BROADSTONE NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 25th. MAY 2021 VIA ZOOM
The Meeting commenced at 7.30pm with 10 of the current Committee members together with 4 other Watch members.
The Chairman, Vikki Slade, welcomed all those present including Cllr Mike Brooke.
She recorded her and the Committee’s thanks to retiring Committee member, Malcolm Burgess, and wished him well as he recovers from ill health.
- Apologies were received from Dame Annette Brooke and John White
- Minutes of 2019 AGM had been circulated by Chris Walton and were also on the BNW website. There had been no AGM in 2020 due to lockdown. There were no matters arising so the Chairman asked that they be accepted and approved as a true record. Proposed by Chris Walton, seconded by Richard Hudson and unanimously approved by all those present.
- Chairman’s report (Vikki Slade)
Vikki extended her deepest thanks to the Committee for their hard work throughout the last year and to the Watch’s wider group of Co-ordinators and Contacts who do sterling work distributing the newsletter to members. Vikki made special mention of Alan and Stella Lewis, the team who sit at the top of the distribution pyramid doing the job of sorting out all the newsletters when they arrive from the printers.
Vikki announced that the Watch had said goodbye to Russell Perry, our much-loved Membership Officer who sadly passed away on 9th December 2020. We are extremely grateful that his wife, Wendy, continues the Committee and has taken on much of his work.
The past year had been incredibly difficult for so many people and like other organisations the Watch had had to adapt to the way it operated. She thanked the army of volunteers, who had stepped in last Spring, when the usual Co-ordinators and Contacts were unable to do so because of Covid, to help deliver the newsletters to the three thousand plus households who are members. It was also agreed with the Committee to use the newsletter to contact every household in Broadstone in April and May of last year. Unfortunately, the Committee had to make the decision, to suspend the newsletter over several months. Nevertheless, it continued to deal with incidents directly with residents and liaise with the police on a range of issues.
The most common problems for Broadstone residents continue to be scams, financial crimes, and car crime. Members are encouraged to report attempts of the former to Action Fraud and remember that if anything seems too good to be true it is!
Residents often feel it isn’t worth reporting damage or theft because the capacity of police to respond is limited, but it remains vital to submit reports so that the police have a true picture of crime in the area and can develop patterns of crime. By not reporting incidents paints a false picture and ineffective deployment of limited police resources. The police are only responding when patterns emerge so individuals may be an important link in a chain of crimes. It is necessary to give police the information and let them decide to pursue. The police now have an analyst to look at the bigger geographical picture and pinpoint locations where crimes occur and develop patterns of behaviour.
It is hoped the new Police and Crime Commissioner will accept an invitation to meet members this year to hear first-hand resident’s concerns. If the invitation is accepted it will be advertised widely, and people encouraged to post their questions in advance to ensure that the most is made of the opportunity.
- Treasurer’s report (Richard Hudson)
The accounts for the year ended 31st March 2021 had been sent to all attendees at this evening’s virtual AGM. Members had been notified via recent newsletters that they were available also on the BNW website or could be obtained directly from the Treasurer.
4.1 Examiner’s Report
Paul Day, BNW’s Honorary Examiner, had examined the books and records for the year and certified that the accounts are true and correct and in accordance with the requirements. Richard expressed his thanks to Paul for his expertise and work as the BNW Examiner, a post he had held for several years.
The Income and Expenditure Account showed that BNW had no income last year. It was unable to collect subscriptions because of Covid-19. In reply to a question by member, June Webber, Richard explained that the subscription ‘holiday’ would continue until 2022 due to both Covid and some Contacts reluctance to knock on doors and collect cash at present.
The principal donation this year was £1000 for the erection of an Eco Chapel at St. John’s Church, Broadstone. There were also three charitable donations and payment for the annual maintenance of a local community defibrillator. Due diligence will be carried out on all donations to ensure they meet the Watch’s criteria and aims and objectives.
4.4 Administrative Expenses
Administrative expenses included £1,063 for printing and stationery, which was £426 less than the previous year because only eight months newsletters were printed due to Covid instead of the normal twelve. Sundry expenses were £133.
4.5 Balance Sheet
The Watch is a member organisation it has no debtors or creditors which means there is a movement in cash and bank balance. As shown by the Accounts, the deficit reduced the Accumulated Fund from £8,891 to £6,386 on 31st March 2021, which was represented by the bank account balance at that date. With reserves at this level, BNW remains in a strong financial position, in the context of administrative expenses of £1800 in a normal operational year the Watch effectively has three years’ worth of finance.
4.6 Approval of the Accounts
The Committee had agreed the BNW Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2021 at its meeting on 4 May 2021. The accounts were proposed for approval by Vikki Slade, seconded by Alan Jeans and unanimously approved by all those present.
- Membership Report (Wendy Perry)
In the absence of newsletter deliveries during the first lockdown the vice chairman, treasurer, and membership officer undertook to phone Contacts and collect as many e-mail addresses as possible so that people could easily be kept up to date. It was necessary before returning to normal deliveries to establish who was willing to start again and who would cover for those who couldn’t manage to. After e-mailing, phoning, and writing letters the results were put into a database and any gaps were covered by Committee members therefore enabling deliveries to restart in July until the latest lockdown forced them to stop after the December issue.
Data protection issues caused the Watch to consider its membership model a few years ago, and it decided for practical purposes the resident’s property is the member, so the Watch does not keep a record of individual members’ names. Contacts are particularly good at noticing when properties change hands and in welcoming new owners into the Watch. Consequently, membership numbers will not be affected by the toll from Covid -19. Since there were no subscriptions collected last year, it was impossible to reconcile the normal receipts/membership reconciliation. However, as the Watch’s model is dwelling based it is the membership remains the same at around 3,487. Subscribers to the e-mail newsletter have been increasing gradually.
Of greater concern is the vacancies that have occurred due to contacts moving or retiring. There are some roads where no volunteer has come forward. Unfortunately, if Contacts are not replaced those roads will no longer receive newsletters or retain membership and the group will have to close. Broadstone is a noticeably big Watch and could not function or be so successful without its great volunteers.
Due to non-attendance, there is no police report for this meeting.
- Editor’s report. (Colin Merrett)
At the beginning of the first lockdown, the newsletters carried extensive and vital public information about the support network in place from BCP Council, churches and other local and national organisations and were safely delivered to every home in Broadstone. As conditions have eased and restrictions lifted it has been safer to resume delivery and newsletter production, issue and delivery is back on track. There are plenty of items to fill copy and regular reports from the police and Trading Standards. Colin stressed that putting the newsletter together really is a team effort and expressed his thanks to all the contributors, printers, Stella, and Alan Lewis who bundle up and deliver 3,500 copies every month to Co-ordinators and the Contacts who distribute the newsletters to each member around Broadstone so efficiently.
8. Changes to the Constitution
Four changes to be made to the BNW constitution were proposed. These were:
8.1 Removal of the Developmental Officer role.
Originally combined with the Membership role it was separated as the post could not be filled and became less important as membership stabilised. It has now been subsumed into the Membership Secretary post and successfully done by newsletter advertisement.
8.2 Creation of the IT Officer Role
The role provides an opportunity to gather knowledge of how the BNW Website, Facebook and e-mail systems work into one new position so that knowledge is preserved and benefit for the Watch can be obtained through understanding and using Social Media Tools.
8.3 Requirement to publicise any Member Co-opted onto the Committee
The constitution has allowed the Committee to co-opt anyone onto it ever since the Watch began. However, it seems fair and reasonable for the Committee to report the appointment of co-opted persons to members at the AGM. Nobody was co-opted to the Committee in the last year.
8.4 Police Membership of the Committee
The constitution used to have a mandatory membership slot for a member of the local police team. For several years now this attendance had become more infrequent with the increased pressure on police resources. The change is proposed to reflect this reality by removing the permanent place but emphasizing the right to attend and the immense value the Watch derives from having regular contact with local police officers.
The changes are in Clause 7 of the Constitution. Chris Walton had reproduced a text of this Clause with the existing words deleted and new proposed words shown in red ink for approval by the meeting. Chris Walton proposed the changes. Seconded by Vikki Slade and unanimously approved by all those present.
9. Election of Officers and Committee Members for the year 2021/22
Apart from Russell Perry and Malcolm Burgess the rest of the Committee will stand again. Councillor Mike Brooke took the Chair and proposed that Vikki Slade be re-elected as Chairman of BNW. All agreed so Vikki Slade was automatically re-elected as Chairman of the Watch. The rest of the Committee were willing to continue for another year.
Louise Dalrymple who is already a Co-ordinator in the same area of Broadstone as Malcolm Burgess was nominated as a new Committee member – proposed by Vikki Slade. Seconded by Richard Hudson and approved unanimously by all those present.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 20:15 hours.