

It is so good to hear about communities pulling together in order to survive. For many years we lived just outside a very small Herefordshire village and, as you say, people had to be very inventive in order to involve everyone regardless of age and interests in village life.

Ermington certainly seems to have found ways to keep going. Keep it up!!

Perpetua said...

Your post resonates very strongly with me, Curate's Wife, after spending almost all my life in villages. Ermington sounds to have a strong community spirit which is something to be cherishes and fostered.

Our village in Wales lost its shop a couple of years ago when the Post Office downgraded the service, thus making the whole business unviable. However the village rallied round, set up a committee to plan and raise funds (including a large grant from the Lottery Community Fund) and has refurbished an empty garage showroom to provide a part-time community-run shop, post office and cafe, which is so far doing very well. Keeping it going in the long-term is going to be the hard part.

Shirlwin said...

On one hand your post reminds me of my favourite book, "The Magic Apple Tree", by Susan Hill. She writes about the rhythm of village life.
On the other hand, however, I fear village life is being taken over by city life ... often due to politics of some variety, as those who make the rules seem to think that people prefer city life with services. They fail to realise that by down-grading country services people no longer have a choice. Do children go to the 'village' school, only to have to move onto a city school for education past age 12 or 13! Parents prefer to know what their teenagers are doing, so the family moves to the city ... result? Another small community denuded.
Yesterday we drove some distance to a 'trash and treasure' at a small town ... held in an attempt to raise funds for the locality, and to bring folks together.
Our town has a Market Day once a month, cakes, vegetables, and produce of all types are for sale ... it is a pleasure to say this Market Day is well patronised.

Danicat Birtles said...

Hello, I am a resident of Ermington, have lived there for several years now. I took an interest in your post after I started the Official ESS (Ermington Sustainable Saturdays) Facebook page. It would be fantastic if you could join the page and perhaps share it amongst your friends to give it the coverage that is deserves. Many thanks.

Misty Brown said...

after read this post i can say although village life is too tough yet love to see villager's spirit ..keep it up child care Ermington

mistybrown1251 Brown said...

A child care Ermington children will learn to communicate with everyone by picking up new words and hearing proper grammatical structures. It engages the children in outdoor projects and games which helps them in learning about the environment. Children are very imaginative and it is quite important to hone such skills.