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FVRA Annual General Meeting Minutes December 2020

Findon Valley Residents' Association

Protecting the interests of our community and the countryside around us


Thursday 3rd December: Remote meeting via Zoom


Welcome and Introduction:

The Chair (Lance Allen) welcomed everyone and introduced the guests Tim Loughton MP, Councillors Elizabeth Sparkes, Louise Murphy and Dan Humphreys, and SDNPA Lead ranger Craig Daters.The Chair explained that due to Covid-19 it had not been possible to hold a physical meeting this year, but Zoom was eventually chosen as it had proved successful for some other charities. The event was advertised via eNewsletter, Sussex Local, Parentmail and our noticeboards. Residents who wished to take part were sent the relevant papers by email. For residents with no internet access, printed papers and proxy form were available.It was very disappointing that only a dozen or so residents were kind enough to take part and support FVRA in the meeting. The chair explained that as we were not quorate (30 attendees being required) none of the necessary resolutions could be passed.


Apologies

None received, nor any proxy votes.


Minutes of last AGM and Matters Arising

Minutes from 13 March 2019 were agreed as a true record. No arising matters were raised.


Chair’s report (Lance Allen)

There had been a number of committee retirements earlier in 2020. Previous Chair Maggie Winter was thanked for her 10 years’ service to FVRA, including 4 as Chair, and was (remotely) presented with a gift of a framed panorama picture of Findon Valley.Lance also thanked and recognised other retirements:Jim Booth, Membership Secretary, who has kindly agreed to maintain the database and website until a replacement is found.Charmaine Julien, Secretary.Brian Cook, Highways Officer.Doreen Tickner, Trustee.Brian Oliver, Trustee.Barry Winter, Trustee.


We still have a number of committee vacancies, being Secretary, Membership Secretary, Highways Officer, Communications Officer and Auditor.


The Chair highlighted a number of items from the published Trustees’ Annual Statement. Although Covid-19 had prevented planned events for 2020, the committee still met monthly via Zoom, met with stakeholders on issues such as Cissbury Fields, and we are currently planning events for Christmas 2020.


Vice Chair & Environment Report (Lorraine Taylor)

Lorraine thanked the committee members for the numerous tasks and activities undertaken, particularly given the unfilled vacancies.


Litter continued to be a problem, now including discarded face masks which are ‘contaminated waste’. WSCC had agreed to tidy the pavements and verges at the south end of Findon Road.Maggie Winter had not completely retired but is our Community Garden Co-ordinator, with a small team of volunteers, keeping the Garden and planters looking attractive. The concrete planters at Kings Parade were now tended by volunteers also, to reduce costs. Donated plants would be welcomed, particularly for Spring planting in 2021.A proposed small recycling point was under discussion with WBC for near the Library.


Future guided educational walks on Cissbury Ring were being discussed with Worthing Museum Service.


WBC Parks ranger Adam Scott was thanked for his help, eg with our Gallops Annual Survey.


Treasurer’s Report (Clive Sanders)

The Accounts and Treasurer’s Report for 2019 had been published.


As FVRA is a small charity there is no requirement for a formal audit but the accounts had been independently checked by David Webb – our thanks to David. Clive stated he had been treasurer for 4 years and had been upgrading the accounting process.Income from membership fees was down by over £1,000 in 2020, due to Covid.Discussions are under way with the Charities Aid Foundation, to use direct debits for collection of membership fees in 2021 and beyond. The fee rates for 2021 were proposed at £5 per household, but discounted to £3 for single occupants. Although this AGM was not quorate, no attendees objected to, or challenged, the proposed fees the new rates will be implemented, as being reasonable for the purpose.


Membership (Position vacant – report by Chair)

In 2019 FVRA had 916 member households – almost exactly 50% of the Valley. In 2020 however, the number had plunged to approx 300. Chair acknowledged the work of our road collectors in 2019 knocking on doors. This was not possible in 2020 due to Covid but this highlighted the need for the collectors. It is hoped that in future, direct debits will reduce the need for physical collections.


Schools Liaison Officer. (Paula Barnes)

Paula highlighted the joint initiative with Vale School to display Anti-Pollution posters on Vale Drive, due to the problem of some parents waiting long periods with their engines running. Permanent signage would be preferred if allowed in future by WSCC.FVRA had contributed to The Vale’s ‘virtual’ summer fair in 2020 but we did have a stall at the busy physical fair in 2019.Paula liaises with the School and WBC ranger Adam Scott on the wildflower planting area on The Gallops.The Vale kindly help FVRA by circulating emails and flyers to local parents.


Events Co-ordinator (Kayla Shepherd)

Kayla has joined the FVRA team during 2020. Kayla stated that Covid had been a significant barrier but the recent Scarecrow Competition was a good fresh start, and events were planned for Christmas.2019 events were highlighted in the Trustees’ Report.


Channels such as Facebook and mailchimp are now being used to help publicise events, including the Farmers’ Market in Lime Tree Surgery staff car park 12 Dec., a Christmas Trail, and a Late Night Shopping event that is intended for Kings Parade on 11 Dec. – discussions were ongoing with traders.A range of ideas were penciled in for 2021 but would be subject to Covid restrictions at the time. Examples being Well-being meetings with speakers, family picnics on The Gallops, and talks or promotions on subjects such as Recycling or Defibrillators.


Highways

(Position vacant, no separate report).


Election of Committee for 2020 and 2021

Current members are each willing to stand again. However the AGM was not quorate so this could not be ratified. Attending members did support the nominations without objection. The current team comprises:

Chair/ Trustee

Lance Allen

Vice Chair/ Trustee & Environment

Lorraine Taylor

Treasurer/ Trustee

Clive Sanders

Secretary/ Trustee

VACANCY

Membership Secretary / Trustee

VACANCY

Schools Liaison Officer

Paula Barnes

Events Co-ordinator

Kayla Shepherd

Highways

VACANCY

Communications

VACANCY

Auditor (annual accounts)

VACANCY

Presentation by Craig Daters, SDNPA

Craig is the lead ranger for the Central Downs area of the South Downs National Park. His talk was illustrated with screen shots, much of which is available on the SDNPA website.


The National Park is 10 years old this year. Its role includes a duty to ensure that economic, social and biodiversity elements can thrive within the Park. There is an overall strategic ‘Partnership Management Plan’ for 2020-25. The Park Authority does not actually own any land, but works with many activities including farming, tourism, transport, infrastructure, heritage and leisure, in areas such as biodiversity, and protection of natural habitats, alongside public accessibility – “Landscapes for Everyone”.Current and planned activities in the Findon Valley area include restoring Nepcote Green pond, tree planting on Sheepcombe Hangar, and new information boards at the access points to Cissbury Ring from the Valley (the boards are currently delayed due to Covid). Visitor parking congestion is an increasing issue – SDNPA does not own the car parks but is a stakeholder in the debate. The Cissbury Lower Fields are agricultural land, they are not ‘open access’.For communications the Park Authority has regular magazines, eNewsletters (that residents can sign up for) and a website.Local footpaths that are public rights of way, are managed by local authorities rather than by SDNPA. The overgrown path that runs parallel to, but north of, Storrington Rise was highlighted by a resident. Cllr. Humphreys agreed to refer this to the WBC Ranger team.


MP and Councillors

A number of questions were asked by residents varying from cycle lanes to Brexit. Mr Loughton gave a useful update on the fast-changing Covid-19 situation and restrictions.

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