Minutes of AGM November 2011

FRIENDS OF MARYON AND MARYON WILSON PARKS

Minutes of Annual General Meeting, November 2011

Venue: St Thomas Church

Date: Thursday November 10th 2011

Present (20): Steve (secretary), Gulle (Treasurer), Roger , Paul, Andrew , Tony, Jason, Pat, Nigel and Ronnie, Liz, Carol, Jane, Ashleigh, Hazel and John, Maria, Catherine, Christine, Richard.

Apologies (9): Tim and Edna, Helen, Felicity and Cyril, Mickey, Sarah, Elen, Steve.

Welcome:

Gulle, in the chair in Tim’s absence, welcomed everyone to the 10th anniversary meeting.

Minutes of previous meeting: Accepted.

Matters arising:

Photos of the parks in any season were invited for the 2013 calendar. Please email to FriendsofMaryonParks@googlemail.com.

Chair’s annual report:

Steve read the report that Tim had compiled after an eventful year. Highlights:

1. Threatened closure of ACC

In December 2010, we heard that Greenwich Council were intending to stop funding their Animal Centre in Maryon Wilson Park. Almost immediately local parents formed a Campaign group called STAMP (Save the Animals of Maryon Wilson Park) that has been very active throughout the year. In spite of a 3,100-signature petition, the Full Council voted to make the cut in March 2011. By October 2011, a total of 7,500 signatures had been gathered and an extra 4,500 signatures had been presented to Cllr Allan MacCarthy. It is one of the biggest petitions ever received by the Council. Some members of the Friends including Sheila and Evelyn but especially Edna, the retired paediatric nursing sister, who is passionate about the benefits of the Animal Centre for children, have been very active on this issue.

2. The Press and the Media

The Friends and the STAMP campaign have received a lot of attention in the Press and on the Web this year and the Chair was interviewed by local radio station Greenwich Mean Time about Maryon Wilson Park and the Council’s budget decision.

3. Membership

The public’s concern at the Council’s decision to cut the funding to the Animal Care Centre has greatly increased our membership numbers and attendance at meetings has reflected this. Membership, which was 43 in 2005, has increased from 77 in November 2010 to the current membership of 90.

4. Events

In May the Open Day took place in Maryon Wilson Park. The Friends’ fundraising stall sold bric-a-brac, books and tomato plants. In October STAMP organised a peaceful ‘Wall of Buggies’ protest against the Council’s Animal Centre budget cut.

5. Publications

A ‘Blog’ has been published on the Friends Website, tracking events connected with the STAMP campaign. Since January the Blog has featured news of the campaign on a daily basis. The Friends published Christmas cards in November 2010 instead of a calendar. The cards, featuring a photograph of a ‘Christmas scene’ in Maryon Wilson Park taken by Catherine, will be available again for this Christmas.

6. Websites and Mobile Phone

Jason guided our Website and has regularly added to the site posting details of events and meetings, our minutes and general news about our parks. Jason is developing an intelligent phone friendly version of the Tree Walk information created by Nigel. Nigel has refined the Tree Map for the parks on Google Map. The Chair has helped Google make corrections to the names of the parks on Google Maps.

7. Projects

a) Tree Walk

The Friends were successful in a bid to the National Lottery for over £2,000 to create a Tree Walk Leaflet, an associated website and launch events for a walk in Maryon Wilson Park. Thanks to Jason, the tree walk will be available on intelligent phones.

b) Clear-ups days

The monthly Clear-up days continue to be effective in keeping the parks clearer from litter. This year new volunteers have joined the regulars.

c) Food Growing Project

Greenwich Council has made land available to the Friends to establish a Community Food Growing Project in Maryon Park.

The Project is in its infancy but teams from the Friends have started to clear the plot and are investigating funding options.

d) Charlton Parks Reminiscence Project. Carol Kenna instigated this very substantial project, funded by a £40,000 Lottery Grant. Members of the Friends are involved in various ways, as members of the steering committee, volunteers and interviewers.

8. Wildlife and Animals

The Friends have developed an interest in Bats, lead by Catherine and Gulle, who have attended ‘Bat Training’ courses and members have taken part in a bat detection walk in Maryon Wilson Park. Maryon Wilson Animal Park has eighteen new oriental Ducks, four of which are Whistling Ducks and four are Mandarin Ducks.

9. Anti-Social Behaviour

The Friends have been active monitoring and reporting anti-social behaviour in the parks.

Under aged motorcyclists and a flasher have been reported to the local community police, who have taken various forms of action. Illegal vehicles and camping in Maryon Park has emerged as a new problem.

On Clear-up days, evidence of heavy drinking and soft drug taking has been found.

The Friends have regularly reported fly tipping to the Council’s Clean Sweep Team, who have been very efficient in responding.

10. Sub-Committee Meetings

Many Sub-Committee meetings have taken place this year including The Food Growing Project; The Tree Walk Leaflet; Bat Walks and bat detection.

11. Parks Improvements

An average of 10 people help with the Clear-up activities each month. We had a Parks Inspection Walk with the Council’s Jeremy Shearmur. The Council have obtained over £100,000 for Maryon Park for tennis courts (now completely refurbished), toilets and pathways as part of the Olympic Heritage funding aiming to gain Green Flag status for the park. The Council have made an additional £250,000 Council bid to English Nature for Gilbert’s Pit.

12. The Future of the Friends group

It is the current view of the Chair that, if the Council do not secure the future of the Animal Centre and the historic Deer Park, the Friends should consider resigning on mass and reconvene as a ‘Pressure Group’ aimed at preserving our parks and their facilities against the effects of the decisions made by Greenwich Council’s Cabinet members. A new group could continue with local community activities but also strive to have a stronger voice in Local Government. The option of forming a ‘single issue’ political party could also be considered. If re-elected, the Chair would make the future of the Friends group an agenda item for the first meeting in the new year, opening the issue for discussion.

13. Chair’s thanks

Thanks to all Friends of Maryon and Maryon Wilson Parks and Committee members. Special thanks to Gulle for her tireless work and Steve for his constant support.

(The full version of the report should now be on the website www.friendsofmaryonparks.org )

Treasurer’s annual financial report:

Income was

£255.40 from sale of Christmas cards

£205 from Open Day (plus £19 kept as petty cash)

£2,650 grant from Awards For All for the MWP Tree Walk

£1.84 bank interest

Total: £3,112.24

Expenditure was £30 on the hire of church hall for the 2010 AGM.

Leaving a profit of £3,082.24 including the grant, or £462.24 without it.

Total in reserve now £3,548.83.

Election of officers and committee:

There being no other nominations, Tim (chair), Steve (secretary) and Gulle (Treasurer) were elected for a further 12 months.

Hazel asked to stand down from the committee, which will now comprise the other existing five members: Paul, Jason, John, Catherine, and Christine.

Reports from sub-committees:

1. Food growing

Paul reported that a bid of £400 had gone in to Capital Growth for fencing, compost etc. We would not be able to sell produce commercially. We would try to obtain a copy of the Council’s allotment waiting list but did not want to act on that until the site was secured. Christine mentioned a group in Woolwich that made up food parcels, though it was not known whether they accepted fresh produce.

2. MWP Tree Walk

Nigel reported that proposed walks had been designed and trees identified. Photos have been given to Jason for the website.

3. Reminiscence project

Carol reported the website was almost up and running at www.charltonparks.co.uk .

About 15 interviews had been completed so there were 35 to go. About 75 people had attended an open day about the project at Charlton House. Stories were invited about particular events and incidents.

4. Bats

Catherine said there had been a very successful bat walk in Maryon Wilson Park in September, starting just before dusk. An overwhelming number of bats were heard and seen, especially in the wooded area.

5. Monthly clear-ups

There had been a good turn-out in October, less so in November. Next one: Saturday December 3rd, meet 10am at Flamsteed Road entrance to MWP, bringing gloves.

Information received:

Gulle had received a number of communications. Highlights:

1. From the Greenwich Parks Forum: Alan Pett and Frances Dolan had retired and Dawn Squires would begin work as Head of Parks and Open Spaces in three months time. The budget had been cut by £125,000, affecting staffing.

2. The Council acknowledged receipt of the ACC petition presented to Cllr MacCarthy and had referred it to the Deputy Chief Executive. We would be invited to speak at the Council meeting at which the response was presented.

Andrew Donkin spoke about the latest feedback from the Council on the ACC which was a plan for a trust; the position of independent chair would be advertised shortly. There would be approximately nine other members including one from the Friends. Sources of income would be educational charities and grants.

3. The Council had given the go-ahead for the equestrian centre at Shooters Hill despite protests.

Any other business:

The skatepark group was meeting the Council and had Maryon Park as its second favourite choice of location, with Greenwich Peninsula first because of better communications. To join their mailing list and make your views known, see www.greenwichskatepark.org .

Our leaflet is being updated.

Andrew mentioned a proposal to build a green bridge over Woolwich Road from the northernmost point of Maryon Park (details on Charlton Champion website).

May 11th 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the death of Spencer Percival (buried at St Luke’s Church), the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated. The Duke of Gloucester is due to visit.

Next meeting : Thursday January 19th 2012.

Steve, Secretary