logo Minutes of ninth Annual General Meeting held on
27 April 2016 in Christ Church

1. Welcome.

The Chair welcomed everyone. Apologies for absence: Martin Weeks and Professor Hopkins. About 40 people attended.

2. Minutes of 2015 AGM and matters arising.

No objections.

3. Treasurer's report.

Sarah Green presented the report; copies of the accounts were available for members at the meeting. Thanks were given to Andrew Entiknap for examining our accounts.

The Financial year runs from 1st Jan to 31 December, so for the 2015 year we started the year with £1,627.80 and ended it with £549.58. Since 31 December we have incurred further expenditure on grant funded items so our balance as our March statement was £505.15, with some invoices still be to be paid.

Summary of transactions in 2015

Received £585.90. We were very grateful to be awarded a grant of £405 from the City Council towards the costs of seeds, plants and hedging, insurance for volunteers, bird boxes, hall hire for our AGM, and a small amount for publicity materials, gardening tools and their maintenance. FoMC members also kindly contributed £180 in membership and donations in 2015 and since December we have had further donations, including £100 from the Beth Shalom Synagogue which overlooks our orchard and several private donations from our members for which we are very grateful.

Spent: £1664.12. Noticeboard for orchard funded by previous year’s grant (£700); Mower repairs and upkeep of tools and materials (£106.71); Insurance (£282.30); Hire of hall for AGM (£75); Bat detectors funded by last year’s grant (£97.05); Seeds, plants and hedging (£317.60); Bird boxes (£50); and Publicity materials (£35.80). We bought a number of other items, including bat boxes, a transmitter for the Swift boxes and plants but payments for these were made after December and will be included in next year’s accounts.

Planned spend for 2016. This year the main item we are planning to buy is a second hand sit-on mower, which will be more capable of dealing with the tough terrain in the orchard, and will make us less dependent on the occasional mowing by the Council when they are free to help. We will also incur our usual running costs of Insurance, AGM costs, petrol and upkeep of tools. We are very grateful for the continued support of a Council Community grant of £445 (confirmed after the meeting). We are also always grateful for any contributions from members and there are a few collecting jars on the tables tonight!

Subscriptions. FoMC do not propose asking members for subscriptions this year. However, as well as hard cash, FoMC appreciate donations in kind: e.g. bushes for orchard, kit and refreshments for meetings.

4. Amendments to the Constitution

Two amendments were described and proposed by the Chair:

  1. Under Purpose, to add "A secondary purpose is to help carry out environmental work on the Common and in the Community Orchard."
  2. Under Aims and Objectives, to add "to carry out agreed works to improve the environment and biodiversity in the main Common and Community Orchard and to encourage participation in these activities from the diverse local community."

There were no objections and the amendments were accepted by vote and without dissention.

5. Election of Honorary Officers.

All three serving officers were willing to stand for re-election and no other nominations had been received. Thus the following were proposed by Dick Baxter and seconded by Barry Higgs without dissent:

  • Chairman: Susan Stobbs
  • Secretary: Charles Hattersley
  • Treasurer: Sarah Green

6. Election of Committee.

In addition to the Honorary Officers, the following were proposed as Committee members by Dick Baxter and seconded by Barry Higgs: Ismail Akram, Raymond Gay, Josephine Hesselwood, Caroline Lenoury and Amy Tillson. There were no other volunteers and no votes against. The constitution limits the Committee to 8 people but the Chair proposed to co-opt Dick Baxter onto the Committee as Orchard Manager and Archivist.

7. Chair's Report.

The Chair presented her Report.

8. Open Forum.

Will Midsummer Fair go ahead this year? The Fun Fair part has been cancelled but Traders fair is going ahead. Cambridge Live have to review the complex nature of Midsummer Fair contractors. May Day fair is a simpler affair as it is only one contractor.

When are the Cattle returning? We hope after May Fair and that if events are distributed to other commons they can stay for longer. Supplementary question was asked about why the East pound wasn't being used. FoMC has worked very hard to get the Eastern Pound cattle proof so that it can be used for the cattle when there are one day events on the Common, but there still seems to be considerable opposition from some Council employees. This is a matter to be taken up again with the Pinder who is responsible.

White Stones outside Midsummer House should be removed? This is a council issue but should be commented on by FoMC? The whole issue of that area will be addressed within the Steering Group who are working up the improvements for that area. Hopefully the design will prevent vehicles damaging the edges on both sides of the footpath. Action needs to be taken before the common land is 'integrated' further into the business, manicured grass and footpath with lighting are already established.

Clearing up of common after event needs action? After recent Half Marathon the clearing up was very sub standard. Additionally the damage to the soil by vehicles deploying and recovering miles of fencing is still evident. The contractor should be supervised better.

Damage to common and orchard by Granta Net contractor? The orchard damaged are will be reseeded this week after volunteers removed stones and levelled the area. Trenched areas of the wider common will need reviewing.

Registering of the Allotment land? Discussion ongoing as to whether it best to stay as allotment land or become common land. Seems to ensure that it will not be sold.

Nettle patches on the common? These are expanding and need to be monitored to ensure not a problem. With more volunteers FoMC would like to remove some of the nettle patches from the bank by the orchard and plant some more hedging to improve biodiversity, but this is quite a big job.

Can more volunteers be encouraged? Currently our insurance only covers FOMC members but a blanket policy by council is or should be considered thus saving the costs involved. Anything to encourage and allow more volunteers should be encouraged.

Cyclist speed by small group of users is worrying? This was generally agreed as being an antisocial issue but ways of curbing this behaviour were complex but being reviewed.

9. Any Other Business.

Two new members joined and paid subscription and others made some additional donations. There was no other business.