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Minutes of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association Committee Meeting (November 2012)

Minute of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association (GFAA) General Meeting held in the Robert Gordon University Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen at 8.00pm on Wednesday 14 November 2012

Attendees: Stuart Oram (Chairman), plots 8 and 56, George Tulloch (Deputy Secretary), plot 41, Ranald Cameron (Treasurer), plot 75, Rupert Hunt, plot 73, Gill Kitching, plot 97B, Bruce Taylor, plot 79, Iain Yuill, Councillor, Norman Coutts, plot 81, Richard Powell, plot 96B, Ken Locke, plot 20, Mike Fairhurst, plot 5, Alison McNaughton, plot 80, Val Milne, plot 23, Martin Walsh, plot 94, Phil Carver, RGU, Wendy Wireden, RGU.

Apologies: Councillor Aileen Malone, Councillor Gordon Townson, Pat Wilson ACC, Mike Hart, Secretary, Marion Hart, plot 88, Councillor Angela Taylor, Carlos Galan, Brian Bryce, plot 38, Len Campbell, plot 74, Maryanne and Alasdair Dawson, plot 71B, Erica McLachlan, plot 76, Patricia and Gavin Bell, plot 7A, Mike Legge, plot 44, Ian Shand, plot 28, Councillor Marie Boulton

Welcome: Stuart Oram (Chairman) opened the meeting and welcomed everyone present.

Minutes of previous AGM:

The Chairman reported that the minutes of the AGM held on Tuesday 17 April 2012 had been circulated and asked for any comments. There being no comments or amendments, the minutes were agreed.

Proposed Federation for Aberdeen City Allotments:

The Chairman reported that there had little progress from the Council, since the last general meeting, regarding the formation of a Federation for Aberdeen City Allotments. At present the Council still intend forming a Federation to cover the allotment sites.

Auditing of Plots/Allocation of Plots:

In the absence of Ian Shand, the Chairman informed the meeting that the ACC will continue to audit the plots regularly and as a result of these audits there have been 10 letters sent to 5 plot holders. He explained that he had attended an ARN meeting recently where there was a feeling around the allotment sites in the city that the frequency of the audits was not enough and should commence during March/April, as it is unlikely that any work will be done if there had been no attention given to the plots by these months. It is proposed that the audits take place during April, May, June and July next year.

The Chairman explained that the offer of help, from the Hub, to maintain any plots was still available, and it was disappointing that nobody had taken up the offer.

Some of the group mentioned that the tone of the letter from the ACC was very blunt and disheartening stating that they had to turn their plot around in 21 days or they had to relinquish their plot. Extensive discussion took place regarding this and at the end of the discussion the Chairman reiterated that the offer for help from the Hub is still available for everyone.

Site Access/Site Security:  

The Chairman updated the meeting regarding the progress made concerning the exiting from the site onto Garthdee Road. An option was suggested to cut down some of the trees, but the majority of the plot holders did not want to do this. The Council were asked if a convex mirror could be sited opposite the exit. The Chairman received a letter, which was read out to the meeting explaining why the Council do not allow the use of convex mirrors.

Recently George Davidson visited the site and agreed to reinstate the Pitfoddels access. The intention is to trial this alternative which will mean locking and unlocking two sets of barriers.

The chairman pointed out that the rear boundary fence is in a state of disrepair and the Council are waiting for the leaf fall before examining the fence. An alternative has been suggested of planting a growing barrier in the form of a thorn hedge. Discussion then took place regarding the possibility of root problems which may be encountered regarding a boundary hedge.

Update on Allotment for Disabled People:             

 The Chairman introduced Phil Carver and Wendy Wireden to the meting and invited them to give a presentation regarding the benefits of exercise as an alternative to medication and how the RGU could work in partnership with the GFAA, and the potential funding sources available.

After a very informative and interesting presentation, they were thanked for their input.

Communal Work on Site:

 Bonfire – The chairman stated that there is an intention to hold a bonfire and asked that all plot holders should retain any waste on their site until there is enough material to have a bonfire.

Rubbish Removal – The Chairman announced that there is no intention to hire another skip. Anyone who takes items onto the site should also remove them when no longer required.

Update on Plan for BBQ area in Orchard:  

Bruce Taylor informed the meeting that there had just been an intake of new students to RGU and there would be an opportunity for them to get involved in designing the area during the next semester (February to May).

Bulk Seed Purchase for Next Year:  

 Richard Powell informed the meeting that the seed purchase deal negotiated last season was very poorly supported, and unless there was any information to the contrary, he would not be continuing with the scheme.

GFAA Social Activities:  

The Chairman informed the meeting that this year’s BBQ had been very successful and it would be great to have a social committee, volunteers should give their names to the Secretary.

AOB:

WormsConcerns were raised regarding the lack of worms within the site as they had been devastated by the New Zealand flat worms, and a discussion took place regarding the possible purchase of native worms for the site. The chairman informed the meeting that a computer link had been sent to all plot holders about how to deal with New Zealand flat worms.

Vandalism – Concerns were raised regarding vandalism to plots within the site and asked what could be done to prevent this. After discussion it was decided the first option should be for the affected party to contact the Police.

Communal Polytunnel – The Secretary informed the group that he had been approached by plot holders regarding the possibility of turning one of the plots into a site for a communal polytunnel, where anyone who could not access a greenhouse could have a space to grow plants like tomatoes and cucumbers. After discussion it was felt that a letter should be circulated to gauge interest and who would maintain it.

Starter Plots – The Chairman informed the meeting that operational guidelines had been created regarding the use of the starter plots, recently there appeared to be an expectation that these starter plots could be worked for life, which necessitated the creation of the guidelines. The guidelines clarify the status of starter plots.

Plot Fees – The Chairman informed the group that the Council had decided to raise the fees by 2.5% for the forthcoming season. A full statement of accounts is available on the Council website.

The meeting was closed and the chairman took the opportunity to thank Phil Carver for arranging the venue at no cost to the Association. A vote of thanks was also given to The Chairman.

Stuart Oram                                                                            George Tulloch

Chairman                                                                               Deputy Secretary   

Minutes of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association Committee Meeting (09/08/2012)

GARTHDEE FIELD ALLOTMENTS ASSOCIATION

Minute of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association (GFAA) Committee Meeting held in South Crown Street, at 19.00 on 9th August 2012

Attendees: Stuart Oram, Michael Hart, George Tulloch, Ian Shand, Ken Locke, Rupert Hunt, Carlos Galan.

Apologies: Ranald Cameron

1)     Welcome: Stuart Oram (Chairman) welcomed everyone to the GFAA Committee Meeting.

2)     Agenda: (i) Minutes of Previous Meeting (ii) Microplots (iii) Disabled Allotment (iv) Funds (v) Hardcore (vi) Plots with Horsetail (vii) Social/BBQ (viii) Next AGM (ix) AOCB

3)    (i)  The minutes of the previous meeting were taken as read.

4)   (ii) Microplots & Plot Allocation:

Plot allocation at GFA is managed jointly by ACC (management of ACC waiting list, and selection for plot award) and GFAA (plot allocation on GFA).

Small plots have been in use in GFA for several years. For ACC, these have initially been considered micro-plots, suiting those with an interest in working a small area. For GFAA, they are primarily considered as an entry route, to allow new entrants to test their interest in allotment activity, as traditionally there has been a high proportion of relinquishment of plots over the first two years of allocation.

Recently, some holders of small GFA plots have indicated a preference to retain their small plot, rather than progress to managing 0.5 or 1.0 plot areas. For GFAA, this  restricts the entry route to allotment holding in GFA. There is a need to converge ACC and GFAA policy on the use of these small plots.

Discussion focused on:

– the need to standardise the function of small plots (no Operational Guidelines exist to support implementation of the Constitution), and align the plot contract terms with their use (e.g. if starter plots, the new plotholder to decide on progression after a full season of rental)
Action – S Oram/K Locke (1) to develop an Operational Guideline model for discussion at the AGM

– complications for plot holding where a single plot holder is named on the contract (the un-named worker loses entitlement rights to allotment holding; income security for ACC is uncertain unless the plotholder pays rental and has an informal agreement with the worker)

– whether and how to assign small plots for continued use (the meeting was reluctant for further fragmentation of full plots to continue.

5)   (iii) Disabled Allotment:

The project with RGU, for making available allotments for persons with disabilities, awaited a Memorandum of Understanding from Phil Carver (RGU).
Action – S Oram (2) to contact Phil Carver to identify status

The Chairman also reported back on contact with Alan Watson (Scott Sutherland) on the activities on GFAA of some of his students. First year students will be undertaking multi-disciplinary projects to design an allotment area for use by people with disabilities.
Action – C Galan (3) to develop 2 paragraph brief
Further funding for the project would be accessed by RGU. A Composting toilet will be required (estimate £1000-1200).

6)    (iv)  Funds:
Current GFAA funds were expected to be of the order of £400.
Action – R Cameron (4) to provide overview statement for AGM (incoming/outgoing)

There was discussion on benefits of the GFAA achieving charitable status, to enable contributions to recover tax paid on contributions. The committee was in agreement to explore the process to achieve SCIO status.
Action – K Locke (5) to circulate information to committee on process to achieve charitable status

7)    (v) Hardcore;
It was agreed that hardcore should be ordered for backfilling into site road access.
Action – S Oram (6) to request hardcore provision at cost from ACC (Pat Wilson)

8)    (vi) Horsetail Infestation:
There was considerable discussion on the problem of horsetail infestation on the plots bordering the eastern half of the boundary with the old Deeside Railway. It was agreed that:

– horsetail was a manageable weed, to the extent that it did not normally prevent effective cropping

– infestation probably originated from the railway, and therefore was unlikely to  be eliminated purely by on-plot treatment

– the previous ACC treatment had not been wholly successful, despite quarantining plots 97a/b for a year for treatment

– it remains a plotholder responsibility to manage on-plot annual and/or perennial weeds.

However, it appeared likely that one new entrant would probably withdraw from plot 97a, due to the excessive time committed to addressing the horsetail issue. As this then risks further interruption of revenue for 97a (and adjacent plots in future), this should be discussed with ACC.
Action – S Oram (7) to discuss options for joint action with ACC (Pat Wilson)
Action – C Galan (8) to enquire (by email) for best practice on horsetail treatment

9)    (vii) BBQ & Raffle:
It was agreed that a BBQ & Raffle should take place on Saturday 15th September.
Action – G Tulloch  (9) to email plot holders, advising ticket availability and requesting raffle contributions

Any equipment for the BBQ could be stored in available containers at site.
As the current Social Committee members are not available for active support, a new Social Committee should be coopted.
Action – S Oram (10) to consider options for proposal at AGM

10)  (viii) AGM:
The committee agreed a date for the AGM (due to take place on 14th November; to be followed by a General Meeting.
It was agreed that any General Meeting would serve a limited purpose if the agenda did not generate interest and involvement. It was proposed that the Constitution be amended to allow flexibility in this area.
Action – K Locke (11) to propose that 2-4 General Meetings take place each year (one at the start of the season, and one immediately after the AGM), as appropriate to GFAA activities

9)    (ix) AOCB:

– Website population has been assigned to Richard Powell. However, the website appears to be poorly supported by relevant contributions
Action – C Galan (12) to enquire on progress

– It was agreed that Committee members would provide 100 word profiles on their allotment interests, for website (and noticeboard)
Action – Committee Members (13) to provide personal profiles

– C Galan informed the meeting that he had established contact with a Garden Society in Stromness, and suggested that GFAA could contribute to a network, with informative material published on the website and the possibility of exchange visits.

– Dee Henderson-Haeffner had sent thanks for the flowers arranged earlier in the year. K Locke suggested that she would appreciate a small contribution of organic produce, as this had been provided when Dee was managing orchard grass mowing.
Action – G Tulloch (14) to check contact/address details
Action – S Oram (15) to receive donations and ensure delivery

The date of the next Committee Meeting will be determined before the Annual General Meeting.

The meeting was closed at 21.07.

Please direct all queries on the content of draft minutes to Michael Hart (88), at pmi.hart@btinternet.com.

Minutes from the General Meeting on April 17th 2012

Gathdee Field Allotments Association

DRAFT

Minute of the Garthdee Field Allotment Association (GFAA) meeting held in room H405,  Robert Gordon University Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen on Tuesday 17th April 2012.

Attendees:

Stuart Oram (Chairman), plots 8 and 56, Gavin and Tricia Bell, plot 7A, Rupert Hunt, plot 73, Richard and Susan Powell, plot 96B, Bruce Taylor, plot 79, Paul Moody, plot 99, Len Campbell, plot74, Michael Clark, plot 60, Lynn Clark, plot 61, Ken Locke, plot 20, Brian Bryce, plot 38, Carlos Galan-Diaz, plot 29, Allan George, plot 98A, Mike Fairhurst, plot 6, Marian Hart, plot 88,.

Apologies:

George Tulloch (Deputy Secretary), plot 41, Ranald Cameron (Treasurer), plot 75, Ian Shand, plot 28, Dee Henderson-Haefner, Orchard,  Martin Walsh, plot 94 Carrie Watt, plot 2A, Michael Hart (Secretary), plot 88.

Introduction:

The Chairman welcomed everyone and opened the meeting.

 1. Minute of meeting held on 15th November 2011:

The Chairman asked everyone if the had a chance to see the minutes for the meeting of 15th November 2011 and asked for them to be adopted. The minutes were agreed.

 2. Matters arising from the previous meeting:

The Chairman reported that progress had been made with all the outstanding actions from the previous meeting, namely

a). Proposal for automatic membership:- Stuart Oram reported that this has resulted in an increase in the number of people who have now formally registered with GFAA.

b). Marking of plots:- most allotment holders are complying with the requirement to have the number of their plot clearly marked. Those who have not yet done so are asked to do so now.

c). Briefing for new plot holders:- this is now being attached to the information that Aberdeen City Council sends to those people who are allocated a plot at Garthdee Field.

d). Bulk seed purchase:- Richard Powell reported that we now have 22 registered members with the Marshall’s seed discount scheme. Only nine however, have used the opportunity. Richard felt that this was a little disappointing and also noted that not all of the seeds on offer are discounted and that dispatch can sometimes be slow. The system will be evaluated and refined for next year.

e). Supply of manure:- Stuart Oram reported that we now have a source for manure and that this is being well used by plot holders.

f). Entrance/exit:-  It was noted that Councillor Ian Yuill had followed up our concerns with the Council and that we have been advised that in order to improve visibility some trees would have to be felled. It was agreed that this should not be done and that the use of a convex mirror should be investigated. Stuart Oram agreed to follow this up.

3. Proposed federation for Aberdeen City allotments:

The Aberdeen City Allotments Representatives Network has been discussing the possibility of forming a City wide federation for all of the allotment sites and allotment holders in Aberdeen. Stuart Oram quoted from the last meeting of the Network and noted that the Council are investigating the possibility of another organisation managing the allotment sites across the City. It was also noted that the Council has joined the National Allotments Forum. Some discussion took place and the meeting agreed that we must continue to be involved in the development of allotments in the City and to ensure that our opinions are heard at City level.

4. Orchard update:

The Chairman brought the meeting’s attention to the improvements that have been made to the rough area that was left by the contractors. The ground was levelled by a contractor provided by the Council and the ground was prepared for seeding by allotment volunteers. The grass seed has now been sown and this area will be further developed in the future. Stuart informed the meeting that Dee Henderson-Haefner who has been taking care of the orchard area is unwell at present and that we shall need to make sure that the area is maintained meantime. The meeting wishes Dee a speedy recovery.

5. Treasurer’s report:

Our treasurer Ranald Cameron was unable to attend this meeting but had reported that we have £607 in the bank and we have a few small items of expenditure coming up such as fuel for the lawnmower, weed killer and material for filling the potholes. It was noted that the recent membership donations had raised this sum and that we need to continue to raise funds. A monthly raffle has been proposed and we need some people to organise this. Names to Stuart please.

6. Allocation of plots:

Ian Shand was unable to attend this meeting and the Chairman reported that all of the plots at Garthdee Field are taken at present. This has been achieved through Ian’s close work with Pat Wilson when vacancies arise. An inspection has recently taken place by the Council and four letters have been sent out to let the plotholders know that their plots are not up to scratch.

     Starter plots:

The Chairman has written to the Council and raised the issue of the number of people on the waiting list and the need to provide more plots. Stuart also questioned the use of the term “Micro Plot” that the Council use when referring to the GFAA “Starter Plots” Stuart informed the meeting that the Council has replied through Sandy Scott stating that the Council’s policy was to sub-divide the plots when existing holders felt that a whole plot was too much for them to manage. They would then be given the option to downsize to a “Half Plot” or a “Micro Plot”. The Council has stated that this will help to alleviate the pressure on the waiting list. The Council have also stated that they want the “Micro Plots” to be occupied on a permanent basis.

Following some discussion the meeting agreed that GFAA want to maintain our “Starter Plots” for the use of people who are allocated a plot at Garthdee Field from the Council’s waiting list. The purpose of the “Starter Plot is to allow people to assess their own abilities and preferences and to decide whether they would be best suited to a full sized plot, a half sized plot or perhaps even a quarter sized plot. Once they have stated their preference and providing that they have demonstrated their ability to manage a “Starter Plot” then we can move them on to an appropriate sized plot when it becomes available. In short, we want our “Starter Plots” to remain as “Starter Plots”.

With regard to the size of the waiting list and the need to provide more allotments for the citizens of Aberdeen GFAA feel that the way to do this is to allocate more land for allotments and not to use sub division as a method of reducing the waiting list. It was agreed that we should approach our new Councillors on this issue following the Council elections in May.

Stuart also added that plotholders should approach a member of the Committee in the first instance if they are experiencing difficulties in managing their plot. There are a number of options available to help plotholders over the short or long term.

8. Possible plot for disabled people:

It was noted that Phil Carver from RGU is developing work on an allotment in the RGU campus with a view to improving people’s wellbeing and increasing their level of exercise. Stuart Oram feels that we could do something similar at Garthdee Field for disabled people. Following some discussion it was felt that we could set aside an area for raised beds and that this approach might attract funding to promote more work with disabled and to provide facilities for disabled people. It was agreed that Stuart should approach Phil Carver with a view to working in partnership with RGU on this.

9. Communal work on the site:

It was noted that a number of communal tasks had taken place recently including the work on the preparation of the orchard, the clear out of the compost bins, filling holes in the driveways and levelling and seeding the rough area. The hard work that volunteers have put in to these projects has been very welcome and has helped to improve the quality of provision at Garthdee Field. Please don’t be shy when you hear that there is a piece of communal work to be done. Your contribution is always welcome. We are aware that some people may not have a lot of time available to volunteer but every little helps and is appreciated. There are three communal projects in the pipeline. These are:-

a). Cleaning out the bothy – a date will be announced. Please check your e-mails, or the notice board, or our website for more information.

b). Bonfire to get rid of accumulated combustible items on people’s plots. (Not plastic or toxic items). – This will take place on Saturday 21st April weather permitting. Ken Locke will supervise this controlled burn.

c). Rubbish removal – A suggestion has been made that we provide a skip for the collection and removal of large items that have accumulated on sites or that have been left by allotment holders that have moved on an are no longer of any use. The cost of a skip is quite substantial and Stuart Oram has been quoted £180. Concerns were raised regarding people accumulating rubbish and perhaps becoming dependant on the Association to provide skips for its removal. It was felt that this should be a one off event and that allotment holders should be expected to be responsible for the removal of items that they bring on to the site and no longer need. It was agreed that Stuart looks for the best deal and takes this forward. Once again please check your e-mails, or the notice board, or our website for more information.

Plan for a BBQ site in Garthdee Field:

Carlos Galan-Diaz reported that he has spoken with Alan Watson, Jonathan Scott and Bruce Taylor from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and he is keen to work in partnership with us on this. Projects of this nature may help to attract Climate Change funding in the future as it builds/strengthens relationships with the wider community. It may be some months before the students can provide a plan for the BBQ area and initiate the build. Meantime we should ensure that the Council approve of this project. If so then we should prepare the base and hard stand area.

Social activities:

Stuart Oram noted that the proposed Easter egg hunt was not a great success but we shall continue to work on social events. As Dee is not well Ben Mellor will co-ordinate the social activities meantime. Anyone who would like to assist Ben please get in contact.

AOB:

1). Measuring of plots – The Chairman announced that the Council wanted to accurately measure all of the plots at Garthdee Field. The Council have someone to do this and it was felt that we could also collaborate with RGU on this. Bruce Taylor stated that the students at RGU would still like to be involved in a full survey of the area. Bruce will follow this up.

2). Membership – it was noted that 62 allotment holders have filled in and returned the membership form. That is 61% of our total number of allotment holders. Please remind your neighbours and friends who have an allotment in Garthdee Field and have not yet returned a membership form that the Association is here to represent them and to improve the facilities. Their commitment as a member will help us to move forward.

3). – Richard Powell raised the issue of the damage to the South East corner wall caused by a motor vehicle. It was noted that the Council were aware of this damage and the meeting hoped that the damage would be repaired before further deterioration took place.

4). – Brian Bryce informed the meeting that outline planning permission had been granted to build 65 houses on the land adjacent to Garthdee Farm. The proximity to Garthdee Field was causing some concern to our allotment holders and it was hoped that the Council would not be tempted to use any of the allotment site to enhance the housing project. This might put our partnership projects on jeopardy and have an adverse effect on fundraising ventures.

The meeting was closed and Stuart Oram took the opportunity to thank Phil Carver for arranging the venue at no cost to the Association.

Minutes of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association Committee Meeting (28/02/2012)

Minutes of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association Committee Meeting

(Held at Craigiebuckler Avenue on Tuesday 28 February 2012 at 7pm)

Attendance:

George Tulloch (Depute Secretary), Stuart Oram (Chairman), Ranald Cameron (Treasurer), Carlos Galan, Ken Locke and Ian Shand.

Introduction from Chairman

The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed everyone present.

    1. Treasurer’s Update   

The Treasurer informed the committee that there was now £562 in the bank, the increase from the AGM being down to members joining the Association.
Fund raising was discussed and it was agreed that a monthly raffle for funds should be considered with the committee members collecting monies from allotment holders.

    2. Secretary’s Update   

The Secretary informed the committee that membership now stood at 62 members which is equal to 61% of the allotment holders at the site.

    3. Allocation of Allotments

Ian Shand provided the committee with a full update of the status of transfers between the starter plots to full and half plots, which had been vacated.

    4. Management of Starter Plots

Ian Shand informed the committee that there have been issues regarding starter plot holders not wishing to progress onto larger plots when they become available. The Chairman informed the committee that the City Council is now calling starter plots ‘micro plots’ with it being unclear as to the origins or intentions surrounding the name ‘micro plot’. The starter plot idea originated from the GFAA as a way of reducing the waiting list and assessing the ability of newcomers to cope with a larger plot. It is intended only as a temporary arrangement before transfer to the larger plots.

    5. Social Activities for This Year    

The Committee noted that there were no social activities published for the year to date.

Task – Secretary to contact the Social Committee requesting a programme of events for this year.

    6. Communal Work on Site

Orchard Development – The Chairman informed the committee that the City Council were willing to level the spoil beside the Orchard before April.

Task – Secretary to arrange suitable date for the work to be undertaken.

Bothy Clean out – The Chairman suggested that the Bothy could do with cleaning out probably over a weekend and volunteers will be requested to assist.

Rubbish Removal from Plots – The Committee agreed to organise a rubbish clearing day from the site. Now that we have sufficient funds, we intend to hire a skip and any rubbish which cannot be removed from the allotments, or burned, can be placed within the skip.

Bonfire – The Committee agreed to hold a bonfire for all materials from the plots which can be burned, on Saturday 21 April 2012.

BBQ – Ken Locke informed the committee that he would like to build a barbeque from the waste stones collected during the levelling of the Orchard.

    7. Schedule For 2012 Meetings

After discussion the Committee agreed that the schedule for 2012 meetings should take place on the following dates, which will require ratification.

General Meetings –    17 or 18 April
26 or 27 June
4 or 5 September
AGM –                         13 or 14 November

    8. AOB

Website – to contain updates from the Committee meeting.

Water – to be turned on after the threat of the last frosts disappears.

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