AGM 2021

Moor Green Lane Allotment Association Annual General Meeting 26th June 2021 There were 25 members present: M Westwood D James A Kennefick P Jupe D Draycott J Jupe P Rooney C Morton M Smith A Doyle O Cutts J Underwood S Gwynne B Douglas R Osborn J Belcher W Freeman J Cutts C Freeman C Moore C Baff 2 x ANO (names not recorded) J Hiller

Apologies were received from:


J Fox P Officer K Flowers R Watkins P Tyson D Wilson J Rutter S Cookson V Smith C Chilton A Blackman S Belcher I Campbell J Collier J Daly A Edwards V Harrison J Lock T Nolan J Nunes S Patalong K Perl G Griffiths P Staples B Woodcock I Molinaro J Bartlett K Bennie J Hirschfeld P Willcocks M Flowers W Mc Dermott D Brown Rev N Brown S Turner





1. The Chair (M Smith) welcomed members to the AGM which, due to Covid, was the first since 2019.


2. Minutes of the previous AGM on 15th June 2019 were APPROVED


3. Chairman’s Report


The Chair reported on the key events since the last meeting. A copy of the Chairman’s report is attached at Annex A. It was agreed that

a. The report be accepted.

b. The thanks of the association to the previous chair Jonathan Birkett for his five years service be recorded.

c. Thanks also be extended to Roopa Singh Kaur for her hard work as a volunteer and our best wishes be extended to both for the future.

d. Our thanks for the generous donation of £3000 for solar panels to Rex Harrison

e. Our thanks also be recorded to the outgoing committee members Andries Clarke and Dermot Clarke.


4. The Chair further reported that notices for election of the new committee had been posted widely with a deadline of 12th June for the receipt of nominations. 15 nominations duly proposed and seconded had been received which was the exact number required. The names are as follows;



The nominations were then presented to the meeting and APPROVED.


5. Treasurers Report: In the absence of Sue Turner, Maureen Westwood presented the financial report for the two years 2019-21 as attached at Annex B

A Kennefick added that the longstanding issue over monies owed to Severn Trent Water was now close to resolution. It had also been confirmed that Association water bills would not in future be subject to VAT.

In response to a question from P Jupe, Maureen confirmed that the report had been independently examined and was subject to audit

It was agreed that the Report be APPROVED.

Prop: O Osborn

Sec: W Freeman


6. Site Managers Report: presented by Paul Rooney. Paul further reported on an anticipated change in the Council rules which would mean that with immediate effect bonfires would not be permitted in the month of March. This appeared to be an arbitrary decision with only taken consultation with BDAC. It was agreed

· That the report, a copy of which is attached at Annex C be accepted.

· That the committee support any collective lobbying by sites across the city to reverse the decision on bonfires

· That the Association put on record its thanks for the volunteers who have supported the site manager over the past year


7. Pavilion Manager’s Report: presented by Maxine Smith, supported by Will Freeman who took over responsibility for the Pavilion since its reopening in May 2021. The report is attached at Annex D. It was pleasing to report that the reopening of the Pavilion had been a success with a good response from plotholders and social members to the weekend opening hours and the cashless system of payment in response to questions from Douglas Boswell, Carey Buff and Jack Belcher, Will Freeman confirmed that the simplicity of the cashless system and the advantages of having no cash behind the bar made it very attractive to all the volunteer bar staff and less onerous for the Pavilion and Finance teams, who no longer had to handle or account for cash. He assured members that on the rare occasions when customers had cash only, ways would be found to still offer the service.

It was agreed that the report be accepted.


8. Seed store report: presented by David Draycott and attached at Annex E. It was agreed that the report be accepted.


9. Horticulture Adviser: Robert (Oz) Osborn confirmed that he had been officially designated as the Association adviser and would welcome requests for help and advice on any horticultural matter from plot holders. The new designation confirmed a job which he had been doing informally for years.


10. Request for volunteers: the chairman reinforced the need for volunteers to support the work of the committee. In particular help would be welcomed in the bar, seed store and tea shop and importantly in more general areas of site maintenance. She asked anyone willing to volunteer in any of these areas to make themselves known to the committee.


11. Any other business. The discussion on cashless payment referred to for convenience under Item 7 was actually raised under any other business.


12. The meeting closed at 12.05 p.m.


 

Annex A


AGM Chair Report

The past fifteen months has been unprecedented and awful for many. We do hope that you, your families and friends have remained safe. Here at Moor Green I’m sure like me you appreciate how blessed we are to have had this amazing place to spend time in, exercise and even ‘socialise’ across plots in the bleakest months. Looking after the space and our community has never been so important.

So what’s happened since the last AGM?

It’s been a long time since we last reported to you, a lot has happened and I’m very grateful to the outgoing Committee and our extended team for not only keeping the ‘show on the road’ but for continuing to improve the site, it’s amenities and crucially our security.

You may recall that the previous Chair, Jonathan Birkett called an Extra Ordinary General meeting on 25th January 2020 in order to stand down the Committee elected in June 2019 and then to seek nominations for new members, who would be confirmed at a second EGM on 8th February 2020. These meetings took place and resulted in a new Committee. Jonathan resigned from the Committee in January 2021 and we would like to record our thanks for his Chairmanship, work and friendship along with his partner Roopa Singh. We wish them every happiness.


A nasty burglary at the start of 2020 meant we couldn’t re-open the Pavilion until repairs and reparations were complete, requiring an insurance settlement, which Sue Turner worked very hard on and we eventually received. But not soon enough to re-open before Birmingham City Council (BCC) and Government Covid lockdowns through the rest of 2020 until our outdoor opening on 17th April. Throughout the allotments and site were a massive benefit throughout from a physical and mental health perspective, we were truly blessed.


What’s gone well?

Our Committee has jelled and has worked really well with Zoom meetings throughout lockdown. Maureen Westwood was asked to join the Committee being the next on the vote at the last EGM, she’s made a real difference on the accounts side. We have also had a lot of support from volunteers in the Pavilion, site, seed store and horticulture. Too many to mention but we couldn’t manage without them, a big thank you to our volunteers.

  • Successful bids for funding – Lottery bids headed by David Draycott, £9,955 for security (fencing) measures, £10,000 for solar panels

  • Significant donation from Rex Harrison £3, 000 towards our solar panels

  • Filming on site, which we were paid for. ‘My name is Leon’ will appear on BBC we think in the Autumn. Raffle taking place for the shed and we aim to hold our own premiere.

  • Security was the top priority at last AGM and from requests at rent collection and we have responded:

Ø Pavilion alarm system installed, with 24/7 remote support.

Ø CCTV installed with more planned, video of last intruder very clear and passed to police.

Ø New locks and keys, which can’t be copied.

Ø Made connection with local police who now have a key to site.

Ø Volunteers have made strides on creating a natural barrier on the perimeter.

Ø We met with BCC Councillors, Cabinet member and Allotments lead to seek their support to protect the perimeter. Response awaited.

Ø New fencing installed at the main gate with pedestrian entrance, thanks to Jon Hiller.


What’s not gone so well

  • We remain at risk from intruders, particularly access via the perimeter fence

  • People are still leaving gates unlocked, putting others on site at risk.

  • Some misgivings & disquiet on rules for allotment structures - ‘large’ structures on some plots both historic and recent.

Committee changes

Due to Covid the AGM could not take place face to face and it was agreed the existing Committee continued to operate. Our thanks go to our outgoing member and Chair Jonathan Birkett who left for ‘waters’ new. The Committee asked Maxine Smith to take up the Chair position and Maureen Westwood to join us having just been pipped at the post at the last AGM. Maureen’s made a significant impact already on the accounts side, supporting Treasurer and Committee. Will Freeman has taken up the Pavilion Manager role, Robert (Oz) Osborn the Horticulture Lead, Oscar Cutts Committee Secretary, David Draycott Seed store Manager (and Bid lead).


Maxine Smith


 

Annex B


Treasurers Report


Sue Turner our Treasurer is unable to be with us today so I will be giving a short report on her behalf.

I have been working with Sue since January of this year. A full set of accounts will be available and of course will be added to the website.

Treasurer report 2019-2020

Activity in 2019-2020 was normal until the beginning of January 2020.

In January there was a break in and the pavilion had to close. Repairs needed to be made and insurance claims had to be submitted. The treasure (Sue) had to spend a lot of time liaising with the insurance company and supplying copy invoices to prove the claim. The claim was eventually settled in August 2020

Overall cash for this period £

opening balance 20,620.49

closing balance 41,116.59

Nett cash 20,496.10 increase

Treasurers Report 2020-2021

This has been a difficult year. Covid had a massive effect on fund raising and sales at the seed store and Bar. Fortunately, we have over this year been able to secure funding from grants to improve the site. This and by good money management we have installed solar panels, changed the gate locks, installed CCTV around the Pavilion with further cameras to be added this year.

Overall cash for this period £

opening balance 41,116.59

closing balance 39,838.87

Nett cash -1,277.72 Loss

The committee has worked hard during this year to improve the site without being able to have fundraising events to pay for extra repairs. The £39838.87 in the bank might seem to be a big reserve but we have to take in the following spends:

· A water bill that is at the moment in dispute this is nearly £4000 and is historic

· The Floor in the clubhouse is getting to be of concern where it is cracking and lifting - a reserve of around £8000 is needed to cover replacement.

· Replacement or upgrading of items that were stolen in the break in.

· We need to keep money available for unforeseen contingencies.

· Further security fencing will need more funds to be raised; we have completed a small proportion of what needs doing.

We have spent the last 12 months trying to improve how we operate as a committee and have been making good progress, particularly in accounts reporting (we Hope you agree). We have been making systems better to understand and hopefully easier for anyone to operate in future years. In conclusion I look forward to the next 12 months and all of its challenges.

Maureen Westwood

 

Annex C

Pavilion Managers Report


The pavilion was closed for all of 2020, initially due to a nasty break in and burglary in January then Covid. We have upgraded our security with Verisure Systems and the building has 24/7 surveillance. We have also installed CCTV outside, which gives us a wider view so, for example we have been able to furnish the police with footage of the culprit who stole Dougie’s bicycle.

It was great to be able to open up the bar for drinks outside in April and latterly indoors and the decision was taken to go cashless, which is better for volunteers not having to bank cash and is working well. We also take card payments for the seed store. We are limiting the number of parties that we hold – trying to limit to one per month.

Will Freeman has taken on the Pavilion Manager role and we have a good group of volunteers, many of them new, which is great.


 

Annex D

SITE MANAGER AGM REPORT 2021


· Locks and Keys

In line with the canvassed priorities of plot holders and after many years of frustration with the old Council supplied padlocks, we took the decision to replace them ourselves last December.

New locks have been fitted to all the gates

Almost 400 new keys have been issued to plot holders

· Gates and Fences

The main gates at Holders Lane and the Holders Lane perimeter fence have been replaced and a new pedestrian gate installed.

Access via Russell Road is now pedestrian only except for emergency vehicles


· Waiting List.

We were prohibited from letting new plots during lockdown during which time demand for plots at Moor Green has soared. We took the decision to close the waiting list to further applications in October when there were 92 people on the list.

Despite lockdown we managed to let a number of long neglected plots last year and have recommenced letting plots this month.

· Zone Reps.

The Zone reps system has been re established with 2 Zone reps appointed in most zones to assist communication with plot holders. A Zone reps WhatsApp group has been set up.

· Plot inspections

Lockdown has prohibited annual plot inspections since 2019. These are recommencing this month. Zone reps views will be sought regarding any action over neglected plots. We agreed a new water use and Management Policy last July. New guidance on interpreting the rules regarding permitted building of sheds and structures on plots had been developed and agreed with Zone Reps and the Committee.

· Food Bank

We donated a whopping half a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables to B30 foodbank last year. We will start weekly collection again this year in July.

· BBC film -My Name is Leon

Filming took place in March using Moor Green as a location for several scenes for the BBC’s adaptation of Birmingham author Kit De Waal’s novel My Name Is Leon. This is due to be shown on BBC1 sometime this autumn.


Paul Rooney


 

Annex E


Seedstore Report


Not much to report given that Lockdown has meant that the seedstore has been closed until very recently. It has now (May 22nd) been reopened on a trial basis at weekends with all payments routed through the cashless system used by the bar. This reduces paperwork and hopefully encourages greater use of both the bar and the store. Any volunteers to help out at the weekends very welcome! We will be monitoring what’s popular and in particular what we don’t stock but is often requested so that we can restock fully in Autumn.

Thanks are due in particular to Jenny and Peter Jupe who despite the Lockdown opened the seedstore during the important Autumn period. They will be a very tough act to follow.

David Draycott









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