Minutes of AGM 8th March, 2018
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
8th March, 2018 at 6.30
Peter Harris, Rex Shayler, Sue Newham, Kath Wigley, John Wigley, Jan Davies, Annie Garforth, Judi Deakin, Russ Edwards, Paula Scott, Chris Kinsey, Lisa Barlow, Mike Davies
Introduction and welcome by Chairman Peter Harris
Peter welcomed the group and was pleased by the turn out.
Apologies for absence
Sally Rackham, Liz Hinkley
Minutes of previous AGM
These were approved unanimously without review.
Presentation of accounts Rex Shayler
Rex presented the accounts and these were accepted unanimously. They are Appendix 1. The item listed as payment to Mike Davies was identified as reimbursement for the purchase of waders, extra memory for the camera traps, and footprint traps. Rex will now register us as a charity with HMRC. The group thanked Peter for arranging a generous donation from an engineering company and Peter reported that another company may be willing to contribute.
RSC has now joined PAVO and our details are entered on the Info Engine web site. In order to register as a charity with HMRC we need to agree and submit a new constitution, circulated by email and tabled at this AGM, see below. The guidance for such charities is: As long as you adhere to charity law (e.g. have charitable purposes, can prove public benefit) you may refer to your organisation as a charity. DO NOT use the word(s) "registered" or "charity status" or anything else that may mislead funders, donors or the public. If your charity has an HMRC number you may wish to state this fact e.g. "our charity is a not-for-profit organisation recognised as charitable by HMRC for tax purposes" but DO NOT quote your actual tax number - this could make your charity vulnerable to fraud.
We discussed purchasing our own display boards (costing about £130) since the ones we have used previously may no longer be readily available. Mike will check on their availability to borrow for future use.
Annual report Mike Davies and Paula Scott
Our current membership is 53 up from 42 last year.
Web site, blog and Facebook. The web site is still active and being updated regularly. Russ reported that the blog is still active but there are still login problems and it is being phased out in favour of the Facebook page that is being more widely accessed. All members are encouraged to report sightings of birds, fish, invasive species, otters and minks, etc.
River protection and clean up. We have continued in-river and river bank clean ups as required. Members should report any objects in the river that need removal. Fallen trees are not included unless they are likely to cause flooding since Natural Resources Wales consider them a valuable habitat. Sue suggested scheduling another in river clean up soon, when water levels are low, and before bank vegetation makes access difficult.
Invasive species monitor and control. We continue to control Giant Hogweed along the river bank, particularly in the area where the Mochdre Brook enters the river. Areas of Japanese Knotweed are reported to Natural Resources Wales who chemically treat it to protect flood defenses. We encourage people to eat Himalayan Balsam and we only remove it to provide access to the river. Crayfish monitoring continues but all we find are the invasive American Signal crayfish, never the native variety. This invasive crayfish is widespread in our stretch of the river and the only good news is that the otters love them.
Bird and Bat boxes. These are installed in Dolerw Park and the bird boxes are well used. The bat boxes, however, are still awaiting tenants.
Parson’s Bridge. This was the footbridge linking the Gro Tump area to Llanllwchaiarn Church and has been washed away on a number of occasions during flooding. For a number of reasons we would like to reinstate a pedestrian/cycling bridge near this location. The original location is no longer available since the course of the river has altered and public rights of way do not exist. We estimate a replacement bridge will cost about £320,000 - £480,000 plus foundations and approach paths. New PROWs will need to be agreed.
The Canal Basin project seems to be currently inactive and there seems little prospect of it proceeding. Sue reported that the Town Council are still hoping to extend the canal to Newtown perhaps under the Mid-Wales Growth Deal initiative.
Fly Larvae monitoring. This survey is continuing at a location downstream of the Halfpenny Bridge. Results are updated regularly on the web site and on the national monitoring web site. Recent results have been near or below trigger levels. Training courses are still occasionally available for anyone wishing to participate in other locations, details will be emailed to members. Paula is to take a species level identification course, run by Severn Rivers Trust, on April 11th and May 9th.
The bird survey is now effectively completed and results are available on the RSC web site.
We are planning to use camera traps again this year after mixed results on previous use. We will also use the wildlife footprint traps for the first time. We will try installing them again at Pont Hafren after Russ reported the regular presence of an otter there. The Pump House owner, Richard Jones, has been reported to be sympathetic to our aims. Kath and John Wigley will contact him to see if he is willing to have cameras and footprint traps located on his property.
The Going Green for a Living project is moving forward slowly. The lottery funding has been approved but the land transfer from PCC has not yet been completed. A board has been set up, as have a number of working groups, see details Appendix 2. So far no group meetings have taken place but if you interested contact the relevant group. Paula and Mike are participating in the process and will keep members informed of any progress. Chris suggested a meeting of RSC to discuss our specific interests and concerns. This will be set up soon once the process becomes clearer and we have more specifics to discuss. On Saturday March 10th there will be a public meeting, called by Cllr David Selby, to explain the scheme. This meeting will start at 10am at the Evangelical Church.
Planned activities for 2018
Recruitment, involvement of young people. We would like to encourage more young people to get involved in our activities and will continue to offer presentations to schools and community groups. If any members have contacts in local youth organizations or schools please spread the word. The Air Cadets would like to help with some of our activities but need at least 2 to 3 weeks’ notice.
Lisa Barlow has applied for funding to the Big Lottery to continue work with communities on river projects in the Welsh Severn Uplands in Powys. This current project would aim to start in October 2018 and continue for three years.
Newtown Carnival and Food Festival. We decided once again not to participate in the Carnival but consider that the Food Festival is a good forum for us to raise awareness of the river and of our activities. We plan to have a presence there during on the Sunday, 2nd September. It will cost £30 for the 2 days plus £30 for the supply of electricity so, like last year, the canoe club will take the Saturday and we’ll have the Sunday and share the costs. They will use our gazebo etc.
A litter pick in Dolerw Park is scheduled for this Saturday, 10th March, from 10 to 12 am, weather permitting. Please come if you can and meet at 10 am by the bins in the car park at the end of the Dolerw footbridge. Keep Wales Tidy will provide equipment and bags.
The Montgomeryshire FOE group are holding an event on Saturday 17th March from 10 am until 2 pm in the Bear Lanes, Broad St entrance. This will act as a launch for the new group as well as highlight the Bee Friendly Town initiative to the passing public, with some family friendly activities and information. The group hopes to gather views and ideas for making Newtown and Montgomeryshire more Bee Friendly. They have asked members of RSC to join them and to help spread the word.
The company Aden is looking for locations to film a series on urban wildlife for BBC Wales. Last year they filmed a similar one for S4C, but are hoping to improve massively on the wildlife items. This series will differ somewhat as it will have more contributor participation, and the use of their own footage from trail cameras or even a phone. Russ has been approached as a possible contributor but no follow up from them to date.
Salmon Redd counting workshop for anglers and custodians organised by Lisa Barlow, Severn Rivers Trust. Thursday March 15th 2018 10am-12.30pm, Dolobran Fach, Pont Robert, Meifod, SY22 6JE. Chris Penfold, Rex and Mike will be attending but there are still spaces if anyone else wishes to come.
A Black Poplar network has been set up in Powys by Lisa Barlow. The aim is to propagate local Black Poplar Trees and organise volunteers who might want to plant them out to increase the population. Newtown Town Council provided cuttings to Derwen Garden Centre about 2 years ago and they will provide 50 seedlings back to the Council and sell the rest.
New Constitution and election of committee/trustees
The new constitution was accepted by all and the new ‘committee’, now trustees of the soon to be charity, were elected unanimously and signed the document, Appendix 3. This will now be submitted by Rex to HMRC as part of the application to become a charity.
Any other business
There being no other business, Peter closed the meeting at 8.20 with thanks to Paula and Mike for hosting the meeting.
9th March, 2018
APPENDIX 1 Financial accounts 2017-2018.
APPENDIX 2. Preliminary details of Going Green for a Living.
Email from Adam Kennerley dated 5th February, 2018.
‘Dear 'successful' consortium members,
You have heard the good news from Stuart. A great team effort. However now we have to get on with it and at the last Consortium Meeting we agreed to for some working groups.
Many of you quite rightly didn't wish to join the board but we did say there would be other ways in which you can contribute. Working Groups are one of these; and they allow you to volunteer time and ideas into the area of the project you are most interested in. They are Task and Finish i.e. they have a discreet job to do so you aren't signing up for life.
So attached is a Brief for the six working groups. Please read and consider volunteering - either yourself or perhaps there is someone else in your group who would like to now join in and contribute. This is an excellent time to jump in as we review the project and lay out some detailed plans.
What to do?
1) Read the enclosed and consider which group appeals to you, who from your group might also be interested.
You will see a raft of people have already volunteered - so you are in good company.
2) Make directcontact with the Director who is coordinating each group - the table below gives you their e-mails;
Coordinating / animating Director
Sports and recreation
Tom Chandler and Owen Durbridge
Events and playpark
Land management planning – plus its ecology, access and interpretation
Membership and outreach / community engagement
Adam Kennerley to kick off, Gary Mitchell to take over.
Marketing and promotion
Stuart Owen supported by Adam Kennerley
3) Please do it NOW. This is a once in a generation opportunity to be part of the improvement of our town - step aboard.
4) The coordinators will then set up dates and venues and will facilitate the working groups.
APPENDIX 3. New Constitution, signed.