Time & Location
Thursday 27th October 2022 at the Cross Keys, Llanfyllin
- Alison Alexander
- Sue Dolman
- Hilary Cowley Greer
- Jeni Trythall
- Jackie Langston
- Maggie Holmes
- Colin Hargis
- Richard Hinckley
- John Doolan
- Shan Mayor
- Paul Mason
- Fi Slater
- Alan Bridger
- Diana Allen
- Lesley Sweet
- Lorna Brown
Minutes of the last AGM
The minutes of the last AGM were formally adopted. This was proposed by Alan, seconded by Alison and agreed by general consensus.
Minutes of the last general meeting
The minutes of the last general meeting were formally adopted. This was proposed by Fi, seconded by Jeni and agreed by general consensus.
The Steering Group Committee has met five times in the past year. We returned to BRACE’s fortnightly in-person public meetings at the Cross Keys in May. We adopted a schedule of meeting on the second Wednesday and fourth Thursday of the month to try to include more people; the new pattern will be monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday. Thanks are due in particular to Gwen Brandreth who has produced very thorough accounts for the best part of the year and to Diana Allen for taking over recently. Also many thanks to Alan Bridger for his fastidious adminstrative and website work and to Fiona Slater for her effective management of BRACE’s social media platforms and advertising of events in other community Facebook groups. The Chair continues to promote the group’s work via regular coverage in the monthly Tanat Valley Chronicle, Powys County Times, Shropshire Star and occasional radio interviews on BBC Radio Shropshire. Membership, as measured by newsletter sign-ups, has increased from 80 at the time of the last AGM to 164. Many thanks to all who served on the Steering Committee this year.
BRACE was one of 15 projects across Wales to win a Community Land Advisory Service Cymru Community Management Award, administered by Social Farms and Gardens. The award recognises the community’s efforts in managing green spaces. BRACE cares for four spaces around Llanfyllin: the Gardd y Fro community garden behind the Public Institute, Cae Bodfach Community Orchard and two small plots on Brook Street and at the Workhouse. The group presents surplus produce at the town’s weekly market in return for donations. Thanks are particularly due to Sue Dolman for leading the gardening and to Andrew McConnach for regular watering during the exceptionally dry summer. We remember with fondness Guy Fardoe’s considerable contribution to Gardd y fro’s creation and development up until his passing in January. We are also grateful to Will Denne for the fruit tree pruning demonstrations in the Community Orchard and to local film maker Vlad Morozov for creating the video of BRACE gardeners for the online award ceremony.
Ysgol Llanfyllin Eco Committee
Gardeners met Llanfyllin’s primary pupils’ Eco Committee in February to start working together on re-designing areas around their classrooms. In late spring, volunteers helped children plant colourful flowers in raised beds built by Llanfyllin Men’s Shed to feed pollinating insects. Together we mapped the area to plan future work. A return visit was planned for the autumn to create a wildflower meadow.
OsBorders Repair Café
The Repair Café, organised in partnership with Extinction Rebellion Oswestry, goes from strength to strength, still alternating between Oswestry and Llanfyllin except during the month of August. The plan had been to skip December but there has been so much call for repairing that an extra event in Oswestry has been booked. The bookings system introduced after the lifting of lockdown has continued, which fixperts have appreciated because of the reduced time pressure. The bustling atmosphere of pre-Covid is missed by many and discussions have started about the possibility of introducing a hybrid café – a mixture of bookings and first-come-first-served on the day. Cafe, administration and fixpert volunteer numbered have increased sufficiently to reduce the emphasis on the original group and share the load. Particular thanks are due to Colin Hargis for taking on the bookings and for offline fixing, and to Elaine and Nikki Locke for their exacting attention to detail in the management of the administration, also to Rob Allen for developing the new partnership with Llanfyllin Charity Shop and the provision of PAT testing that has allowed them to start selling electricals.
Cain Valley River Group
When CVRG was in danger of closing due to lack of administrative support, the group moved under the umbrella of BRACE. Dewi Morris led a two-day course to train volunteers in the SMART river monitoring technique. The group continues to monitor and maintain bird boxes along the Cain.
A partnership between BRACE and The Cross Keys is due to launch a community fridge based at the Cross in December. The concept is to reduce food waste by sharing excess food via an easily accessible fridge that everybody from the community is welcome to take from. There is no charge but donations will be welcome. Congratulations are due to new BRACE volunteers Kerala Irwin and Bobbie Bowden who approached the committee with the idea in Spring and drove the project forward with their successful bid for £4000 from Hubbub’s Community Fridge Network. Thanks to the Cross Keys for offering to oversee the management of the fridge with the support of BRACE volunteers.
20-minute communities project
BRACE successfully bid to be one of three communities in Powys taking part in a 20-minute neighbourhood research project, a project being led by PACE (Powys Action on Climate Emergency) and the consultancy Resources for Change. Thanks to Lesley Sweet, John Dady and Diana Allen for overseeing BRACE’s involvement in the research that led to a mapping exercise describing Llanfyllin’s amenities and identifying gaps to support future funding bids.
BRACE had an awareness-raising stall on the Market Square during the COP26 global climate talks in November and sent messages from attendees demanding action to Westminster and Senedd politicians afterwards. During the winter there were workshops funded by the Keep Wales Tidy award aimed at upskilling volunteers – thanks to Diana Allen for that successful application. Workshops covered: fruit tree pruning, jam and preserve making, hedge-laying and fermenting, sourdough making, soil health/compost teas/ biochar, growing edible mushrooms, tree pruning and grafting, and tool sharpening. Thanks to Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Fundraiser Carla Kenyon, the group also learned some top tips on winning funding bids. In June, volunteers enjoyed a visit to Pili Pala Farm for a guided tour of the newly created market garden from owner Tom Edwards and a swift walk with Lottie Glover from Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. In, July we had a fascinating tour of a 600 acre private nature reserve near Pont Robert. In August, members had a very informative online talk on rights of way by Powys County Council’s Footpaths Officer Calum Carr. BRACE also co-hosted a gathering of community organisations for the Cae Bodfach Mini Festival with Severn Rivers Trust and Brooks Art. Artists Paul Butler and Linda Jane Jones ran workshops exploring people’s memories of the area – about the economy, food production, farming, landscape and culture – that will be used to create content for interpretation panels about the Cain Valley. Thanks to the RSPB, Severn Rivers Trust, Arts Connection and musicians Beresford, Williams and Foote, as well as many others, for their support. Volunteers ran stalls at Llanfyllin Show in August and Llanfyllin Food Fair in September and Cllr Sian Cox introduced the group to Extinction Rebellion’s techniques for running community assemblies in a session entitled Holding Positive Community Conversations.
A copy of our financial statement as at end of July 2022 was presented at the meeting and is available here. In summary the account shows the following:
Clydesdale Bank Account: £4,327.87
BRACE Petty Cash: £59.63
Garden Petty Cash: £0
Repair Café Petty Cash: £171.99
Old HSBC Account: £11.61
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. Proposed by Jeni, seconded by Hilary and agreed by general consensus.
Secretary: Alan Bridger. Proposed by Jeni, seconded by Alison and agreed by general consensus.
Treasurer: Diana Allen. Proposed by Alison, seconded by Fi and agreed by general consensus.
- Lesley Sweet
- Paul Mason
- Colin Hargis
- Sue Dolman
- Maggie Holmes
- Jackie Langston
- Fi Slater
Amending the constitution
Given the turnout of the AGM, a decision was made to amend the quorum for the AGM, in order to allow things to proceed in future. It was agreed that in future, the quorum for an AGM shall be a minimum of 11 members, among whom a majority must not be members of the steering committee. This was proposed by Jackie, seconded by Jeni and agreed by general consensus.
- It was agreed that we need to return to the discussion about what constitutes membership of BRACE, and how this is managed.
- It was noted that, as per the constitution, we need to check the membership list every year. Alan will do this shortly.
- Jackie took our coments about the price of the Llanfyllin Show to the council. The explanation was that they were covering their losses from the previous year, and that it took a lot of work to put on the show. The aim was to break even, rather than to make a profit. Their was a suggestion that several BRACE members turned up without bracelets. We would like to clarify with them that all BRACE members paid for their entry, or were paid for by BRACE, and that the price of the stall was not necessarily the issue – but the high cost of volunteer entry to help staff it. Jackie and Shan will work on a clarification and suggestion for next year that community groups could be given some sort of discretionary discount on additional wrist-bands. Shan is on the Show committee as part of the Cross Keys, so may be able to help represent BRACE and concerns about recycling/waste.
- Jacki noted that following her discussions at the Town Council, a verbage patch on Cae Bodfach would need to go to a stakeholders’ meeting. After some discussion of this, the consensus was to try and establish this at the Workhouse instead. Sue will look into this.
- Sue will continue as the garden representative on the Public Institute committee.
- Y Pantri – Llanfyllin Community Fridge will to launch on 9th December with a Nosh Da meal before the open mic night.
- The hedglaying course on the first weekend in December is going ahead. There are 6 participants so far, although 15 would be ideal. Participants should contact Sue.
- There was some brief discussion about a BRACE library of magazines so that members could share their subscriptions.
The meeting closed at around 9pm.