Notes from the General Meeting 8th Nov 2010

Present: 22 people attended

Apologies: Catherine Wenger, Russell Jones, Tom Bennett, Jess Day, Mary Davies, Angela Davison, Maureen Kelly Owen, Jane Lorimer, Susannah McWilliam

Welcome: Tricia extended a warm welcome to everyone and in particular to Cliff Parfitt, a former resident, who was visiting Penarth from Australia.

Update: Tricia reported that this had been a very busy two months on most fronts with the various projects in different stages of development. This was good, but there was a danger that we might lose sight of our main objective – to  raise awareness about climate change,   A great deal was being achieved by relatively few people, but for  GPG to consolidate and build on its growing recognition in the community, we need more people to become involved.   The 10:10:10 event in the Arcade had focused on our broader aims and with help from Anthony, Gloria, Stewart,  Nonn, Bronwen and Catherine it had been a successful day, proving that there was real interest in what GPG is doing and in the wider issues surrounding global warming. Many thanks to Bronwen from D:Zine for allowing this to take place outside her shop.

Notes of last General Meeting (14.09.10) These were posted on the web and distributed to those without access to the internet.  The notes of general meetings are intended to give an overall picture and  are not formal ‘minutes’ with matters arising etc. However, if anyone wanted to raise anything from notes of previous meetings they were welcome to do so.

Management Committee (21.10.10) – items of interest:

Masters Students project – 4 students from the Welsh School of Architecture would be engaging with GPG as part of their sustainability masters course during this academic year.  GPG will be meeting with the students on 4 December to explain our aims and current projects and learn about what the students are embarking on.  It is hoped that their research will enhance some of the work we are doing and that their findings will engage public interest in sustainability issues.

Solar Panels – Tony and Russell were hoping to meet with Liz Burnett from the Penarth Society shortly.  Tony explained that currently to fit panels in the average house would cost around £10,000.  It was a 25 year investment but pays for itself in 10 years.  Ideally, we need to get people who want to invest for ethical reasons together with those whose  properties have south-facing roofs who want solar panels.  Group buying might reduce costs.

Grants – Environment Wales’ monitoring visit in respect of the grant of £1,000 had gone well.   Before applying for a grant from the Co-op we had to prove that we were in full support of the aims of the Transition Movement. These aims had been considered by the Management Committee and it was agreed that GPG’ aims, although approaching things slightly differently, were in line with Transition aims.  Other grants for specific projects would be considered as need arose.  It was generally agreed that no applications for funding should be made unless actually required.

GPG Meetings: It was felt that bi-monthly meetings didn’t allow people to meet up informally and keep in touch on a regular basis. . It was suggested that on the alternate months between general meetings people would be encouraged to drop into the Windsor Arms. Agreed and the first first ‘green drinks’ evening will be on  Monday, 6th December – anytime after 6pm.. The next General Meeting will be held on Monday, 10th January, 6pm at the Windsor Arms.  Thereafter, meetings will be held on the first Monday of each month.

Projects:

Plotshare: Nonn reported that this scheme had been well set up but had got off to a quiet start.  There were now 2 gardens available, 2 gardeners in waiting and 2 small strips of land available.  Matches would be made soon and it was hoped that once one good match had been achieved others would follow as the example could be used to encourage others.

Community Orchard: Anthony said things were progressing satisfactorily:  30 locally sourced trees (i.e. from Wales) would be available in December.  They were varieties grown in Wales 100s of years ago.  It was hoped they would be planted in National Tree Week – 1st week in December.  He wasn’t successful in getting the Woodland Trust’s Autumn hedging pack but would try again in the Spring.  The space in Cosmeston Park is being prepared by staff there and they have access to a group of people prepared to help with planting.  Anthony is calling a meeting shortly of anyone who has expressed interest in the Orchard project.   We are waiting to hear from the Council about a written agreement to use the land – this is essential in relation to obtaining grants & for the security of the project.

Community Gardens: Gloria and Nonn have been researching the viability of this project by visiting existing schemes, identifying possible sites, checking up on what would be needed in terms of outlay etc.   So far 4 possible sites:  Cedar Way (former allotment), Redlands Road (Wordsworth Park), land adjacent to Bute Nursery, space near the Marina.  Aerial photos were available of the different areas.  Further work is needed to check out ownership and availability.  It is of vital importance to any scheme that it should be a genuine community venture – run for and managed by local people.  There had been some interest in doing something for young people – this tended to reduce vandalism and give a sense of pride and ownership Two CG’s already exist in Penarth – in Cogan and at Victoria School.  A public meeting will be arranged in the New Year when it is hoped to find people with enthusiasm and commitment.  To take the project forward Gloria and Nonn need people now to work with them.  Stuart Neill, Stewart Ward, Tony Cooke and Bronwen Roberts offered to become involved.

Anti Plastic Bags – The three winners of the competition to design a panel for the Penarth Bag would be presented with book-tokens by the Mayor, Paul Church on 26th November.   The group was now looking for reasonable, ethical and ecological suppliers to provide the bags.

Shop in Penarth Got off to a good start in September.  Agreed to have no more than 50 businesses involved – 47 at present.  Over 1000 cards had been sold and apart from the purchase of cards and printing of leaflets, the money raised would be spent on publicity. The actual offers seemed to work best where they were clearly displayed and were unusual and good value. Tricia said that the main problem with this scheme, which had been widely welcomed by traders, Town and Vale Councils, members of the public etc., was that it would need constant renewing in order to keep people interested.  We now had 7 GPG contacts but it was still quite labour intensive!

Food Group – No one present to report, but information is on the web.

Sustainable Transport – yet to meet.   Ian Perry who at the meeting offered to be involved with this group.

Presentation: Katie Jones gave an overview of what the  City Farms and Community Gardens Federation does.  The wide recognition of what is happening in terms of climate change, and the need to reduce greenhouse gases and encourage more local food production, has encouraged governments to support organisations like the CFCGF.  Wales is the first country in the world to provide government support for community garden food.  The federation has 500+ members, 70 of which are in Wales (GPG now belongs).    The various projects coming under the umbrella of community gardens are very different – some involve young people, many sell their produce, some are therapeutic, some provide paid employment. Some of the projects involve young people excluded from school, some involve people with learning difficulties and mental health issues. The opportunities are vast .    The Federation will support,  advise, help with grant applications and provide a fieldworker to help projects get going.  Katie showed many pictures of land in derelict condition and then their transformation into really productive sites.  Above all, she emphasised the transforming effect working on these projects had on the people involved.  There were no disputes about who owned what,  or what should be done with the produce – the fact of growing anything seemed to change many people’s lives for the better.  She strongly recommended that we look at the Sustrans website and see information on ‘quality streets’.

Tricia thanked Katie for a most informative presentation and Gloria for arranging the visit.

Spring Event: For some time there had been talk about arranging some kind of recycling event to meet the demands of several people for more information on what can be recycled, where it goes, and is it worthwhile.  A lively discussion followed about what kind of event should be organised.  In the first instance it was agreed to work with the Vale Council, with the help of Michelle (V of G) who was prepared to help, on a road-show type event in the Spring.  This would involve people from the Council on hand to talk about what could be recycled, with information about where our rubbish goes.  Tony, Michelle and Tricia to organise.

Christmas: Switching on of the Christmas Tree lights – Sunday, 28th November.  GPG would have a stand and help was needed to support Tricia and Tony.

Christmas Tree Festival 11 & 12 December.  ‘Loyalty Tree’ to be decorated by SiP businesses and GPG tree (entitled Ready, Steady, Green) needs help with decoration. Stewart and Kate offered to help.  Tricia will liaise.  Both these trees will be real.

Working with like-minded organisations: There had been a suggestion that GPG, the Green Party and local organisations working on environmental issues might usefully meet up to establish who is doing what, avoid duplication and maximise on effort.  There were some reservations about GPG engaging with any political party as this was contrary to its constitution. The value of making such connections was recognised but it was decided to leave other organisations to facilitate cross-group meetings.

AOB

Fairtrade Fortnight – GPG would support once the dates were known

Voluntary Collection:  £21.

One thought on “Notes from the General Meeting 8th Nov 2010

  1. orchard update
    Our application for a Wodland Trust community tree pack was successful. The trees, 410 edible hedgerow plants, will be delivered in March 2011.

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