March 2012 SGM

Wed 28th March, The Haven, Brighton.

Those in attendance:

Teresa Cairns, Simon Powell, John Burns, Steve Lucas, Anne Glow, Henry Christie, Reinlinde Neilson Smith, Kim Turner, Giuseppina Solouou.

Steve Miller (Eastbrook Farm) sent his apologies; Tessa Pawsey and Peter Taylor resigned from the group before the meeting.

Henry Christie was acting chair; the group agreed to rotate this post at the next meeting.

Teresa Cairns noted action points

There was an extensive discussion about what the motion passed at the AGM actually mandated the Steering group to do. We clarified that the intention of the SGM in May (exact date to be agreed) was to draw up a new set of Objectives for the Federation and this was important as we couldn’t change the Constitution, the ‘How’, before we’d decided what the Objectives were, the ‘What’. We were also not mandated to change the whole constitution at this stage; neither were we mandated to re-write the Objectives ourselves. What was key was the importance of involving as many allotment holders/Federation members across the city as possible.

We spent most of the meeting discussing how the allotment rent issue had made the question of representation and the need for more meaningful democracy and involvement by allotment holders/Federation members across the city, urgent; It was agreed eventually that it was important, as part of this process, to communicate our discussions to Federation members on the BHAF website. It was also agreed that we would need to think carefully about what sort of event the SGM would be, as it was important to ensure it was as participatory as possible.

We agreed a set of action points:

1)       We would ask Melanie, the Federation’s Webmaster if we could set up a webpage on the Fed’s website where members could read and post their ideas and suggestions for changing the Federation’s Objectives; we also wanted a place where we could re-post after we’d collated all responses and ask for feedback on the ideas to date. Teresa would discuss this with Melanie.

2)       Simon Powell agreed to draft a piece outlining the reasons behind the original motion and what and how we hoped to re-write the Objectives in a participatory way.

3)       Simon’s outline will be emailed/mailed to Site Reps across the city with a request to circulate the information and encourage allotment holders to send in ideas. Both email and postal addresses will be included to ensure those not on email are also able to respond.

4)       All the steering group members agreed to talk to plotholders on their sites about re-writing the objectives and sending in suggestions; we could also collect suggestions ourselves and post them on plotholders’ behalf.

5)       The Steering group would also produce gate signs with Simon’s outline and both email and postal addresses; Kim and John would coordinate this. We would do the same with the collated responses to ensure they were visible to everyone, and people could see how the Objectives were shaping up.

6)       Teresa would collate the responses from the website and any sent by post; Giueseppina offered a postal address for use.

7)       Everyone on the steering group agreed to print off and circulate Simon’s outline as a leaflet across their sites.

8)       The Steering group would come to the next meeting with ideas about the form the SGM could take; date/time/venue and form would be agreed at this meeting, likely to take place in the week of the 14th May. Steve Lucas agreed to make enquiries about the availability of venues (probably Patcham, if available).

9)       The next meeting of the Steering Group was agreed for Monday 23rd or Tuesday 24th April.

Notes written by Teresa Cairns on behalf of the Steering Group

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