- Alison Alexander
- Paul Mason
- Colin Hargis
- Lesley Sweet
- David Brandreth
- Gwen Brandreth
- Fiona Slater
- Alan Bridger
- Diana Allen
- Sue Dolman
Keep Wales Tidy
Most items have arrived now. We need to organise getting large items to where we need them. Claire Cater mentioned her neighbour, or perhaps Peter Lewis could be asked to help with this. It would be good to get some of the bark to Cae Bodfach so that we can mulch around the trees. It would also be good to get some for the community garden paths, but might be more difficult to access there.
Sleepers and other timbers can be used as we see fit. Diana had wondered about narrow beds around the edge of the wall at the community garden. But it would be good for the regular volunteers to lead on this as they are far more aware of what could work!
We need to take lots of photos to document progress.
PAVO Social Fund
Training/workshops underway. Since it appears that we will be under budget it has been agreed with Pavo we can buy a gazebo as shelter for the outdoor training sessions. Diana bought one that might be heavier duty than we need but hopefully will last a long time. It is 3m x 3m with sides. It comes in its own wheeled bag and is very heavy. It was used for the Repair Cafe and everyone was very pleased with it. Currently it is stored at Diana’s house but she happy for it to be stored elsewhere if appropriate. Diana has kept received and will pass these on to Gwen when she is back.
There was a Repair Cafe in Oswestry last Saturday, which went very well. There was a booking system for Covid safety. There was lots of positive feedback from attendees. There is nothing planned for December, since this will be very busy with other events and the Public Institute is likely to be booked already. The next event is likely to be in January, but the location is undecided at the moment.
Covid safety is the biggest factor at the moment. Recently, the Repair Cafe has received around 20–30 items each time. It could do with becoming better known around Llanfyllin and Oswestry. Perhaps we could consider a bigger awareness campaign. There have been notices in all the local papers for recent events, but fewer posters went up recently in Oswestry. There is a tension between raising awareness and being able to serve all the people that want to bring items. Before lockdown, there were between 15 and 20 fixperts on hand though, so there may be extra capacity.
There were questions about how to make the Repair Cafe more inclusive, and go beyond the ‘obvious’ demographics to expand to those who might benefit more from it. The Climate Emergency Centre in Oswestry could be a good home for the Repair Cafe in future when it is established, and may help make it more accessible. Discussions will continue at the next Repair Cafe meeting though.
Climate Action Day
More than 100 people turned out at the Climate Action Day, which made the event as big as Newtown’s. There was music throughout and a good atmosphere. It provided a really good platform for promoting BRACE and the climate emergency. It seems to have drawn people in and helped engage them on the issues. There have been lots of people joining the BRACE Facebook group and the Mailchimp membership list as a result. Thanks to Alison for taking such a strong and proactive role on the day, and leading the initiative.
Collages and a letter were sent to our MP, 5 Senedd members, Boris Johnson, Welsh Government and others. Responses are coming back gradually. Also, the Lib Dem Focus magazine will include a piece on the Climate Action Day in the forthcoming issue.
There is an invitation from the RSPB for BRACE members to visit the organic farm at Lake Vyrnwy. This seems to be an open invitation for whenever we would like to accept it, and there has been no discussion of numbers. We have not responded to the RSPB yet.
Action: Lesley volunteered to organise the visit – likely to be in the new year. David will send contact details to Lesley for follow up.
It might be possible for the Men’s Shed to help out with repairs for the Repair Cafe given the availability of machinery and expertise on site.
Grant applications and funding are a great source of difficulty, and fundraising expertise are in great demand. There seems to be lots of money available from the Welsh government for lots of projects, but tight deadlines and the need for policies hamper applications. There might be an opportunity for PAVO to help out with a workshop on fundraising. BRACE might be able to take a role in facilitating workshops and training on funding applications for other local groups.
There was some discussion around offering workshops for setting up community groups of various sorts, or being able to offer advice on organisational structures. Someone approached Lesley to talk about setting up CIC and Lesley wondered whether BRACE could help with this. Perhaps BRACE could facilitate a workshop on setting up a CIC, or some of these groups could alternatively work under a BRACE umbrella.
Potential biodiversity group
Alison recently attended meeting with a couple of members of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and Laila who lives at the Workhouse. The meeting was looking at support available from MWT, with the idea for setting up a biodiversity network for the valley. There is a real opportunity to build up people’s knowledge about biodiversity. Lottie at the MWT has a role specifically aimed at developing green connections. MWT has money and resources for workshops, similar to what BRACE has been doing.
A subsequent meeting is likely to take place in January – landowners, MWT, biodiversity officers in the town.
Community climate action
Following on from the update on the Climate Action Day, there was general discussion around public responses to climate action and how BRACE can help.
It was agreed that people need help on practical aspects of climate solutions. There might be an opportunity for BRACE to host webinars or workshops on specific climate solutions such as insulation, heatpumps, energy sources etc, and perhaps to contact people in the local area who have implemented these. Perhaps we could organise home tours so that interested people locally could see how the solutions have worked, and see what has been successful in buildings/lifestyles like their own. Lots of people had examples of solutions they knew about locally, so there is clearly a lot of expertise available. BRACE may want to conduct some sort of survey about what people want to know about, or resources that they need to respond to the climate crisis in practical ways.
It was agreed that BRACE has a potential role in sharing knowledge and highlighting practical local solutions. There was discussion about providing a newsletter, or perhaps submitting pieces to the Tanat Chronicle, which would be a good outlet and is amenable to environmental stories.
There was no specific action from this discussion, but interest in exploring this further in future.
There was some discussion about how the steering committee makes decisions about what BRACE should concentrate on.
Lesley suggested the importance of a single person to head up with each project, so that there’s a sense of responsibility, and things get carried through, which was widely agreed on.
It was generally agreed that the role of steering committee should be to funnel ideas and present these to the general membership, so that members can take responsibility. Regular communication between the committee and membership is essential. The format of this should be casual communication on the WhatsApp and Facebook groups, with more formal meetings once per month to follow up.
Action: Fiona is happy to take over some of the Facebook updates and will liaise with Alison.
Action: Alan and Fiona will discuss the management of the newsletter with Diana.
Community fridge project
Alison is having a discussion with a couple of people about setting up a community fridge, and will feed back in due course.
It was generally agreed that BRACE needs some printed publicity materials to promote itself in the surrounding villages and at events like the Climate Action Day, which could build on the recent leaflet. Lesley suggested an A5 flyer and an A4 poster that we can put in shops and on noticeboards in Llanfyllin and the surrounding villages. We should avoid heavy use of ink for environmental reasons, and the leaflet should point people to solutions on the BRACE website.
Action: Alan and Fiona to will work on some copy and discuss with Claire Cater, another BRACE member and graphic designer, to get something drafted for the committee’s approval.
It was agreed that the website could look a bit more attractive, and that we should use the website as a repository for documents and resources – including previous webinars – so that we can provide a bank of resources on climate solutions for local people. This links back to the discussions on publicity materials and showcasing local climate solutions.
Action: Alan to investigate a more attractive WordPress theme that we could use, as well as looking to augment the existing resources on the site.
Physical presence for BRACE
There was some discussion about a physical location for BRACE resources, and suggestions of a physical hub at the library. The emphasis was on making things more accessible to those with limited technical resources. The Cross Keys was suggested as another potential location, although some other options in Llanfyllin should be considered.
Action: David agreed to start asking around for a BRACE corner.
As part of this, there was some suggestions of recycling facilities at a BRACE location, potentially using Terracyle collections. However, it was also pointed out that the council should play a more active role in this, and that pressure from BRACE on improved recycling facilities might be more productive, helping to show that people are concerned.
Action: David to contact council about possible Terracycle site.
More regular meetings
David raised the idea of green drinks – regular social meetups to connect people and talk about issues. There was general agreement that this would be positive, although uncertainties around Covid make it more difficult. More regular social meetings would be good in future.
To be arranged.