Dear Members Please find below the AGM report for the meeting that will be held this year by zoom. We invite you to join us for a review of the activities of last year and an optimistic look forward to our plans for the coming year.
Normally we would offer you a glass of wine or two at the Village Hall, I know it’s a Tuesday but we hope you will bring a glass of something you like to the zoom meeting!
Meeting ID: 864 6575 2305 One tap mobile +442080806592,,86465752305# United Kingdom +443300885830,,86465752305# United Kingdom
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Present at AGM
Committee Members: –
Alison Townsend – Special Projects
Lin Underwood – Store Manager
June Abraham – Events Manager
Stuart Buchanan-Barrow – Treasurer
Alastair Greene – Membership Secretary
Plus a vacancy helping with projects/events
Janet Stinton – Special Projects
Our Committee in pre covid times Feb 2020
Approval of the Minutes from the 2020 AGM
Election of Committee Members
Phil Bunting has stood down from the Committee and the remaining committee would like to thank him and Ali and the boys for their great support, particularly for his competition knowledge and advice, suggestions for improving the administration of events and for the really helpful deliveries to members during lockdown – definitely service over and above!
We are pleased to advise that the remaining Committee members are putting their names forward for re-election but we have a vacancy now that we would like to fill on the night.
New nominations for the Committee
Please step forward, you don’t need any particular knowledge, just the ability to muck in and get things done, especially with our events. Either volunteer in advance of the meeting by contacting a committee member or at the meeting itself. The commitment you make can be limited by you to the time you want to give, so don’t feel it’s an all or nothing thing, across the year it probably only amounts to an hour a week, although some weeks around events may require a bit more time.
Membership 2020/2021 – Alastair Greene
Membership numbers grew last year, up from 190 households to 210 (c.10% increase) and so a big welcome to our new members many of whom are new to the village too. If you have new neighbours don’t forget to mention the VPA to them and encourage them to join, we are a fun village group to be a part of.
A reminder that subs are due on 1st April every year. Our strong preference is a standing order subscription, it is just £5 for the household. 75% of subs are now paid this way and it is convenient for everyone really. You can either set that up or ask the membership secretary for the form.
Details for payment are as follows; – Account name – Gaddesden District Village Produce Sort Code 09-01-51 Account number 48549306 Please use your name and postcode as identifiers. If you do not want to pay by standing order you can make a one-off payment online or a crisp £5 note handed to a Committee Member works ok too!
We can confirm that we already have 140 payments received since 1st of this month. Thanks very much for your prompt attention to this, it saves us chasing folk across the summer.
If you want to check if you have a standing order in place already just email the membership secretary Alastair Greene at membership@LGVPA.org or ring 843667.
Don’t forget that through the VPA’s affiliation to the RHS (Royal Horticultural Association) we have 2 tickets we can loan to members that give 30% off entrance to Wisley Gardens, Surrey; Harlow Carr Garden, Harrogate; Hyde Hall Garden, Chelmsford and Rosemoor Garden, Devon. If you can work a visit into a trip, perhaps your holidays, and wish to borrow the tickets, ring 843667.
Garden Store 2020/2021 – Lin Underwood
Whilst everyone in the country, seemed overnight suddenly to rediscover their gardens, this created an unprecedented demand on things like composts, that quickly became in short supply at a critical time in the growing season. However, our supplier was able with some judicious substitutions of certain items, to keep up with our deliveries and kept us going. So, we have managed to supply the needs of our customers and keep the gardens of Little Gaddesden and district growing.
We reintroduced this season a range of seed potatoes, plus a selection of vegetable seeds for the enthusiastic gardeners amongst us. Although, our best sellers remain composts and wild bird feed. However, it would be great to see a wider breadth of sales coming from some of the other products on offer. So, remember we have a great range of essential garden products, at competitive prices, providing both real value and the convenience of being local.
Overall turnover is up 79%, so a successful year. The introduction of a card reader last year has certainly paid dividends, becoming the preferred method of payment; so now around 70% of our sales are by card. We have again remained open throughout the winter, importantly keeping the local bird population well fed, as well as boosting sales!
For the last year we have operated the store within Covid guidelines. In June, following the first lockdown, serving our customers we had a table in the car park (weather permitting), wearing face covering and used copious amounts of sanitiser and kept social distancing to introduce a covid safe environment. Sadly, this meant having to stand down our volunteer team to minimise numbers and keep people safe. However, as restrictions are gradually easing, we are now looking to be able to welcome back our volunteer team, who kindly support the store activities on a Sunday morning. We have been given the seal of approval by passing a Covid inspection by Dacorum Council’s Environmental Health team. Surprising what a Risk Assessment can do! However, please note, we still need volunteers and no, you certainly do not need to be an expert!
We now just look forward to seeing everyone back, to be able to socialise a little, to continue to offer advice on a variety of garden topics, to solve your garden problems and hopefully, even offer a cup of coffee or tea. To become a place for people to meet up again, to catch up on how they are doing, a degree of normality?
Events last year and this year – June Abraham
As the pandemic unfolded last year, we were so pleased to be able to put plans in place for the plant sale. Thanks especially to Sue Godar for organising the event again for us, it was very well managed, social distancing being the key to its safe execution! The same is intended this year on Sunday 23 May 2021. Plant donations very much welcomed, please grow extra in your greenhouse for the sale.
Later in the year Alison Townsend did a fantastic job with the bulbs event and then Lin and Alison were the organisers of the pop-up Christmas event which was a lot of fun and welcomed by our members.
All being well we are hoping to have a summer show on Saturday 28 August 2021 which will include the ‘great potato weigh in’. I hope everyone has their spuds in the ground now, we had a great take up for the VPA potato competition.
Good luck with organising your garden layout for the year and we hope that you are rewarded with lots of produce.
Treasurers Report 2020/2021 – Stuart Buchanan-Barrow
The web site is one of our methods of communication, firstly as a reference point and secondly for the sending out of newsletters. Andrew Sheard continues to support and advise us on its development. We would welcome any suggestions from members for items that they would like to see added/amended.
We are very pleased that Stasia runs our facebook page and Instagram account, a nice way of being reactive to events and issues as they occur and a way of widening our communication channels with members.
The four village planters have been maintained by Janet Stinton and we would like to thank Janet for her continued support on all VPA matters.
Hi to all our members and a special welcome to those who have just joined the VPA in the last few weeks.
Call for Volunteers We at the VPA have been looking keenly ahead to when our days become more normal. We hope you have enjoyed the small events that we have been able to offer throughout these strange times. We are trying hard to keep up the various events that we have traditionally undertaken such as the Village Summer and Winter Shows. We are also keen to offer a wider variety of Pop-Up events but we are struggling. We are unable to print the average age of the committee but suffice it to say neither age nor health are on our side!
WE NEED YOU!
The next planned VPA event, apart from the AGM (on 20th April, 7pm by zoom, details will be sent out in advance) will hopefully be our Annual Plant Sale on 23rd May which Sue Godar has kindly offered to coordinate for us again this year. Feedback from our sale last year was amazing, as we had been able to offer you all a well organised, socially distanced event. We would struggle to be able to do this again without some help from our members. We desperately need helpers and we would not ask too much of you. You do not have to be a garden expert to volunteer. All we need is a few hours of your time.
If you think that you would like to volunteer please contact any of the members of the committee* or pop into the store on a Sunday morning.
Plant Sale donationsfor 23rd May An additional request from the Committee to all its members is to add a few seeds for the VPA when you start sowing and if you are dividing plants or removing some to make way for others, then we would be delighted for your plant donations, hold on to them until we give you the event details.
Great Potato Growing Competition
We have had a super response with loads of entries, so good luck to you all with your prep and planting.
No action required until April 1st, 75% of our members are now on standing order arrangements which makes it easy to manage for the Committee, a reminder will be sent out nearer the time. If you are not sure if you have an automated payment in place email Alastair Greene at membership@LGVPA.org. If you have new neighbours moving in please help promote the VPA and encourage them to join one of the great village institutions.
RHS discounted entry tickets
We have two tickets that give a member and an adult guest 30% off entry to the RHS gardens of Wisley, Harlow Carr, Rosemoor and Hyde Hall. (see all garden links below).
Please call Alastair Greene 843667 or any Committee member if you wish to borrow them.
Great start last weekend. Thanks to all those keen members who have already collected their competition potatoes. The store team will be there tomorrow 10am – 12 noon, or you can order from Alastair (843667) who will deliver to your home, so don’t miss the opportunity to join in @ £1 an entry. Get the whole family involved.
All you need to do is purchase 6 seed potatoes from the VPA, then its down to each grower. Potatoes are easy to grow, either in the ground of course but if you don’t have the room then large containers can work well, they can even be grown in a bin bag providing you give it drainage and some support. The winner will be the entry that has generated the greatest weight of new spuds from the original 6.
All you need to do is purchase 6 seed potatoes from the VPA shop for £1, then its down to each grower. Potatoes are easy to grow, either in the ground of course but if you don’t have the room then large containers can work well, they can even be grown in a bin bag providing you give it drainage and some support. The winner will be the entry that has generated the greatest weight of new spuds from the original 6.
We send best wishes for the New Year to all our members.
Following your nominations, we are pleased to confirm that we have made our annual charitable donations. From the feedback from the Charities so far, we are aware just how important these extra monies have been to them, they have really made such a difference.
We were able to send £200 to each of the following local charities:-
Gaddesden Place Riding for the Disabled, Westcroft House, Tring. Signpost Counselling. The Hospice of St. Francis Rennie Grove Hospice Care.
We have tried to be careful with our members in these testing times but we also like to bring you all some cheer. When we briefly popped out of the astringent rules of lockdown and just before we all fell off another cliff, the VPA were able to organise a mini Christmas event in the car park at the village hall. We grabbed a bit of sunshine and for two glorious hours we welcomed our members with mince pies and mulled wine.
With Covid 19 still with us it looks as though Christmas shopping will be difficult so why not join us outside the Village Hall on Saturday 5th December between 10.00 a.m. and 12 noon for our Mini Christmas Event. This will be run as our other events have been – outside with social distancing in place to keep you all safe.
Each year the VPA makes donations to local worthy causes and as we did last year we would like to ask members for their nominations for charities or organisations for the Committee to consider.
Charities have had a particularly poor year in fund raising this year so the Committee have decided to make available up to a total of £1,000 to donate in smaller sums to worthy groups. Please avoid nominating National groups or Charities as we know members prefer to see donations given locally.