Borders Organic Gardeners.
Minutes of AGM. 7/11/2010
Smailholm Village Hall.
Present- Judith Davison, David Griggs, Sarah Eno, Keith Banyard, Robert Leetham, Lesley Angell, Bill Smith, Val Smith, Roberta Carruthers, Marina Catt, Pam Boyd, Maggie Warner, Danielle Ray, Alistair Maynard, Sandy Irvine, Ruth Morozzo, Catherine Wood, Andy Swales, David Catt, Sarah Cummock, Susan Watts (Chair).
Loraine Douglas, Mike Scott, Jayne and David Brettell, Frances and Peter Lindsay, Prue Pullen, Graham and Rosemary Bell, Liz and Jim Cameron, Val Hunter, Frances Tecckam, Blair Cummock, Heather Whitacker, Mike Rutherford, Robert Stewart.
2. Minutes of 2009 meeting.
Val raised the point that she thought we had agreed to cover the publicity costs for Apple Day, and that there was not much publicity around Berwick for the event. Andy pointed out that BCC had paid for what advertising was done. The matter was discussed further later in the meeting.
David Catt proposed that the minutes be accepted, seconded by Sarah Eno.
· Chairman. Sue thanked everyone for their efforts during a very good year. Besides the large events we had had a very varied programme of visits and workshops, from a visit to the Jupiter Sculpture Park to workshops on chickens and winter pruning. The numbers attending events seem to be completely unpredictable, with no obvious pattern relating to topic, weather etc. but generally the response from members had been good and we hope for an equally successful year in 2011.
· Secretary. Judith thanked Susan and Sandy for their work in their first year as Chairman and Vice Chairman. We had a good year, but with most of the organisation done by a smallish group of people. This also limits the pool of people who are able to feed in new ideas. Last year we recognised this problem and identified a number of roles which other might like to take on, without getting much response. We may do better to ask people what areas they would like to develop and approach specific individuals to ask if they would like to be more involved.
· Western Area Organiser. David was pleased with the attendance at the workshops and visits organised and felt that it had been a good year.
· Eastern Area Organiser. Susan also felt that most of our events had been very successful. The exception was the Berwick Green Festival which had been extremely windy and not well supported.
· Literature. As the literature organisers were not present, this was postponed until the next business meeting.
· Membership. Maggie presented a summary of membership details. Membership continues to grow- Catherine commented that this was unusual as many similar organisations have seen a fall in membership. Some problems are still being caused by members who have a standing order for the old Bank of Scotland account. This can’t be closed until these standing orders are cancelled. There are also a few standing orders still being paid by people who have left the area and are untraceable. Unlike direct debits, we cannot cancel these payments, it has to be done by the payee.
· Newsletter. Robert reported that the newsletter was now being printed in colour on better quality paper, although at an increased cost. He thanked Maggie and Blair for their work in its production and David Banks for stepping in as guest editor for the June edition. There had been a lot of events over the summer, but relatively few reports. We discussed this, agreeing that we need to identify and ask someone to write a report before or at the beginning of an event. Lesley pointed out that this could be a good way of getting the wider membership involved. Sue remarked on comments from members on the high quality of the newsletter.
· Website. David Catt reported that a list of changes had been identified and that he hoped to meet Dave Coyle soon to discuss their implementation.
· Potato Day.
o Andy thanked all the BOG members who had helped with Potato Day and reported that it continued to be financially sound and was doing well, despite the proliferation of other Potato Day events. BUAS was booked for the same price as in 2010.
o We need someone to do the Coordination of volunteers as Jayne will be away, and someone to follow up Sandy’s coordination of stallholders as he will be going away a couple of weeks before the event.
o Andy expressed our gratitude to Christine (surname and role) at BUAS for her help and support.
o We need more potato trays. Andy showed us a tray from a supermarket which would be suitable. We need at least 50 more of these and everyone is urged to ask in local shops. Alistair pointed out that these can’t be re-used by supermarkets for H&S reasons and they have to pay for disposal, so are likely to be helpful.
o We are offering considerably more varieties than the other shows we know of. This together with the other stalls etc. makes this a very attractive day out which should allow us to keep going despite the emergence of many more Potato Day events.
· Produce Day. Judith thanked everyone who had taken part and contributed to this year’s event. It was a pleasant day with interesting stalls and we raised £150 for Farm Africa. At the September business meeting we agreed that this would be the last Produce Day for the moment. Anything we organise at this time of year is competing with many other shows and events and is during the holiday season. We agreed to look at alternative ways of celebrating this time of year and promoting organic methods to the public. Suggestions were to concentrate on the BOG Show Prize, do a BOG stand at other shows and possibly to run an event for members along the lines of a Harvest get together.
· BOG Show prize. Judith explained that she had been unable to spend much time on this because of organising Produce Day. It seems that at least three shows have awarded the prize this year, although they all seem to have been won by BOG members.
· Apple Day. Mike had submitted a report which was read out. (Attached) In the following discussion we identified that BOG needs more space for its stalls, more volunteers are needed to man the stalls and William Tell and that we need a single person to liaise with Mike on behalf of BOG. There was some discussion on BOG’s role in Apple Day as we seem to be in a transitional state in terms of passing the event over to Harestanes. We also agreed that we need to publicise the event more in the summer newsletter and elsewhere. Andy will talk to Mike informally over the matters raised and we will address this issue again in the January meeting. Alistair suggested that we build up closer links with the Priorwood Apple Day. We agreed that while the Harestanes event continued to be viable we would continue with our efforts there.
Extra Susan took the opportunity to express our thanks to Jayne and David Brettell for their efforts on behalf of BOG and we look forward to seeing them back from Italy.
4. Treasurer’s Report. Keith distributed copies of the accounts, which have been prepared but not yet reviewed. He drew attention to the value of capital equipment included into the account. Although a depreciation factor is built into the calculation, many of our assets are rather old and we may be overestimating their value. He recommended that we review the various stock we hold. He also identified a small anomaly in the value put on the book stock, which may reflect selling price rather than buying costs.
Sandy commented that we seemed to be cash rich, but time poor and wondered whether there were ways that some of our funds could be used to alleviate the workload of many of the projects we would like to pursue.
Lesley suggested we should look at ways in which volunteers’ efforts could be acknowledged.
The question of donations to other organisations was raised and was discussed further in the afternoon meeting.
Keith pointed out that expenses incurred by office holders and others acting on behalf of BOG could be reimbursed.
The accounts were approved subject to scrutiny. Proposed by Andy Swales and seconded by David Griggs.
5. Election of Office holders. Frances Lindsay stood down as minuting secretary, all other officers were willing to continue and, as there were no other nominations, were reappointed. Proposed by David Catt and seconded by Sarah Eno.
6. Election of Directors. Lorraine Douglas stood down as a director. David Griggs was proposed by Judith, seconded by Sarah, Pam and Sarah were happy to continue and were proposed for re-election by David Catt, seconded by Sandy.
(Information- at last year’s AGM we agreed that it would be desirable for the following pattern to apply. At any one time, the five directors will consist of
· The Chairman and Vice-chairman of BOG, who are elected to these positions at an AGM with the position running for two years (at the end of two years, the vice chairman will be proposed as chairman and the chairman will be proposed one as one of the three remaining directors).
· Three elected directors, the longest serving of whom will resign each year.
As this pattern works through all of the directors will have been, or intend to be, chairman. This will give us a changing set of directors with experience of BOG, but maintain a reasonable degree of continuity. This is an informal arrangement and is not binding.)
7. Appointment of company secretary. Judith was reappointed by the directors, proposed by Susan and seconded by Sandy.
8. Any Other Business.
1. Val had received a request for BOG to give advice to school garden projects. David Catt and Sarah Eno said they were happy to give phone advice, but the situation would need reviewing if this became a major activity.
2. Sandy commented that there were many great ideas around, but that we had limited personnel resources available and suggested that we look for ways to use our financial resources so that management of activities became easier. Roberta suggested paying experts to run workshops, Alistair that we pay specialists to do talks, workshops etc.. Sarah Cummock mentioned that St. Boswells were interested in being involved in such activities.
3. Ruth mentioned that Greener Hawick project and a request for funding from BOG to buy fruit trees. We agreed that, in principle, we would look favourably on such requests, but that they needed to be in the form of specific proposals for clearly identified projects. The same would apply to funding for school projects.
4. We agreed to donate £500 to Garden Organics’ general fund.
5. The yellow display boards are showing their age. Sarah and Andy agreed to see to their refurbishment. If necessary, Bill will contact Fantasy Prints for prices for printing screw- on fronts for them.
6. Keith expressed great concern that we had not received a final report on the Horsetails Trial, despite significant funding having been supplied by BOG for this project. Susan will write to Dave Allen to clarify the situation.
Minutes by Judith Davison.
N.B. Future meetings.
Next business meeting- This will be at Sandy’s on 8th January.