We thought an easy way to tell you what we do and why The Preston Trust matters is with a quick report of the last year or so. Let’s start with the events (the fun stuff) –

Village Day (1 July 2023) and Scarecrow Festival – Please see our report in the August 2023 edition of the newsletter.

The King’s Coronation (7 May 2023) and The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (2-5 June 2022) – The Trust shared funding for the events with other organisations in Preston as well as helping with organising, logistics and supplies. As part of the Jubilee Celebrations we purchased a new marquee (and persuaded the supplier to deliver next day) so that SG4 and others could play in comfort and safety on the Saturday. We provided the projector and screen for the beacon lighting on the Thursday.

Easter Egg Hunt and Trail (8 April 2023) – This is an event created and run entirely by The Trust with the help of many volunteers from our community. It was another great success enjoyed by participants, their families and the volunteers. There were new Games, new Chicks in the Meadow and new quizzes. See the May 2023 edition of the Newsletter for our full report.

Litter Picks and Green Clean (4 March 2023, 15 October 2022 and an extra Green Clean 30 July 2022) – Organised by The Trust and originally intended as a one off as part of the “Clean for the Queen” initiative this has developed into Spring and Autumn Litter picks with additional litter picking or tidying up events if the state of the parish or an area need it. In collaboration with Preston Parish Council, we organise collection of fallen branches and leaves on the Village Green and surroundings. The leaves and branches are used to build eco habitats by qualified residents. The Trust maintains a relationship with North Herts Council / Urbaser who supply litter picking equipment, pick up and dispose of the collected refuse.

LADACAN at The Village Hall (26 January 2023) – We had a small but very engaged audience to hear about Luton Rising plans and what the various groups (coordinated by LADACAN) are doing to fight for our peace, air quality and way of life.

Christmas Lights and Switch On (4 December 2022) – The Preston Trust purchase, erect and decorate the Christmas Tree outside the Red Lion each year. We organise the “lights switch-on” by children from the Primary School – which is part of their prize for winning Christmas drawing and writing competitions sponsored by the Trust. The mulled wine, mince pies, nibbles and entertainment are also organised and funded by the Trust.

Confessions of a Property Man at The Village Hall (24 November 2022) – The Trust committee and helpers had great fun creating a set of a living room for Hugh’s talk. The talk was interesting and entertaining giving insights into the world of the landed that most of us only view from outside. The Trust organises a free talk and refreshments (this year we have two talks booked) or film show every Autumn as a social event to bring members of the community together for an interesting and entertaining evening. These always have a local connection through people or place.

… and now the more serious activities including acknowledgements of some of the other organisations and people we support to provide these services –

Preston News Service PNS – In the last year we sent out 350+ messages on your behalf (based on a quick search of the “sent folder” – it often feels like a great many more). Some days there were none and others many messages. In addition to these, there were message requests we forwarded to the right people or resolved without needing to send a “PNS”.

The Newsletter – is produced and distributed by a self-organised group of volunteers. Howard compiles from entries supplied to him. Rae and Wal print it and sort for distribution under the umbrella of the Trust. The Trust, Preston Parish Council and Church Committee pay the print cost. The delivery teams (Adrian, Alison, Ann, Chris, David, Ita, Jo, Liz, Paul, Sue, Stephanie) donate their time and where needed their transport and fuel costs. The Preston Trust took on the printing when PHC could no longer continue at the end of 2019 and sorting shortly after.

Preston Website – This is a resource and portal hosting almost 2Gbytes (a lot!) of documents and images. It hosts sections for various parish organisations and links to the websites of others. The site provides online copies of the newsletters, a home page noticeboard, details of planning applications, a calendar including church services, parish meetings, events, bin collections and more.

The Preston Trust provide the domain name, Wal designs and maintains the website. Preston Parish Council and St. Martin’s Church committee assist with maintenance of their pages. IDNet (our local telephone and internet service provider) provide the webserver free of charge – you can find a link to them at the bottom of every web page. The theme and some of the features are provided, free of charge, using commercial software licensed to Wally Steele Ltd.

Preston Primary School Entrance Signs – back in 2019 we came up with a solution to replace the sign outside the main entrance to the Primary School that should cost a fraction of what had previously been quoted. Fast forward to 2023 (after the pandemic and other issues) and Wal finally designed suitable signs and the price of printing having fallen The Trust could replace both main and side entrance signs within our budget, The main entrance sign was damaged in shipping, as you may notice, but we have a replacement ready to be fitted.

Planning – last but perhaps it should be first. Residents were visited door-to-door to gather views on planning applications for two large developments. Early in 2022 The Trust were still making representations, supported by an independent planning consultant, on your behalf regarding those two large property developments that are ongoing in the village.

And more going on behind the scenes – some of which we hope will see the light of day at some point and some including supporting those in need we hope will always go unnoticed.

The great wealth of The Preston Trust is not in our modest bank account but everyone in the community who takes part in these activities and supports us. Thank you all!