May saw some significant changes to the garden at Charmouth Central.   The bare earth around the new steps is now studded with plants and some are already thriving.   Most of these plants were donated and installed by supporters and it is thanks to them that not too much of the grant has been spent on plants.

More changes will take place in June with some recontouring of the left-hand side of the garden ready for the planting of bee and butterfly-friendly scented shrubs.    Most of these will have to be bought so that there is a succession of flowering throughout the year but any contributions will again be gratefully received.


There has been some disquiet that the commemorative bench has been moved to the top of the new steps.    The Committee would like to give assurances that, not only was the family’s opinion sought before the bench was moved to its new home, but that there will soon be a new bench on the lower level.


Hazel Robinson has taken cuttings to plant in Charmouth Central’s garden of a hebe which has a long history.   When her children were babies and she and Alan had little or no money for plants, she spotted a hebe in her Aunt’s garden in Bournemouth and took a cutting.   This cutting grew so well in the couple’s London garden that, when they moved, she took a cutting which she planted in the garden in their next home in Hertfordshire….and did the same for the next garden in  Hertfordshire and then for a tub on the roof terrace of their apartment in central London and also in several places in their gardens in France and …finally…in their garden in Charmouth where it flourishes to this day.  The latest versions are in pots ready to take their place amongst the shrubs around the left-hand paving and Hazel promises to take cuttings from them in due course to sell for the funds.
Cuttings in pots ready to plant with the ‘parent’ plant in middle distance behind.

This much travelled plant must have rivals in Charmouth!
Can anyone come up with a similar well travelled plant story? We’d love to hear from you. Even more so if you can donate a cutting too!
(The Editor)

Book issues were not so impressive last month, actually showing fewer books were taken out than in April 2013.   This may just reflect the closing and opening history last year or the fact that Easter was in April this year.    Please do keep taking out plenty of books so DCC has no excuse to stop any services!

Finally, well over a year since they were promised by DCC, Charmouth Central and other community libraries are set to get new public access computers.   These will be large-screen (19”) and free to use.   There will also be just one new scanner/photocopier/printer for both public use and for volunteers’ use.

At the present time, there are two printers.   One, for public use, sits between the two public-access computers while the other is under the library counter.   This printer is used by volunteers to print off  “transit slips” as they scan in books.   Each of these slips indicates to which other community library the book should be sent and is wrapped around the book for transport.

It is all too easy to see that having just one printer will cause problems if a member of the public wants to print out documents while this transit slip printing process is happening.   DCC believes that having the transit slips ”stacked” in the computer memory and printed out in bulk will avoid such a clash but this does not take into account the difficulty of keeping the books in the right order if the slips are not allocated to them immediately.

What is more, an offer to DCC that Charmouth Central would be willing to buy a second printer for volunteers’ use has been so far met with a flat refusal with the reason given that only the single DCC printer is feasible as the whole system is interlinked.

There is also a physical problem in that the printer is on its own cabinet and in Charmouth Central, as in other community libraries, there is no room for this cumbersome object without a reduction in book shelving space – a reduction the Committee believes is very undesirable to say the least.

The Committee is joining with other community libraries in AdLib to protest that there will be only one printer.  It is hoped that, with solidarity in numbers, it will be possible to alter DCC’s currently committed position.

Charmouth Central needs a PR/Entertainments Co-ordinator immediately and a Chairperson-in-waiting to work with Hazel Robinson for a few months in order to take on her role as she will not be standing for re-election at the AGM in October.   Could you take on either of these roles?   If so, please contact Hazel for more details and an informal chat.   01297 561214



Tea at the Ritz is fabled, Fortnum’s is renowned and Betty’s in Harrogate is the tops….until now.   These institutions should look to their laurels as nothing could have surpassed the Champagne Afternoon Tea on 27 April organised by host, Neil Mattingley, and his able helpers, Jane Bean and Jan Plummer, together with the unsung heroes in the kitchen headed by Felicity Horton.

The scene was set at Neil’s house, Thalatta – sea views, white tablecloths, white china, flowers and, in the middle of each table, an overladen 3-tier cake stand displaying all sorts of goodies from elegant finger sandwiches to scones, carrot cake to eclairs.   Everything was home-made by the talented and creative cooks of Charmouth.   As one guest put it, “This is so typically Charmouth.   We buy our tickets, bring our own food and then buy a raffle ticket too!”   In other words, here was another definition in action of the generosity of Charmouth residents.

This splendid Champagne Afternoon Tea was in aid of Charmouth Central and the profit of £303 was donated to the funds.   The Friends of Charmouth Library are very grateful to Neil and to all who contributed.


The gardens around Charmouth Central have been planned for some time and, thanks to a grant from Dorset Community Foundation, in April the second stage was completed allowing some reluctant volunteers (Deb Winstone and Alan and Hazel Robinson) from braving the rain to plant the many contributions delivered by well-wishers.

The call for wild flowers has resulted in some excellent contributions – including primroses, bluebells, oxeye daisies, cowslips, cyclamen, foxgloves and buddleia.   Some kind donors have also planted their offerings which has meant that the bare ground is already now studded with plants.   Hazel says, “Thanks so much and please keep them coming.   We leave it to your judgement to decide where the plants should go, only bearing in mind that the taller ones are better situated towards the wall at the back.   We’d like to reserve the shrubs for the other side of the garden and the square marked out with sticks is dedicated to a crab apple (Malus John Downie) already ordered.”

The further heavy work of clearing the grass for planting, creating a ‘children’s path’ and a path from the left-hand paved section to the back “Servery” door will be done by professionals from early June.   This third-stage preparation should make it easy for volunteers to plant the bushes and bee-friendly plants which have been ordered – and this is where more help will be appreciated in mid-June.   More news on this will be included in the June Newsletter.

“We’ll also need scented flowering shrubs for all seasons and hope that gardeners may be able to donate their potted-up cuttings of shrubs like hellebores (Christmas roses), hebe of all varieties, ribes (flowering currant),philadelphus (mock orange), mahonia, pulmonaria (lungwort), daphne, cranesbill (geranium), sarcococca  (sweet box), caryopteris (the shrub, not the perennial), lavender as well as herbs such as sage, rosemary, chives and thyme, bulbs such as crocus and climbers such as summer jasmine, winter jasmine and climbing hydrangea.”

It is intended that the garden will be a wildlife-friendly, sensory space for everyone to relax in and enjoy, even if only as a pause to get their breath back from walking up the hill.
The garden is changing daily and the ‘Current’ photograph is already out of date as the commemorative bench has been moved up and many more plants have been installed since it was taken.


Did you know you could download e-books from Dorset Library Service?   Books borrowed automatically disappear when the lending period comes to an end.

For those who don’t know how to download an e-book, there is technical help on the website.  (Click on the ? question mark in the toolbar.)   There is also a Helpline.


Recently, it has come to the attention of the Committee that questions are now and then raised as to why Charmouth Central is needed and to what extent it “robs” other institutions in the village.   Some points raised have been:

Q.  Why don’t we just have a mobile library?
A.   A mobile library would have come just two hours once a fortnight.   As the service had already been reduced from three to two vans, if the nine libraries which are now community-run had had mobile libraries instead of staying open, many of the more rural areas would have lost their mobile service completely.      It was agreed amongst all the members of AdLib (Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries) that it would be better to take on the responsibility for running and funding our own libraries rather than rob those in greater need.

Q.  How can Charmouth Central justify taking business from existing community facilities?
A.  Please tell us of any incident where this has happened.   Charmouth Central and partners have instituted many new services in the village such as Rhymetime, Tea & Chat, Memorable Memoirs, Computer Lessons, Sewing Circle, Shape Note singing, Police Surgery etc.   It is most unlikely that any of these would have happened without the existence of Charmouth Central yet footfall shows they are of value to the village.   Charmouth Central itself uses the village halls for all larger events and contributes to their income.

Q.  How can Charmouth Central justify taking business from Charmouth traders?
A.  The Chair of Charmouth Central is an honorary member of the Charmouth Traders’ Group and aids their plans wherever possible.   The open hours of 2 to 5 (and 10.30 to 12.30 on Saturdays) when refreshments and wi-fi are available were calculated largely not to coincide with the existing opening hours of the catering establishments.   The provision of local goods for sale in the retail area is backed by other retailers offering similar merchandise as this helps to bring more visitors to the village and keeps the shops open for all residents year-round.

Computer Courses
New computer Courses are on line to be filled very soon. If you wish to book a space we advise you go to the Libarary asap and put your names down before they are all taken.

Please send any further queries or questions to Hazel on and they will be published in future editions of the Newsletter.   Positive suggestions are also very welcome.


CHAMPAGNE  AFTERNOON TEA on 27 April  3 p.m. at Thalatta, Higher Sea Lane, Charmouth

You are invited to a Champagne Afternoon Tea on Sunday, 27 April at 3.00 p.m.

Organiser and host, Neil Mattingley, is generously offering his stunning home for this elegant event and donating all the profits to Charmouth Central.   Neil’s events are always a sell-out so get your tickets early!

Tickets £8 from Neil on 07961 451379 or from early April in Charmouth Central

Update 7.4.2014
Hello all Library Volunteers

This is about Neil Mattingly’s party on Sunday 27th April, and particularly about how to obtain tickets for it. 3 pm to 6 pm.

For those interested, I’ve added some other details including directions.

From today there will be tickets available and a list in the library. If you are interested in buying tickets could you please bring a cheque, made out to Charmouth Central, or the exact money (£8 per ticket) to the library. We’ll provide an envelope to enclose the contribution (put on your name and contact details) give you your ticket(s) and record your purchase on the list. I’ll collect payments daily. These arrangements are set up with the aim of simplifying admin for library volunteers on duty.

Thalatta, Neil’s home, is the house in Charmouth nearest the sea. It has a wonderful view of the beach and the coastline. It has a fascinating history, and much of that is available on Neil’s website: Charmouth History – via Google. There have been a number of very popular parties there which have raised money for local charities.

How To Get There There is a rough laneleading from Higher Sea Lane to the beach. Thalatta is at the very foot of this lane. The drive curves right and leads back up to the house.

There won’t be enough parking available on the day. You could use one of the beach car parks and walk back up to Higher Sea Lane.

Please email me if you have any other questions.

Russell Telfer>


In the early 17th Century Commonwealth period, the Cromwellians frowned upon popular singing.  As usual, people managed to subvert strictures they did not like and devised what is now known as Sacred Harp or Fasola music.   Though they may have been singing psalms and hymns, the real object was to have fun.

The tradition went to American and has always been kept alive in the Southern States.   You may have heard examples in films such as ‘Cold Mountain’ and ‘Lawless’.  In recent years, it has also become more and more popular in Europe.

‘Shape Note’ is the musical notation invented some 200 years ago for this a capella singing and is said to be easier to follow than more formal methods.

In fact, joining in (or just listening) is very easy – as you can find out for yourself by going along to Charmouth Central on Saturday, 12 April from 2 to 5 p.m. (and monthly thereafter) for an afternoon of musical fun and companionship.

Find out more about Shape Note and Sacred Harp on or contact Howard on


As the library was closed for refurbishment in February 2013, statistics show an unsurprisingly huge jump in the comparison figures for February 2014.


The regular  Memorable Memoirs meeting on 19th March was the venue for a special demonstration and talk by local chef, Ian Simpson (of The White House) as part of Nutrition and Hydration Week.   The talk emphasised the necessity of a healthy diet and, particularly, of keeping well hydrated as we age.    Participants enjoyed Ian’s demonstration and tucking in to the delicious tea provided.   As usual, everything had been immaculately staged by Jan Gale and her team.

Do you have favourite authors but have already read all they have written?   If so, ask a volunteer in the library to look up (in the reference book on the back counter) other authors who write in the same style to give you a whole new selection for your reading pleasure.



Charmouth Central has been the grateful recipient of a significant amount of generosity from residents over the past few weeks.

First, came a kind donation of some framed prints and maps…from a mystery donor.  It would have been far better to have been able to say “thank you” personally but, in any case, the donation raised £40 to help to keep the library open and was received with gratitude.   Thank you to our mystery donor.

Next, hearing that Charmouth Parish Council had not budgeted for any donation to Charmouth Central for 2014/15, Gary Wood of Abacus Surveying Services Ltd offered to pay next year’s insurance.   Abacus work countrywide out of offices in Charmouth.   This is a most generous contribution and means that there will now be no urgent need to hold extra fund-raising events to fill the gap.   Thank you to Gary and Abacus.

And, of course, thanks are always due to the fantastic team of volunteers who keep everything going all the time.   Thank you.


The latest statistics show that, once again, Charmouth Central is bucking the downward trend in numbers of books issued.  With the county as a whole showing a quite marked decline in book issues* Charmouth’s figures continue to rise month on month…..and DCC maintained we did not need a local library!    The only downside to this is that they may see the success of community-managed libraries as an excuse to create more of them.

These statistics are also beneficial as an increase in book issues impresses grant-funders.   Charmouth Central is now on a sound financial footing but a number of people have said they would like a Film Club which will need a substantial investment in the right equipment.   The Committee is determined to provide what people want so will be looking for some grant-funding to buy a large Smart TV, appropriate licences and all the other equipment necessary.

*January: DCC overall figure down from 187,574 in 2013 to 180,255 in 2014, Charmouth’s up again in January – from 598 to 682.


There is still no definite news as to when we will have DCC-supplied wi-fi and new public computers, printer etc.   “Sometime soon” is the latest prediction.

Although there is already free wi-fi in Charmouth Central for Friends of Charmouth Library and for paying customers, the DCC-supplied system is more secure and is safer for children.   In future, the broadband already installed will be used for computer lessons (which will resume in spring) and to download films, educational programmes etc etc. for the use of the community.


The Sewing Circle meets every Tuesday morning at 10.30-ish and currently has space for two or three more members.   Bring your own sewing or join in with group projects.

Colourful teacosies and cushions were the first group products and can be seen in use in The Servery.   The current project is a vibrant hand-stitched alphabet quilt for the children to sit on while attending Monday’s Rhymetime.   The next project has not yet been selected by the group but is likely to deploy the sewing machines and other equipment supplied by POPP so that members can hone their skills in these areas too.

If you would like to find out more, just come and join in on any Tuesday.   Members each pay £1 for the hire of the room and, if they want tea or coffee, it costs just £1 a mug.   Any funds left over after paying the £5 room hire fee are retained to buy more fabrics.   The current fund is……£4.20 –  so if anyone has any unwanted remnants of pure cotton or cotton/polyester fabric, bias binding, half-inch elastic or reels of thread, please think of the Sewing Circle first.


As readers will know, following some requests for an evening knitting and crochet group, the Committee tried to organise Knitwits on Wednesday evenings.   At one point, it seemed there would be enough members to make the session viable but this proved not to be the case.   There is already a successful daytime knitting group which meets in St Andrew’s Church on Thursday afternoons but, if there are knitters in Charmouth who cannot join in on Thursdays and who would like to set up a group for another daytime session in Charmouth Central, please contact Hazel on   If there is sufficient response, Knitwits will be reinvented as a daytime group.


Computer lessons will resume in spring so, if you are interested, see the Schedule on the front window of Charmouth Central and leave your contact details with a volunteer on duty with the request that it is put in Kim’s yellow folder (in green tray on back counter).   Kim will contact you when lessons are about to begin again.

Ideas, suggestions, queries etc  – please contact Hazel
To book The Servery or the Library – please contact Deb on



Thanks to everyone who helped to make the case that Charmouth Central should receive some financial support for the year 2014/15 and especially to those who came and spoke at the Council Meeting on 21 January.

It seems that the letter which was sent to us categorically saying that, “it has not been possible to include the insurance for the library in the budgets for 2014/15” should have been understood to say (quoting Jane Bremner’s words in her reply to Chrmouth Central, “Wait until the Autumn before we can determine how much will be available.”   Reading the small print of the reply, this was only reiterating that we could apply in October for a grant from the Non-Youth Charity Fund – which would be of little help for grant applications and means that the Council has dismissed the views of library-supporters.

No doubt this now all becomes irrelevant.   The devastation at the shore over the past few days will prove extremely costly so it seems likely that there will be no financial support for anything.

We shall have to rest our case here for the present time although it is a sad heritage to pass on to the next Chair of Friends of Charmouth Library.   We shall also have to make even greater efforts to raise funds for the renewal of the ancient shelving in the library as it is unlikely that we shall get any grants.


Visitors to Charmouth Central frequently enjoy adding a piece or two to the jigsaw puzzle which is on the table and we heard about how good they are for us in the last edition of Shoreline.   This got library volunteer,Russell Telfer, thinking – and with a very beneficial result for us all.   Russell writes:

“We’re arranging to make a bulk order for tailor-made jigsaws and we need your help. By doing this we can attract a large discount. With the library gaining a modest commission, you can buy a  personalised jigsaw based on your own home or somewhere else. The map could be an Ordnance Survey map jigsaw puzzle, a streetview map, world map (obviously not based on your home!) or from a landranger map.

Doing it yourself would cost about £22.50.
Through Friends of Charmouth Library, you would pay £15.50.

However we need a large and concerted order.   See what’s on offer on

These puzzles are fun to do, make excellent presents and can even be framed for display.

Please can we have your pledges in soon?   We need 25 names in the first instance.    Send your email address to with “Puzzle” on the Subject line – we’ll send you more details.”

So, to get a really good discount and help Charmouth Central, please don’t delay!


Did you know that you can renew your book loans online?   The easiest way is to register for e-mail alerts to come to you automatically just before your books will become overdue.   The alert will give you a link to follow and, with your library card to hand, it is very easy to renew…and never have another fine to pay.

Watch out for some new events, talks and more….in Charmouth Central soon.   The calendar for the current month is always on display in the front window.


Happy New Year to Everyone!


It is disappointing to have to report that Charmouth Parish Council decided in their November budget meeting not to support Charmouth Central for the year 2014/15.

The Council did invite the Committee to apply to a Charmouth non-youth fund (£600) next autumn.

This is particularly galling because the Council’s lack of support will almost certainly smash the chances of obtaining any further grants.   Grant-funders sensibly wish to know that applicants are supported by their local councils.   Other Dorset community libraries are supported annually by their councils, some to quite a large extent.

Library-users will recall that in the past the PC contributed £4,200 a year to Dorset County Council to keep the library open four extra hours a week (from 6 hours to 10).   Charmouth Central is open 17 hours a week and is requesting less than £1,000 – currently £778 – for the building insurance.

There is no danger that our community library and hub will close.   The accounts show a healthy balance – but that is because £4,500 was awarded by the Big Lottery Fund towards the first year’s running costs and because Friends had spent the previous year raising funds.   Some grant funds have not yet been used – but can only be spent for their specific purposes and not on expenses.

The Committee has also to save up for known costs which are going to arise.   The largest of these will be the thousands of pounds it will cost to replace the library shelving which is around 30-40 years old and which will not last much longer.   This will be particularly difficult if we cannot get grants because of lack of Parish Council support.

If you agree with the Committee that the Parish Council should acknowledge all the hard work of our fantastic team of volunteers and the importance of a successful library/community hub to the village,


It is a basic requirement that local councils should reflect the wishes of residents, so please let Councillors know your views in large numbers and no uncertain terms!   If you do not tell them, how can they know?


It seems to be a universal truth that no-one likes to fill out forms and experience in Charmouth Central bears this out.   Survey forms asking library-users’ views have been sitting on the table in the library for weeks but hardly any have been completed.   The questions are few, no name needs to be provided and having views and suggestions would help the committee enormously in future planning to give library-users what they really want and not what the Committee thinks ….perhaps….they might want.

Buck the universal truth and fill one in the next time you call to change your books!

Without your input, the Committee has to guess and no doubt, even with the best of intentions, sometimes gets it wrong.

Opening Hours

A few mentions have been made that Charmouth Central should open in the morning.   Unfortunately, there are simply too few volunteers to open both morning and afternoon.   It is felt that it would not be a good idea to go back to the bad old days of irregular opening hours.   Too many people found it hard to remember the timetable.

However, the Committee has promised that, if enough library-users want some morning openings (in addition to Saturdays) despite the fact that this would mean some afternoon closures, they would do their best to accommodate the change.   Over to you …and filling in the survey forms to indicate changes are wanted!


Thanks to our Community Library Liaison Officer, Anne Hurrell, there is now a good selection of jigsaw puzzles to borrow from The Servery.   Loans are free – just write your name in the notebook.

If anyone has complete puzzles they would like to donate, they will be gratefully received.   Children’s puzzles would be particularly welcome.

There is always a puzzle on a table in the library for anyone to complete.   This is not just wasting time.  See the article by Volunteer Team Leader, Ros Cole, in the latest edition of Shoreline to read just how good they are for us.


As January rolls around again, the request for annual subscriptions to Friends of Charmouth Library does so too.   The cost is just £2 a month and every penny goes to pay for utilities and other unavoidable costs.   If you are already a subscriber, Secretary, Deb Winstone, will have been in touch but, if not, please sign up to get discount offers and keep Charmouth Central open.   Forms are available in the library and on the website (click on “Come on In”).

For more information or to contact the Committee:

We also have a page on Facebook should you be registered there aleady.

Newsletter December 2013

A representative of the Village SOS, part of the Big Lottery Fund, came to see how Charmouth Central had spent its grant of £50,000 and said he was totally satisfied that it had been spent well.    After enjoying two full cafetieres of coffee, he remarked, “Good coffee…and it’s really buzzing in here,” … and it was, thanks to all those who had made an effort to show how much the library and its servery are supported.
Charmouth is also bucking the general countrywide trend of reductions in the number of library books issued.   Latest statistics for Charmouth show 644 issues in October 2012  against 726 in 2013.    It is particularly gratifying that issues to children have risen from 166 to 231 – a good omen for their futures and for the library’s.

The Sewing Circle meets every Tuesday morning at 10.45 and reluctantly puts away the cloth, machines and sewing just in time to clear up before volunteers arrive for their afternoon shift in the library.     Members can bring along their own work but there is always also a group project in hand.   Look for the colourful tea-cosies when you order a pot of tea in the Servery to see the first of these projects.    The next is an alphabet quilt which will be used as a floor mat for babies and toddlers while they are enjoying Rhymetime (Mondays, 9.30 in term-time).    Come and join the Circle if you like to sew.    It costs just £1 plus the cost of tea or coffee.

There will be more opportunities for Computer Classes for those who missed out in the first round.   Please see details posted up in Charmouth Central.   Price per session is £3.   Students can bring their own laptops or tablets or use those supplied by POPP.
Plans for the future include Improvement Classes for Computer Skills for those who have mastered the basics and, if there is sufficient demand, possibly a Surgery with advice for specific gaps in computer knowledge.    As Hazel Robinson found recently, “I can send an e-mail and search the web but anything more complicated, like making the Newsletter look more professional, is quite beyond me – and I’d love to know how.”  Many of us will have similar skills gaps which it would be good to fill.
If you can help with any of these classes or would like to attend, please let Kim know on

Group Meetings during December 2013
Sun 1 Mon 2  9.30-10 Story/Rhyme Time 2.45 – 4pm Tea & Chat TBA  7.30 (Chatterbooks}
Tue 3 10.45-12.45 Sewing Circle
Wed 4  10 – 11 Computer Class 2-4 Memorable Memoirs
Thu 5  10 – 11 Computer Class
Fri 6   2.30-3.30 Police Surgery
Sat 7   2-4 Jurassic Coast Writing Group
Sun 8    Waiting for a Booking!
Mon 9  9.30-10 Story/Rhyme Time
Tue 10 9.45-10.30 Qgong – contact Pam Ladd    10.45-12.45 Sewing Circle
Wed 11  10 – 11 Computer Class
Thu 12  10 – 11 Computer Class

Charmouth Central will be closed from 24 December to 29 December inclusive, open on 30 December, closed  31 December and 1 January 2014.   Stock up on books and take advantage of the 30 December opening!
Subscriptions are coming in slowly but there is still a long way to go and the target 150 to allow the monthly draw to take place has not nearly been reached.   If you would like a subscription form or more information, please contact Deb Winstone on

Membership, which is voluntary, costs £24 a year or can be paid by standing order at £2 a month – less than the price of a weekly newspaper for as many books, audio-books, DVDs as you could possibly want – plus the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to keep the library open and build it into a real community hub.

Tommy Walsh

Landscape Gardener at Ground Force
A well known and loved tv personality best known for his role on the popular show Ground Force.

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