Saturday 18 June 2011

An eccentric approach. Community Garden. AGM by e-mail

An AGM should really do two things - it gives the Committee a chance to report back on how things are going and it gives the members a chance to meet together to put forward ideas and so forth.

In the case of the Garden, previous AGM's have achieved none of these. They have taken time setting up, have borne a cost in renting a venue, and a scattering of people attend.

But infact we now have over 50 members, the spirit between us is good. This seems easily the best way of both keeping all 50 of you informed and allowing you to come back to the Committee.

The Garden has been running for nearly 15 years. When a large open site, now largely taken over by Lidl and Dreams, was set out, the Garden was the allocation for community use. Our Borough set out the basic plans for small allotments, lawns and flowerbeds, did all the tree planting. At the same time it supplied the Garden with an excellent range of tools. Members enthusiasm has added to this basic plan - two major features, the pond and the cabin, were done totally by the membership.

Our Borough gives us an annual grant of about £800. The squeeze on Borough funds has made us anxious ; as a relatively small player we feared that our grant would be slashed but so far so good. Our present banks funds of about £800 might seem large but we have to go on building it up. The most common costs are simple maintenance ; tools need replacing and BBQ tables need repairing. But our major wariness has to be the walls and fences - we are responsible for everyone of them, the last section done cost some £1500, another section looks very vulnerable.

As i write this the Garden looks lovely. We try to avoid the over fussy and by keeping it simple we seem to manage the maintenance with a few regular enthusiasts and a monthly working party. We have no waiting lists for vegetable plots and the areas are in much better shape than previous years.

Working Parties are now notified to you all one week ahead. Part of the vegetable plot deal is a commitment to two working parties per year. But if we could encourage more of you to contribute to working parties that would be so helpful. We try to make sure that they are well organised and the session lasts just for two hours 10 - 12 on a Saturday morning.

For such a lovely spot the Garden is generally rather underused.
But very slowly the number of young families using it has risen and this is lovely to see. We realise that for people with young families it is very hard to attend evening meetings so we are not appealing for a family committee member. But if somebody from the young families could e-mail the committee once a month that could be very helpful. We will be sending out a separate request asking for a volunteer.

The major social event is the BBQ on Saturday July 9th. 12- 2
These have been very successful in the past and attending is a very easy way of showing your support.

I wish you all well. Chris Howlett

There is a committee of six people. Officially we need to be voted in annually. We will organise a way of doing this by
e-mail as well ..