FVRA Committee Minutes May 2020

FVRA Logo

Findon Valley Residents’ Association

Protecting the interests of our community
and the countryside around us

www.fvra.org.uk

Monday 11th May: Remote meeting via zoom

In Attendance:

Lance Allen (LA), Lorraine Taylor (LT), Paula Barns (PB), Clive Sanders (CS) . The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm.

Apologies

N/A, All present.

Minutes of last meeting and Matters Arising

External meetings such as the Cissbury Fields meeting, SDNPA Community Forum and Findon PC meeting have all been cancelled due to the virus lockdown. LA attended the Worthing Climate Conference 4 March, which was useful but lacked time for debate on local issues such as rewilding, or traffic congestion/ pollution outside schools.

Chair

LA reported that due to retirements we were in need of committee members for Secretary, Membership, Highways, Communications and Events. Also an auditor. Vacancy notices are included in our April and May newsletters, our noticeboards and will be in June Sussex Local. LT will post vacancies on FV tab of NextDoor using newsletter wording. Facebook is also a possible channel. It was suggested we issue targeted invitations, commencing with Lime Tree Surgery (action LA), then consider Vale School or Kings Parade businesses.

LA had previously circulated a paper on ‘FVRA into the Future’, looking at our ongoing direction, compared to other residents’ associations in our area. CS suggested we were at a ‘crossroads’, due to numerous retirements and also the lockdown. FVRA is quite active and vibrant compared to its ‘peer group’.

The AGM planned for 4 April was postponed. It is now agreed to pencil in the Saturdays September 19 & 26 as potential dates. LA to contact WSCC Libraries (Justin Burns) to check availability of FV Library. We’ll need to get in the diaries of MP and councillors at an early stage. NB at the AGM we’ll have a vote of thanks and appreciation for our previous Chair Maggie Winter who retired 4 April. Also for other retiring members.

Trustees, Barry Winter has retired. LA will write to the other longstanding ‘dormant’ trustees inviting them to take a more active role, as expected by the Charity Commission. LA, LT and CS are now registered with the Charity Commission as trustees.

The most recent library ‘Drop In’ had no attendees except one non-member seeking action on uncut hedges. It was agreed that post-lockdown we would reduce the hours to 10.00 to 11.15 am (first Saturday of each month).

Vice Chair

LT will receive and vet pictures submitted in our Spring Photos initiative, for inclusion on our website by Jim Booth (JB).

LT reminded members to update their email distribution lists to remove retirees.

The lockdown was discussed including, in general terms, vulnerable self-isolating residents. LT noted that the ARK project now had 30 volunteers helping 20 residents. Local neighbourliness was also known to be effective. FVRA’s donation of £500 to ARK had been received and acknowledged with thanks. Lime Tree Pharmacy had made separate arrangements for local delivery of prescriptions.

Treasurer

Monthly Accounts, for March and April were circulated by CS prior to the meeting. Subscription income to date was well down on 2019.

The 2019 full accounts had been independently checked (our thanks to PB’s father) but a new auditor would be required before Feb 2021.

CS clarified the bank signatory position. Online payments can be issued by CS up to £300 per item and cheques needed two signatures (from CS, LT or LA). This had been approved previously by committee.

The Public Liability Insurance premium £283 is due and it was agreed CS would issue payment.

Membership

Position Vacant, JB has provided an update to LA. As at 31 March, 174 members had renewed against 395 for 2019 Q1. Last year we had an early ‘push’ letter in Sussex Local. The current lockdown will have had an impact. We are encouraging members to renew via direct internet bank payment, and have publicised this in the May newsletter, on our noticeboards and the June Sussex Local.

JB had retired from the committee but was still willing to manage the membership database (in Microsoft Access). LA had thanked him for this support. CS will continue to provide copy bank statements to JB monthly to update the register accordingly.

Schools Liaison

PB reported that the Vale Summer Fair had been cancelled due to Coronavirus.
As regards car congestion and pollution, a wider schools initiative is in development to prevent parking and waiting near school entrances.
It could be possible for the Vale School to help with future FVRA event publicity, and the staff may be a ‘market’ to fill a governor vacancy.

Highways

Position Vacant, LA noted that WSCC vehicles had been present recently to spray pavement weeds and clean gutters.
Due to closure of the Cissbury car parks, inconsiderate parking had on a number of occasions blocked residents’ driveways. Parking at the top of Coombe Rise had been counted at some 200 cars in one day. Many persons were using the lower fields for dog walking, as the tenant farmer had not erected fences or signs on the agricultural land. To be monitored. Due to Coronavirus the joint meeting re. Cissbury Fields for 14 May has been cancelled.

LA noted that the Government was allocating funds to encourage cycling. It was agreed he would contact WSCC councillor Elizabeth Sparkes to discuss the proposed cycleway alongside the A24 from Bost Hill to Nepcote and beyond (the original WSCC plan was for all the way to Washington).

Environment

LT stated that the concrete planters on the Parade had not been tended adequately by the current supplier, and it was agreed LA would approach Findon Garden Centre (now under new local ownership) to see if they could assist. LA to then advise CS that existing service can be terminated.

The Community Garden is looking jaded, with some planters in need of weeding and replanting. A new hosepipe is very much needed for watering. LT advised that Maggie W is willing to help tend the garden, also Chris & Helen Van Heyden.

LT will conduct the annual Gallops Survey and will invite WBC ranger Adam to take part.

The intention for Farmers Markets on the surgery car park, had been welcomed by the surgery, WSCC councillor Sparkes, and WBC. However with the lockdown, nothing tangible can be agreed at this stage. LT to follow up later in the year.

Likewise the proposal for tree planting on the Gallops, in conjunction with the Woodland Trust, cannot be progressed. LA noted that the project would be labour-intensive and require frequent watering of the saplings. There is no available water supply on the Gallops.

Communication

Position Vacant, JB is willing to continue to administer the ‘123Reg’ website and email service. However we do need a Comms Officer for new initiatives and to manage press releases etc. LT suggested we make use of the Worthing Journal also. LA had discussed our current email system with JB. Although free, it can be time-consuming and clunky for issuing emails to residents, eg the monthly newsletter. Hence it can’t be used for ‘quick to market’ distributions.

LT had spotted a second FVRA website under .org.uk (the main site is .org). that appeared unused and undeveloped. JB has confirmed that org.uk is just for testing, and he manages both sites as agent for FVRA. However the org.uk site can confuse people online so LA will approach JB to set up an auto-link to the official .org website.

It was agreed that committee minutes will in future be published on the .org website once approved as accurate.

LA has updated the posters on the two noticeboards.

Events

Position Vacant, No events can take place at present, we will monitor to see if the latter part of the year will have possibilities.

LT suggested a ‘Scarecrow Trail’, that could attract interest later in the year.

AOB

LA will contact local Neighbourhood Watch rep to establish if appropriate to use our June newsletter to draw attention to what is now an active and useful online crime awareness service.

Library, LA had sought a discount on rental costs, but WSCC have responded that we are already on lower community tariff.

Library Drop-in, Still suspended due to Coronavirus.

The meeting closed at 9.20pm

Next meeting – 7.30pm Monday 8th June 2020 (via zoom).