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.
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.
If you haven’t already, then join our great vibrant Facebook group (over 1100 members) for advice tips and shares of seeds etc!
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 BHCC||Total Lettable Plots||Total Vacant||Waiting List|
|March 2020||No data||No data||No data|
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|
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.
|BHAF Expenses||-452||Includes web hosting, email facilities, poster printing and distribution, transport, postage|
|Accountant fees||-180||Accountant fees for reviewing the books|
|Meeting costs||-16||Includes room rentals, meeting supplies|
|Council Levy||3211||Payment via Council for BHAF Running Costs|
|Development fund||62||Delayed payment for 2019/2020 project|
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.
Proposer: Lucia Manca (Roedale Valley)
Seconder: Samuel Hoare (Roedale Valley)
Proposer: Pat Dauncey (Keston)
Seconder: Jim Mayor (Roedale Valley)
Proposer: Christine Zaniewicka (Keston)
Seconder: Colin Osborne (Keston)
Proposer: Jane Hawkins (Craven Vale)
Seconder: Michelle Lediert (Whitehawk Hill)
Proposer: Jane Griffin (Whitehawk Hill)
Seconder: Hilary Standing (Keston)
Proposer: Emily Gardiner (Keston)
Seconder: Alan Phillips (The Weald)
Angela Jane Swinn
Proposer: Rowena Bennett (Windmill Hill)
Seconder: Sara de Marco (Windmill Hill)
Proposer: Andrew Amos (Roedale Valley)
Seconder: Sarah Waters (Roedale Valley)
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!
Thanks to the guys from Craven Vale and Whitehawk Hill