Spring Newsletter 2014

Dear Friend and Supporter,
Here is our first newsletter for what I hope will be an extraordinary year, leading up next year which will see the 20th Anniversary of John’s sad demise.
Before I go into details about what we hope to do next year, let me tell what we have achieved towards the end of last year and in the first three months of this year. As you will know in September 2013 we gained £6000 from the Lush Charity Pot. This was an amazing fillip towards our efforts. It allowed us to expand the school cum eco community centre in Ramnagar, West Bengal, however there were some modifications to our original design, I will explain those later.

The Lush Award was towards the building (£3,500) and a further £2,500 towards photo-voltaics (solar panels) to supply electricity to the building, there is no electricity in the village.
The extension to the building was originally going to be ‘two outward extensions’ on the existing building using earthbag construction methods. The idea was that this would minimize the construction and transportation costs. A very good idea, however in reality not practical for technical reasons, so we decided to do the upper floor first and the ground floor earthbag construction later.

This is what we have now; all we need is a roof, solar panels, furniture and computers, we already have teachers and children, which JLIF pay the teacher’s salaries and mid-day meals for the children six days a week for Progress may be slow, but it is meaningful. This is not a case of some rich Western charity breezing into a developing country and delivering a sack of goodies, and saying to funders and supporters “look what we have done”. We are genuinely working patiently with local people and our Indian partner organisation Immanuel Human Research and Development Programme (yes I know it is a mouthful, let’s just say Immanuel in future)

So what of the future?

Well we still trying to raise funds for the Ramnagar project, and the shop on Lowther St, York, is open six days a week to pay for those salaries etc, things are tight financially, but we believe in
what we are trying to achieve.
I would just like to say something about the shop. Firstly I would like to thank all the volunteers, Nick (JLIF Chairperson, and Shop Manager), Neil, Chris, Jeff, Amelia, and Richard. Without them we could not run the shop, and without Natasha our long standing and patient Treasurer JLIF could not function.
So much for what is happening out in India; it is still a project in progress, we still need to provision the school, set up an employment project for the women, and start the tree planting programme that will help stabilize the land around the village against the effects of climate change.

What is happening in York?

Well there are two events on the horizon. One is the possibility that JLIF might be planting out another community woodland. It is early days, but JLIF is in negotiation with City of York Council about creating the wood on 4 acres of land. We are being assisted in developing this project by advice from the Forestry Commission, actually the original Forestry Officer that helped us with the creation of the John Lally Wood on St Nicholas Fields; you can see a YouTube video about this at

If you were one of the original planters, or know any of them, or are interested in getting involved, we need your help, so please pass on contact details to this email address gordonct@gmail.com or this number 07794706961 this is so we can gather volunteers for the task ahead.

The other event we would like to tell you about a musical event in March 2015, the date is yet to be fixed; it is to celebrate 20 years of keeping the memory of our friend John Lally fresh with positive environmental actions. We hope we can all come together to listen to some great music, enjoy each other’s company and raise funds for our projects.
Already we have two cracking bands that might play at the event, and possibly two well known York artists that might add extra sparkle to the event. We will keep you informed about this.
Finally we would like to thank YOU, for without you and your support the idea of making positive environmental changes that affect people directly would be just that, an idea with no substance. It does not matter how you help, a small or large donation or membership subscription, physical help, or just well wishes, we appreciate them all.

Please let us know what you think of this newsletter, and the work we are doing, and please check out our website at
Many thanks, and enjoy the coming Spring