Minutes of the 2008 AGM

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The meeting was chaired by Mrs Margaret Ormonde, and 42 others were present.

John and Eve Wilson, Sue Ballard, Hermione and John Evans, Sheila Higginson, Janet and Ian Middleton, Nigel Barnett, Neil and Annette Parker, David and Marina Miles, Susie Downer, Maurice Hicks (Neighborhood Watch for The Ridings), George and Glenys Pritchard, Adrian Allseed, Jennifer Leach.

2. THE MINUTES OF THE 23rd AGM held on the 24th April 2007 had been circulated and it was agreed they were an accurate record of the proceedings. They were signed by the Chairman.

Topics other than those covered in the Chairman's report were raised as follows:

Precinct car park and lighting. The Chairman noted that there were concerns; however, there are difficulties in contacting the owners but the attempt to resolve issues is on-going.

Jefferson Close/Russet Green footpath: RBC are re-submitting and notices will be going up shortly.

Henley Road Garden Centre: it was noted that the unsightly notices have been removed.

Copies of her report had already been circulated to all members and they were also available on the Association’s website www.map-reading.co.uk/egra. The following lists the topics where additional comments were noted:

Display boards
The chairman drew attention to the display boards at the back of the hall and thanked Bryan Verran for acquiring them. These illustrate some of the background to EGRA and also highlight some of the changes that have taken place in Emmer Green over the last year.

The Chairman noted the healthy membership of 480 households and urged members present to encourage others to join.

Closer links with other organisations
One of the aims of the year has been to establish closer relationships with other local organisations, such as CADRA, schools our local Councillors and Reading Borough Council. Obviously in some cases EGRA has just been witness to the event, but our focus is very much working in partnership with others and informing our members of things happening. The Chairman also thanked the local Councillors for their hard work and continuing support.

Email membership
We have a very active email membership, which enables EGRA to convey information at speed, and the website contains monthly updates. Anyone who has not yet given their email address and wishes to do so, should contact the Membership Secretary, Jill Verran.

Supporting causes
The Chairman noted that EGRA has been able to spend some of its money on worthwhile causes. Projects which have come to fruition include the seat and tree in the park to commemorate the Queen's 80th Birthday. EGRA has also made donations to local schools, the church and the Caversham Court Gazebo weather vane.
EGRA also helps to publicise events and one of these was CROW organised by local artist Jenny Leach.

Changes over the last year
A number of retail outlets have seen dramatic change over the last year; the Post Office is now firmly established in its new location and doing well. EGRA did offer to fund seating, but apparently Health and Safety requirements mean that there cannot be a seat inside the shop. The former Post Office site has now re-opened as an estate agent and there is also have a revamped petrol station.

The Chairman invited members with particular concerns to consult the planning guidance page on the website. Printed copies can be issued for those who do not have internet access. Infill development is slowing down now, but perhaps the biggest threat is the adjacent countryside in South Oxfordshire. Earlier in the year EGRA drew members’ attention one of their consultation exercises.

Locally we have seen changes to the junctions of Kidmore End, Lowfield and Peppard Roads, making the area much safer. EGRA has responded to various RBC traffic consultations. Thanks are due to Barry Prior, a committee member, for working on these.

Following on from their talks at last year's AGM the police have held regular meetings Neighbourhood Action Groups. EGRA has had a representative at every one and it is an ideal opportunity to give and receive feedback.

Young People
EGRA is extending links to all schools in the area.

Older People
EGRA has had representatives at the very popular Age Concern 50++ meetings. The Chairman reminded the meeting about RBC's Survey for Older People, copies of which were available at the meeting - deadline mid May. Also representatives were present from RBC and Social Services to answer questions later on Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance.

It has been a very positive year for tree planting. If there is a dry summer members are asked to watch out for the well-being of newly planted trees. The committee has also conducted a survey of Tree Preservation Orders in Emmer Green. EGRA continues to clean up graffiti - please help by reporting new occurrences. The committee monitors grass and hedge cutting in the area and support workable recycling initiatives. Members were asked to note the new facilities at the golf club car park.

Bill Harper briefly introduced the accounts for 2007 and noted that membership subscriptions are strong, a bonus was received when the Portman Building Society merged and expenses are quite modest. The balance in hand remained substantial. This has allowed EGRA to contribute to local facilities and amenities. The committee would be pleased to hear from members of any other worthwhile projects.
Adoption of the accounts.

Proposer: Jill Verran
Seconder: Owen Jewiss

The Chairman thanked all those who have helped during the past year both on and off the committee, such as our regular team of newsletter deliverers. Three committee members have decided to step down: Paul Gallagher, who was our excellent Chairman for ten years, Ben Cosh and Bob Cruickshank.

EGRA now has a new role of Committee Support and Bob Cruickshank has decided he would like to continue his work for EGRA, but off the committee.

Eight existing committee members have agreed to continue: Margaret Ormonde - Chair, Barry Prior - new role of Vice Chair, Kate Manton - Secretary, Bill Harper - Treasurer, Jill Verran - Membership Secretary. Other existing committee members are Tara Taylor, Vera Bodman and Diana Hartrup. Two members have put their names forward for nomination: Cathi Edwards and Carol Sutton.

The committee always value extra help both on and off the committee - if members can spare a bit of time they were asked to fill in and return one of the forms available. The Chairman also thanked Julian Pearce who has agreed to continue auditing the accounts.

Proposer: Ben Cosh
Seconder: Gil Child

Bill Harper offered his thanks to the Chairman for her sterling work during her first year in the position.


25th Anniversary, 9th May 2009
Kate Manton explained that the committee is planning an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of EGRA. Preparations are underway for the event and the committee would be grateful for members who would like to help.

The Chairman finally asked if there were any general questions or matters arising. Helen Lambert (CADRA Chair) acknowledged and appreciated the closer links EGRA had had with them this year. No further questions or business.

Tina Heaford from Youth Services gave a presentation about the work her team is doing with young people in north Reading. Tina started in 2005 and since then there has been expansion: in 2006 into schools and then in 2007 the work expanded into providing additional holiday activities and street work. The latter allows the youth team to mediate between the community and young people. Tina gave an example of how they have managed to move young people away from congregating around the shops.

In 2008 there are more initiatives, including the Bike Project which is about restorative justice, urban sports projects, and youth forums. The latter is about getting young people involved in the community. Tina emphasised that youth work is now much more about education.

Tina noted that the team had exceeded all its government targets except accreditation. Young people had brought £45, 500 into the area through applying for Community Grants.

Finally, Tina explained that young people in north Reading have raised money to support Cancer Research and Oxfam, the charities being chosen by them.