Banbury Community Action Group

BCAG AGM 2022 Minutes

Chair:Jim S  
Minutes:Harriet J  
Attendees:Zsofi B, Philippa D, Chris, Lynne C, Harriet J, Maria M, Charlotte R, Colin S, Jim S, Lynda S, Vaughan

Minutes

Welcome from Jim.  Apologies were received from Tila R

1. Chairman’s report                                                                                                             Jim

Jim gave the following Chairman’s report on BCAG activities 2021-22:

Despite Covid restrictions affecting much of the year, CAG continued to grow successfully, especially with the Bridge Street Community Garden.  We continued with online monthly meetings via Zoom and as these have proved so popular allowing a wider group to attend, we plan to continue with this format.

 At Bridge Street Garden, the initial funding which allowed us to appoint a project officer then was used to secure substantial additional grant funding.  This has allowed us to make significant upgrades to the garden physical infrastructure with new raised beds, a shed and a gazebo with new seating benches.  But more important than the physical improvements has been Tila’s tireless enthusiasm for the project of engaging with many local community groups.  We now have more garden volunteers than ever before and several community groups have adopted a raised bed and are growing food in it.  Several plant and seed swaps have been held throughout the year to engage with a wider group of growers.

The Browning Road Orchard in conjunction with Banbury Town Council also held several events during the year including the return of the ever popular apple pressing.  Funding was secured to expand the orchard in 2022.  We intend to apply for further funding for a wildlife area in partnership with Wild Banbury volunteers and local residents.

Our Banbury Active Travel subgroup brought in many new members interested in promoting walking and cycling in Banbury.  The group participated with external consultants in drafting the LCWIP for Oxfordshire County Council.  It is frustrating that publication of the draft and associated public consultation has been repeatedly delayed – this is now scheduled for May 2022.  Members also joined the national 20s Plenty campaign and are pushing the local town councillors to promote a reduction in speed limits across the town.

Two successful Give & Take and Repair Cafes were held during the year with substantial volumes of goods diverted from landfill.

For the coming year we are looking to start an initiative based around food security / food waste issues.

The monthly Newsletters has a new editor, and this has brought fresh ideas to our regular communications with Banbury CAG membership.

The website was tidied up and the mailing lists cleaned to comply with GDPR legislation. We now have 190 mailing subscribers, 115 of whom are voting members.  The CAG Facebook page has 1000+ followers and the Bridge Street Garden page has 467 followers both having grown their audience considerably over the year.

Banbury CAG is part of the wider Oxfordshire CAG network and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the support and financial assistance we have received throughout the year.

Both Banbury Town Council and Cherwell District Council have given us both financial and officer support this year, for which we are extremely grateful.

 Finally, I want to thank all the volunteers and CAG core members who have made our success possible this year – without their volunteer hours we would simply cease to exist and Banbury would be all the poorer for that.

 Regards

Jim Smith

Jim then gave a summary of Tila’s report for Bridge Street Community Garden 2021-22. 

Between August 2021 and the end of April 2022, over 70 gardening sessions were held at the Garden, these including events, workshops, parties, talks, group visits, gatherings and seed swaps.  In addition, there has been the day to day work of keeping the Garden growing and in good order.

The main events are recorded through the Garden social media and Instagram account.

The provision of growing space has been transformed through the building of, to date, 11 hexagonal planters.  The Garden now also has a pergola providing a covered seating area at the centre of the site, with three sturdy benches.  There is also a new large shed providing covered space for groups and events.  The shed also houses the start of a garden library.  The Garden also now has a hot bin composter. 

These developments have been made possible through funding and donations from a wide range of organisations and grant giving bodies.

The Garden has collaborated with the following groups/ schools/ local shops/ etc:
Restore; Banbury Woodcraft Folk; The Hill Community Centre; Sunrise Multicultural; Orinoco; HomeStart; BYHP; GroWet (Freshwater Habitat Trust); East St Early Years; Age Friendly Banbury; World Tamil Historic Society; Wild Banbury; Banbury Trees; Dr Bike; Aspire; Colours of Banbury; Edge Landscaping; Muddy Feet; TimTim takeaway; Pavement Coffee Co.; Chamberlaine court senior gardeners; Replenish 

Thank you to all those who have contributed.

Thank you to Tila for the amazing amount of time and energy she has put in to so successfully breathing new life into the Garden and for making all these changes happen.  Tila has been working as our part-time freelance garden officer since August with her time paid through grants.  She has also been working an equivalent number of additional hours effectively as a volunteer, and we are extremely grateful for such generous commitment.

Thank you to BSCG/BCAG’s core group of volunteers for the hard work they have put in and for their ongoing support.  

2. Final accounts and treasurer’s report                                                                        Lynda

Lynda, as treasurer, presented the final accounts to the meeting.

Balance carried forward from last year:  £2,578.70

For the financial year 1 April 21 – 31 March 22, we received 15 different grants/donations totaling £27,503

Expenditure: for 21/22: £17,335.09

Current Balance:  £12,306.91 the majority of which is earmarked for agreed projects.

BCAG would like to thank those who have most kindly made grants/donations to the Group including:

Town Council: £300

CDC: £4,000 under x4 project headings

Good Food Oxford: £6,535

National Lottery: £14,406 under x2 project headings

CAG Oxfordshire: £550

Soil Association: £150

Sponsored Bridge Street Garden hexagon beds: £1,562  

Many of the BCAG events are low-cost to run, being dependent on donations of time and resources.

For 21/22 the insurance premium was £547.52 (11/21).  We are grateful to CAG Oxfordshire for their generous contribution of £240 towards this.

Congratulations to Tila for securing much of this funding, and for handling the complex task of managing the project budgets. 

Expenditure included the purchase of the following specific items:

the substantial new shed (11/21) from ‘Spearhead’: £1,940.20; a printer (12/21): £319.08; the BSCG pergola (02/22) from ‘Turin’: £1,574.59; x3 benches (02/22) from ‘No Butts’: £1,188    

3. Voting in the new committee                                                                                                                                   

The new committee was voted in as follows:

CHAIR:             Jim Smith        

TREASURER:    Lynda Smith   

SECRETARY:    Harriet Jordan

Chris thanked the three BCAG named officers for their time in coordinating the Group over the last year.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

There was no other business raised.