Date & Location
Zoom, 20th January 2022
- Project update
- Insurance renewal
- Nominal annual payment of membership
- Update on publicity materials
- Update on RSPB invitation to their organic farm at Lake Vyrnwy
- Update on the website
- Website membership flow, mailing list and WhatsApp group
- Update on a physical presence for BRACE
- Update on a possible Terracycle site
- Home Energy Audit offer from PACE (Powys Action on the Climate Emergency)
- Powys Food for Life Networking Day at Cultivate Community Garden
- PAVO locality fund
- Plans for the year
- All other business
Diana sent in a projects update before the meeting.
Keep Wales Tidy
Just waiting for seeds and vegetable plug plants. Sue and Alan have plans for what needs doing with all the items. We need to send photos to KWT (action shots as well as items in place).
Workshops booked for:
- Sunday 6th February: Fermenting foods (fully booked)
- Sunday 6th March: Sourdough (3 places left)
Workshops in process:
- Soil health/compost teas/biochar: date TBA
- Growing edible mushrooms: Sue may have a contact for this
- Tool sharpening: Jeni is liaising with someone
- Tree pruning/grafting with Will: date TBA, but likely to be 26th or 27th March
Safeguarding Training is struggling with uptake (only one person has signed up so far).
Diana is in contact with Richard Hinckley about filming a Health and Safety video for new joiners in the garden, but could really do with someone working with him on that to make sure it happens.
We also have funding for online Food Hygiene Courses but this hasn’t been promoted yet. Individuals would need to book it themselves and claim back the cost as expenses. Perhaps we could offer it out to those who help in Cafe at Repair Cafe?
The 1st Monitoring and Evaluation Form has been sent in. End of project is 31st March.
The BRACE insurance is expiring in February. BRACE also needs to repay the loan to John Dady for the previous year’s insurance. Gwen would be the best person to discuss this with John and work out the affordability of paying back the loan and next year’s insurance.
Nominal annual membership fee
This was raised at the AGM, but not discussed at the last steering committee meeting. There was discussion about the various forms that this could take, and varying amounts. The idea of paid members and unpaid affiliate members was raised as one possible implementation, with a suggested donation and room for reductions for members who were unwaged or who could afford less. Parallels with the Men’s Shed were drawn, which has a system like this. There was some concern about lessening goodwill within BRACE, and the balance of reward vs the time and effort of administration of membership fees. A vote was taken, and everyone in the committee was in favour of keeping membership free, but finding ways to encourage donations to raise money instead. This could be re-assessed in future if donations are not successful.
Colin made the point that we need to ensure that people on the membership list are still engaged, so we should find a way to confirm this, or remove them from the list.
Update on marketing and publicity materials
Alan and Fiona have drafted copy, which has has some feedback from steering committee members. This has been sent to a BRACE member for design, but she will not have capacity to work on this until early February. When drafts are ready, these will be circulated to committee members for feedback and approval.
Lesley made the point that we need a way of keeping track of where materials have been distributed to, and perhaps keeping some sort of database of who will be responsible for keeping these up to date. It will be easier to implement this at the beginning of distributing materials, rather than later.
Alison offered to upload photos from previous events to the committee Google Drive so that these can be used in marketing materials and on the website.
Update on RSPB invitation to their organic farm at Lake Vyrnwy
RSPB busy with other things at the moment. This is likely to be in Spring. We just need to wait for them to get back to us.
Update on the website
Alan has been working on improving the appearance of the website and trying to streamline and improve the content. This is an ongoing task.
Website membership flow, mailing list and WhatsApp group
Alan proposed an automated greeting email from MailChimp for new sign-ups, which would prompt them to come to events such the weekly gardening, and give them instructions and links on how to join the various BRACE WhatsApp groups for more immediate updates. This was met with general approval.
Alison suggested gathering more details from people about their interests, so that we could provide them with more information, and Paul agreed about the usefulness of gathering some sense of how active people wanted to be as members.
Alison suggested that, as response to emails is generally very low, and emails are a less personal way of contacting the membership, we could perhaps gather phone numbers from people and arrange regular phone banks to check in with BRACE members.
Update on a physical presence for BRACE
There is currently no update on this, although David said that if the Men’s Shed manages to get a space at the industrial units, then BRACE would be welcome to share this. This is proving tricky to arrange at the moment though.
There was mention of the Army Cadet building as a possible BRACE venue, but David pointed out that the lease for this is relatively insecure and would probably make any investment in the building untenable.
Update on a possible Terracycle site
There was no update on this, and possible concerns that Terracycle is promoting a way for manufacturers to pass off unsustainable and disposable packaging as recyclable. There seemed to be consensus that this is not worth pursuing.
Home Energy Audit offer from PACE
There was general discussion about the Home Energy Audit offer from PACE.
It was agreed that it would be good to solicit interest from the BRACE membership for this by adding it to the next newsletter and to the WhatsApp group.
Powys Food for Life Networking Day at Cultivate Community Garden
There was brief discussion about this, but it was mainly for the committee’s interest.
This has already been sent to the BRACE membership via WhatsApp.
PAVO Locality Fund
It was agreed that more reading and research needed on this initiative is needed. Alison is chairing the meeting on it and may be able to feed back more about it after the meeting.
Plans for the year & all other business
Sue said that there will be seed and seedling swap events at the community garden in the spring.
Alison suggested more webinars this year, although a mixture of online and in-person events would be good.
Sue suggested some outdoor events such as bird-box making.
Sue suggested Babbinswood Farm as a good place for a visit.
Sue also mentioned that there is likely to be a memorial event for Guy in the Cross Keys the night before his funeral in February.
Alison suggested more meadow visits, as there are quite a few local meadows, which would be of interest to BRACE members. There are 600 acres near Dolanog owned by a charity that would be amenable to a visit, as well as some established meadows for Llynclys.
There was discussion about the community fridge project, which perhaps needs a follow-up with Kerala and Bobby to see how this is coming along.
Alison has been put in touch with someone about PAVO about funding training and has passed this to Diana. PAVO wanted a lot of money for it, so Alison has suggested a joint session with other PACE groups to Diana. Diana is pursuing this.
Alison has also asked Diana to look into a training session on training paid staff to see whether we could employ people to do things, rather than always relying on volunteers.
Lesley suggested that we need an open invitation to people to join. Maybe we need something on the website and on Facebook encouraging people to affiliate themselves and use BRACE as a platform to get projects done. This could be worked into website updates. Paul agreed and suggested it would be good for the steering committee to act as facilitators for a wider group, rather than having to directly coordinate projects.
It was agreed that it would be good to circulate the steering committee agenda to members before the meeting so that they could add items to it. This would aid transparency in addition to circulating the minutes after the meeting.
There was some discussion about the Repair Cafe, and the organisation of the next event. Colin will contact Nicki and Elaine about setting up a new one. They would probably appreciate help with admin.
Actions to be taken
- Alan: to send out a newsletter soon with details of upcoming workshops, the PACE Home Energy Audits, and details of how to join the WhatsApp groups for members who have not already joined these.
- Gwen: to discuss the insurance renewal with John Dady asap, as this is expiring in February.
- Alison: to add photos and previous webinars on Google Drive for use in marketing materials and on the website.
- Alan and Fiona: to send round draft designs of the marketing materials to the steering committee when these are ready.
- Alan: update MailChimp to send greeting email to new members, with instructions to join WhatsApp groups.
- Alan: to explore whether MailChimp has a way of confirming subscriptions and removing dis-engaged members from the list.
- Alan: to explore ways that we could take donations through the website, and build this into the sign up process.
- Alison: to feed back on the PAVO Localities Initiative after the upcoming meeting about it.
- Alison and Fiona: to discuss press and social media.
- Everyone: to submit ideas for trips and visits at the next meeting.
- Everyone: to take print-quality photos wherever possible at BRACE events, workshops, meetings etc.
Provisionally booked for Thursday 10th February. We will aim to hold this at the Cross Keys, provided that the latest Covid guidance allows for this.