What is "Know Your Neighbours"?

"Know Your Neighbours" is a grass-roots community group in Seal, near Sevenoaks in Kent. The group is made up of anyone in the village who wants to get involved - individuals, clubs and societies, businesses, church and schools, parish council,and many others.
We organise local events through the year - fetes, street parties, Christmas events etc. - and we hold social gatherings, just so that people can get to "know their neighbours". There's no "committee" - anyone who turns up for meetings is welcome to help in any way they are able.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE, OR BE ADDED TO THE EMAIL LIST, contact Marion Gilchrist , who coordinates the group, or Anne Le Bas, who maintains this blog.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

A New Year update from Marion


Hello Everybody,

Here's to a very Happy and Hopeful 2021!
After the past year, it is good to look forward to what is to come, but also, maybe, to celebrate what we were able to achieve in 2020, through all the adversity. Most plans of organisations had to be cancelled , but we have still made some memories.

Our 100 Club Draws have continued monthly, either taking place on the recreation ground when we were able, or via Zoom, every first Friday morning of each month. We are currently playing with 60 numbers each month, giving a first prize of £100, second prize of £50 and put £150 each month into the Seal Village Fund.
We conducted the draw via Zoom at yesterday's Friday Club session and the results are as follows:-

1st prize £100 no 36 Jerry Scarlett
2nd prize £50 no 22 Helen Curtis.

Congratulations to them! Good way to start 2021.
If you wish to take part in this monthly draw, please contact me for more details. It costs £5 each calendar month and the proceeds go to village projects and organisations.

Working backwards, many people got in touch to say how they enjoyed following the Advent Window trail around the village, It was great to be able to do something over the Christmas period, which was safe and fun. So, a big thank you to Barbara Martin for organising it, and to all those who contributed by displaying Advent scenes in their windows. I feel sure this is something that will continue during future Advent periods.
For those that have been puzzling and those that want reassurance they got it right, the topical phrase made up from the jumble of letters, was PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL MEN. Well done to those who had it fathomed.

We were able to hold a zoom session for Christmas wreath making, which was also a huge success, both socially and financially for Seal Church. This was a fun activity, and against all the odds, people made some great wreaths and enjoyed the company of friends old and new, via that 2020 phenomenon, Zoom. Remember, most of us had never heard of this before 2020. Despite not being quite what we all long for (human contact), it is doing a great job of keeping people connected.

By way of fund raising for the Church, Frances Fish made lots of knitted hats to dress chcocolate oranges, and this made £100 plus. We also had some hand made gifts for sale which were advertised on social media and delivered to buyers.

We were also able to light up the village for the festive period, and again, many thanks to all those who came forward to help get the lights in place. It was tricky organising this process in a Covid safe manner, but thanks to many small family bubbles coming forward, you achieved this, and even managed to spread the light just a little further. We hope to expand a little further still next year. This is not necessarily a financial issue, but down to more volunteers to come forward to help put lights up, and of course, take them down again.
Talking of this, the lights can come down any time after this Tuesday, but this will depend on when volunteers have the time to give to this. If you can possibly take down the lights that you put up, this would be much apprecated, but we realise, things aren't always that easy. If for any reason you can't do this, please let me know so that we can request hep from elsewhere.It has been suggested that the battery lights might stay up until all the batteries are completely run down, but from what I am seeing, this is pretty much the case now anyway. I can now walk around without pockets full of batteries, replacing them in the dark! The important thing is, that as the lights are being taken down, all volunteers should contact me so that I can help where I can, and arrange to collect and store them safely and appropriately for next year. Thank you to the Seal Village Hall Management Committee, for helping us with this task.

In October, Seal School PTA organised a great Halloween trail around the village, which helped out a little with fund raising, but also provided a family fun activity, during a time where this was much needed, so thank you again to them for organising this.

The summer saw an influx in peoples' gardens being turned into mini tea gardens.This was another Church fund raising scheme, but so many people joined others in their gardens for teatime treats within the 'Rule of 6', or less where space didn't allow for so many. This again, is something we believe we will see more of in 2021, so watch this space to see how you might get involved.

Friday Group continued to meet throughout the year, whether in public outdoor spaces, occasionally for a very short period of time, in the Church Hall, or via Zoom when this wasn't possible. I think this is a tribute to the tenacity of this community, making sure they will do what they can, when they can, but within government guidelines. Sadly, other Talking Village sessions have been on hold since March 2020, but we look forward to seeing them up and running again as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Luci Napleton managed to get the Village Hall doors open again (between lockdowns), for her fitness classes, which were much appreciated by the clan who would normally,faithfully turn out every Tuesday morning. It was great that you were able to get gping again, albeit for a short while.

The church has remained open throughout, apart from those weeks during the first lockdown, when this was not allowed, and Anne began her podcasts, which have been incredibly welcomed. But, being back open has provided a much needed space for private prayer, and for being able to come together for public worship, in safety. A huge thanks to Anne le Bas, for keeping on top of all the regulations, and providing so much in the way of alternative worship apart from the smaller public services in church. She has made weekly podcasts, organised Zoom midweek services, Zoom coffee sessions, and so much more. Many people have needed the reassurance of the Church through this period, and many people have expressed their gratitude for being able to access it in these alternative ways. Many, who would not have normally been in church, have really enjoyed being able to listen to the podcasts, and the streamed services.The Church House groups have also continued to function and thrive throughout the year. Christmas was a great time at Church as well. Despite not being able to worship in the normal way, services were recorded and streamed, and a beautiful outdoor carol service, took place in the churchyard on December 20th. Many people seemed to have the wind in their eyes by the end, judging by the teary faces. Tears of joy I hasten to add. 
By the way, as this is a bit of a marathon this month, I will forward Anne's newsletter separately today.

I'm sure I speak for all of us, when I say that our local shops have been amazing during this time. They have sustained us and kept us in fresh produce and other necessities, and have really been going the extra mile. Thank you so much to all of them. Rob's delivery system has been much appreciated by many, and when the rest of the world were complaining of not being able to get flour, Ahmet was there with his stash! Kerry has been there for our pets and the poor barber, who had only just opened before lockdown, has been there for the mens' lockdown hair as and when it was allowed. Then there is Erman of Deniz's. He has managed to stay open providing take away coffees and food to
the village, and the staff at Ganga and Seal Kebab, who have also kept going on take away food throughout. Thank you to all those businesses, who have been here for our community and beyond through the whole of this time. 

The other huge achievement through all this, is that Seal Primary School, amidst all the difficulties of running a school safely or sometimes remotely, over this time, has managed to get the animals on their school farm and a happy band of volunteers to help during holidays and weekends, with the children being very involved in their welfare during school hours. I feel sure for the children at Seal School right now , this is another aspect of 2020, which will take a fond place in their memory banks. Thank you to all the staff at the school, who have had a tremendously challenging year, and congratulations on coming through this, still with smiling faces.

The staff at Lavender Fields must also be congratulated, on getting through this very challenging year. We have heard amazing stories of how you have kept your residents comfortable, happy and reassured as has been possible through all this strangeness.

So....... I may have missed some important information, but I think I've used all I have....... on to 2021. What do we have in store? Well, hopefully, as this year moves forward, we will see a slow return to normality, but we still need to fill in the holes left during the long dark evenings.

We have had a suggestion of some Zoom quizzes. Frances Fish is happy to organise these, but it would be good to have an idea of how many of you would be interested to join in the fun and how often you would wish to take part. Please could you come back to me if you are interested, and say what time of day and whether you would want to be doing this weekly, fortnightly, etc.

The other idea, which still is limping away, is the Lockdown Cookbook. Some of you have submitted recipes, but nowhere near enough to produce

If you have other ideas which could be pursued in safety, please let me know, and we will do our best to get some activities organised. a book or booklet. Please send your recipes to this email address, with a sentence about how this recipe has been important to you and or your family, during 2020.

Meanwhile, we all wish you a Great 2021 
Best Wishes,
Marion (on behalf of KYN).


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