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Join us to Beat the Balsam!

You may have seen us on social media – getting in the River Holme and getting ready to ‘Beat The Balsam’ and you may have wondered why? All fairandfunky workshops look at ways each of us can take little steps to change the world; looking after local environments on our doorstep can do just that.


We’re delighted to welcome Kim Warren, Project Officer at River Holme Connections, to the guest blog, to explain more about ‘Beat The Balsam’ and how you can get involved and take your own little steps to change the world in our local environment:


“Back in 2016, staff and volunteers from River Holme Connections asked the community what they thought could be done to improve the River Holme – they told us they wanted to see fewer weeds, more wildflowers and wildlife.  We realised that for the River Holme to become a cleaner, more accessible river that we would have to look at the whole river catchment, and involve as many people from their local areas and businesses from moors and farmland through to town. With great support from Kirklees Council and plenty of advice from experts in the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, we decided to take a really ambitious step and try to tackle the alien invasive plant species that threaten to take over our riversides: Himalayan balsam an annual plant can easily be pulled up by the roots, whereas Japanese knotweed needs years of expensive specialist treatment to be killed off. Both of these alien invaders pose a real threat to wildlife and can cause river banks to wash away.



Thanks to the Players of the Postcode Lottery we have received generous funding so, 2017 sees the start of ‘Beat the Balsam’: a big community effort to get out, have fun by your local riverside and take action for wildlife.  Our project will boost biodiversity by getting rid of Himalayan balsam and steadily start to replace it with native wetland wildflowers, grown and nurtured by local youngsters. Over the course of June and July, ‘Beat the Balsam’ will see a series of volunteer ‘balsam bash’ work parties giving people of all ages the inspiration to ‘Beat the Balsam’ well into the future and maybe put a stop to balsam on our river banks.



We know young people are passionate about the environment, so we are delighted Sophie and Helen from fairandfunky will be using  their expertise and creative flair to take the  ‘ Beat the Balsam’ message into schools from Holme to Huddersfield. 


By the end of the summer term, 1000 pupils will be clued up on the perils of Himalayan balsam, how it can be stopped in its tracks and which wildflowers will flourish in its place. After a series of workshops, presentations, riverside walks and assemblies we hope our youngsters will be ready to take action for themselves and enjoy discovering their local riverside for years to come.”


There are many opportunities to get involved with ‘Beat The Balsam’ along the River Holme. Why not join River Holme Connections in one of the following work parties:


Saturday 3rd June Newsome Fun Day 12noon – 4pm

River Holme Connections will be showcasing their volunteering opportunities at Newsome High alongside a fairandfunky workshop with crafts and activities for children of all ages for our Beat the Balsam programme.


Saturday 10th June Honley Show – Alien Invaders

Visit River Holme Connections at the Eden’s Forest Stall outside the Countryside Tent.  They will be sharing knowledge about invasive species and how you can be involved in Beat the Balsam or Japanese knotweed eradication programme in 2017.


Keep an eye on River Holme Connections facebook page for up to date events and ways to ‘Beat The Balsam’ where you are!

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