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Moor Green Allotments

An Oasis in the Centre of Birmingham, England

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

AGM INFO

Moseley and District Allotment Holder’s

Association Limited (MaDAHAL)


Moor Green Allotment Association


Annual General Meeting

Saturday 25 April 2015, 11.00

Moor Green Allotment Pavilion


Agenda


Welcome                                                James Brown, Chair

Apologies                                               Jenny Jupe, Site Secretary

Minutes from the 2013-2014 AGM  

to be approved,                                      James Brown, Chair

Matters arising (not dealt with

Elsewhere)                                              James Brown, Chair

Chair’s report                                          James Brown, Chair

Treasurer’s report                                   Rex Harris, Treasurer

Site Secretary’s report, incl.

Site Maintenance, Health and safety    Jenny Jupe, Site Secretary

Pavilion report                                         Mark Wright, Pavilion Manager

Seed store report                                    Peter Jupe/Mike Docker, Seed Store Managers

Constitution review and approval          James Brown

New Association Committee

Membership                                             All

Moor Green Allotments website            Jenny Jupe, Site Secretary

Plot holders questions                            general discussion From the floor

Talk of general interest:                          Adrian Arbib from the Renewable Energy Co-operative

Solar: The Quiet Energy Revolution. How the future is PV panels, energy storage and smart grids

          

Meeting closes:


There will be a stall hosted by Birmingham Tools for Self Reliance after the AGM


The bar will be open for drinks and complimentary refreshments


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting,  26 April 2014

Present: 45 members

1. The Chair, Rex Harris, welcomed the Association President, Boswell Douglas, plot holders and social members to the 2014 AGM

2. Apologies were received from the following members:

 Liz Rasheed, Phil Beardmore, Eamonn Roleston

3. Jenny Jupe, Site Secretary, explained the various papers that were tabled.

4. Minutes from the 2012-2013 AGM were accepted by those present, with one minor alteration.

5. There were no matters-arising; therefore all matters were dealt with through the agenda.

6. Chair’s report

Rex Harris presented his report - see appendix 1. In particular he highlighted the importance of the next twelve months in taking forward the new management agreement.

7. Treasurer’s report

Rex Harris, presented his report and the audited accounts, a full set of which will be submitted to Financial Services Authority (FSA) in due course, together with a brief report of the Association’s activities. See appendix 2.

In particular he explained the importance of income generated from bar sales and how this enabled the Association to use the profit to benefit the site more widely. Rex thanked Mark Wright for his hard work in managing the bar and Pavilion. Rex also spoke of the largest areas of expense, including the cost of public liability insurance (PL), which covers the buildings we own, i.e. the Seed Store and the Bulk store, but not the Pavilion, which is owned by the City Council. PL only covers members within the Pavilion and does not cover activity on site, hence the need by members to ensure their children are supervised at all times.

Rex invited questions from the floor.

8. Site Secretary’s report

Jenny Jupe presented her report. In particular she spoke positively about the distributed    management of the site and thanked Alf Dimmock, James Brown, Robert Osborn, Mike Midgley   and Peter Jupe for taking on various areas of responsibility. She also spoke of the early success of  zoning the site and hoped this would continue to develop over the next twelve months.See   Appendix 3

 

 Jenny invited questions from the floor.


9. Pavilion and Social report

Mark Wright presented the Pavilion and social report - see appendix 4. He thanked all those who patronise the Pavilion, which had led to considerable increase in bar sales and profit to reinvest in the site and social events. Mark also thanked Boswell Douglass, Oona King and Lorna Davis for their help with serving at the bar and cleaning the Pavilion. It was noted that more volunteers were needed to help with running and maintaining the Pavilion. Mike Midgley thanked Mark for all his hard work throughout the year (applause).

Mark invited questions from the floor.

10. Seed Store Report

Peter Jupe presented the Seed Store report on behalf of Mick Docker and himself. He thanked Mick  for overseeing all the ordering and also George Morris for the provision of blue water barrels - three  dozen  of which had been sold since February. Peter also expressed thanks to all the volunteers  who had come forward to serve in the Seed Store.

 Peter invited questions from the floor. Noreen Lopez spoke of the difficulty of ordering small   quantities and offered a potential solution.

11. Voting for 2014-2015 Committee

 James Brown explained the need for a vote to determine the 2014 - 2015 Committee as nineteen  people had come forward for fifteen places. Nominees identified themselves. Election statements  had been previously circulated. James asked Steve Gwynne and Steve Peacock to act as returning  officers. There followed a ballot to establish the new Committee.

12. Rex Harris invited Martin Blamire, from Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) to give a short presentation on the work of the charity. TFSR refurbishes tools and small machinery for export to four African countries. Nationally thousands of tools have been donated to date and over one thousand tools have been sent to Africa from the South Birmingham branch. However, garden tools are not generally sent as that of insufficient heavy duty; they are refurbished and sold locally to raise funds to pay for tools to be exported. Martin had a supply of garden tools for sale and explained that the charity operates out of Kings Heath Park (KHP) on Tuesday mornings. He explained that association members could support the venture in several ways:

•  Donating tools and small machinery on Tuesday mornings at KHP

•  Joining the small team to help the charity

•  Buying tools to raise funds

13. Rex Harris invited questions from the floor:

 Lloyd Dixon asked how rat infestation is to be dealt with. Oz explained the problem had been   exacerbated by the very wet weather driving rats away from the flooded streams. Geraldine Clifford-  Goldburgh suggested one way to deal with the problem is put wire netting under compost heaps  to stop rats burrowing into the warmth. Jenny explained that there is a small budget to deal with   rodent infestation, but that this had to be undertaken carefully because of the hazards. She will talk  with an Allotment Officer about the problem at a meeting about general horticultural maintenance on  1 May and report back via the electronic newsletter.

 Glynis Powell welcomed the monthly electronic newsletter as a positive means of communicating  with plot holders.

14. Election of Committee members

 The following members were elected to the 2014 - 2015 Committee:

 James Brown, Jack Belcher, Alf Dimmock, Mick Docker, Rex Harris, Jenny Jupe, Peter Jupe,

 Mick King, Oona King, Mike Midgley, Carol Moore, Robert Osborn, Louise O’Hanlon,

 Paul Wilson, Mark Wright.

 Boswell Douglas remains Honorary President of the Association.

 

 The meeting closed at 12.30 with complimentary refreshments available from the Pavilion bar.


Chair’s Report

It has been my great privilege to serve as the chair of a committee that has an evidently deep commitment to our allotment site. I would like to thank, on behalf of the whole Association, all those who, over the past year, have given of their time to ensure that the site is, generally, well run.

This year was bound to be challenging as we took over greater responsibilities for the day to day running of the site under the new management agreement with Birmingham City Council. The Council have worked closely with your Association to ensure that, as far as possible, the committee has been supported in ensuring a smooth transition of duties and they have continued to provide useful advice when required. After careful scrutiny and discussion the committee delayed signing the agreement whilst we awaited assurances over matters of liability and water payments.

There have been many successes on site over the past year including but not confined to:

Community payback continuing to help clearing areas of the site that have become overgrown or marred by refuse.

Hiring Hippo-Bags for tenants to dispose of rubbish that had accumulated on their plots.

The installation of speed bumps making the site safer for pedestrians of all ages.

The introduction of a children’s policy to help ensure that all generations of our allotment community can enjoy the site without conflict.

Welcoming the public to the site as part of the Moseley in Bloom open day.

Replacing the pavilion front doors to enhance security and weather resistance.

Running a successful Annual Show, a great opportunity to meet other plot holders and celebrate the years’ growing successes.

Operating a robust and transparently objective plot inspection system to help improve the quality of cultivation on site in accordance with the council’s allotment rules.

Arbitrating in a range of disputes and ensuring that the Council’s tenancy rules are upheld.

Improving the Pavilion hire system to provide evidence that we are in compliance with the terms of our license.

Setting up a Pavilion management sub-committee to ensure that it serves the whole of the allotment community.

Running very well received horticultural master-classes in partnership with the park rangers and experienced plot holders.

Developing a functional, attractive web site as an effective means of communication across the allotment community, together with monthly newsletters.

Providing a competitively priced seed store, after having fixed the building’s leaking roof and making it vermin proof.

Responding to a break in at the Pavilion.

Drafting a new Association constitution to ensure that the Association’s business is well regulated and accountable.

Whilst there are several ongoing projects, such as completion of disabled access to the pavilion much has been achieved through the combined efforts of the whole allotment community.

As spring progresses and the first shoots of growth emerge the site is imbued with the hopefulness and optimism that characterises all gardeners. To steel your resolve as you plant and weed I’ll pass on that a fellow committee was called over by a long standing tenant of impeccable, and indeed implacable, horticultural discernment, to be told that in all their years on site they had not seen the place looking so well tended. Which is perhaps the most compelling evidence that we are doing at least something right and proof that it is the combined efforts of every member that make Moor Green such a wonderful place to garden.

James Brown, Chair, MaDAHAL, 2014-2015



Treasurer’s report

Treasurer's Report for the period October 1st 2013 to September 31st 2014

The financial details are included in the audited accounts.

The general comments are as follows:

The general patterns in terms of income and expenditure have continued over the past year and we have maintained the very healthy picture of a very comfortable surplus. The overwhelming proportion of the income has originated form the Pavilion bar and there is evidence of a growing income from the seed store.

Mark continues to run a very tight ship and the accounts are double checked by Mark and the Treasurer and these accounts are then audited on an annual basis.

Other income arises from the rental income which, you will all be aware, has been increased substantially over the past year. Jenny Jupe has managed the process of collecting the rental income over the past year and this has been a very substantial task which she has handled with her usual efficiency. These funds have been passed to the Treasurer which have been credited to our account and then a counter-signed cheque has been issued to Birmingham City Council.

Such a procedure has resulted in a tightly controlled process which can be monitored closely on a number of fronts.

Our out-goings continue to be the expenditure on gas and electricity and I recommend that, over the coming year, emphasis should be placed on measures to save energy and hence expenditure. This will require further infra-structure investment. The new arrangements also mean that we now have the ability to do something about our outgoings on water consumptions and I hope to report back to you on this aspect of our expenditure.

You will also be aware that funds have been committed to improving the road safety on the site and we have been able to carry out these improvements because of the healthy state of our accounts. This means that we can go into this new year with a very positive attitude to the necessary investment to improve the overall environment and this requires a two-way discussion with all the membership.


Rex Harris, Treasurer, MaDAHAL, 2014-2015


Site Secretary’s Report


Moor Green is one of the largest Birmingham Allotment sites to manage. Two years ago the decision was taken to distribute management across the Association Committee, with each member taking responsibility for a zone (ten in total) and dividing the other responsibilities as follows:

Site secretary, plot lettings and communication with plot holders    Jenny Jupe

Horticultural maintenance, Health & Safety       Robert Osborn

Woodland and wildlife areas         Alf Dimmock

Site Inspections      Carol Moore, Mick Docker and Peter Jupe

This decision enabled the Association to more effectively make the transition to self management a year last April and will continue to be refined to ensure Moor Green remains a well managed allotment site.

Rent renewals, Plot lettings and Tool Lockers

By far the majority of plot holders paid their rent in a timely manner last autumn, with only two (four) paying the Council directly and less than six incurring a £10.00 late fee penalty.   The approach to rent collection, introduced last year, with each Committee member running a  15 minute ‘surgery’ where plot holders could receive and discuss information was repeated again this year. This proved very popular, with all plot holders receiving a complimentary bag of spring bulbs,  and has led to far more involvement by plot holders in helping to run the site. Several plot holders notified the Association of their intention to relinquish their plots, the main reasons being due to failing health, greater family and/or work commitments or relocating. The Association currently receives 10% commission on rents collected, totalling circa £1,400.00, when new rentals are included. Plot lettings were re-opened on a monthly basis in January, with an average of three new tenancies each month. The site is now running at 97% occupancy with the waiting list reduced down to just five people. At the time of writing this report there are just six vacant plots.

The work to identify who rents which locker has proved a real conundrum, but with the help of tenants in each zone, we are gradually drawing up a comprehensive plan for each block.

Communication with plot holders

During the ‘surgeries’ and in compliance with data protection, plot holders gave their contact details on the proviso that these were not shared. This has enabled the development of an electronic monthly newsletter,  Moor Green Matters, copies of which can also be picked up from the Pavilion magazine carousel.  The newsletter has been a crucial means of keeping in touch at this time of significant management change and plot holders have been fully apprised of developments during 2014-2015.

Horticultural maintenance

We are grateful to Robert Osborn who, through his vast experience as a professional gardener and former work with Birmingham Parks Department, has ensured the horticultural maintenance programme, carried out by the City Council’s contractors, has been effectively undertaken. ‘Oz’ regularly monitors their work and reports back to the Council. Similarly you may have seen him  walking the site to carry out frequent health and safety checks, reports from which have come back to the Committee. The creation of the bee meadow, at the top of the site, was also managed by ‘Oz’.

Woodland and wildlife areas

Alf Dimmock, local Park Ranger, has taken a strong interest in maintaining the biodiversity and biophilia of the wildlife and woodland areas of the allotment site. Alf continues to work with local groups, most crucially the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area partnership, to provide a statement on our environmental asset with a view to attracting funding for the maintenance and growth of the biodiversity on site.

Site Maintenance

This year we have focussed our attention on tidying up and maintaining the derelict, vacated plots. Steve Gwynne has spent many hours removing rubbish from plots, disused structures and vacated tool lockers. This has cost the Association in excess of £1,500.00 with the hire of skips and man-power - money that we could have more usefully used in a more positive manner. Now that we have a tool locker plan, we are better able to monitor their usage and allocate them more equitably. We will continue to monitor rubbish accumulation on site and contact any offending tenants. A new system of a £25.00 refundable deposit has been introduced for all new plot holders to ensure they leave their plot and tool locker in good order when vacating the site.

Community Payback - Peter Jupe , Community Payback Liaison Manager

An opportunity for those who have been convicted of offences that do not warrant a custodial sentence to make a contribution to the local community.  Nearly two years ago I mentioned to the committee that there were opportunities for us to use Community Payback on site to help with clearing certain areas of debris and litter and assisting us in preparing some derelict plots to a state ready for new letting and cultivation.   

I am pleased to report that, with committee endorsement, this aim is being fulfilled and, with on going liaison as at present, they will continue to impact on our site to the benefit of all allotment holders. Moorgreen Allotments offer a secure environment for their work and I have built up a strong relationship with the probation service through their supervisor. More recently they have been working in Zone B in conjunction with 'litter picking' across the site.


A word of praise to their supervisor ( yellow jacket) or to the offenders themselves (orange jacket) would not go amiss. The majority of comments to date have been very favourable and I look forward to continuing the relationship for the foreseeable future.   

Water on site

Managing water is the responsibility of all who use the site. A stand pipe inspection programme, leading to considerable repair work, has been undertaken in 2015, with regular meter readings being recorded and shared with the Council. This has led to significant monitoring of our water usage and remedial action put in place to repair obvious leaks. Water continues to be our largest area of expenditure and, although we have a devolved budget to cover the cost, it is not a princely sum, indeed it is finite. To that end all plot holders are urged to harvest water.

Master classes

As a direct result of the ‘surgeries’ a series of horticultural master classes, held in the Pavilion  and the teaching plot, number 24, currently donated by Kenny Murphy and his family, have been offered to all plot holders. We are grateful to Alf Dimmock and Ranger Dean Paul who, as part of their  ‘Growing School’ interest, have organised and led the sessions. Most recently Oz presented the Winter Master Class on Fruit bush and Fruit tree pruning, which is available on Youtube and our website.

Site inspection

Carol Moore and his team of Mick Docker and Peter Jupe carried out a robust site inspection at the start of the Committee year and again in the Autumn. Once again it was pleasing to see some excellent practice across the site with many plots nurtured, well cared for and free of excessive rubbish.  However, there are still some plots with unsightly structures and excessive build up of rubbish and in a poor state of cultivation.  There was a full range between these two plot conditions to be observed across the site.  The decrease in ‘non cultivated’ plots from 64 (2013) 34 (2014) shows that we are moving in the right direction.

Overall Condition by Site


Plot Condition Number of Plots

Acceptable 144

Partially Cultivated 43

Not Cultivated 34

New Tennant 31

No Tennant 15


For those not cultivated or partially cultivated,  letters of concern were sent from both the Council and the Association and following a further inspection in July the number of ‘not cultivated’ or ‘partially cultivated’ had been substantially reduced.  Subsequently, five tenants have been evicted and their plots ‘re-entered’.   

Jenny Jupe, Site Secretary, MaDAHAL, 2014-2015


Pavilion and Bar Management Report


The Pavilion continues to be well patronised by different groups and provides a terrific meeting place for plot holders and social members at weekends and on social occasions. All plot holders are members of the Association and therefore eligible to use the Pavilion and we would encourage you to bring along and sign in new social members. The number of social members remains steady at approximately 25, but we would like to grow this number. Income from bar sales has increased over the past year, against the current financial downturn of pub sales. A number of ‘guest beers’ have been stocked, supporting local breweries and proving very popular. During the twelve month period sales were boosted by family events such as the Easter Eggstavaganza and Christmas party and by the Moseley in Bloom Open Gardens weekend.  Other very successful social events included the Annual Fruit and Vegetable Show, Curry evenings, a Heavy night, a Halloween Party and a fund raising event for MacMillan.

A continuing programme of repairs and maintenance has seen on going improvements to the Pavilion this year, in particular, being the replacement of the front doors to a higher, more secure specification. We are also grateful to plot holder Roopa Singh, who has taken on the challenge of maintaining the garden at the front of the Pavilion. This compliments the external seating that is enjoyed by many, none the least of which are the increasing number of families.

We are very fortunate to have a Pavilion and bar. However, the Pavilion needs to be well maintained, kept clean, tidy and welcoming.  I manage the Pavilion, supported by Boswell Douglas, who assists me each week in receiving the stock and cleaning. Oonah King and Lorna Davis, also give invaluable support helping behind the bar and keeping the Pavilion clean. We are indebted to them for giving their time so generously, but we do need more willing volunteers to help maintain our Pavilion. Please consider giving a couple of hours each month to help out – have a word with me, Mark Wright.

Mark Wright, Pavilion and Bar Manager, 2014-2015


Seed Store Report


Throughout the seasons, the seed store has continued to offer a wide range of products at very competitive prices.  The varieties of seed potatoes, onions and shallots have been very popular with  plot holders and these, together with the composts, manures, chicken pellets and 'Growmore' cater for most of our clientele.  The reintroduction of a wide range of Kings Seeds have also proved to be a success.  The plot holder asking for ' Mange Tout' may have been disappointed but if five or more of you want 'Mange Tout' please let us know!  Ground cover membrane, netting, bean canes and piping for cage building widen our stock purchases.  

Harvesting water remains a priority across the site and we are grateful to one of our plot holders who can regularly supply us with water barrels and, if required, IBC's (Industrial Bulk Containers).

However, the seed store does not open unless there are volunteers prepared to give a couple of hours on Saturday or Sunday to serve on the shop floor. To these volunteers we are very grateful and say a big 'Thank You' !

 Remember,  " We're never knowingly undersold " !


Mick Docker and Peter Jupe, Seed Store Managers, 2014-2015