This was a hybrid meeting to which all supporters of BRACE were invited. The meeting was convened at Cross Keys, Llanfyllin and on Zoom.
The meeting commenced at 7.30pm
Participating: Alison Alexander, Diana Allen, David Brandreth, Gwen Brandreth, Alan Bridger, Lorna Brown, Alex Burnett, Claire Cater, John Dady, Sue Dolman, Duxicus Duckers, Sally Duckers, Hannah Eddy, Colin Hargis, Jacqui Langstone, Paul Mason, Darren Mayor, Fiona Slater, Lesley Sweet, Cordelia Weeden.
Apologies: Shan Mayor, Jeni Trythall
Minutes of the Inaugural General Meeting held on 28th October 2020 were formally adopted.
Membership and communication
Our membership is now over 80 and we have been able to regularly engage with them by emailing newsletters and notifications; as well as continuing to use our website and social media to keep in touch with the wider community.
Meetings and events
Organising meetings and gatherings has been challenging with the ongoing need to comply with Covid restrictions. However, we held two great Open Days at the Community Garden and shared a joint Open Garden event in Llanfyllin with NMVB. In addition, we held inspiring visits to meadows in Hirnant and Penygarnedd and organised several online Zoom talks on subjects such as community energy projects, open food networks, and even the use of human manure as a resource.
The Community Garden continues to be very successful and has expanded to two satellite spaces: an area at The Workhouse and a plot in Brook Street. We have also taken on responsibility for the Cae Bodfach Community Orchard and are currently engaged in cataloguing and mapping existing trees and shrubs, and improving access to the area.
After being severely affected by pandemic restrictions, the Repair Café is about to restart but will still need to do so within Covid guidelines.
Administration and fundraising
We now have a bank account, insurance to cover our various activities and the employer’s liability protection of our volunteers, and a functioning membership database.
We successfully bid for an award of a Food Development Package from Keep Wales Tidy. Comprising a comprehensive package of outdoor structures and equipment such as a greenhouse, benches, paths; plus, seeds, tools, timber, etc; and including specialist advice and assistance. Valued at about £7,000 , the package will be used, located, and shared with other entities in the community such as St Myllin’s Church, Y Dolydd, Cross Keys, and Cae Bodfach stakeholders. The roll-out will soon be underway and widely publicised.
We were also, with the helpful guidance of officers at PAVO, successful in a bid for funding from their Social Value Forum Development Fund to organise training for our volunteers and members. To the value of £2,898, this training will cover a range of knowledge and skills such as soil improvement, seed harvesting, propagation, beekeeping, pruning, volunteer management, and more. Some courses have taken place and further workshops and training sessions are being organised. Details of courses and Invitations to attend are emailed to members and published on our website.
To enable us to make funding applications, it was necessary to adopt a financial year ending in July. A copy of our financial statement as at end of July 2021 was presented at the meeting and is available here.
In summary the account shows the following:
Clydesdale Bank Account: £239.00
BRACE Petty Cash: £45.49
Garden Petty Cash: £82.02
This is a total of £366.51 and there is also a sum of £11.61 in an old HSBC account.
There is an outstanding loan from a member of £272.72 in respect of our insurance premium for which we had insufficient funds at the time. At his suggestion this need not be repaid immediately but can remain as a buffer or contingency for the time being.
The Repair Café account is currently dormant but has £279.54 in petty cash. Once restarted, it’s accounts will be incorporated into future financial reporting.
It was noted that, because the Keep Wales Tidy Food Development Grant was for products and services, it had no direct impact on our financial accounts which have therefore has not passed the Charity Commission’s requirement for us to be registered with them if annual funding exceeds £5,000 per annum. Had it done so we may have needed to consider again our legal and charitable status as an “Unincorporated Association, with wider membership” as discussed and agreed at the Inaugural General Meeting last October.
Election of the steering committee
The outgoing committee was thanked and, in accordance with the constitution, stood down.
The following were duly elected to the Steering Committee for the coming year:
Chair: Alison Alexander
Secretary: Alan Bridger
Treasurer: Gwen Brandreth
Committee Members: Diana Allan, David Brandreth, Sue Dolman, Colin Hargis, Paul Mason, Fiona Slater, Lesley Sweet.
The incoming committee were invited to consider:
- An invitation from the RSPB for BRACE to visit the reserve and the organic farm at Lake Vyrnwy.
- Support to Y Dolydd (The Workhouse) in their drive to improve biodiversity.
- Review whether a fee should be applied for membership of BRACE.
- Participation in the COP26 day of action on 6th November 2021.
Following general discussion on the above and enthusiastic support for item 4 the meeting closed at 8.15pm.