logo Minutes of a Committee meeting
held on 18 May 2020

Present: Dick Baxter (Chair), Charles Hattersley (Secretary), Peter Gotham (Treasurer), Rosica Bates, Jeremy Francis, Sue Gordon-Roe, Kate Hurst, Nick Levine.

Venue: Zoom video conferencing hosted by Jeremy Francis.

1. Money matters

Updated and examined accounts for 2019-2020 (15 month period to bring our accounting period in line with Cambridge City Council) were presented by Peter Gotham, see notes from Treasurer. For future budget several items were identified and needed estimates, Shed for mower £500, Signage £150 and Hop supporting structures £150. Charles had sent mail to Cllr Katie Thornburrow raising the issue of an overall CCC insurance policy for all Friends groups, also to chase friend in insurance world who might have some input. Since done but no responses so resend required.

2. Charity status

Peter has been developing the proposal for presenting at this meeting and at AGM for approval. Below, as aide memoir, are the briefing notes supplied by Peter on 15 January.

Currently FoMC is not registered as a charity, and is unincorporated. I consider that it would be helpful to have the credibility that comes with being a registered charity and which may help in fundraising. Incorporating would also give the protection of limited liability for the trustees. Forming a Charity Incorporated Organisation (CIO) should be straightforward and of low/nil cost. In order to form a CIO the Committee would need to make various decisions:

  • Currently we are a membership organisation. An alternative form (as a “Foundation”) would mean that the committee would make all the decisions, with no need to get agreement from a membership. I suggest that we continue as a membership body. However, in that case, we need to add more formal structure to our constitution - for instance with respect to convening and voting at General Meetings and the powers of the Committee. Also we would need an Independent Examination that may be free, as with current arrangements;
  • In this context I think we will need (and want) to take this proposal to the next AGM, with a proposed constitution etc; and
  • I have gone into the Charity Commission website to see how to proceed.
    • The start page for registration and guidance is here
    • There are model “association” rules that we can modify here
    • Each Trustee will need to agree to become a director of the new charity.

The meeting agreed with following this proposal as outlined by Peter.

3. AGM and elections

Our Constitution calls for an AGM to be held by 25 June 2020. Government rules stop us holding a public meeting so we must resort to other means. Prompted by information from Nick, the meeting decided to look into holding a virtual AGM along the lines of some companies. Whether this will be a Webinar or Zoom video conferencing will be explored by Rosica. We normally attract members (and outsiders) to the AGM through a guest speaker. We had Guy Belcher lined up for this task and he will be asked to participate.

 FoMC business is a necessary but minor part of the event. All we must do is:

  • elect from our members a chairperson, secretary and treasurer;
  • elect by simple majority up to 5 other members to join the Committee; and
  • present an audited financial statement and set any annual subscription.

It is customary, but not mandatory, for the chair to present an annual report to the meeting. Peter can provide the financial statement and Dick will write a short annual report.

The Committee discussed possible Committee members at the last meeting and Charles, Peter and Dick have discussed possible 'officers' since. This was discussed further and the Committee proposes the following: Dick to stay on as chair for another year hoping that another member will then replace him; Charles gives way to Steve Cheek as secretary (he was recommended by Kate and Charles); Peter stays as Treasurer; and the remaining 5 places on the Committee would be Kate, Charles, Rosica, Jeremy and Sue with Nick and Miranda Ponek being co-opted.

4. Management Plan

Dick had produced a draft which was circulated prior to the meeting. It was agreed that we should involve City Council staff (Anthony French, Ashley Read, Guy Belcher, Kenny McGregor) and FoMC members.

Section 2 has been refined by Dick. Francis saw added benefits from SWOT and Green Flag awards. Discussion about some of the objectives ensued: Mowing schedule should be published for the benefit of the residential boats, Electric bikes and scooters to be included, signage worth mentioning, better introduction to trees needed and coordination with other spaces (Jesus Green, Logans Meadow and Stourbridge Common), detailed SWOT evaluation of suggested opening of covered drainage ditch between Jesus Green and Cam. Refined draft to be circulated in due course.

5. Orchard matters

It was agreed that the orchard was looking particularly good at the moment. Volunteers days will be first Sunday of each month starting at 10am with suitably social distancing. It is important that some committee members are attending and that there is a list of tasks to be tackled. This should be promoted on Facebook and 'FoMC announce'. Shed keys are needed and Charles confirmed he has one.

A meeting between Dick, Ros and Jeremy was suggested at the last meeting to address required wildflower actions. This had resulted in an email exchange; and with Guy Belcher in the Council. Previous attempts to create wildflower patches had not been successful and had caused complications to the mowing regime. Extending wildflowers outside the entrance area remains a possibility. The Ride on Mower has required some recent remedial work done and Dick hopes it will be fully operational this season. Dick reported an abundance of bees around the hive.

Charles proposed that a more appropriate Hop support system was required. Whilst they are growing well the current infrastructure only allows growing up a bit with training horizontally required thereafter. This is not working and hops suffering wind damage. Supports more in line with hop fields will be proposed. The existing walls should enable relatively easy adaption. Charles to work up some ideas.

Charles Hattersley (Secretary)
22 May 2020.