BHAF AGM 2021

AGM REPORT 2021

Dear Plot Holders and Co Workers,

Once again we are unable to hold an AGM due to lockdown restrictions. In order that we can continue to function in a legitimate way, we are sending out the key information we usually provide at the AGM below.

Please review these. We propose that the accounts, along with the committee nominations for 2021 are accepted on a provisional basis until we are able to return to the normal AGM cycle. Let us know if you have any questions or objections.


Chairmans Report

We have all had an incredibly difficult year but one positive thing that has come out of it is a huge resurgent interest in allotments and all the physical and mental health benefits that working an allotment brings. These benefits have also been noticed by the wider public.

Over 1000 people have joined the waiting list for an allotment in Brighton and Hove over the last 12 months! Unfortunately that interest coincided with lockdown restrictions and the Allotment Service suspending plot letting. This has been a big frustration for many, not just those on the waiting list. Unused plots have fallen into worse states which makes it harder to grow on your own plot if you are next to one and also makes them harder to let going forward.

We have made it clear to Councillors how important it is to get plot letting up and running again as soon as possible. We are keen to work with the allotment service staff to help make that happen. We think that Site Reps (those who want to) can do that in a Covid secure way. It’s outside and can be done in a socially distant manner. However there currently seems to be another problem. A while ago we emailed you and told you that the Allotment Service were not giving us an updated email list of our members which was obviously causing concern to us. Now we have heard from some site reps that the Allotment Service is not sharing contact details of people on the waiting list with them either, making it impossible for them to let plots going forward anyway. This all seems to be down to a new interpretation of GDPR rules (general data protection regulation).

We can’t believe this is a correct interpretation as plot holders not only give consent to have their contact details shared with BHAF when they sign up but there is also a very legitimate interest for them anyway in having their details passed to us and site reps. We have a meeting arranged with the Councils GDPR representative soon to discuss this and hopefully sort it out and we will report back.

As a result the Allotment Service is evidently trialling ‘remote letting’ themselves at some sites. We have concerns about how well this will work. How will plot holders get on site to choose a plot? Will plot choice therefore be stopped? The site maps are well known to not be accurate as plot boundaries have shifted over time, so we are worried there will also be mistakes. In the worst case people might start working on the wrong plots. We think Site Reps with their local knowledge of plots and plot holders are the far best suited people to be letting plots.

The other major issue this year was BHAF sadly having to complain that the Allotment Strategy was still not being delivered. Nearly 6 years into the 10 year strategy and we think that perhaps less than 10% of the strategy has been actioned. This issue was taken to the Council’s ETS Committee in November and Councillors also agreed the strategy had not been delivered. Arrangements have been put in motion which include employing a Council Officer to actually oversee the delivery of the strategy. There was originally someone in that role, however they left the Council and it seems that subsequent changing of management structures meant they were not replaced. It was a big battle to get the allotment strategy back on the agenda, but it is now and we are hoping there will be progress again in the next few months. We look forward to working in partnership with the Council again to get the strategy delivered.

Further details about the complaint and the strategy delivery can be seen on our website here

A big welcome to two new BHAF Committee members who you can read about below, Nick Fry from Craven Vale and Maude Casey from Moulsecoomb. We are very pleased to have fresh people join the Committee and look forward to working with them.

On another positive note spring is most definitely sprung (despite this recent cold snap and snow this morning!) and we can all get back to growing. Personally all my spuds are in and I built a large fruit cage over the winter and moved all my dormant fruit plants into it. I am most excited to actually get a big crop of Jostaberries this year rather than just feed the birds and squirrels!

It also cheered me up to see this great video of a cheeky weasel captured by Grace Wilmshurst on her plot at Roedale Valley! Its great to see such uncommon wildlife on our plots in the city. It shows that when people move away from pesticides and are more conscious of the dangers and knock on effect of things like rat poisons that diversity bounces back.

https://www.facebook.com/BHAFpage/weasel

If you haven’t already, then join our great vibrant Facebook group (over 1100 members) for advice tips and shares of seeds etc!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BHAFgroup

Happy Growing!
Mark Carroll
Chairman


Performance Report

These figures give an insight into the numbers waiting for a plot etc. You can see the waiting list has jumped dramatically to 2467 people. The ‘Total Vacancies’ number is probably artificially low as no inspections or evictions took place last year, so no new plots became available.

 

Data from BHCCTotal Lettable Plots Total Vacant Waiting List
March 201730442031038
February 201829472481127
March 201929372471172
March 2020No dataNo dataNo data
March 202128731802467

 


Treasurers Report

Development Fund 2021

This year we had £6000 allocated from the council for site improvements/developments across Brighton and Hove. We spent 49% of the fund. We usually aim to spend more of the fund but this year was difficult due to the various lockdowns.

 

Material for steps to shop – St Louie£62
Guttering & water storage – Keston£230
Trestle tables – Craven Vale/Whitehawk Hill£141
Doors for storage hut and store – Roedale Valley£1340
Outdoor oven (community kitchen) – Weald£725
Notice boards – Craven Vale/Whitehawk Hill£487

Total £2985

 

BHAF Accounts 2021

No hiring of the Brighthelm Centre or Patcham Community Centre for the AGM, Committee or Forum meetings, and no expenses associated with those meetings along with a much reduced activity meant that we have not spent as much as usual and our bank balance is looking higher than usual as a result. We like to have a surplus in case any emergencies arise but we will be looking into funding some creative projects this year.

 

Start Balance6299
BHAF Expenses-452Includes web hosting, email facilities, poster printing and distribution, transport, postage
Accountant fees-180Accountant fees for reviewing the books
Meeting costs-16Includes room rentals, meeting supplies
Council Levy3211Payment via Council for BHAF Running Costs
Development fund62Delayed payment for 2019/2020 project
End Balance 8924

 


Secretaries Report

We had two new nominations to the BHAF Committee received this year. The Committee propose that we co-opt these new members onto the committee pending a confirmatory vote at the next AGM or Forum.


Nick Fry (Craven Vale)

I have been an allotment holder on Craven Vale Allotments for the last 11 years and am a committee member of the Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill Allotment Society. Following horticultural training, I worked as a landscape gardener before managing a community garden centre in Manchester and a therapeutic gardening project for people with mental health problems in London.

More recently, I have been providing marketing and communications services to health and social care charities, which has included developing websites, managing social media accounts and running email campaigns. I have previously been a committee member of Brighton & Hove Organic Gardening Group (BHOGG) and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. I am keen to see as many people using the city’s allotments for what they are intended for – growing food and enjoying life and nature through gardening.

The names of a proposer and seconder
Mary Ledgard (Craven Vale)
Jenny Embleton (Craven Vale)


Maude Casey: Moulsecoomb 

It’s such a privilege, having an allotment. I feel responsible for the soil, the air and the sky above it, and for the life-forms that thrive there. I’ve practised growing organically since i began gardening and have noticed the increase in insect numbers, slow-worms, lizards and the range of butterflies and birds. I’ve learnt most of what i know about gardening from my fellow plot holders and the volunteers on the MAHS Nature Site. Most recently I’m learning about no-dig methods and the principles of permaculture.

I’m on the Committee of Moulsecoomb Allotment and Horticultural Society, and I’m also a member of the Shop Collective, where we are committed to collaborative, non-hierarchical methods of working together and consensual decision-making. Currently, we are working to eliminate plastics from the site and to move away from fossil fuels. We are also committed to archiving the work of allotments and have donated the MAHS documents from the twentieth century to The Keep.

I’m active in a number of community campaign groups. I volunteer for Migrant English Project and I’m a member of Medact. These organisations stand in solidarity and equality with all people of the globe, and actively work to erode borders of race, colour, gender and class and to cultivate non-violent ways of living. As such I’m dedicated to developing planned work on diversity and social inclusion.

I’m also a member of Open Space Society, Butterfly Conservation Trust and Bumblebee Conservation Trust. My commitment to these informs everything I do, because the allotment has shown me that all life forms are interconnected and depend on each other. That’s why I think the existence of BHAF is so important and why I’ve attended BHAF meetings and evening forums when i could, over the years.

The names of a proposer and seconder
Cheryl Paine (Moulsecoomb)
Jools Voce (Moulsecoomb)


BHAF Committee 2021

The following have put themselves forward for re-election for 2021.

Mark Carroll
Proposer: Lucia Manca (Roedale Valley)
Seconder: Samuel Hoare (Roedale Valley)

Hannes Froelich
Proposer: Pat Dauncey (Keston)
Seconder: Jim Mayor (Roedale Valley)

Hilary Standing
Proposer: Christine Zaniewicka (Keston)
Seconder: Colin Osborne (Keston)

Simon Powell
Proposer: Jane Hawkins (Craven Vale)
Seconder: Michelle Lediert (Whitehawk Hill)

Josephina Salamone
Proposer: Jane Griffin (Whitehawk Hill)
Seconder: Hilary Standing (Keston)

Andrew Amos
Proposer: Emily Gardiner (Keston)
Seconder: Alan Phillips (The Weald)

Angela Jane Swinn
Proposer: Rowena Bennett (Windmill Hill)
Seconder: Sara de Marco (Windmill Hill)

Victoria Williams
Proposer: Andrew Amos (Roedale Valley)
Seconder: Sarah Waters  (Roedale Valley)

Allan Brown
Former Chairman, Allan is currently taking leave for family reasons but hopes to rejoin later.

Personal statements from the Committee members can be seen on our website here

Good luck for the coming season!
BHAF Committee

Thanks to the  guys from Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill
https://whitehawkallotments.org.uk/

 

The guys from Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill with their new noticeboards!

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