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Tatasfield Community Composting Group (TCCG) Annual Report 2021 to the THS AGM – Dilo de Alwis

TCCG: Composting Report for the THS AGM – October 2021 – Dilo de Alwis.


I joined the composting team in April this year. I was made welcome by an energetic and enthusiastic team of volunteers and, even after an exhaustive history lesson, was keen to join this wonderful endeavour. I enjoy gardening, I am serious about conservation and recycling. Grass, twigs, manure … way to go! And, after 30 years in the NHS, it was all very familiar and comfortable to be knee deep in horse-do-do once again.

When I put my name forward for leadership, I was touched by the generosity of the veteran members who reined in their enthusiasm and dreams and let me go forward, unopposed, to become the lead for the Tatsfield community composting group. It wasn’t long before my wife started to refer to me as Captain Compost. A title that many in the family and friends have adopted. It won over an alternative title proposed by one of my cricketing buddies, namely “Dilo the Poo”.

I would like to start by thanking all of the senior members for all the help and advise that made this process a joy. In particular, I would like to thank John Allbutt and Martin Allen for their guidance and time to help me, not only to settle in, but also with continued support. And an extra thanks to Martin for managing the team on those many Wednesdays when I was out playing cricket. Thanks also to Mike Williams for regular donations of manure and running our “canteen”.

The Team

The team of volunteers can only be described as brilliant and have made leading on this project truly a pleasure. Working with such a motivated and happy team who unhesitatingly pitch in, week after week, often in poor weather, made project management a doddle. Thank you everyone.

In addition to the existing team, several new members soon allowed us to run an additional session on Wednesday afternoons, allowing us to keep up with the high workload and conduct repairs to equipment and structures. In particular, two new DoE volunteers, James and Joanna, together with long standing member Harry, helped to bring down our average age and add some muscle power to the team.

We now have over 20 active volunteers, most of whom join us regularly on Saturdays and a couple who help out on Wednesdays. The newcomers, in particular, helped to keep the project under control when regular members had to take up other duties such as Tatsfield in Bloom.

The site and structures

The site has been extremely busy and there have been many occasions when it has been a struggle to manage all of the materials that were delivered to us. Without the additional Wednesday sessions, it would not have possible to keep the site open on the majority of Saturdays. In fact, we only had to close the site for the public twice.

The composting bins are robustly constructed and have taken the heavy workload with little wear and tear and will serve us for another two seasons or more. Only a few minor repairs have been needed.


Despite some problems, overall, the equipment has remained functional. The lawnmower needed replacement but a donation of a reasonable machine from one of the residents have allowed us to carry on. Thank you to Martin and Ian who have done their share of mowing when Ollie has been away.

There have been some problems with the two shredding machines but they have been resolved albeit with some professional repairs and servicing. Both continue to function reasonably effectively. Thank you, Martin, for keeping on top of things.

The automated sifting machine has struggled but we have managed to keep it going, sometimes with bits of wire and prayers. The engine will need replacing and we will look into that before the next season. The hand sifting table is showing it’s age and has needed some repairs. It will need some elements to be replaced before the next season.

The addition of a couple of new muck forks has been helpful and the number of barrows has proved adequate even on busy days.


The donation of garden and allotment materials has been voluminous and we have struggled on some Saturdays. We have, however, kept up with the volume, albeit by changing some of our practices.

The high volume of donations has lead to a reduction in composting time and turnover. We have not been able to ensure the ideal temperatures and times to produce weed free compost. However, we have, despite all of the difficulties, produced an organically rich and nutrient dense end product which has been well received by the number of residents and allotmenteers who have availed themselves of the materials.

In addition to the regular and enthusiastic donations of garden and allotment waste, we have had a regular supply of horse manure (thanks Mike) and wood-chippings (thanks to Jon and Martin for arranging for these). This has meant that the compost we produce is rich in nutrients and ideal for mulching flower or vegetable beds. Regular postings on Tatsfield Talk (Facebook) and Parish Magazine articles have informed the residents of the best use of this semi-finished product. In fact, the use of organically rich materials with thriving soil organisms fits in well with modern, conservation-minded gardening.

In addition to the regular deliveries of horse manure, we also had a delivery of several tons of chicken manure. As this was too fresh for use this season, we have left it in sacks and this will provide additional richness to next years product.

COMPOSTING ACCOUNTS FOR 2021 (Martin Allen Treasurer)

01/10/2020 – 30/09/2021 running total c/f £ 2090.63

SALES OF COMPOST  (*) £ 500.96

Sales of Compost – Accounts     £ 200.25

TOTAL RECEIPTS on Site £ 701.21   ( 2020 –  £489.35 )

TPC Grant £ 1040

SCC Grant £  506

Tandridge Together Lottery £   438

£ 1984.00

TEAS £ -86.65

Purchase of equipment £ -451.29

Petrol                                               £  –196.16


=   c/f Years end £ 1951.11

Total running figure c/f  £4041.74

Quantity that we received donations for      2019  19,680Ltrs         2021                31,000Ltrs

(All figures approximated. Due to Covid in 2020 equivalent figures are not available)


My time as a member and as lead for the TCCG has been a pleasure and a very satisfying part of my year and I look forward to the next season.

Thank you again to all of the team.

Dilo de Alwis.  Lead TCCG

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