Well, what a year 2020 has been! It seems the main thing to take from this very challenging year at Overbury is that being part of a community really helps us through the tough times. We could write a tale of woe here about the difficulties every Enterprise has had, but as the New Year is about to dawn, we should look at the positives and celebrate the good things that have happened in 2020. So here are some of ours……
The Farm celebrated success with their first crop of quinoa this summer which was a learning curve, but something that may be repeated in years to come. You may have also seen the fields planted with a whole variety of interesting plants including sunflowers, which seemed to provide inspiration for lots of local amateur photographers. The Farm are also looking at new and innovative farming techniques as well as considering poultry. There may be a new lamb box offering coming soon with a trial run of lamb boxes available very early in the New Year, please look at the previous blog for more details and to submit your orders.
Grasshoppers Nursery remained open for Key Workers’ children throughout the pandemic and we were back to operating at full capacity as quickly as we could. The Team deserves extra thanks this year given all their hard work and responding so well to the constant changes, whilst still providing an excellent and stimulating environment for the children. Another massive success from this year is that the children are now enjoying lunchtime meals from Fantastically Fresh, which is based just down the road in Beckford and they seem to be going down a storm.
The Build Team have completed a huge amount of work this year, especially given the restrictions. Only one member of the Build Team was furloughed, for a three week period when we were not entering peoples’ homes, apart from absolute emergencies. Two larger refurbishments have been completed plus a number of spruce ups, some at very short notice indeed. The Team have also worked on some third-party projects providing high quality joinery with more commissions on the way in the New Year. As many will have seen, the Silver Rill project is now complete and we are helping Overbury Investments to find suitable tenants. We look forward to showing people this amazing property and hope that any new tenants will be long-term members of the community.
The Forestry and Keepering Enterprises have also managed to adapt and respond each time the guidance has changed. We have already had more firewood sales to date than we had in the whole of last year, possibly due to the fact so many more people are working from home. This summer we welcomed a group of local bird ringers to Overbury who were able to record a truly amazing variety and numbers of species, confirming that our habitat management practices are working. Everyone has a part to play in this work and those who love to see interesting and beautiful flora and fauna on the hill needs to make sure everyone sticks to the dedicated footpaths and keeps their dogs on leads to increase this biodiversity even further.
The Garden Team has had a very successful year in the walled garden, being able to grow all sorts of tasty veg for guests at Manor Farmhouse as well as for Overbury Court. The project at Silver Rill has also seen a lot of the Team’s focus. We have a new Head Gardener – Harry Green who is busy whipping lots of areas around Overbury into shape. He is also planning to form a local gardening club and will hopefully get this off the ground in the New Year. Lots of work is currently being carried out on the hedges that the Garden Team manage, but we would like to remind residents that if you have a hedge, it should be cut back at the appropriate time of year with both the top and sides being kept to an appropriate size.
The Old Village Shop and Manor Farmhouse have faced a really challenging year due to people not being able to use shared spaces. However, there are exciting times on the horizon for both with lots of new plans afoot; do check back for updates. We have welcomed regular bookings at the Old Village Shop when possible and we were able to take some bookings for family groups at Manor Farmhouse in the summer. With the hope that things may ease a little in the New Year both spaces offer great facilities to bring groups back together when possible for working retreats, strategy sessions or family get-togethers.
The Office team was depleted to two during the first lock down whilst everyone else who could work from home did, Alison and Helen kept the office going throughout. Since then, we have had a few changes in the Office and it remains closed to visitors - however we look forward to seeing you all again when possible.
The strength of the community throughout the first hard lockdown and the subsequent restrictions has been truly inspiring. The services offered by local businesses and the interaction between them and residents has been a lifeline to many. Hopefully we can use this enhanced community feeling and drive it forward in 2021 to make the most of living and working in such a wonderful place. With a couple of vaccines on the horizon and the promise that spring will come, we can all look forward to brighter days and getting back to some sort of ‘new’ normality.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year from us all at Overbury Enterprises.
“The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live.” – William McDonough