Wildlife champions needed for the Blooming Burbage project

I would like to connect with other Burbage people who are interested in wildlife-friendly gardening and/or who want to help make Burbage a haven for wildlife.

As well as turning my own garden into a pesticide-free wildlife-friendly zone I have persuaded Burbage Parish Council to join the Hedgehog Awareness Scheme and to try leaving un-mown strips in some parks, and they have promised that they don’t use any neonicotinoids on their land.

I have also asked the Environment Agency to survey Sketchley Brook to see what can be done to reverse the silting up and accumulation of debris and bankside growth, and I hope we can organise a clear up party.

Some suggestions of other things we can do are:

  • manage some or all of our own gardens as wildlife-friendly areas
  • tell our friends and neighbours what we are doing
  • put pictures and stories about our gardens on social media
  • write to local papers about the need to protect wildlife
  • write/email/tweet to Burbage Parish Council to praise them for their positive actions
  • write/email/tweet to Burbage Parish Council to complain about their negative actions (like obsessive edge-to-edge mowing in parks, destruction of hedgerows, and weedkiller spraying, all in the name of ‘neatness’)
  • use the parish council’s ‘suggestions box’ to suggest improvements
  • write/email/tweet to Royal Mail to complain about the rubber bands their posties drop (because they kill and injure hedgehogs and other wildlife)
  • go out and pick up litter, especially harmful stuff like rubber bands, hair bands, four-pack plastic loops, bottles, ring pulls and cans
  • ask the candidates for the Burbage Parish Council election in July what they will do to protect our wildlife and its habitats

If you are a wildlife champion and you want to be part of the initiative which makes Burbage the leading parish in Leicestershire for biodiversity please email mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk 🙂

Find us on Twitter: @BloomingBurbij
And on Facebook: Blooming Burbage Wildlife Friendly Gardening

Community project coordinators wanted

Could you organise a Freestyle Burbage activity?

Freestyle Burbage was set up to “celebrate our community and our creative spirit” and we organise free or low-cost events in Burbage.

We have achieved a lot this year but we can only keep the project going if more people get involved and help. So we are asking for coordinators to organise a whole range of activities and events such as…

Small one-off events like:
* a litter pick
* a walk

Bigger, more involved events like:
* a treasure hunt
* a plant swap

Ongoing projects like:
* a book swap box
* a series of yarn bombs

Freestyle Burbage is open to everyone, regardless of age, gender, mobility or any other consideration. It would help if you live in Burbage but it’s not necessary. You need to share the Freestyle Burbage belief that all members of our community can contribute, and that community involvement is the most important measure of success.

Coordinators will find volunteers to carry out tasks, make contacts with other local groups and projects, publicise events and generally help make Freestyle Burbage events successful. These are voluntary roles but out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.

Most of our publicity so far has been online and it will help if you use social media, but we also need to do a lot more to spread the word through personal contacts, posters, leaflets and local media.

We have no committee and no management structure. We are not recognised or supported by the parish or borough council and we don’t receive any grant funding, so we don’t have to dance to anyone’s tune.

If you would like to help, or to talk about it, please email mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk or ask questions here.

Our October 2015 newsletter is out!

IMG_20151005_163622Our latest newsletter is ready to view, with news and pictures from the plant swap, the Harvest Moon Watch, and the Sunflower Challenge.

There are also details of our free October photography competition and Burbage Yarnbomb Project, our improved website and the accounts for September.

Download the newsletter from http://freestyleburbage.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/newsletter-20150930a.pdf

If you would like to receive our newsletter by email every month please email mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk

I hope to start producing the newsletter in other languages this month, and I would like to hear from anyone who would be willing to translate it into Polish or other languages.

Burbage Yarnbomb Project

IMG_20150922_175026We have made a start on the Burbage Yarnbomb Project with a small display in Featherston Drive.

In 2016 we plan to have displays of knitted and crocheted displays all over Burbage throughout the year, and you are invited to take part. If you can’t knit or crochet there will be “have a go” days for beginners 🙂

We would like to hear from individuals or groups in Burbage who would like to take part, and from owners of shops, businesses or public spaces who would like to host a display.

If you can knit or crochet a small item we would love to add it to our ‘yarnbomb pole’ so please get busy with your needles now!

To find out more about this project please email mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk

Freestyle Burbage Photography Competition October 2015

birdfeederIt’s turning into a colourful autumn and there will be lots of opportunities to take pictures in Burbage.

Your picture could win this beautifully simple hanging bird feeder made from recycled plastic plant pots by ashortwalk in Cornwall.

IMG_20151003_123551_865The competition is open to everyone of any age, and you can take pictures with your camera, phone or tablet (please see full rules below).

You can find out more about ashortwalk and their products at ashortwalk.com

 The rules

  1. The theme is ‘autumn’ and the winning picture will be the one which, in the opinion of the judges, best captures the season.
  2. The competition is open to anyone of any age, except professional photographers.
  3. Each entrant can submit up to 4 pictures.
  4. Only pictures taken in the parish of Burbage in Leicestershire (including Burbage Common and Woods) are eligible.
  5. Pictures can be in jpeg, PNG or gif format. Tehnical quality will be taken into account but is not the most important factor in judging.
  6. Pictures can only be accepted by online submission as follows:
    • including as an attachment to a comment on this page, or
    • attaching to an email to mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk, or
    • adding to a tweet or direct message to twitter account @FreestyleBurbij
  7. Only entries received by midnight on 31 October 2015 can be accepted.
  8. Only pictures which have not previously been published or won any competition can be accepted.
  9. By entering this competition you agree to your pictures being used by Freestyle Burbage in our publicity, but copyright of all submitted pictures remains with the photographer.

The entries

These are the pictures you sent us for the competition (so far)…




New groups in Burbage

Now winter is creeping up on us it’s a good time to think about new groups and activities in Burbage.

fbpic01Freestyle Burbage aims to “celebrate our community and our creative spirit” so we try to encourage events and activities which are free (if possible), happen in the parish of Burbage (not just in the village), involve as many local people as possible, and are a bit different from anything already happening. We like to focus on people actually getting involved and doing things, without a lot of bureaucracy, committees etc, and not being passive audiences.

So, what are people interested in? Most groups can start small in people’s homes without too much organisation, and move to a bigger venue if necessary when they get bigger. Some ideas might be…

* marbles
* conkers
* Frisbee/dog Frisbee
* rounders
* street football
* walking football
* Parkour/freerunning
* geocaching
* scrabble
* knitting/crochet
* sewing
* book club
* writing
* storytelling
* play reading/acting
* debating
* philosophy

If you are interested in any of these, or anything else, please add a comment below or email mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk

Bat detector for hire

Bat detectorWe now have a bat detector which was paid for with donated money so I think we should treat it as a community asset. It’s a basic model but does a good job and is great for letting you know where the bats are (to make them easier to see) and what kind they are.

Bats will be active for another month or more so if anyone would like to borrow it for a day or two please email mike@freestyleburbage.org.uk

I’ll need a £5 returnable deposit and a donation of £1 or more, or free if you’ve already given us a donation. I can deliver in my corner of Burbage or you can collect.

Burbage Free Gardeners


We are a friendly informal group who meet in each other’s gardens from April to September

Whether you’ve got a window box, patio, small garden or big garden, let’s get together to talk about our gardens and swap ideas and help.

Join us on Sunday 19 April from 10 to 12 in Mike’s garden at 8 Featherston Drive.

Everybody welcome!


What is Freestyle Burbage?

IMG_20141016_101814Freestyle Burbage is a celebration of our community and our creative spirit through ‘freestyle’ events like exhibitions, performances, displays, demonstrations, walks, talks and group activities.

For us, ‘freestyle’ is any artistic, creative or sporting activity where the participants are free to choose the techniques, style, medium or form they use.

As well as the strictly freestyle, Freestyle Burbage embraces activities and events which take place in Burbage and encourage a high level of participation and an exuberant celebration of the creative spirit.

Our principles and values

  • 100% accessibility for some or all activities
  • taking place across the whole parish of Burbage in Leicesterhire
  • not associated with any political or religious views

Features of Freestyle Burbage

  • low cost
  • high participation
  • minimal hierarchy / formal organisation / committee etc
  • low “professional” involvement
  • minimal “official” involvement (such as police, highways or council)
  • zero grant funding
  • sponsorship / backing via crowdfunding (or direct support such as services, venues etc)
  • ideas via crowdsourcing, using “creative commons” licences so anybody can turn them into events

The free community arts and events project for the whole of Burbage, celebrating our community and our creative spirit.