Minutes and reports can be downloaded here: meeting files >>>
Meeting type: Annual general meeting
Date and time: Sunday 25/1/15 – 11.00-13.00
Venue: Lordship Rec Eco-Hub, Tottenham
Chair: Alyson Brewer
Secretary: Asher Jacobsberg
Attendees: Alyson Brewer*, Dave Morris*, LRUF* (through Dave Morris), Mark Applegate*, Asher Jacobsberg*, Nina Prieto*, Edgar Jacobsberg*, Karen Ahmed*, Gary Whittam*, Aya Hosokawa*, Louis Fisher*, John Atkinson*, Alyson Bradley*, Lucy Colbeck*, Glynis Kirkwood*, Ebony Riddell-Bamber*, Joan Curtis*, Ruth Green*, Friedrich Ernst*, TWRG* (through Friedrich Ernst), Paul Wheeler*, Tottenham Bike Club* (through Paul Wheeler).
* = Member with a vote
1. Apologies and Declarations of Interest
Apologies from Chloe Doherty, Sunil Kapur, Gloria Lakshman, Nefertiti Marriot
Declarations of interest: Glynis Kirkwood is an employee of the Co-op.
2. Welcome and introductions
All attendees briefly introduced themselves.
3. Membership and election of Board
Several Board members will stand down as required by our rules.
Any Co-op members may propose themselves as Board members.
Alyson Brewer, Alyson Bradley and Asher Jacobsberg stepped down from the Board as required by our rules.
Alyson Brewer explained the role and workload of the Board.
Dave Morris proposed Alyson Brewer, Alyson Bradley and Asher to the Board.
Glynis seconded. Karen and Louis were proposed by Glynis and seconded by Alyson Brewer.
Alyson Bradley, Alyson Brewer, Karen Ahmed, Louis Fisher, Asher Jacobsberg elected unanimously to the Board.
Alyson Brewer was proposed by Dave as the Chair and seconded by Asher.
Alyson Brewer was elected unanimously as Chair.
4. Minutes of last meeting
The AGM minutes were agreed.
Action: Minutes of last General Meeting will be checked at next General Meeting (March 29, 2015)
5. Summary of the year
See attached written report.
There has been an enormous amount of work by the Board, volunteers and staff to set up policies and procedures to ensure the Co-op is run transparently and in the interests of the whole community.
Louis brought up the idea of a group where fathers could meet with kids.
Joan suggested that we should provide space, but that it’s about suggesting to people that we will support them to set up their own group. Joan suggested that the noticeboard could be used to help organise these kinds of things.
Action: Fundraising meeting on 1st Feb 4-5pm – anyone interested is welcome.
Alyson Brewer gave a brief summary of how we have managed our employees over the year and our intentions for the coming year.
In September we recruited a Café Manager and General Manager. We then recruited a cleaning team as a Job share in October.
Unfortunately the Café Manager appointment didn’t work out. Claimed qualifications were not produced despite repeated requests. In the interests of the Co-op this employment was terminated.
A part-time replacement was appointed and all the hours are now covered with temporary appointments.
We were only able to manage because of huge dedication of volunteers and the general manager.
We have now expanded the cleaning team so the building is fully cleaned every day.
We discussed whether more volunteers would help alleviate pressure on staffing. More volunteers are always welcome and would help, but it can’t be a solution on its own.
We discussed the ethics of volunteers who are coerced (e.g. through threat of benefits being removed if they don’t volunteer). There were strong feelings expressed on both sides. Currently our policy is to only accept volunteers who are not in any way coerced.
Asher presented financial performance over the last year will be presented. See attached written report.
Ruth questioned whether it is sustainable for us to employee 4 full time staff. Asher feels it is if we can meet our income targets. Ebony and Alyson Bradley pointed out that this will be under review and we check these projections and adjust our plans accordingly.
Joan suggested that we may have access to more government funding if we employ more people.
Karen asked if we could include month names in future reports and consider aligning our financial year with the calendar year (or other financial years).
We have appointed an accountant, who is formally preparing our accounts and will give a full report at next year’s AGM when our income will be bigger.
Alyson Bradley gave a brief summary of the maintenance and works we have undertaken in the building and the plans we have for 2015 (see attached written report).
Glynis pointed out the huge amount of work Alyson Bradley had done in unpicking all the mess of info we have about the building and figuring out where there are gaps in the documentation.
9. Co-operative and legal
Dave Morris gave a brief summary of the current state of our legal negotiations with the Council to take on the lease of the building.
We managed to persuade the Council that we were the right people for the job. We have been keeping up the negotiations, but hadn’t been provided with a lease before the summer. We negotiated a licence to operate over the summer. We are still operating under this whilst negotiations on the lease continue. The substantive points have all been agreed but it is having to be negotiated to make sure there are no tax implications.
We are grateful to Slaughter & May for the excellent pro bono support they have given us.
One of the Council staff we were negotiating with has since been made redundant and is joining the Co-op to help us with the final stages of negotiation.
10. Promotion and communication
Dave highlighted the recent bulletin from the Friends of Lordship Rec (FLR).
A lot of the strength of the Co-op comes from the fact that it grew out of the FLR.
There are still on-going works in the park to finish off the work that the Council’s contractors did not finish.
The park user groups are flourishing thanks to having a space to use. FLR membership has doubled over the last year because people sign up in the Hub. Friends now has a mailing list of over 1,200.
Glynis pointed out that we are on local social networks as well as Twitter and Facebook.
Ruth suggested that it would be a good idea to have notices about the Hub in each of the noticeboards.
We need a Board member to drive the communication and promotion strategy forward.
Action: Board to discuss notices near gates. We need more promotion around the local area (28 Feb 2015)
Ebony Riddell-Bamber gave a brief report on the number and range of volunteers and volunteering opportunities.
ERB thanked everyone who has volunteered at the Hub over the past year, but also apologised for their not being a full support package in place until now. A volunteering policy and role descriptions have been agreed and new and existing volunteers will now be fully inducted.
We have had overwhelming interest from the local community on volunteering in the Hub – some 60 people have left their details. However, in terms of actual time contributed so far, we have a core group of 10-12 volunteers that have enabled us to keep the Hub open for the community. They have done a fantastic job, but we need more.
Going forward, we are working on an outreach programme to try and build up a formal as well as an informal strand of volunteering. This has involved discussions with Haringey Volunteer Centre (HAVCO) and Age UK so far. We also want to get more young people taking up volunteering opportunities and gaining experience at the Hub.
Training opportunities are an important part of volunteering support, and we will have our first session on Equalities and Diversity in February.
As a board we are keen to ensure open channels of communication and accountability between volunteers and the board. As such, we will be working who our volunteers to start up a volunteer forum for those involved in the Hub to get together, share ideas for improvement, initiate volunteer-led activities, make requests to the board and decide how they would like to engage with the board on an ongoing basis.
Glynis emphasised work with HAVCO, Age UK and Duke of Edinburgh Award to develop volunteering.
Joan highlighted that volunteers are not just giving time to staff the Hub but also need the opportunity to share ideas and contribute to decision-making.
John suggested a volunteers’ notice board would be a good idea and this was agreed.
Nina enquired about young volunteers and whether we had the right safeguarding processes in place. Glynis confirmed that we did.
Dave highlighted that the Hub should not get involved in any coercive volunteering practices, such as that being pursued at Job Centres in response to central government policy. It is clearly stated in our volunteering policy that we do not support anything other than consensual and supported volunteering.
We need a board member to take this forward and so there is no full report.
Joan reported that the Café has become an incredible success. Several times a day people are full of praise for the building, the food and everything else.
On the weekends we are often full to capacity.
Nina asked whether we are still having pop-ups on the weekend as the café is now running successfully.
Glynis suggested that we will, but in a different way: we will be serving and taking the money, but with food provided by the pop-up chefs.
13. Any other business
Quorum – we discussed the current quorum and agreed to keep it as stands for another year.
Membership age – we discussed whether we should drop this. We need a proper proposal on it.
Action: Asher to put a proposal for the next meeting (March 29, 2015)
14. Date of next meeting
Sunday, March 29th, 11.00-13.00