Nottingham Road: doin’ it for themselves

2010-10-13 00:00

ONCE the crowd had composed themselves, the applause was roof-lifting. Men in Tights, a recent once-off fund raiser for a new community organisation in Nottingham Road, played to a sell-out audience of 350 people in a barn at Greenfields Agricultural Holdings.

“Trucks glorious trucks, smoke- bellowing, oil-leaking, gear-grinding, road-munching trucks,” Heath Cliff shouted out. He was planning the downfall of the “pastoral hamlet” of Nottingham Road.

Men in Tights was written and directed by Paul Spence, a prominent playwright and performer who lives in Notties. Together with his producers, he put the cast of 70 locals to work. Besides being a fund raiser for a good cause it brought the community together and all had fun along the way.

The idea was a general clean-up and beautification of Nottingham Road, inspired by Carrie Greene following a trip through the country villages of England. The municipality, though willing to support the initiative, lacked funds to do so. Help was needed. This came in the form of a new community organisation called Nottingham Road Refreshed (NRR), a branch of the Nottingham Road Land Owners Organisation.

NRR knew that to get money out of people in the current economic climate would not be easy so they went for the “let’s do it” approach and hoped support would follow. NRR has a business model in mind where they will run on monthly contributions but for now they are relying solely on donations. They put their various projects out to tender and contract out the development of the town.

“We do a lot of cold calling, relying on personal contacts,” Greene says while speaking of the financial side of NRR. So far R200 000 has been spent on physical changes in the village. The traffic circles at the entrance to the town have been relandscaped with trees as the main focus. Around the town various stone walls have been revamped, alien vegetation has been cleared and trees have been planted. The maintenance of these gardens is carried out by two people who have been employed by NRR. Their main job is to pick up litter, water trees and maintain the verges. They are the only people currently employed by NRR. The rest of the work that goes on behind the scenes is all voluntary. NRR is viewed in a positive light by the municipality which has been included in all the improvements in Nottingham Road and is receptive to any requests it can help with.

Positive feedback has been received from businesses in the village and outlying establishments. “Hopefully, they will put their money where their mouth is,” says Greene.

• Look out for the upcoming golf day at Gowrie Golf Club, the next NRR initiative. For more information on NRR call Carrie Greene at 082 824 7278.

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