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Newsletter October 2015

Porthtowan Beach Association (PBA)
Newsletter October 2015

blueflagawardday

Topics:

  1. Beach Groups – who’s doing what
  2. Blue Flag Award.
  3. Blue Flag sign
  4. Audio
  5. Local environmental projects for the awards.
  6. Dune restoration.
  7. Access for All
  8. Beach appearance
  9. Membership

Beach Groups – who’s doing what!

Several people have requested that I explain who’s doing what with regard beach issues. So here goes, please stick with me.

There are four main community groups who have an interest in beach related matters:

  1. Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC).
  2. Porthtowan Beach Association (PBA).
  3. Porthtowan Dune Community Group (PDCG).
  4. St Agnes Marine Conservation Group.

All of these groups are totally autonomous; operate independently of each other and each with their own constitution.

The PBA is focused on several issues. Its main projects are the Blue Flag Award, Access for All, Beach Cleaning Co-ordination and general beach appearance. Beach cleaning dates are co-ordinated through the Porthtowan Beach web site www.porthtowanbeach.com.

The SLSC is focused on all surf club related activities and the PDCG is focused on planting schemes to encourage dune stabilisation and restoration. The St Agnes Marine Conservation Group organises the majority of beach cleans at Porthtowan. It also organises wildlife events, marine conservation awareness events. Well worth becoming a member and attending their events. Check out their web page www.st-agnesvmca.org.uk.

Representatives from the PBA, the SLSC, and the PDCG are also on the “Porthtowan Beach Management Group” (PBMG). This is an umbrella group and is driven by Cornwall Council (CC) and is chaired by Joyce Duffin (County Councillor). This group has supporting officers from CC as well as our own two Porthtowan Ward Parish Councillors. The PBMG meets about three times a year, is extremely positive and focused on getting things done. The PBMG enables the three community groups to have direct access to decision makers within CC. The PBMG is also now part of a “Coastal Community Team” (CCT). The CCT can tap into also sorts of funds and is a government driven initiative. (The CCT has been instrumental in obtaining grant funding of £10k for us to build disabled access on to the beach).

Blue Flag Award

As you all know the 2015 applications for both the Blue Flag and the Seaside Awards for Porthtowan Beach were successful. It is our intention, in partnership with CC, and assuming we meet all the criteria, to submit applications for both awards to Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) by the end of January 2016. If successful, this will ensure that we have the two flags flying throughout the 2016 season. Officers within CC co-ordinate the application process and are responsible for submitting the actual application. We really appreciate their pro-active support. It is really important to understand that a successful Blue Flag application can only be achieved with there being a partnership between our local community, our local council, our sponsors and our membership. Our thanks indeed for everyone’s support.


Blue Flag sign.

The new beach management sign in the corner of the car park has been extremely well received by both the community as well as visitors. The cost for this sign was met from PBA funds. We believe it is the first sign, within the Blue Flag scheme that contains braille. Next season the sign will contain on-going water quality sampling data.


Audio

An audio description of the beach has been made and is available on the Porthtowan Beach web site. Here’s a link www.porthtowanbeach.com/audio-for-the-visually-impaired/.

Please feel free to link to this audio. Big thanks to Graham Jones for doing all the technical stuff and to our local guest narrator for the voiceover. It really is excellent. The inspiration for this audio came from Graham’s work in doing the braille for the sign and making the beach just a little more appealing to the blind and partially sighted.

Local Environmental Projects

The Blue Flag award is not just about meeting the highest water quality tests. It also requires us to have RNLI lifeguards, waste collection, beach cleaning and public toilets in place. In addition it requires the local community to have in place a minimum five environmental projects. We have been working hard on this and are pretty well covered. The Surf Life Saving Club and the St Agnes Marine Conservation Group have assisted greatly in putting forward projects which are highly regarded by the judging panel. Projects currently are:

  1. Activities of the Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club
  2. The “Great Eggcase Hunt” with the Shark Trust
  3. Community Beach Cleaning
  4. Rock pool rambles, whale and dolphin watch.
  5. Dune restoration
  6. Access for All to the beach.
  7. “two minute beach clean” in partnership with KBT.


Dune restoration

You will have noticed the new fencing and planting at the front of the dune system. Big thanks to CC for doing this. It’s a start. As we all know, dune restoration is a long term project. It will not happen overnight. It needs patience and I am sure there will be setbacks along the way. At the moment the bales of straw and brushwood seem to be working and holding things together. The winter storms are always a test. Marram grass cannot survive under foot fall. If you see anyone within the planted area please advise them of this project. The PDCG have put a proposal before the main PBMG for planting schemes to be undertaken to the rear of the front of the dune. For more information on this planting scheme and to get involved please contact the PDCG direct. Updates are posted on the PDCG Facebook page.


Access for All

Officers within CC in partnership with the PBA, have secured £10k grant funding from the CCT in order to facilitate the build of a ramp onto the beach to assist disabled people and to make our beach more inclusive. The proposed ramp will utilise the slipway opposite Blue Bar and then onto a platform arrangement at the top of the beach. Chris Hines, on the PBA, is the local lead for this project and CC is fully supportive. It’s a very exciting initiative.


Beach appearance

We are endeavouring to “clear up” the beach of old, unnecessary, dilapidated signage etc. in order to improve beach appearance. Heather Jones (Porthtowan Beach Café) is our Beach Environment Rep. on the PBA. Heather has made a good start with the removal of some signs. We also requested South West Water to do a paint job on the pumping station which they have now done. Many thanks indeed. Beach appearance is an on-going initiative. Please let Heather know of anything you feel could be done in order to improve the general appearance of the beach area.


Membership and fund raising

We constantly need to raise funds for our recognised projects, Blue Flag, disabled access, beach environment etc. We really do appreciate the support our Sponsors and membership have given us. Annual sponsorship and membership will fall due soon and we look forward to your continued support. Business sponsorship now stands at 20 local businesses who are supporting the PBA with their annual sponsorship. We also have businesses outside the village such as Acorn Blue and Sharp’s Brewery who have made significant contributions to funding the Blue Flag as well as other beach overheads. All our business sponsors enjoy a listing on our very successful web site www.porthtowanbeach.com. This is a great way to advertise your business. We also have a further number of individual members who are supporting us with their annual £5 membership contribution. Some members are from London, Manchester and even Weymouth would you believe. This support is so appreciated. Please consider becoming an individual member by contacting us at enquiries@porthtowanbeach.com or sign up via the membership pages on our web site. Or ring me, John, direct on 01 209 891920. Please support us and spread the word.

Please forward this email on to any one, or any organisation mailing list, you feel may wish to be kept informed.

All the best

John Barrow

Chairman

Porthtowan Beach Association

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