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FVRA Committee Minutes January 2021

Findon Valley Residents' Association

Protecting the interests of our community and the countryside around us


Monday 11th January: Remote meeting via Zoom


In Attendance:

Lance Allen (LA), Paula Barns (PB), Clive Sanders (CS), Kayla Shepherd (KS), Lorraine Taylor (LT).


Apologies

N/A, All present.


Minutes of last meeting and Matters Arising

Minutes from 7 December were agreed as a true record, and will now be published on website and noticeboards. Matters arising are covered below.


Chair

AGM 2021, We need to plan the next AGM and ensure sufficient attendees so we are quorate. A keynote speaker would be important. It was agreed for this to be an update on the local Covid situation at the time, with invited speakers Tim Loughton MP and from Lime Tree Surgery. Potential dates being April 22 or 29, with a publicity ‘flyer’ in the April 2021 Sussex Local. The AGM business would be fairly brief, preceding the main talk. LA to contact the proposed speakers.


Vacancies, We still require a secretary, membership secretary, highways officer, communications officer and auditor. The February Sussex Local will carry our article on this. LA to draft a poster for FV Post Office window (cost est £3 perl week). This will seek general committee members rather than specifying the unfilled roles.


Winter Salt Bins, LA has been contacted back by Cllr Sparkes who has agreed to review the position. It is not known if any residents have done ad hoc ’gritting’ in the recent frosty weather. LA expressed concern regarding legal liability if someone slips and is injured.


Vice Chair & Environment

Christmas Market, LT thanked all who had contributed to this successful event, which was well received and had real community spirit.


New WBC Ranger, Adam Scott has moved to another patch and Graham Brooker is the new Parks Ranger for our area including The Gallops. LT has spoken with him and discussed items from the 2020 Gallops Survey. Graham is keen to engage.


Volunteer Group, LT suggested we seek to establish a Findon Valley Volunteers group to tackle small practical projects, similar to Findon Village Volunteers. Scrub clearance on public footpaths could be an example. LT to discuss with Matthew Ward, for his knowledge and experience.


Tree Planting, SDNPA is looking to plant 1,250 trees at Sheepcombe Hangar and 650 at The Gallops. This is all WBC land, and Adam Scott/ Graham Brooker will be local contacts. LT to speak initially with existing contact Peter Whish.Ash Dieback is a local (and national) problem, with cutting of infected trees due soon. Notices have been put up on The Gallops, and trees have been marked at Sheepcombe.


Recycling Initiative (outside FV Library), LT has spoken with Worthing Boys Club. They do not have the resources to collect filled recycling containers so we would need local volunteers. The type of items recycled includes crisp packets, using a special cardboard container that is not suitable for prolonged outdoor use. It may be possible to have a collection at future Farmers’ Markets.


Litter Picking, The Keep Britain Tidy organisers have recommended that no litter picking takes place during Covid, as the many discarded face masks are classed as a bio hazard. Hence we will not be calling for volunteers in the near future.


Cissbury Fields, still very busy with much roadside parking. It is not known whether the cessation of EU grant funding will see a change in use of the land, or whether the lease will revert to WBC.


Community Garden, spring bulbs have been planted. We are looking for residents to donate suitable plants. LT to speak with Maggie Winter, then wording can go in our next newsletter. The Library garden has been discussed by Maggie and Justin Burns – there may be some funding available from WSCC. Lime Tree’s PPG had recently been investigating a possible garden for patient well-being, but it is understood that would focus on vegetable growing.


Treasurer

The monthly accounts for November and December were circulated. CS noted that the Christmas Market net income was approx £280. However FVRA has ended the year £1k down on December 2019 due to much reduced memberships. CS asked committee members to submit any 2020 expenses promptly so the year end can be finalised.

Direct Debits, CS has provided the trustee and bank details to CAF and a CAF Donate account has been set up. CS is chasing CAF for final set-up details. It is intended to have a link on FVRA website where members could sign up without FVRA seeing their bank details.


Membership

Position Vacant, 2020 ended with just 270 members (2019 = approx 900). It is clear the majority only renew when road collectors knock on their doors. The new membership form can be finalised and printed when the direct debit channel is finalised. It may be possible for people to sign up directly at events eg Farmers’ Markets, using a provided laptop. If the market is on a Sunday we may be able to use a Library desktop PC to enable suitable privacy and distancing. Or at events we could take email addresses and then follow up.

The possibility of having an occasional ‘stand’ at Kings Parade (post-Covid) to encourage membership was agreed as useful.


The increased £5 membership fee for 2021 (£3 for single household) was not voted in the AGM, as few residents supported us and we were not quorate. However there were no queries or objections from those present, and FVRA is obliged by the Charity Commission to ensure it has resources to meet its goals. The new fee will be ratified at the 2021 AGM. An amendment to FVRA’s Constitution could be considered but this itself would require quoracy.


Schools Liaison

PB will circulate the AGM Notice via Parent Mail, when ready.

The Vale’s previous “Cut Your Engines” initiative saw partial success but had not been repeated, as permanent signs would need funding and WSCC permission. LA to investigate the permanent signs at, for example, West Worthing railway level crossing.


Highways

Position Vacant, The weeding and tidying of paths and verges by WSCC on the A24 near the cemetery, had not yet taken place. Some garden hedge cuttings had apparently been dumped. LA to review and contact Cllr Sparkes.


Communication

Position Vacant, LA has contacted Jim Booth to update a number of items on the website. We still lack a Comms Officer but Jim kindly maintains the website and membership register. The website has served us well but a fresh approach would be beneficial – possibly with professional help (but no budget) or as a college project. It would be essential for FVRA committee to have access to make changes or updates. The dormant website findonvalley.org.uk would be retained to avoid third parties using this.


For email we will continue to use both 123-Reg, mailchimp and Nextdoor. It was agreed that our eNewsletter will become quarterly, with the next issue agreed at the March committee.


Events

Late Night Shopping 11 Dec, due to the second lockdown and traders’ other priorities the event was cancelled at short notice. For Christmas 2021 a Late Night Shopping could take place with sufficient advance planning, and should be trader-led.Farmers’ Market 12 Dec: The inaugural market was a great success, was well attended, and the traders were pleased. Social distancing was well observed. LA to draft letters of thanks to Worthing Suzuki, Merry Miller, Findon Garden Centre, and Lime Tree Surgery. Mark Barnes was a great Santa.


The Surgery Practice Manager had not sought payment for use of the surgery car park. For future markets the PPG may wish to be involved and share in any income opportunities. It was agreed that the markets should be seen as FVRA-led. CS confirmed that such markets are covered under FVRA’s public liability insurance, and Great Little Farmers’ Markets also have their own cover.In future greater visibility from the roads would help footfall, and FVRA being positioned near the entrance would be better. The opening time of 9am to 1pm was good. Coffee Camp and the Library could also be involved in future. Zoom could be used for meetings with the Lime Tree Practice Manager and with Justin Burns (WSCC Library Service).


Christmas Tree, our thanks to Findon Garden Centre for donating the tree, to Worthing Suzuki for providing the site, and to Sam Shepherd for constructing the box plinth (which will be used in future years as well). For 2021 it was agreed to consider mains-powered lights, as the solar ones were ‘drowned out’ by the A24 street lights. Also some decorations, possibly made by school and pre-school children.


Christmas Trail, well received by those who took part. Will be better post-covid and with a longer lead time for publicity.


2021, The first event will be the Valentine ‘Love Hearts Trail’ in February, based on well-being and kindness to help lift lockdown spirits. This further builds on our Trail initiative, as a useful community activity. PB will design a poster.


An Easter Trail will be the next project, also inviting local Spring photos for the website gallery.


AOB

Library Drop-in, Still suspended due to Coronavirus.

Next zoom meeting – 7.30pm Monday 8 February.

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