July 2019 and AGM 2019

Unusually so, I am posting the minutes of both meetings that took place on 8th July, 2019

General Meeting 7.00

1.  Present at meeting: Steve Thompson, Sue Gwinnell, Josie Lewis, Kate Henery, Bob Sherman, Mary Farragher, Marieanna MacPherson, Andrew MacPherson, Amanda Musto, Ben Williams
Mary introduced Ben to the meeting as a contact made at the EcoFest in April; he currently works at the Natural Environmental Research Council.

2.  Apologies for absence: John Ballman

3.  Minutes of last meeting: Accepted as a true record

4.  Matters Arising:

a)  Compact Tractor – delay in acquiring this because of Parish deliberations; training course is inclusive of purchase and essential.

b)  Discussion about need to establish check list of usage as well as agreement between HBUF and Parish in place. 

5 & 6.  Rights of Way Issue + HBUF leaflet & social media

a)  It was established, by reference to definitions from the Open Spaces Society and the Ramblers Association, that any opening between Tiverton and Ballman Fields would not be constituted as a right of way.

Lengthy and heated discussion about such a possible opening, ending with a motion that
“we put the idea of an opening between Tiverton Field and Ballman Field on the back burner for now, until we get proper legal clarification about whether or not we have a boundary to cross.”  For – 7; Against – 0; Abstentions – 2

Josie insisted that it be minuted that there was already suitable access for a mower

[in Tiverton Field]

.

b)  Information for the group – an example of the new tri-fold leaflet for HBUF was given to each attendee.  Elizabeth Beckett, a contact made via the EcoFest event, is now our social media go-to person, and has taken charge of the HBUF presence online in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  She will also support the webpage.

7.  Chairman’s Report:

a)  Steve reported back on recent Central Swindon North Parish Committee meeting, at which Josie requested the sum of £15,000, having negotiated with SBC Highways to complete the paths through HBUF.  It was pointed out to her that she had not been authorised to negotiate on behalf of HBUF, but only to find out what the current situation may be with the former project by Highways to complete these paths for free.

b)  It was mentioned that HBUF envisage the tractor be used to complete these paths.  The conversation became very heated. 

c)  Ben Williams pointed out that, in order to properly sort out our governance as a charitable trust, we needed to make a proper business/management plan.   This was listened to and taken on board as something that HBUF needs and intends to do.  In respect of which, Ben is prepared to be an independent advisor and will help to build an business/management plan.  This was welcomed.

Meeting closed 8.30 in order to allow time to complete the AGM before 9.00

Next meeting: 7pm, Monday 12th August, 2019 at St Barnabas Small Hall

Hreod Burna Urban Forest
AGM
St Barnabas Small Hall, Monday 8th July 2019

1.  Present at meeting: Steve Thompson, Sue Gwinnell, Josie Lewis, Kate Henery, Bob Sherman, Mary Farragher, Andrew MacPherson, Amanda Musto, Ben Williams

Mary introduced Ben to the meeting as a contact made at the EcoFest in April; he currently works at the Natural Environmental Research Council and has considerable expertise in the field of charitable trusts.

2.  Apologies for absence: John Ballman

3.  Minutes of last meeting: Accepted as a true record

Matters Arising:

None raised

Chairman’s Report:

Steve read his written report to the meeting.  Salient points included the installation of a wild bee hive; the fire brigade call-out to fires set in June; the damage to as well as the loss of some of our picnic benches; our Southwest in Bloom award; coppicing of dangerous willows; the flourishing of our wildflower meadow and wildlife; grants attracted from the Community Lottery Fund and from the Parish towards planting trees and buying a tractor respectively; the EcoFest event in April.

Treasurer’s Report:

Our account now at Lloyds Bank (Treasurers Account) is, on the face of it, very healthy, but the majority of the funds are restricted, being grants towards projects. 

Ben warned of the need to have a running reserve in order to safeguard against running at a loss.

It is at this point that Josie handed a letter to the chair, Steve Thompson, and then distributed the same to the rest of the attendees.  This letter is reproduced in full below.

Election of Officers/Trustees:

A certain amount of turmoil ensued.  Ben pointed out to Josie that, as we were about to elect the following year’s trustees, any vote of no confidence would be cancelled out by a meeting choosing to elect said trustees.  He also asked her who she had in mind to take over the position of Chair, if Steve were no longer to remain in post, to which she had no answer.

It was agreed that we should elect those who were willing to stand as Trustees; in view of the letter that Josie had produced, Steve was not willing to stand.  The following were elected:

Interim Chair                                                   Sue Gwinnell

Secretary                                                         Mary Farragher

Treasurer                                                         Kate Henery

Trustee                                                            Josie Lewis

Trustee                                                            Marieanna MacPherson (no longer present, so
                                                                        to be ratified at the next general meeting)

Ex Officio                                                        John Ballman

The meeting agreed to the suggestion from Ben that an emergency AGM should be held within six months of this evening, at which a rationalisation of the positions of trustees would take place.  In the meantime, efforts would be made to establish a business/management plan, as well as trustee job descriptions and a code of conduct.

Next AGM:  Monday 13th July 2020, St Barnabas Small Hall.

Letter given to the HBUF general meeting by Josie Lewis on Monday 8th July 2019

The Committee

Hreod Burna Urban Forest

c/o 20 Norman Road

Swindon

To Whom It May Concern

NO CONFIDENCE IN THE CHAIR AND SECRETARY OF THE HREOD BURNA URBAN FOREST GROUP

As a Trustee and Membership & Communities Officer of the Hreod Burna Urban Forest, I regularly find myself having to raise issues of concern over activities proposed by the Chairman which fall outside the remit of the Lease or is at risk of breaching other legislation affecting the HBUF land.

I feel that my role as a Trustee to give advice and guidance to the group is not being listened to and for this reason I wish to table a motion of no confidence in the chairman.

I now ask that HBUF hold a Special Meeting to discuss a vote of no confidence and the reasons for this.

In view that the Secretary tends to support the proposals of the Chairman and also tends to reject the advice and guidence (sic), I would also propose a motion of no confidence in the Secretary of HBUF.

Yours faithfully

Josie Lewis