Present: Eileen & Bill Evans, Roger Mitchell (chair), Cllr Nigel Sinden, Richard Homewood, Christine Boulton-Lane, John Geater, Paul Cabban, Janet Jarvis, Nola McSweeney, Edwin Rew, Derek Tomblin, Robin Gray (minutes).
1. Apologies for absence: Ernie Grice & Stella Underwood, Melanie Bray, Lynn White, Diane Reed, Victoria Harrington, Cllr Eve Martin, Cllr Peter Pragnell, Ray Keene
2. Minutes of ordinary general meeting of 18th September. The minutes were agreed. Matters arising (not covered in today’s agenda):
§2: Christine has not yet had the right opportunity to speak to the ARK director about ARK’s support for school links. Nothing yet to report from Beresford Bournes-Coker re the Commonwealth Games. §7: Cecil Coker has written to object to the wording on two counts (references to a bio-digester that is not being used, and to the new Headman). Richard Homewood is in contact with Cecil over any technical problems with the digester in question and has offered to re-commission it if Cecil wants to use it; and Roger has written to the new Headman, through Cecil, expressing the hope that they can meet in February and that the Link can establish a good relationship with Mr Abdul Hassan for the good of the village.
3. Treasurer’s Report. Ray sent his usual detailed update. It shows that the Sussex Brass concert netted £1162.88 when we include Yvonne’s generous donation of £300. His figures also highlight the 2 donations of £1000 from the London group and from the Church of the Good Shepherd. (Roger has written to thank both groups, and Steve Hallamby for Sussex Brass ‘s generosity: Sussex Brass not only waived their modest performance fee, but donated £25 on top.) Ray asked the meeting to confirm that it agrees that participants in the February trip who are paying their own fares & expenses may, if they are willing, allow the Link to claim Gift Aid on the money (if they are tax-payers), since their participation is in pursuit of the aims of the charity. The meeting was happy to agree. Roger has sent participants a Gift Aid form.
4. Transport of goods to SL: The pool at St Paul’s School has a great deal of stuff in it ready for transport to SL. Christine and Derek will determine what quantity of goods needs shipping, and let Yvonne know. Yvonne will get 2 quotes (to include duty payable in SL). Shipping needs to take place after Christmas but in time to arrive before the February visit. The meeting recorded its thanks to Richard Homewood, HBC staff and St Paul’s staff for storing and shifting such a large quantity of goods.
5. (a) Schools Report: There are 12 schools partnerships. 9 have applied for a grant, only 4 successfully. Some are re-applying. The Link’s schools work is now so complex that Roger does not have enough time to help each school individually. Curriculum development, form-filling etc must be the schools’ responsibility. The work of the IPC continues, though only 3 schools attended the last meeting. Their letters to the British Council re children’s rights in SL have been merely acknowledged (London) or ignored (Freetown). They have excellent ideas for focusing on three ‘international days’ in 2014: human rights, malaria and cultural diversity. It remains to be seen how many schools take this up. St Mary-Star-of-the-Sea is allowed to run Global Learning courses, but only for a minimum of 15 schools and an insufficient number have as yet signed up.
Roger reported that changes at the top of many local schools are proving challenging. William Parker has dropped out altogether. It is not yet known whether other schools that have changed, or will soon change, their head teacher and/or their ’academy’ status will want to be involved with SL. Janet is hopeful about Blacklands. John thought that there is always a risk in setting up initiatives that depend on public funding, since that is often suddenly withdrawn. Roger observed that pump-priming has always existed and that long-term support is never guaranteed.
When a school drops out of a commitment, there is a school in SL that is disappointed. Nigel promised that as a governor at Robsack Wood School he will see if that school would like to join the consortium. It was suggested that Buckswood School, with its international outlook, would be an ideal partner. Roger will approach Buckswood. He hopes to meet Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, when she visits SMSotS on 20th November. Roger also reported that Matthew J Lock has been put in touch with Matthew Kamara with a view to a scouting link.
(b) February 2014 Visit. Out Sat 15.2, some returning on Sun 23.2, some on Tues 25.2. Roger reported on the composition of the 17-strong group planning to go. Amongst other contacts, it is hoped that Cllr Nigel Sinden will be able to meet some of the politicians. The meeting agreed unanimously to pay Yvonne’s expenses as guide/minder. Such a large group may cause transport problems. It is hoped Richard’s contact, Mohamed, can organise transport for some of the group. Accommodation has not been finalised. There is a problem about sourcing yellow fever vaccine. Edwin will see if he can find any.
6. Health Working Party report. Christine reported that they have packed goods for SL and are now storing it at St Paul’s. There is little news from SL, as Sallu has not been well recently.
Derek reported that local builder Darren Chapman was keen to help with the security wall, but cannot now spare the men. We have not heard from any of the builders we asked for sponsorship.
7. Water harvesting (Derek). Dudley & Little Ridge have ideas for working with their partner on a borehole / harvesting water off roofs. Storage is a problem because of the risk of contamination. The solution is probably a not-too-deep hole housing a rigid container or a welded liner. It is hoped that Ken & Christine Stone, going out soon, can get answers about dimensions, consumption etc that Derek needs.
8. HBC waste management project (Richard). Only 2 digesters are working properly: the others are affected by leaks, or theft of parts, or inadequate supply of the right vegetable matter. Mohamed has doubts about the system’s viability, though Sam French has demonstrated it can work well. If the College can train students in setting up and servicing the system, they could set up a business. Richard is experimenting with methods to stop the gas leaks. CLGF funding is coming to an end and it will be important when visiting in February that the waste initiatives are evaluated fully so that we can decide with Mohamed how best to proceed and prepare a bid for future funding.
9. Events & fundraising
(i) Sussex Brass proms concert. The concert was highly successful from every point of view. Roger had several superb photos of the African visitors, kindly provided by Colin Foy. Derek will present a framed copy to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Richard took a framed copy for the Mayor. Christine has presented a framed copy to the Hastings Association in London. Bill will produce multiple copies of a disc containing a large number of Colin’s photos of the evening.
(ii) Valentine’s Dinner Dance. We are asked to support this excellent event if we possibly can – our African friends support magnificently everything we arrange. Date: Sat 8th Feb. Venue to be announced. Cost about £25.
(iii) (a) Calendars: Going fairly well, but there are still 700 in Robin’s garage. We hope that schools/ their PTAs will make a big effort to sell lots in the run-up to Christmas. (They keep £1 for each calendar sold.) Robin to find out if we can have an info stand and sell calendars in Priory Meadow in December.
(b) Orange Quiz Sheets (Nola). 400 are out in the community, £165 has been paid in so far. We are asked to push the quiz sheets – apart from the modest money prizes, they represent pure profit.
(c) T-shirts (Bill) Sales have stalled – we’ve tended to give them away since 2011. Roger will distribute 50 amongst next February’s travellers, to use as gifts.
(iv) Ideas for future fundraising.
a) Robin has completed Stage 1 of a Comic Relief bid for funding for the Health Centre project, with a great deal of help from Melanie, Christine and Ray. We’ll know in December if we can proceed to Stage 2. Just in case, he will warn Yvonne of the kinds of documentation we are likely to be required to provide.
b) The next Quiz Night will be on 21st March at St Paul’s. We are likely to have sets of prizes for 1st and 2nd tables. If there is no ‘interval round’, we’ll have more time for an auction of pledges and/or serious items. Offers of auction items/pledges, promises of raffle prizes, and offers of help (as runners etc) to Robin. Tables can be booked through Nola (email@example.com or 01424 751295).
c) It was feared that there are already too many runners in the Half Marathon running on behalf of a charity.
d) In spite of our caution over organising a BBQ this year, Robin is encouraged by a friend who is a member of the St Helens Woods Preservation Society to look into running one next year. He will report back on feasibility in the light of new information.
e) We are delighted that Sussex Brass are happy to play for us again. Perhaps that should be in 2 years’ time. Roger will look into the possibility of a Christmas Concert with the Melodeons in 2014.
a) As there is still some work to do on the final details of the trifold leaflet, Robin was asked as a stop-gap to produce a limited number of copies of the leaflet he produced for the St Leonards Festival.
b) Edwin reported positive, quite unsolicited comments about the Link’s website.
11. (a) Date of next ordinary general meeting: Wednesday 15th January at 6.05 in the Town Hall (This has been confirmed)
(b) AGM: Possibly Sat 10th May – to be confirmed, as is the venue.
Hon Sec (firstname.lastname@example.org)