VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT MEETING
Monday 26 November 2018 7.30 pm
Those Present – List attached
The Chair (Tim Coleman – TC) opened by welcoming everybody. He went on to explain that the meeting had come about as a result of a meeting in October between Herefordshire Council and representatives of the various parishes councils to discuss the implications of proposed cuts to services resulting from reductions in funding from central and local government sources. These cuts meant that parish councils would have to become more resilient and self-reliant. A suggestion from Herefordshire Council had been to the formation of village development groups to help the different groups within each parish to cope with these cuts. The recent meeting of the fund raising groups in Eaton Bishop reflected the will to develop and take such a scheme forward. The village had groups willing to give their time and expertise to help maintain the two valuable local assets – the village hall and the church. Increasing public awareness of fundraising had had encouraging and tangible benefits and had resulted in a number of ‘new’ people coming forward offering their help and expertise.
One of the problems was that a) people did not know who was involved with each group and secondly what the groups did. One of the main objectives of the meeting was to clarify this. Each group would give a presentation of the group’s purpose and activities. After each presentation there would be time for discussion and questions.
DECLARATION OF ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There was none.
The Role of the Parish Council
Leon Wolverson (LW) introduced the role of the Parish Council. He had been a Parish Councillor for 5 years, Vice Chair for 3 years and Chair this year.
He explained that the Parish Council (PC) was the first tier of local Government and was responsible for mainly Parish matters and acted on behalf of the community that it represented. For example, putting forward views on behalf of the community on planning applications. However, he emphasised that the PC did not make planning decisions but was just consulted by Herefordshire Council.
There was now a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) that guided the PC as to what is appropriate and acceptable in planning terms for the Parish. The NDP Referendum had been supported by a record turnout and percentage of ‘yes’ votes, and was therefore an essential reference point with regard to the future development of the village.
He continued by outlining the responsibilities of the Parish Council.
Responsibility for footpaths and Public Right of Ways
There was Footpath Officer and a Tree Warden.
The PC could undertake projects and schemes that would benefit local residents.
They worked in partnership with other bodies for the benefit of the Parish.(This had particular relevance to tonight’s meeting).
The PC alerted authorities to problems and work that needed to be done -- a never-ending task!!
However, the PC was not responsible for potholes and road surface but did spend many, many hours lobbying for such repairs.
The PC used a lengthsman to undertake work in the Parish – eg clearing gulleys, ditches, sometimes work on stiles and gates on the footpaths and any work of that nature. He pointed out that the cost for this was now borne by the PC with no additional grants from Herefordshire Council.
He went on to explain that most of the Common Land in the Parish was owned by the Church of England and was subject to Commoners Rights.
However, the PC currently had a lease on this land and was tasked with keeping the Commons in good order and handing back to the Church when the time came.
He thanked David Richards and Caroline Hanks, in particular, on the work that had been done on Littlemarsh Common (an SSSI) funded by grants, and indeed more recently, on Honeymoor Common. They had had the help of several volunteers.
There were seven Parish Councillors namely:
Leon Wolverson - Chair
Matt Johnson - Vice Chair
Becky Wall (BW)
All Councillors gave up their time with no payment nor expenses. The PC employed a fully qualified Clerk (Alison Wright) who was also the Responsible Financial Officer. She guided the PC on the correct procedures and dealt with all matters legal and financial parish council matters.
He explained that the PC set a figure that would be required to fund the Parish Council for the year ahead; this was known as the PRECEPT. This figure was collected by Herefordshire Council as part of the Council Tax and paid to the PC in two separate payments in April and September.
Currently the precept was £12,900 per annum. The estimated reserves at year-end in March 2019 would be just short of one year’s precept. The precept was the only source of income. He pointed out that with the withdrawal of Government Grants from HC, and many responsibilities being passed down to Parish level, there would be increased strain on finances.
The Parish Council met monthly, 11 times a year, with no meeting in August. The meetings were usually on the second Wednesday of each month.
Who could attend a PC meeting and speak?
He explained that at the start of every meeting there was a ten-minute section where residents could raise issues of concern. If these concerns which were deemed suitable would be added to the Agenda for the next meeting, unless the point could be easily answered. Unfortunately, meetings were poorly attended by residents, unless there was a particular point of wider interest.
All Minutes and further information were available on the Parish Council website www.eatonbishoppc.btck.co.uk Google Eaton Bishop Parish Council
He informed the meeting that there are local Government elections in May 2019 for Parish and Ward Councillors. Elections could be very expensive ie the cost in May would be £1,000. At any other time, when not combined with HC elections, the cost would be approximately £1,750. There would be an election in May for the PC, if more than 7 people put their names forward to stand, otherwise Councillors were elected unopposed!! Historically, elections in Eaton Bishop were rare and members were co-opted onto the PC. It could sometimes be difficult to find people who were prepared to give up the time and effort required.
As a final note he wanted to say that the groups present at the meeting did a fantastic job for the community be it the Parish Councillors, VHMC, PCC or the fundraisers of Team EB. Whilst there might be a few misunderstandings the village had a great thriving community and everybody, whatever part they played, should be congratulated for the work they did.
The question was raised concerning the frequency of verge cutting. LW explained that the PC were constantly badgering the Council to do this and it was important that the verges were cut at the optimum time in order to ensure they did not need to be done again as this would incur costs for the PC. The only additional clearing the Council would carry out would be at dangerous viewpoints. Likewise with ditches, the Council would mow two feet from the side of the road and again the PC would have to pick up the cost of any extra work. There was a similar situation with the provision of grit for the roads. Balfour Beatty provided the grit but the containers had to be the standard yellow-lidded box or they would not fill them. Additionally, some residents were taking a load of grit for their drive. Likewise, too much grit was being spread on some areas of the roads, which had resulted in more potholes being formed. Money was in such short supply the PC had been informed that additional ‘grit could be bought from builders’ yards’. He pointed out that at one time local farmers were employed by the Council to clear snow. BW added that farmers had been put off doing this because it was then deemed that it was their responsibility.
LW pointed out that the Village’s Locality Steward was also the Head Locality Steward for the County and the PC was building up a relationship with him and they had managed to get some of the potholes filled and re-surfacing work was due to begin in January.
PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL
The Churchwarden, Linda Carter, (LC) presented the role of the Parochial Church Council (PCC). Primarily, the PCC’s responsibility was to look after the financial affairs, care and maintenance of the Church fabric and its contents.
CURRENT MEMBERSHIP AND STRUCTURE
The current membership and structure was:
Chair - Rev Hilary Morgan
Deputy Chair - Mary Kimber
Churchwarden and Secretary - Linda Carter
Treasurer - Tanya Hudson
PLANS FOR FUTURE AND RELATIVE PRIORITIES
The plans for the future and relative priorities was to make repairs as listed in the quinquennial report. In addition, the PCC had decided to seek funds to – install toilet and kitchen facilities, make good the floor where pews have been removed and purchase tables and stackable chairs. The order of priority was – a) roof repairs b) flooring c) kitchen and toilet d) tables and chairs
ESTIMATED COSTS AND ANTICIPATED FUNDING:
Costs for repairs as listed in the quinquennial report dated 2015: Immediate £2k; 18 months £11k; within 5 years £27k. For desirable improvements - £10k. The total cost including fees, scaffolding and materials was £139k, with VAT this came to £167k The estimated cost of installing a toilet and kitchen was £30k and new furniture - £2k. It was hoped that successful grant applications and fund raising would fund this. If a major grant for the total amount could not be obtained the PCC would look to apply for smaller grants from various grant bodies and assess the feasibility of using a cherry picker instead of scaffolding and only completing the most urgent works.
WHAT WAS HOPED TO BE ACHIEVED
It was hoped to complete the building repairs to prevent any damage getting worse ie. The roof starting to leak. To increase the use of the church building by being able to hold more events, with the installation of basic facilities, and to prevent the church closing.
CURRENT FINANCIAL POSITION
There was currently £25k in funds. The estimated essential annual expenditure was £3.5k more than the estimated reliable annual income.
PLANS TO INFORM COMMUNITY OF PLANNED DEVELOPMENTS TO GENERATE NEW IDEAS AND OBJECTIVELY ASSESS SUPPORT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
It was intended to complete a Community Engagement survey and to update those who supported the open evening held in October with the next steps and hold further meetings when appropriate. These updates would be published in Tracking the News.
LC pointed out that when they had applied for larger grants they were told that they could also apply for the smaller amount of £30,000 for a kitchen and toilet. A toilet was now considered a necessity for churches and for this reason the PCC had decided to raise money to put in a toilet and a small kitchen.
The question was raised as to the number of charities that offered grants to churches. LC replied that originally they had applied to the Lottery Fund as there was no match funding required with these grants. The church had applied for two large grants to cover the full cost of the total church repairs but unfortunately had been unsuccessful on both occasions. They had since been advised that they might be more successful if they applied for smaller grants.
It was enquired what events had been held in the Church to date. LC confirmed that successful concerts had been staged; choirs and a fashion show. She confirmed also that the additional running costs incurred by holding extra events would have to be recouped from the proceeds to avoid depleting current church funds.
A discussion followed on the feasibility of encouraging businesses to operate out of the church eg a bakery. However, it was agreed that without the support of the village, and with other shops in the nearby villages it was felt that this would not work. It was suggested to raise funds for a toilet and kitchen as the number one priority but LC pointed out that they had been advised that funding organisations would be reluctant to provide grants for a toilet and kitchen if the building was in need of repairs.
LW wished to clarify a point, which had been raised at the Village Hall AGM. ‘If the church raised more money would this go directly towards Eaton Bishop Church building?’ LC explained that historically the Benefice consisted of 5 churches and these were billed from the diocese to cover expenses. This payment was based largely on per head of population and used largely to pay the incumbent’s stipend. This had now changed and each church paid what they felt they could afford. This was called the ‘Parish Offer’. This figure was based on the money coming in, eg covenants and collections etc. Weddings and funerals were not included. It was confirmed that if money was donated specifically for the church building then this would be set aside for that purpose. Tanya Hudson (TH) - PCC Treasurer - explained that donors could place restrictions on their donations and this was quite common. Hilary Morgan (HM) (Vicar) added that sadly if the Parish Offers reduced too much then there would be no vicar and the church may ultimately have to close. A question from the floor asked as the Church of England was one of the richest landowners in the country should it not do more to support the church. It was pointed out that whilst the Church was ‘land rich’ they were ‘cash poor’. HM added that in the past when CofE had sold off land they had been criticised when developers then erected houses on the site. Also, monies from such sales did not benefit the local parish directly.
The question was asked as to what was being done to increase attendance at the church. HM explained that efforts were being made to encourage young people to engage with the church with different initiatives being set up. A discussion followed on this. Points raised were:
There were other churches in surrounding villages
The smaller population of Eaton Bishop
School children in surrounding villages had more contact with the church that was near to their school
People did not feel the need to attend church
LC added that the National Churches Trust was bringing out a new smaller grant to help churches with the cost of architects fees etc. In answer to a question raised it was felt that a chemical toilet would not be suitable long
term due to difficulties in emptying if it was sited at the rear of the church.
Another point raised was would the church be successful in their application when the facilities it was trying to raise funds for were already available in the Village Hall. The PCC believed as a toilet and kitchen were now classed as basic facilities this would not be a problem.
EATON BISHOP VILLAGE HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Mick Netting (MN) opened by explaining how the Village Hall Management Committee was nominally made up. There was a team of nine elected members with 4 nominated members, David Darts - representing the Gardening club, Matthew Johnson – representing the Parish Council (PC), and Mary Kimber – representing the PCC and Team EB, with Alex Morgan – representing the Babie’s and Tot’s group:
He pointed out that constitutionally the VHMC were the Managing Trustees with the Parish Council being the Custodian Trustees.
The Committee comprised:
Dan Seymour - Chair
Eileen Sims -Treasurer
Julie Davies - Bookings Coordinator
Phil Davies - Caretaker/Maintenance team
Moe Netting – Secretary
Meryl Bain – Social Media Guru
Clive Harper- Maintenance Team
Mick Netting - Maintenance team.
MN took the opportunity to introduce Dan Seymour who had kindly agreed to take on the role of Chair. Last but by no means least there was Chrissie Atwell, (unable to attend this evening due to illness) who whilst recently stepping down as Chair had agreed to continue as a member of the Committee.
With the exception of the Maintenance Team, all other members of the Committee had written job descriptions outlining their roles and responsibilities.
The Committee met on a regular basis with smaller ‘sub-committee meetings’ taking place to cover individual issues as and when necessary. The outcome of these sub committee meetings was then fed back to the other members of the Committee.
In terms of normal operational expenditure, the current financial situation presented no significant concerns. Full details were on the village hall website. However, whilst a contingency fund of £5,000 had been ring fenced in a separate high (relative term!) interest account, (as recommended by Community First) in terms of any grant, which might require matched funding, the financial situation could be better. Hence, the Management Committee (MC) could not afford to be complacent with respect to fundraising.
Briefly the current annual operational expenditure was around £2000, with the main sources of income being generated equally between fundraising activities and the sum of the income from hall hire and the Farmers’ Market.
He continued by explaining the role of Community First (Herefordshire and Worcestershire) [CF]. CF was a county-based organisation that offered support and advice to rural community groups. They were members of ACRE, (Action with Communities in Rural England - the national body for 38 charitable development agencies)
THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE VHMC – (Mission Statement)
To maintain and develop the VH with the aim of providing a low cost community based facility central to the life of our Village, where social and other activities could take place.
To continue with a programme of infrastructure improvements, in particular the insulation of the Hall, which was currently progressing in partnership with Community First, with grant applications to cover the cost of the Hall insulation.
To investigate schemes for improving the heating of the Hall and to apply for grants to cover this. For example, it had been suggested at a recent meeting with CF that an air source heat pump might be one possible solution. However, each element of the work had to be prioritised, both in terms of available funds, and benefits.
To continue closer cooperation with Team EB and the Parish Council to develop the hall and its facilities to meet the needs and priorities of the wider community.
To participate, together with all interested parties, with a village survey to establish the needs of the village community.
To continue exploring ways of encouraging more people to make use of the hall.To this end we would be organising at least one free ‘not for profit’ event each year.
As with all the groups present more volunteers were needed and the MC would be looking at ways of recruiting in particular young people on to the Committee.
A question from the floor enquired whether a survey had been carried out on the Hall as had been done with the Church. In reply MN explained this had not been carried out but it was thought that a survey would need to be carried out prior to the insulation work being undertaken. BW informed the meeting that a survey had been carried out sometime ago. MN confirmed that major building work was carried out in 1991 and it was thought a survey would have been completed at this time. However, the team would try to find this survey report. It was felt that Clive Harper, an experienced builder, would have identified any obvious structural problems. In answer to a question from the floor Eileen Sims (Treasurer) informed the meeting that for the previous 7 months expenditure was £1798.11 with an income of £3064.
LC presented the fund raising figures for the Village Hall.
2012 - £1072; 2013 - £2845; 2014 - £2771; 2015 - £770; 2016 - £2372; 2017 - £1200
A discussion followed on the survey, which EBVHMC wanted to conduct with various points raised. How the questionnaire would be delivered. How it would be worded. The benefit of conducting one survey for the PCC and EBVHMC combined. There had been little success with the survey’s carried out at the Annual Parish Meeting or the Village Hall Fun Day, and both EBVHMC and the PCC were looking for ways of involving the entire community, but understood that there would always be people who did not wish to participate. More young families were now living in the village and it was important to engage them in village activities. A suggestion for sports ie football, on the playing fields was put forward. BW enquired if grants might be available to facilitate this. MN added that CF had offered to help with a door-to-door survey.
It was felt important that all groups within the village engaged together particularly in light of the intended Council cuts to social services.
Mary Kimber (MK) indicated that the role of Team EB was to organise events throughout the year to raise funds for Eaton Bishop Church and the Village Hall, and occasionally other local charities.
Current membership of Team EB totalled 6 and included –
Linda Carter Lin Gardner
Val Coleman Mary Kimber
Jo Craddock Ailsa Main
Team EB was an informal group of people who met regularly throughout the year in members’ homes to organise fund-raising events. There were no agendas, minutes or audited accounts. Mary Kimber was the Chairman, Valerie Coleman was the Secretary and Linda Carter, the Treasurer. All but Valerie Coleman were also members of the Parochial Church Council. Three members of the Village Hall Management Committee joined the last meeting when plans for the final two events of the year were made.
It was hoped that Team EB would continue its main priority of organising fund-raising in the village with the addition of three members of the Village Hall Management Committee so that both the Church and Village Hall were represented at meetings. In future, it was also hoped that Village Hall fund-raising events would be organised by the Village Hall members calling upon the help of others in Team EB, and Church fund-raising events would be organised by the Parochial Church Council members also with the option to request the help of others in Team EB. The first meeting in the New Year would discuss the fund-raising activities for 2019 for both the Church and Village Hall.
Costs in producing a fund-raising event were met by individual members who were then reimbursed from the income of that event. As this has worked extremely well in the past, it was hoped to continue in this way.
By having members of the Village Hall Management Committee and the Parochial Church Council on Team EB in the future, it was hoped that there would be full communication and co-operation in all future fund-raising to ensure that planning and production of events ran smoothly and more successfully.
Team EB had no bank account and held no funds as each event’s profit was passed directly to the Treasurer of either the Village Hall Management Committee or the Parochial Church Council. Annually, a report was presented to the Parish Council, which included a list of all events organised during the year and the funds raised. This report was displayed in the Village Hall and the Church along with a schedule, which listed all activities for the previous years. At the end of 2018, the schedule would be entitled ‘The Last Seven Years of Fund-Raising in Eaton Bishop’. Team EB had no record of events and profit prior to 2012. All villagers were then able to see exactly how funds had been raised for the Village Hall and the Church. A copy of the latest schedule was attached.
Throughout the year, residents of Eaton Bishop were asked for their thoughts and ideas on future fund-raising either on a one-to-one basis or generally at events. At the beginning of each year, an article was placed under Eaton Bishop News in Tracking The News encouraging readers to submit suggestions to Team EB. Also, at the beginning of the year, a list of scheduled events was put through every door in Eaton Bishop and Ruckhall. A few weeks prior to each event, full details were posted on the village’s facebook page and website, posters were displayed throughout the area including Kingstone, Clehonger and Madley, and an editorial was submitted to The Hereford Times, BBC Hereford and Worcester Radio and Sunshine Radio. It was hoped to continue doing this in the future.
Support and community involvement in each fund-raising activity was monitored and assessed regularly to ensure that events were not only profit-making but also met the demand of the people.
Everybody joined TC in thanking Team EB for the tremendous work they did in fundraising.
MK added that Team EB were always looking at ways of engaging more people. One idea which had not proved successful was a ‘100 Club’. It was agreed to possibly try this again although it was pointed out that Madley village had recently started one. BW added that so many organisations were trying to raise funds and families could only support those that directly affected them. It was pointed out that between 16-17 people from outside the village attended Eaton Bishop functions. The question was raised if there was any process in place so that people could see exactly how the money raised was spent. This was not in place but MK pointed out that there were electronic records of all funds raised and payment of expenses.
LW took the opportunity to point out that the ‘Annual Parish Meeting’ was not a meeting of the Parish Council but was an opportunity for all groups within the village to demonstrate the various activities going on in the village. It had been very well attended.
BW gave a brief outline of how the fund raising committee had started. It was originally a small group of like-minded ladies who met in the Church and made crafts for sale to raise funds.
LW added that if any of the groups needed assistance from the PC then please would they ask.
TC thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting at 10.00 pm.
Signed: ____________________________________ (Chair)
THE LAST SIX YEARS OF FUND-RAISING IN EATON BISHOP
2012 - £5226.86 + £709.55 for the Jubilee Bench and Hill Fort
Church Curry and Quiz £ 367.39 VH Bingo 50% £192.05
Fashion Show £1819.54 New Year’s Eve £880.48
Fire Choir Concert £ 386.80
Xmas Lunch £ 852.29
Xmas Draw £ 536.26
Bingo 50% £ 192.05
TOTAL £4154.33 TOTAL £1072.53
2013 - £8034.69
Church Tea at the Ritz £ 719.05 VH Curry and Quiz £441.82
Sweepstake £ 843.00 Beetle Drive £191.75
Wine-Tasting £ 239.31 Coffee Morning £213.00
Fete 50% £ 924.70 Fete 50% £924.70
Fashion Show £1688.90 Curry and Quiz 366.00
Xmas Lunch £ 774.10 New Year’s Party £708.36
Total £5189.06 TOTAL £2845.63
2014 - £7185.28
Church Coffee Morning £ 92.00 VH Beetle Drive £161.90
Mad Sat Tour £ 390.00 Karaoke £318.00
Pub Night £ 236.15 Curry and Quiz £276.85
Fete 50% £1134.29 Coffee Morning £95.50
Curry and Quiz £ 377.00 Fete 50% £1134.29
Coffee Morning £ 35.00 Coffee Morning £204.00
Xmas Lunch £ 779.50 New Year’s Eve £580.80
Recipe Book £1370.00
TOTAL £4413.94 TOTAL £2771.34
2015 - £4966.31
Church Curry and Quiz £ 237.25 VH Beetle Drive £114.76
Summer Solstice £ 309.84 Pub Night £350.25
Mad Sat Tour £ 369.00 Curry and Quiz £307.37
Fashion Show £1783.91
Soul Choir Concert £ 327.13
Soup and Puds £ 300.00
Xmas Lunch £ 866.80
TOTAL £4193.93 TOTAL £772.38
2016 - £6504.88
Church Curry and Quiz £ 87.85 VH Beetle Drive £57.75
May Day BBQ 50% £ 114.90 May Day BBQ 50% £114.90
Open Gardens 50% £ 233.37 Open Gardens 50%£233.37
Rain or Shine £ 764.75 Curry and Quiz £415.66
Wine-Tasting £ 262.61 Fete 50% £1008.70
Fete 50% £1008.70 New Year’s Eve £542.54
Curry and Quiz £ 303.00
Pub Night £ 147.15
Xmas Lunch £1189.63
Lin’s Face-Painting £ 20.00
TOTAL £4131.96 TOTAL £2372.92
2017 - £4,752.80
Church Curry and Quiz £ 325.00 VH Curry and Quiz £307.57
Curry and Quiz £ 238.27 Open Gardens 50%£117.50
Open Gardens 50% £ 117.50 Wild West 50% £609.20
Rain or Shine £ 762.00 Pub Night £168.16
Wild West 50% £ 609.20
Curry and Quiz £ 536.65
Rain or Shine £ 58.75
Xmas Lunch £ 903.00
TOTAL £3550.37 TOTAL £1202.43