The Monday Group in Burgess Hill

Celebrating their 60th birthday this year, CommunityAd caught up with The Monday Group fundraiser Jim Redwood to find out more about this wonderful organisation… 


To readers who may not be aware, can you give a brief bio of what The Monday Group are and why they first started? 

The Monday Group is an organisation of volunteers who build and maintain stiles and other structures on public rights of way, as well as working to keep them clear of obstructions and overgrowth. Founded in 1961 by Harold Rowling MBE, we work broadly in the area north of the Downs from Albourne to Ringmer, responding to requests from members of the public, landowners and local authorities to help provide and maintain easier access to our beautiful countryside.


This year is your 60th birthday, can you explain to readers how important The Monday Group has been for many of the volunteers’ lives?  

For the volunteers, the Monday Group is a way of making a useful contribution to the community, while keeping us active and getting us out in the fresh air once a week throughout the year – come rain or shine (and it’s often raining!)


What would you say has been your most memorable moment with The Monday Group? 

It is very satisfying doing a big job, like the new path we’ve helped provide for the Jubilee Pathway Trust in Ditchling and Westmeston. It’s also very rewarding when a grateful walker thanks us for our work as they pass us by – and even more rewarding when this translates into a donation to our funds!


If you could pick one favourite request that you have had to work on since the Group’s start, what would yours be and why? 

I’ve only been volunteering since 2015, and there are many Monday Group veterans who will recount early achievements when the footpath network was hugely neglected after the war. In those days, with fewer resources than we have today, they thought nothing of tackling big jobs, some of which amounted to civil engineering projects such as small suspension bridges. We still relish challenges, like the major stairways we installed at Barcombe Mills a few years ago – huge constructions in heavy oak that had to be eased in place by a large team of volunteers.


How has The Monday Group been able to successfully continue running through 6 decades?

There’s no doubt that it’s a personal tribute to Harold Rowling that the Monday Group has achieved so much, and continues to do so, even though he stood down from his leading role a couple of years ago. He put his heart and soul into it, and his character and determination kept things going through thick and thin. As long as we have volunteers willing to turn out to do the work, and funds coming in, I think we’ll keep going – there’s always so much to be done keep our footpaths accessible.


Do you have any exciting projects that you’re currently working on? 

We’re working with Balfour Beatty and Hobart Paving to carry out a major improvement to a path in the Ditchling/Keymer area. They are funding the work from a social value dimension of their work and providing professional workers as well. We’re awaiting landowners consent for access, but we’re hoping we can make the footpath more accessible all year round – at present it’s a mud bath for much of the year. We’re very grateful to Balfour Beatty and Hobart for their contributions, which provide us with a rare opportunity to tackle a much bigger job than we can normally tackle. It would be great if there was more help like this as there are many more paths which could do with major improvements to make them more accessible in all seasons.


Are you currently looking for volunteers/donations? If so, how can readers enquire/donate? 

We have very few regular funding sources, and we rely on donations to keep us going, so please make a donation if you’ve come across our work and like what we do. You can donate via our website: You can also contact us via our website if you’re interested in joining us. There can be a waiting list at times, as there are limits to how many volunteers we can manage, but if you’re keen, give it a go!


Can you envisage The Monday Group still being together in another 60 years? 

Absolutely! There’s always more to do.


What do you enjoy most about living in Burgess Hill? 

Burgess Hill is a great place to live. Although it’s not huge, there is a good range of amenities, and you have glorious countryside on the doorstep, which The Monday Group helps keep open for everyone to enjoy.


Visit The Monday Group website today to find out more and maybe pitch in, either physically or through supporting via donations. Here’s to another 60 years of fantastic community work!

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