Friday, 15 March 2019

Friday, 15 March 2019


MINUTES OF MARCH 2019 MEETING


MINUTES OF THE ABAS MEETING HELD ON 11TH MARCH 2019.

19 members attended representing 10 allotment sites

Apologies were received on behalf of Rawlyn Road and Harpers Lane Societies.

Minutes of the October Meeting and the AGM
The  Minutes having been posted on the Association Blog-site and their being no corrections anyone wished to make, or any points anyone wished to raise, or other matters arising, the meeting moved to adopt the minutes as correct.

Matters Arising 
NAS draft document relating to “Code of Conduct” and “Bullying” –see later
NAS still expressing concern about the small number of abas members who are also current members of NAS – see later
NWCAA – report back on recent regional meeting – see later
Monitoring Council performance on BoTs etc. – update
Abas / Council projects – see later
Police Issues and Site Security – see later

Water Usage – at present Allotments can still deliver the road  planings etc. promised. Will those secretaries who asked for them please contact allotments band reconfirm that they still want planings, what they want them for, in what quantity and where they would like them tipped/

Reporting on Council Performance on BoT Notices
Stewart Draper (SXS) has been doing some work on a computer-based system for collecting data on BoT2s, BOt3s etc. Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances the Committee has not been able to respond properly to his work. We hope to do so in the near future

However Stewart is currently preparing a version for launch. He would like some volunteers to test it out before it goes live. Could any site secretaries prepared to be a guinea pig please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with Stewart.

Projects with the Council
The Handover Pack

Abas had agreed with MR that we would try to develop (for the start of the 2019 “season” a checklist for retiring / succeeding secretaries and treasurers as to what (minimum) information should be handed over when one succeeds the other. Unfortunately, for reasons previously stated we have been unable to achieve this during the winter break. We are reviewing the situation, current plans are for a simple checklist. . Could any site secretaries prepared to help by reading this list please contact us.

Bullying Policy
Abas has acquired the draft Bullying Policy prepared by the NAS. We shall be sharing this with the Council once we have had chance to study it.

GM SPATIAL PLAN
This plan is now out for consultation.

In related matters it would appear that whereas Salford are taking a positive approach to allotment provision Bolton are taking a negative line and blocking anything that threatens to create work or expenditure for the authority “down the line”.

We may also wish to consider the success of the approach taken by the Bowling Clubs in reducing the proposed cuts to their services and what lessons this might hold for us.

THE ABAS VISION STATEMENT
Abas exists to achieve fair treatment for all plot-holders on allotments sites within the Bolton Borough boundaries. It seeks to achieve this through effective representation of plot-holders and societies to the Council and the provision of support to individuals and societies.

ABAS MEMBERSHIP
The sites listed below are in membership. We have 413 members out of 668 plots on their sites
There are 961 plots in Bolton on all sites

Rawlyn Rd, Tonge Moor Rd, Haslam Park, Moss Lea, Settle St, Naysmith St, Sapling Road, Smedley Avenue, Harpers Lane, Shepherd Cross St, Tonge Fold, Green Lane (Horwich), Dealey Rd, Florence Avenue, Clammerclough.

There are individual members at Firwood Rd.

Ainsdale Rd and Lever Park Avenue have not renewed membership to date, Lever Park are recorded as having paid NAS subs. Underlined Sites in are NAS members

Matters raised by Member Societies

Site Security remains a problem – following recent incidents of arson, thefts and vandalism, issues include:

What is the Police’s responsibility? – Discussion included the issue of the 101 phone number (and the lack of a timely response to calls to that number).  The meeting noted current recommendations to use LiveChat on www.gmp.police.uk.

What is the Council’s responsibility? To what extent does the Council have a responsibility to maintain boundary fences and gates to a suitable standard?

What is the Society’s responsibility? As relates to ensuring gates are kept locked and issuing advice to plot-holders.

What is the individual plot-holder’s responsibility? Current advice to all plot-holders is not to keep tools or anything of value in the shed / greenhouse or on the plot. “Take it home” sums up the advice.

Individuals should also check their household insurance policies, in some cases contents of an allotment shed may be included

What can we (as an allotment community) do? Abas will invite GMP to send a representative to an abas meeting to discuss issues such as the police response to break-ins and arson attacks and to explain exactly what (if anything) happens to the reports of such incidents when reported to police – are details collated in any way?

Progress Meetings with Allotments

During 2018 we held a two Progress Meetings with the Head of Neighbourhood Services.

We maintained regular contact by email

We would aim to have more frequent meetings in 2019 and also that the “Refresher Monitor” be updated and circulated more frequently. This will (as always) depend on Council “resource availability”

It was also felt that it would be useful to hold a Progress Meeting once details of the 2019/2020 Allotments Budget and details of 2018/2019 expenditure are available.

Bolton Allotment Competitions and Show

Abas will again run the Bolton Allotments Competitions
The Fairhurst, Greenhalgh and New Tenant Trophies plus the Rosebowl for “Best Site”.
Volunteers are invited to join the judging panel for these events. This involves being part of a team which visits each site and assesses those plots entered into the competition.

On August 3rd, Abas will again organise the Annual Vegetable, Onion and Leek Show.
As in previous years Abas will be seeking individual / society sponsorship of the Vegetable Show Classes. There will be 25 classes at £10 per class.

We will aim to distribute A4 posters relating to these events for use on sites

NAS and NWCAA
There was an NWCAA meeting on Sunday 19th February at Cheetham and Crumpsall Model Allotments at which abas was represented

It was attended by Liz Bunting – the current Legal and Operations Manager of the NAS – she spoke on a) The LANTRA training development and b) the NAS Code of Conduct

We were again approached by NAS officials (Dave Morris) about the small number of Societies in ABAS who were registering members with NAS and the small number of members quoted by those who did.  The Chair again reminded Mr Morris and also Alan Hull (who also attended) that
a) a society does not have to be affiliated to the NAS (and thus register its members with the NAS and pay membership fees)to be part of abas

b) not every plot-holder on a site is a member of their site society (or is required to be as a condition of tenancy)

c)  that the vast majority of the sites they have referred to are very small and have no society and little (if any) contact with abas or its member societies 

There seemed to be a feeling that abas does not sufficiently promote membership of the NAS. The Chair has pointed out that we have promoted the Seed Discount Schemes, we have supported NWCAA participation at the Southport Show and facilitated a discussion of the NAS Insurance Scheme.
We shall however ask NAS for suitable promotional materials for distribution to members

Please note our Mission Statement which stresses that abas exists primarily to represent the societies in their dealings with Bolton Council.

GRANTS AND TRAINING

CVS has alerted members to the existence of grants from the Provincial Walsh Trust, Bolton – details on www.pwtb.org deadlines are March 31st and September 30th.
Other information is available in the CVS Funding Bulletin – copies through www.boltoncvs.org.uk

Abas urge all member societies to become CVS members
CVS have issued details of their training and events programme – see www.boltoncvs.org.uk

PS Abas has received a grant of £827 as a contribution to 2019 expenses

WHAT’S ON IN 2019?
As in previous years please let us know what events, projects you are organising.
Perhaps it would be useful for Site Societies to know that
NATIONAL ALLOTMENTS WEEK 2019 IS THE 12TH TO 18TH AUGUST

OUTSTANDING ISSUES / ANY OTHER BUSINESS
The following matters were raised at the meeting

Those sites who had requested road planings last autumn, have been asked to contact Allotments to confirm that they still want / need them, the quantity they are asking for, the purpose to which they will be put and where they would like them tipped.

Moss Lea reported that a revised OMA reflecting their specific circumstances (which was promised in the autumn) has not been provided by Allotments.

Florence Avenue reported that “winter works” i.e. work on their site which they felt they had been promised would be undertaken during the winter break has not been done.

Tonge Moor raised the matter that a new version of the Tenancy Amendment form which they had expected over the winter had not been issued.

Settle Street reported on a recent incident in which a BoT3 had been served and the person “evicted”. Allotments had then advised Settle St that the plot could be re-let. Settle Street did this. The evicted person then came on to the site, abused the new tenant and stated that the plot was hers. She also stated that she had paid her rent. Allotments then stated that telling Settle Street to re-let the plot had been an error and that Settle St should reinstate the evicted tenant. (And remove the plot from a new tenant who had been making a go of it.) Settle Street’s Committee feel they have been considerably embarrassed whilst they have done nothing wrong.

There have been incidents such as the above previously, it makes site secretaries and societies look bad in the eyes of their plot-holders and gives ammunition to those on sites who take every opportunity to attack site officers.

The Question of KEYS …. It would appear that too many people with little or no connection to sites have keys.
The current understanding is that the Council no longer issues each new tenant with a site key free of charge but that the site society should provide a key. Societies should look into operating “deposit” (as opposed to “sale”) schemes. The key is in effect loaned to the tenant who pays an agreed deposit refundable when the tenant returns the key on giving up the tenancy.

Some site societies also request that tenants surrender any copy keys they have had made during their tenancy and we would encourage this practice.

Abas is a bit short-handed at the moment, Both the Secretary and the Treasurer have family responsibilities which are reducing their ability to commit as much time as usual to abas matters. Members may therefore experience some delays in getting replies. We would ask that if you have to telephone the Secretary you try to do so on Thursdays. However email would be preferred

MINUTES
The minutes of all meetings are posted on the blog site as soon as possible after the event, we also post any other information we feel relevant to our members’ concerns
http://abas2014.blogspot.co.uk

MEETINGS SCHEDULE
The following meetings are planned
April 8th
May 14th TUESDAY
June 10th
July 8th
August 12th
September 9th
October 14th
NOVEMBER 11TH THE AGM

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