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The parish of

Kings Norton

Part of the Church of England

Churchyard Carers

Welcome to the home page of St Nicolas' very own fitness programme for lovers of the outdoors!

St Nicolas' Church is surrounded by roughly six acres of churchyard containing hundreds of graves and about 120 trees. It is much-visited, not only because it has become the last resting place of so many local people but also because of its historical interest. Saint Nicolas' Place, which stands beside it, and the Old Grammar School, set within it, have, since their restoration in 2006, become tourist attractions in their own right.

The problem is that churchyards do not look after themselves.

Add to this the hundreds of people who pass through on their way to services, meetings, weddings, baptisms and funerals at St Nicolas' Church each month and you have some powerful reasons why this corner of Kings Norton needs to be kept clean, tidy, safe and welcoming for all. The problem is that churchyards do not look after themselves.

We have a paid team who cut the grass on a regular basis during the spring and summer and a tree surgeon who comes when needed. Community Payback teams overseen by the Probation Service also provide valuable help on a regular basis. In spite of all this support, however, there are many tasks which would remain undone if it were not for the dedication of a small number of volunteers.

Fresh volunteers are always needed. In fact, the number who turn out regularly to keep the churchyard in good order has been too small for a while. If you live within striking distance of St Nicolas', you have an hour or so to spare from time to time and you like fresh air, this could be just what you have been looking for. It provides exercise and good company in beautiful, peaceful surroundings. You do not have to be a church member. The only limitation is that you must be between 18 and 80* to take part.

Tempted?

If you'd like to give it a try, you would be most welcome, and we can offer you three options: a Wednesday evening, a Thursday morning or, if you are only free in November, a Saturday morning.

To Get Involved...

If you have any questions, please contact the Parish Office, who will put you in touch with the organisers. You might also be interested to read the annual report, which gives more details of what is involved.

(* We regret that the over-80s are not covered by the church's insurance policy and that the involvement of under-18s would introduce the complication of CRB checks for all the adults taking part).

Autumn Leaf Clearing

Leaf clearing normally takes place the first, third and fourth Saturdays of November from about 10.00 am until about 12.00 noon. We meet in the churchyard adjacent to the church. Click here to see last year's leaf sweep.

Thursday Mornings

Weather permitting, the Thursday Team meets most Thursday mornings throughout the year from 9.30 until about 11.30 am (except for a period of 4-6 weeks between Christmas and the end of January). We gather at 9.30 on the path which enters the graveyard from Pershore Road South behind the Old Grammar School. The work is medium-to-heavy and includes trimming bushes, tidying neglected grave plots, removing trees, brambles, ivy and weeds. We also fill and seed sunken graves.

Wednesdays : Can You Help?

The Wednesday Team used to meet every other Wednesday evening between early April and early September from 7.00 to 8.30 pm. Refreshments were provided at the end. If the weather was wet we worked on the next evening instead (i.e. Thursday). We gathered at 7 o'clock on the path which enters the graveyard from Pershore Road South behind the Old Grammar School (see photo below). The work was fairly light and included mowing and strimming the grass. We also tidied the cremation plots to the north of the Rectory, at the far end of the churchyard lane.

Sadly, the numbers of people coming to help have fallen so low that we have had to suspend churchyard clearing on Wednesdays for the time being. This leaves us in the position of not being able to maintain our grounds and we badly need to resurrect the team. Can you help? If so, please contact us.

Equipment

Volunteers bring their own gloves and need stout footwear. We provide equipment, but some people also bring their own, particularly to Autumn Leaf Clearing, when we tend to run short of rakes.