Award for Local Junior Football Team

A local junior football team has been awarded £500 to support its aim of providing football for disabled children.

Boroughbridge Junior Football Club was successful in gaining the public votes it needed to receive the money from Skipton Building Society through its Grassroots Giving programme that supports community groups across the country. The building society asked people to cast their votes for the projects they supported at the Grassroots Giving website and in branches. Some 377 projects received 38,000 votes.

The funding will help the club buy equipment and hire facilities needed to coach children of all ages with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

Chris Fahy, club chairman, said: “We believe children of all abilities can enjoy football and benefit socially – by playing in a team, physically, by staying fit and healthy and by experiencing interactive and stimulating sessions that build confidence and enhance well-being.”

The club serves the local community and surrounding villages, as well as families based at Dishforth Camp. More than 20 volunteer coaches and helpers provide training
for both boys and girls with different abilities from ages five to seventeen years.

Boroughbridge JFC has the Football Association Charter Standard, which is a kitemark awarded to clubs that provide a safe, high-quality football experience for children.

The club wants to hear from local people interested in becoming a FA qualified coach or anyone who holds the qualification. The club currently has volunteer coaching
positions available across age groups and will support coaches financially through the FA course and pay for qualifications.

Please email bjfc2014 @ gmail.com, or contact Chris on 07764 775130 for full details
about training and coaching opportunities.

Boroughbridge Lions

Boroughbridge Lions are preparing for the Christmas 2016 Season with their sleigh – it is our principle fundraiser and the source of much of the money we put back into the local community.  As we do so comes the realization, that this may be the last year for this and the many other things we do throughout the year.  Our band of dedicated members are all getting older and it could well be that, without new members, we will be unable to continue our activities.  Although Boroughbridge based, our area of action ranges from Green Hammerton to Dishforth and Marton cum Grafton to Roecliffe.

Although some 80% of our funds are re-invested in the local community we also support national and international events (mainly disaster relief).  Space precludes me detailing all we do locally and, for the more adventurous, the many Lions overseas projects, but our brand new web site (www.borougbridgelions.co.uk) contains all the details, including video links.

All Lions Clubs have their respective communities at the heart of what they do, but are backed by national and international organisations who provide such things as comprehensive insurance cover, performing rights licenses, and advice on such vital matters as health and safety, risk assessments and food hygiene –  all very necessary if you are organizing any sort of event.  Indeed, Lions International is the world largest service organisation with some 46,000 clubs in over 200 countries.  There is plenty of scope for participation in a numerous overseas projects for those who wish to extend their contribution beyond the local community.

Boroughbridge Lions meet monthly, but attendance requirements are flexible to accommodate the time pressures on today’s young families; we also welcome couples, with discounted membership rates, so that, if necessary attendance can be shared.  We really appreciate all the help we get from volunteers for our events, but without new members to keep the club going the end is inevitable.  If you would like to find out more, why not come to one of our meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 8pm the Crown Hotel – they are informal and very friendly.  Alternatively call Ann or Graham on 01423 323 867 for a chat about what it means to be a Lion and to make a difference.

The Blackbirds in your Garden

It is easy to dismiss the Blackbird as just another common, year-round garden resident, but there is more to this familiar bird than you might think!

Blackbirds were originally woodlands birds, but over the years have adapted very well to an urban environment. So much so, that it is thought that urban Blackbird populations may even act as boosters for less productive woodland populations, which face significantly greater levels of nest predation – despite all the cats in our gardens! The most serious threat to urban-nesting Blackbirds is probably a prolonged period of dry weather, which makes getting at earthworms in a rock hard lawn very difficult and puts their chicks at risk of starvation.

Breeding territories and feeding sites may be used year after year by socially dominant birds, particularly those with food available throughout the year. Blackbirds have a varied diet, not just feeding on fruit and earthworms, and have even been seen taking tadpoles and newts from the shallows of garden ponds.

Information from the BTO Garden BirdWatch reveals a seasonal pattern of garden use, with a reduction in numbers from August to October. This ‘autumn trough’ is probably linked both to the availability of fruits and berries in local hedgerows and to the post-breeding moult, when they become rather shy and retiring.

The Blackbird is one of a small number of species that sometimes sing during the night, particularly near to street-lighting. They have large eyes relative to their body size, and BTO research has revealed them to be the first species to arrive at garden feeding stations on dark winter mornings. Good vision in low light levels influences when a species is first able to move around and find food.

BTO research has also demonstrated that Blackbirds living in urban areas arrive at garden feeding stations later than those living in rural gardens. This seems to run counter to the influence of light levels on arrival times – since urban areas have more street lights; suggesting that temperature may also play a role. Urban areas have higher levels of heat pollution which raise air temperatures above those in the surrounding countryside, and as birds use their energy reserves to keep warm overnight, those in rural areas will need to find food more urgently in the morning.

Surveys have revealed that at least 12% of our winter Blackbirds are immigrants from mainland Europe, their arrival by the thousand during the autumn months going largely unnoticed; primarily because they look the same as those that are here all year round. However, an early morning visit to some berry-laden coastal scrub and hedgerows will reveal these immigrants feeding alongside newly arrived Redwing and Fieldfare. BTO bird ringers have shown that these winter immigrants originate mainly from Scandinavia, The Netherlands and Germany, some of which are just passing through, and will continue on south to winter in Spain, France and Portugal.

Being able to watch several Blackbirds at once helps differentiate between the various plumages, separating the brown females from the black males, and young birds (with some juvenile wing feathers still retained) from older individuals. Birds with one or more white feathers are often seen in our gardens, and are probably ‘leucistic’ this being due to a local absence of pigment cells.

If you find the lives of our garden birds to be of interest, and would like to join in and count the feathered occupants of your garden, please contact me or visit the BTO Garden BirdWatch website (www.bto.org/gbw). If you know of a local organisation who would like a talk on garden birds call: Mike Gray 07596 366342 or mikegbw@btinternet.com.