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Water supply

Due to the weather becoming colder in the near future and the forecast for frost in the coming week, the water supply to site will be turned off Monday 22nd November at around 10am.

John Stooke

Secretary

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MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING

29th August 2021

Present:  John Stooke, Simon Hudson, Mark Robinson, Jane Bowden, Winnie Beck, Ray Bauser, Charles Dewa, Wendy Thomas, Tom Hutchinson

Apologies: Carol Brier

Observer:  Becky Bauser

Meeting opened at 10.35

The minutes from the previous meeting held 27th June 2021 were accepted. Proposed by WB and seconded by WT.

Matters Arising

  • Strategic/Financial Plan – Due to holidays etc., the group (JB, JR, MR and SH) had not met but JS would set up a meeting shortly
  • Annual Fees for FCA – JS still awaiting reply.  .
  • Lease –  Awaiting response from Council
  • Security – No further issues
  • Chippings complaint – this had now been dealt with including an apology from the Secretary
  • Sub committees – JS is working on setting these up
  • Guinea pig manure – Dave Kirkham, Steve Williams and Steve Yorke  are taking turns to collect this.  If people want any, they should contact them and they will deliver.  Bags must be used immediately to avoid problems with rats.  RB also offered to collect them. 
  • Chippings – these had been delivered to the top car park and had all been used.  More were needed.
  • BBQ and show date – 11th September.
  • Bonfires – it was proposed again that bonfires should be allowed on the Saturday of burning weekend.  Following discussion it was agreed to keep the status quo, i.e. bonfires only allowed on the second Sunday of the month, in order to avoid complaints from neighbours which might lead to all bonfires being banned by the Council.
  • Hedges – the main problematical hedges had now been sorted out
  • Noticeboards – JS is still working on the design of these.
  • Key Register needs updating – JS is in the process of doing this
  • Stock Control sheet for the shop.  JS/MR to devise something

Treasurer’s Report

MR explained that we currently have about £4000 in the bank of which about £1400 is available for spending (the rest is required for liabilities such as key deposits).  This means we are in a reasonable position.  The water bill is approximately £1000, again well within the budget of £2400.

Secretary’s Report

  • RB’s plot had been inspected by MR who felt that, given Ray’s plans to deal with some of the items on the plot, it was in an acceptable condition.  No more stuff should be brought to the plot.  A further inspection will be made as part of the normal routine of inspecting all plots.
  • Vacant plots – currently it’s likely that there will be 3 or 4 vacant plots including 2 and 27.  There was a discussion regarding ‘giving’ a plot to family members.  JS reiterated the policy that plots cannot be ‘bequeathed’ to family members unless the family member had been involved in working the plot over a period of time.  The relevant items in the Association policies, procedures and other rules needs identifying.  JS/JB 
  • Eviction procedure –  the Committee reviewed the documentation and procedure applied to a tenant who had failed to maintain and develop his plot.  It was agreed that the Secretary had followed the procedure fairly and correctly.
  • Waiting list – is currently about 200 but it is known that some of these are no longer interested in a plot.  JB offered to help JS update the list. JS to check that George is on the list.
  • Letter of resignation from the Committee from Roy Lawson.  This letter was read by the Committee and he was thanked for his service.  SH to pass on those thanks.
  • Maintenance Group confusion – It was reiterated that the idea of the sub groups  of the committee was to assist the secretary with key areas.  Generally, someone would take responsibility for convening the volunteers to sort out the work needed rather than doing it all themselves.  The idea of everyone having a role in the running of the site, rather than leaving it to a few, is key.  None of the sub committees will involve charging tenants.  If some tenants wish to advertise and provide a service to other tenants, e.g. hedge cutting, for an agreed price, that is fine and can be advertised.  However, this is not part of the Association  organisation. Where there is urgent work required, e.g. due to a fence being damaged, this needs referring to the Secretary who will sort out a repair.  In order to get repairs paid for by those doing damage, it’s important that evidence is collected such as a registration number or photograph of the incident showing the perpetrator. 
  • Trees – H and S issue – A number of trees were identified as potentially dangerous.  JS agreed to contact Network Rail.
  • Rent Invoice – JS explained that the new rules meant that the rent bills must now be referred to as an invoice and must be numbered.  It was clarified that we offer a 25% reduction on the rent for one plot to those in receipt of benefits such as state pension.  The Council give a much higher reduction (50%) but this is on a considerably higher rate.  Rents cannot be increased until an AGM and 6 months notice of a proposed increase must be given.  Currently there is no need for an increase.  JS will revise the invoice letter for next year’s rent round.
  • BBQ – SH to sort out wine, JS to purchase 100 burgers at £1 each and will absorb the cost of any left over.  It was agreed that the event would be open to outsiders via a notice on the gate which will be left open.   JS to invite Jo Tarrant and suggest she judges some of the entries.  Raffle prizes to go to Steve Yorke.  The week before the event more prizes will be bought if necessary.

Any other Business

  • Scrap – people should not be bringing scrap such as a bedstead onto site for collection by scrap merchants. This goes against the rules of the Association.  JS to remind people.
  • Glass – there is a lot of glass on the car park which could be a H and S issue.  The window frames need to be stacked neatly in a bay in the recycling area so tenants can take them away for their use.  RB/JS
  • Polytunnel – WB asked about the Association’s insurance in relation to her vandalised polytunnel. MR to send policy information to SH to print off to give to WB.
  • First Aid Kit/Accident book/Defibrillator  – WT agreed to sort out a first aid kit to be left in the polytunnel.  This will need publicising (JS) and securing in some way.  JS had purchased an Accident Book which will also be left in the polytunnel and will need publicising.  All agreed a defibrillator would be a good thing to have on site although it would cost about £1500 plus rolling costs of getting it checked etc.  WT had already found information and would explore funding /grant opportunities. 
  • Keys to the Association hut – because of the nature of the keys, these need to be cut by a locksmith.  SH to get some done.
  • Toilet – WT to find out about providing a toilet, e.g. a compostable one, on site.
  • Disabled people and the Waiting List – following a request from a registered disabled person, the question of whether those with a disability should be given preference in terms of the waiting list was debated.  Ultimately, it was agreed that this should not happen.  Many of our gardeners have a disability already and non disabled people should not be penalised.  There was a wider discussion about the idea of supporting people who have an interest in allotmenting but who don’t perhaps have the knowledge or skills initially.  A ‘mentoring’ scheme was discussed, particularly in relation to the individual who had applied although he could put his name down as per normal. JS reported that, in future, he intended making the 6 month probationary period and the 3 month review of progress much clearer to new tenants.  This should cut down the time involved in removing those who fail to work their gardens appropriately.  There may also need to be a review of the procedure to deal with people who repeatedly do a minimum to stop the procedure then fall behind again
  • Working parties – JS suggested that a WP would be needed on 25th September for plot 27 and one on 12th September possibly for plot 2.  TBC by JS.
  • JS agreed to add RB to the list of names on the volunteer sheet.
  • There would be an extra coffee morning on BH Monday run by SH and Shaun.  The usual coffee mornings on the first and 3rd weekends of the month need advertising on noticeboards (JS)

Date of next meeting:  TBC

Meeting closed at 12.30

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Bonfire Burning Week

This years annual burning week will begin on Monday 1st of November and end on Sunday 7th of November.

Materials should NOT be brought on to site for burning, and remember that the burning of any material that produces black or toxic smoke should not be burnt, eg;, Plastics or oil based waste products such as rubber, felt, and paint products, these should taken from site and disposed of in the appropriate way.

Remember to burn safely, and ensure your fire is extinguished before leaving the site.

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ANNUAL BARBECUE & SHOW

                

ANNUAL BARBECUE & SHOW – SATURDAY 11th SEPTEMBER 2021

                               EXHIBITING          10  –  12:30

                               BARBECUE            12:30 

                               JUDGING               12:30  –  1

                               PRESENTATION    1  –  1:15

                               AUCTION               1:45

                               RAFFLE                   TBC on the day

COME ALONG AND JOIN IN THE FUN

To give me some idea of the numbers that I will be catering for, please email me at opfgha.secretary@gmail.com or send me a text to 07565 873820 with how many people will be in your group, it would also help me if I know how many children are likely to be attending.

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COFFEE MORNINGS

On the Saturday and Sunday of the 1st and 3rd weekend of each month between 11am and 1pm we will be having a “COFFEE MORNING” which will be held in the Association hut/poly tunnel.

Come along, have a coffee and meet other tenants for a chat, share ideas and gardening tips.  

The Secretary will be in attendance on the Sunday of each weekend should you wish to discuss anything Association related, in addition, in the run up to this years “Barbecue & Show” Steve Yorke will be attending 12 – 1pm to give advice, should any tenant require it, on produce and/or flowers that they are entering into the show.

Coffee and biscuits will be supplied free of charge, but please bring your own mug, I’m sure most of you have one in your shed,  this will save on buying cardboard cups which are quite expensive. 

At some point in the near future a list of dates for these coffee mornings will be put up on the notice boards. 

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AGM Agenda

Good evening all members

I will be putting together the agenda for next weeks AGM later in the week. If anyone has any items that they wish to be raised on the day, please send me details of the item either by email or by written letter posted in the association post box no later than Thursday 29th July.

Due to previous AGM’s overrunning in the past I would like to work to a schedule, therefore, any items raised on the day may be dismissed until the end or until later date if we run out of time.

John Stooke – Secretary

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AGM

For all those that will be attending the AGM – You will see on our website that a new tab has been added, ” Policies”. Please take the time to read these Policies, as during the AGM a vote will be taken to re-affirm them. There hasn’t been any significant changes, mostly just the way they are worded. If anyone would like a printed copy of the Policies, please let me know and I will get them tp you as soon as I can.

To give me some idea of the numbers attending, please send an email to – opfgha.secretary@gmail.com, advising me of your intention to attend.

John Stooke – Secretary

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MINUTES OF COMMITTEE MEETING

27th June 2021

Present:  John Stooke, Simon Hudson, Mark Robinson, Jane Bowden, Winnie Beck, Mick Tagg, Ray , Roy Lawson, Charles Dewa.

Apologies: Tom Hutchinson, Carol Brier.

Meeting opened at 10.35 by Simon Hudson

The minutes from the previous meeting held 29th March 2021 were accepted. Proposed by WB and seconded by MT.

Matters Arising/Secretary’s Report

  • Strategic/Financial Plan – Due to restrictions, the group (JB, JR, MR and SH) had not met but JS would set up a meeting shortly
  • Annual Fees for FCA – JS awaiting reply.  JS confirmed that the fee for the NSALG is £3 per gardener per year.
  • Concern re tenant – Tenant had been contacted and is ok.  He is back working on his plot.
  • Lease/Legal Status –  Legal status as a Co-operative is now confirmed and the Council has been advised.  The revised policies required as part of the new lease have been drafted and will be circulated to Committee members for comment before being put to the AGM for agreement (JS).  Unfortunately, James Diamond has now left the Council.  JS will contact his successor to discuss the new lease arrangement. The water leak remains a concern (£1.50 per day) and JS confirmed that he will not sign the new lease until the Council have solved this problem.
  • Security – SH and JS had been in touch with Hillary’s and they will keep an eye out for people using their car park to break into the site.
  • Chipping’s complaint – Roy expressed his dissatisfaction with the way in which the situation over the removal of chippings from the site had been handled.  It seems that the Committee and Secretary were not aware of all the facts in the case, including that the chippings had been placed in an area away from the normal site for communal chippings.  JS apologised if his handling of the situation had caused distress.  All agreed that the key lesson from this is to ensure that gardeners communicate with a member of the Committee if they are having any deliveries made, to avoid similar misunderstandings.

Treasurer’s Report 

MR explained that we currently have about £5000 in the bank of which about £1000 is available for spending (the rest is required for liabilities such as key deposits).  This could be put aside for the plans for a new community hut, but we also need a reserve in case there is a large water bill.

The audit of the accounts was completed by Perveen Hussein (an ex allotmenter) who had raised 3 issues to look at:

  • Petty Cash (no longer required)
  • Key Register needs updating – JS is in the process of doing this.
  • Stock Control sheet for the shop.  All agreed this was a good idea and JS/MR will devise something.

A donation of £100 was made to the Trussell Trust in place of a fee.  At the AGM a decision will need to be made about whether to have an audit again next year or an inspection (can be done by a non accountant).

Items for Discussion

  • Water – An estimated bill has been received but Steve is getting a proper bill sent.  The usage is reasonable given the weather although it does appear that one tap has been left on over the weekend of 4th June.
  • Date of AGM – Sunday 1st August at 10.30 in the car park. If needed there will be a Committee meeting on 11th July to finalise policies. JS to inform gardeners.
  • Site Maintenance Team – Ray and Roy are happy to be part of this team which will be one of those set up to support the Committee.  Winnie also volunteered.  JS will list all those who offered, as part of the lease consultation, to participate in the proposed 5 or 6 teams/sub committees.  It was suggested that the site be split into at least 2 parts with areas allocated to volunteers.  The teams would not be expected to do all the work themselves, but to get other gardeners involved.  It was agreed that they could incur small costs but that plans must be communicated to JS or SH before they were put into operation.  It was also agreed to build a 6ft by 8ft communal ‘woodshed’ from pallets, near to the other recycling bays, for the various bits of wood that are around site and which could then be used in log burners.  Fencing panels are available from JS.  SH agreed to sort out scrap.
  • Guinea Pig manure –  JS to remind gardeners that this must be used in compost heaps or on plots immediately and not stored as it is very attractive to rats.
  • Brick building/Tool storage – The brick building cannot be used until the asbestos roof is removed.  SH to get extra keys cut for the Community hut so that maintenance team tools can be stored safely.  It was also agreed to produce a log in register for the hut and to add hut keys to the main key register (JS)
  • Chippings – A request for some chippings to be dropped in the top car park was noted although there is an issue with the delivery van negotiating the gate and car park.  The recycling bins may need pushing further back to make room (Maintenance Team)
  • BBQ and Show date – 11th September.  To be organised by the Social Team/Sub Committee once established.  It was agreed that it would be good to invite Jackie and Steve.

AOB

  • Bonfires – We can only have the fires that are currently allowed (2nd Sundays and bonfire week) due to Environmental Health issues and an agreement with the Council following complaints in the past.  To increase the number of ‘burning days’ risks all bonfires being banned.  Tenants need to consider alternative ways to deal with pernicious weeds such as mares tail, convolvulus etc. that are unsuitable for composting, such as ‘drowning’, removing from site, bagging, dry out and burn.
  • Untended gardens – JS reported that 3 gardens were causing concern: 27 (removal procedure has been started), 2 (gardener has responded and started work strimming the plot) and 1 (awaiting response but if none is forthcoming, JS will commence the removal process).  W requested being considered for the plot if it became available but the policy of offering empty gardens to people on the waiting list rather than current gardeners who already have a plot, was noted.  JS confirmed that plots may be split where access is suitable.
  • JS agreed to remind gardeners that hedgerows, some of which are encroaching onto paths, can be trimmed at this time of year although cutting should wait until September/October.
  • Hole near gate and connecting path – JS and Maintenance Team to investigate tarmac for hole and roadstone for path.  The gate may have to be closed for a weekend.
  • Noticeboards – JS to cost providing 3 new noticeboards including ‘stillage’.

Date of next meeting:  10.30am, 11th July 2021 if needed.

Meeting closed at 12.20

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