logo Minutes of a Committee meeting
held on 14 May 2018

Attendees: Susan Stobbs (Chair), Charles Hattersley (Secretary) Ismail Akram (Treasurer) and Jo Hesslewood. Apologies had been received from Dick Baxter and Caroline Lenoury.

1. Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting

Damage to the Common was discussed and the Anthony French response to the request for clarification about the effect of heavy vehicles during the dormant months. He commented as follows " Whilst it might not be desirable to place heavy loading into grass during the winter or wet periods, with the correctly targeted remedial works and with the resilience of grass, damage can be addressed with no onward detrimental effect." It was agreed that the chair should pressure them for a published programme of the remedial works so we can be clear what has been done. At this time there are significant areas with deep ruts and bare patches in the small area between Victoria Ave and footbridge as well as the areas occupied by the Half Marathon and subsequent Circus and May fair.

2. Money matters

Ismail our new Treasurer presented a summary of the accounts to date. This showed a possible overspent of £263 if all other anticipated expenditures occur. He is speaking to the bank soon about any issues associated with us publishing our bank account details to enable BACS transactions for membership and donations. Some sort of reference system will be desirable to enable tracking. A small sum of £66.34 had been agreed to renew the website domain licence, this is required every 10 years.

3. BruNK Donation

The spending of the BRUNK donation was discussed and two suggestions had been received: a Wooden picnic table cost circa £130 and a Drinking fountain with unknown cost but estimated as being well above the donation. It was decided to go with the picnic table along with security measures in place to allow mowing to be carried out easily. The drinking fountain was thought to be an excellent idea and in sympathy with the Green agenda and Chair reported that the Council had in principle agreed to install safe drinking fountains throughput the City last year. This was supported by Strawberry Fair and others. It can be dangerous to health to drink from ordinary taps in public places. Free membership for BRUNK members who wished to join was agreed.

4. Orchard matters

Dick reported though the Chair that a new heavier duty hand mower had been ordered and that the ride on mower was hoped to be returning. The council had done a good job with the new path and railings around the entrance and the volunteers had cleared a lot of areas last Sunday. There was a good turn out of new faces. A new member was signed up on the day. Another Astra Zenica volunteers day is planned for the week commencing 21 May and being coordinated by Dick.

5. Upcoming Events

Strawberry Fair presence in children’s enclosure was planned but subsequently has been shelved as it proved difficult to get enough volunteers to help with the stall. Perhaps this can be considered for 2019. Swift Awareness week is upon us, on June 22 a walkabout with Helen from Action for Swifts is planned and will be circulated to members. Orchard picnic later in year at similar time to 2017 which is circa 16 September to follow similar format which was a success.

6. Co-opted member

A Co-opted member of the Committee from the boaters community was raised and Charles reported that Ms Kate Hurst of Odessa narrow boat would be delighted to join FoMC and fulfil the role. Local meeting with Kate to be arranged soon.

7. Biodiversity

This is ongoing. The swift calls have been reinstated. The bees seem healthy.

8. AOB

Thistles seem to be thriving on the common which could be due to the nitrogen enriched atmosphere. It was queried if thistles are a weed that should be legally controlled and this will be raised with the Council. The grass outside Ferry House is being mown by the new owner who is endeavouring to get the pub to clean up the areas too. Whilst not ideal to see beautification of common land the precedent set by Midsummer House means it would probably be ineffective to discuss this with the Council. The FoMC Committee structure was discussed around a paper circulated by the Chair which is attached below. It was accepted that the list reflected the situation and should be carried forward.

Charles Hattersley (secretary)
29 May 2018.

FoMC committee structure

I am very aware how busy the Chair’s job has been this year, and how helpful it has been to have support from members of the committee. All the things that have happened this year makes us realise how important FoMC is within the community and how essential it is to make it sustainable for the future. So many voluntary organizations fold because new people cannot be found to take ideas forward as others get too old and frail. This can be helped if responsiblities can be shared amongst a group. I list various aspects of our work and who has been specifically helping this year:

Essential responsibilities for the Chair

Dealing with the Council, press, police, enquirers about MC matters. Attending meetings relating to MC and commenting on behalf of FoMC. Liaising with other appropriate like minded groups. Jo has helped with attending meetings and reporting back when needed.

Essential responsibilities for the Secretary

Keeping an updated membership list, encouraging new members, keeping the minutes of the AGM and FoMc committee meetings.

Essential responsibilities for the Treasurer

Keeping FoMCs bank accounts, authorizing expenditure, doing the accounts for audit. Applying for grant funding when available.

Other important roles can be spread around according to the interests of the Committee. Website and social media: Currently Dick and Caroline. Social events. Strawberry Fair: currently Chair and Jo. Picnic and any other events: currently Chair. Illegal parking and the Council Gate email group: currently Secretary. Biodiversity: currently Chair and Jo.

The orchard

This is a big undertaking much appreciated by so many local people who regularly walk through. The responsibility is currently shared between the Orchard Manager and the Chair. Chair's responsibilities: Updating the NB. Looking after the entrance area- weeding and planting and dealing with the Council over the path. Organising the monthly volunteering sessions. Orchard Manager’s responsibilities: Organising a mowing schedule and keeping equipment in good repair. Informing the committee when new equipment is needed. Generally dealing with keeping the area looking well kept and attractive. Keeping the brambles under control. Pruning and caring for the trees and planning additional planting. Liaising with the Council to organize other groups who wish to volunteer (eg. AstraZenica). The Orchard manager currently has one regular helper who is now leaving Cambridge. He will now need much additional regular support in the future. This needs active discussion between the Committee and the Orchard Manager.