Minutes of Members’ Meeting 26th July 2017

Present: Judith Hill (Lady Mary), Sue Harrison (Lon y Deri/Birchgrove), Steve Watkeys (Leckwith Droves), Mark Bodenham (Fairwater), Judy Wayne (Chalet Gardens), Terry Cooper (Forest Farm), Alan McCoy (South Rise), Allan Bond, Gareth Holden (Rhydypenau), Melinda Russell (Pengam Permanent), Sue Wilshere (Colchester), David Jackson (Llanishen)

Apologies

Marion Ham, Chris Dibble, Tim Llewellyn, Nina Ley, Penny Owen, Teresa Williams, Paul Williams, Phil Green

  1. Minutes of Previous Meeting Agreed a true record.

It was clarified that the £1.00 membership fee is a one off payment.

Matters arising

Item 10 – Lady Mary issue, now resolved by the house owner continuing to hold the existing boundaries until death or a house sale. Regarded by JH & GH as a Council climb down. There needs to be an annual check by Legal Department on the house ownership.

  1. Update on Meetings

Officers meeting (24/7/2017) with new Cabinet member, Cllr Peter Bradbury.

GH, LL, Julian Goss attended. A very good, focussed meeting, Jon Maidment & Rosie James also present.

Items discussed:

  1. Chairing of Site Secs meetings, suggested new Council Champion when in post & rotating among members until appointed.
  2. Self-management. PB wants to keep control of budgets, also to do research into this issue, keen to find a middle way. Possibility of a pilot initiative? or larger Sites only self-managed cf. NAS model. SW verified financial situation, who would control money? PB clearly in charge & won’t make any decisions until his research finalised.
  3. RHS Show questionnaire
  4. Strategy review, a CAHA/Allotments wish list requested.
  5. Programme of Works – PB keen to visit Sites, invitations from you all will be welcome. RJ is compiling maintenance lists with information from the website.
  6. Agreed to continue meetings to review ongoing issues.

There followed a general discussion on the above. Points made were:

  • Self management – who would have the authority to evict? There would still be a legal contract between the Association & the plot holder so the Association would have the right.
  • There would be more pressure of work on each Association & its Committee – GH suggested large Sites could fund part-time employment for admin work.
  • Hidden costs of legal advice, insurance etc. – The National Association offers these services.

Current attitudes & how to make changes – job specs need greater scrutiny. PB is very different in approach & wants results.  GH meeting with Lucie Taylor (Community Land Advice Service).  LT is keen to make stronger links with allotmenteers to gain from our knowledge & expertise for Community growers.  Suggested:

  1. A Community Growing event in the Autumn to include opening Allotment Sites. A common H & S Risk Assessment form could be used.
  2. A Peer to Peer event to share knowledge
  3. Mobile Community Gardening – puts together people who want to dig with needs on specific Sites, g. clearing overgrown plots. Might be more than one group.

Edible Cardiff & Federation of City Farms & Growers

LL has attended meetings of this group, they are keen to be an umbrella organisation for growing across Cardiff. There was a suggestion of appointing a Growing Co-ordinator for the City.

GH met with Ian of St Peter’s Garden in Fairwater. He is very happy to share his grant application knowledge & use of hall.

Suggestions for sources of money –

  • Virador have a minimum of £3,000 that does not need a long application, it’s an officer decision so apply for this amount or less
  • Tescos, Greggs, Co-op, One Stop Shop are all focussing on growing at present. Again find out their minimums and apply.
  • O2 – have a scheme for under 21s with a growing project for a £500 grant plus free mobile phone & contract for 2 years. Encourage your kids & grand kids to apply.

There is a new Community Volunteer Coordinator- Lorna Collinson – who is happy to publicise any community event, we qualify so contact her on lovewhereyoulive@cardiff.gov.uk

  1. Summer Celebration

The meeting was reminded of this forthcoming event.

  1. LMA meeting

People welcomed greater autonomy, they were very unhappy about the eviction periods & the apparent inaction from the allotment officer. There seems to be minimal transparency & this is worse when the Officer is on leave. Email parks@cardiff.gov.uk & copy in Lynne & Gareth.

SW asked the meeting to lobby Assembly Members to alter the legislation re eviction periods, the Assembly has legislative powers for the Allotment Acts.

There needs to be greater scrutiny of payments as delays in this system mean negligent plotholders are not held to account. The issue is non-payment not always non-cultivation.

JW outlined the Chalet Gardens difficulties with trees & low income because of size. SH spoke of the benefits of their small Site amalgamation with larger Site, Birchgrove. This would not be desirable for the Chalet Gardens.

  1. Fund raising Initiatives

GH has investigated companies offering marketing merchandise. These are too costly at present. Grants & crowd funding applications require expertise & commitment.

A Share Issue is a possibility for the future.

Finances

£528.00 in the bank, £77.00 in cash with commitments of £400.00. Money raising, therefore, is vital.

Becoming a Federation under the National Association would enable CAHA to purchase insurance on a collective basis for all Sites, also have 50% discount on Kings seeds. Leckwith, Lon y Deri, Rhydypenau & Lady Mary are currently members, possibly others too. Pengam Permanent would be glad to join.

GH has booked a Skittles Night at the Fairwater pub on Sunday October 1st, 6.30 for 7.00. Sandwiches provided at £2.00 per head. Please encourage as many of your plot holders as possible to attend.

  1. Growing tips

Agreed to move up agenda for future meetings as earlier discussions had taken up time.

  1.  National Garden Scheme

Lady Mary to open in 2018, might the Chalet Gardens be interested?

  1. There were no AOBs.

The next meeting is on Wednesday 25th October 2017.