BRIDGWATER-MARSA TWINNING ASSOCIATION.
Minutes of AGM Wednesday 12 October 2011.
Present- The Mayor and Mayoress Pat and Jennie Parker, Mike and Di Grabner, Pat and Steve Morgan, Joseph Abela, Tricia Brown, Barbara Taylor, Helmi Holder-Wolff, Margaret Evans, Bill Harmon, Hilary Peters, Graham and Kay Granter.
Apologies- Steve Gill, James Morgan, Gordon Taylor, Carol Harmon.
Our Vice Chairman Joseph Abela chaired the meeting as our Chairman unwell. He thanked PP for the use of the Mayors Parlour and welcomed everyone including our new members.
Welcome by Mayor Pat Parker to the Parlour and explained it had been redecorated and all the mementos of the 4 twinning groups are now in the big room. He explained the Town council is not formally involved with the twinning groups but will do anything they can to support us, he remembered going to Marsa 5 years ago to sign the Maltese side of the twinning agreement and would like very much to visit again in April- could we invite some members of the council to go?
Update from the Secretary- PM reported a successful Wembdon Village day where we had met many people who were interested in Malta and was pleased to see Bill and Hilary who had joined from this promotion.We ran a raffle which was won by Sam Chivers (the £100 holiday Voucher from Chevron) she came from Westonzoyland but her Mum came from Wembdon. Unfortunately I had forgotten the list of winners BT said she had won 2 and SM said 2 ladies he knew had won also.
PM had sent a report to the Bridgwater Mercury but they had not printed it. They had published the AGM though .She had made a mistake with the Times as did not realise the published much earlier than when they receive it.
PM reported an enjoyable talk she and Steve had given to the West Huntspill Day Centre with quite a large audience ranging from their 50’s to a man of 102 years. There was a lot of interest shown and many questions asked.
She had received and email from Adrian Attard the Executive Secretary to Marsa Council who said the council had appointed John Galea who would be arranging a cultural exchange.PM had not heard from him so she emailed him –he replied he was happy to be in contact –he has been asked to prepare for a visit using EACEA funds and gave me the deadlines. I asked him if he could explain and asked if there are things we should be doing. I have not had a reply but PP explained that if one applies then the other does, and it goes through Brussels He suggests we talk to Councillor Brian Smedley. There is also an officer at the county council who could help. As it would be a Cultural Exchange there was a discussion about the culture here and there were suggestions of the Arts Centre, Carnival, Bridgwater College, East Bridgwater School is a Performing Arts school plus others.BT suggested we send a new Town Guide out.
PM reported that JA and HH-W had attended the Mayors Civic Service on 21st August and PM and JM had attended the Town Council sponsored Rugby Match at Bridgwater and Albion against Weston Super Mare on 1st October – unfortunately we were beaten.
PM had received an email from Alan Hurford out Town clerk to submit our accounts to be able to receive out core grant. We have had 49,835 hits on our website (BH had enjoyed it especially the old pictures-which JA had provided) PM said her whole family have booked a week in Malta early April just needed to sort out accommodation.
Treasurer Report- SM reported we had £1,383.85p and the accounts had been audited by Venita Acland. MG asked if there was any interest SM said no but we did not pay any bank charges. He pointed out the raffle had made £76.50p. He will submit the accounts to be able to obtain the Core Grant.PP said the Town Council need to see what the grant is used for so suggests we explain we are trying to raise money to help our Scouts when they visit Malta and also keep some for entertainment when (we hope) that the Mayor of Marsa visits as we have had very little outgoings. BT pointed out that there had been no membership fees paid for the last 2 years and that all the prizes for the raffle had been donated. H HW asked if we had any interest in any new members and it was pointed out that BH was here and his wife will also join and HP said her husband would possible join. So 3-4 new members.
Membership Secretary Report- TB welcomed Bill and Hilary and their partners. She also advertised the membership shirts. BT asked the number of members – TB said 28 on list plus 2 schools and Wembdon Scouts. H HW pointed out some were not active and asked if we had had any contact from the Stubbs family (they had gone with a party 2 years ago) PM had been sending minutes but no response. Cat Rolfe- ME will ask her .ME thinks she would if the churches were involved she would. PM will contact the Alive Church in Bridgwater as ME had given her both contacts.
Membership fees- JP has always felt that it shows commitment if you pay a subscription.
TB explained our fees had been the same for a long time - £5 per person and £10 corporate HP asked was it per month or per year- it was explained it was a yearly fee.
MG proposed we adopt the payment again- seconded by BT
HHW felt that £5 was a nominal fee and not too expensive. .MG pointed out that in the past it was felt by dropping the fee it would increase membership but it did not. HP asked the difference between a charity and an association PP explained that a charity has to register to be one and can then claim tax back on donations. He was asked if the other twinning societies paid subscriptions – the German do, not sure about the French as not very active and the Cheque pay for their trips etc. JP suggested it be paid yearly in October and anyone joining in the year will need to renew in October. It was put to the vote and passed unanimously.
JA asked PP to chair the meeting for the election of officers, he kindly agreed.
Chairman- PM explained that Steve Gill wished to stand down as Chair. JA proposed that MG should take over the post. PP asked him if he was happy to accept and he agreed. 2nd by SM. Voted unanimously.MG accepted the post graciously and hoped he would be able to offer the same enthusiasm and high standards that Steve Gill the founder had achieved. PM pointed out to everyone that MG was one of the 3 founding members of the association.
Vice Chairman-JA was nominated by TB and 2nd by H HW. He was happy to accept and hopes to increase his knowledge with assistance. Voted unanimously.
Secretary-PM was proposed by TB and 2nd by BT. PP said she was always concise with her requests and minutes, JA thanked her for all her hard work. Voted unanimously.
Treasurer- SM was proposed by JA and 2nd by JP. He accepted and was voted unanimously.
Membership Secretary-TB was proposed by MG and 2nd by SM. She accepted and again was voted unanimously.
Initiatives and action plans for the forthcoming year-
SM reported that Wembdon Scouts are hoping to go to Malta in October Half Term and we will be able to assist with some money to help them.PP suggested we fund a minibus to take them to the airport.
JA has a friend coming from Malta in November who is the brother of a famous billiard player called Joseph Grech (he is a former World Champion) and wonders if he would come and do an exhibition here as there are 2 snooker clubs in Bridgwater MG pointed out there are not many differences in the games. The Clubs are the 147 on East Quay and the other is Pot Black. JA will investigate.
MG asked if anything had come of our very many discussions about a tree planting we would have to contact Sedgemoor District council and PP suggested Blake Gardens.HHW suggested we have a plaque to celebrate the Twinning but is was pointed out we would need to get planning permission.
MG and PP discussed Carnival being a way of inviting our Maltese friends.PM said that Dominic Spencer and his family would have liked to have come this year but PM and SM are away so he is planning for next year 2012. 2 years ago the Catania family came (Mark is a Scout Leader) MG said Francis (the Mayor of Marsa) had been invited 5 years ago and had even arranged for the great privilege of Squibbing but had been unable to come.FD has made several visits here and is full of enthusiasm, it was wondered if he had an official invite from the council here if his council would have money available.
PP introduced Graham and Kay Granter who had attended another function as Deputy Mayor and Mayoress and explained to our newer members how they enjoyed their fact finding trip to Malta several years ago. He explained that any councillors who go on any twinning trip pay their own way. There is EU monies available for 14-25 year olds and there may be a little money available here but the EU money varies to accessibility.
PP and JP wants to go to Malta in their term of office as they had had previous visits which they really enjoyed. They would like a group of us to go. PM and SM and their family are going in April around Easter time.
MG asked if anyone would like to go to the Regatta which happens on 8th September as we presented the Bridgwater Cup that is awarded to the winners of what we do not know. GG and KG are keen to go. JA explained that 5 towns compete and there is also another one in March. Apparently a group from Carnival are going in February for the Carnival in Valletta.
HP talked about the music festivals that are held in Valletta in September, October and November.
MG suggested we have a pre Christmas get together. PM said her team had recently play skittles at the West India House and said how clean and well set up the Skittle Alley was and she will talk to the owners .GG said he had a vested interest as it belonged to his daughter. PM will get dates and contact people.KG and GG are away until 8th Dec
Any other Business- BH suggested we use some of the money to advertise the Association. Also asked if we had a regular meeting place but it was explained we have been a small group until recently and had been meeting in members homes. HP asked if we attend local events where we could promote ourselves and explained up until now we had always been welcome at the Wembdon Village Day and had not been charged for a place. She also asked if we had leaflets to promote ourselves and PM explained she had done small ones which had been handed out here and in Marsa, with contact names and telephone numbers and the web address also it was asked if we had any contact from the Maltese community locally as there are meetings in London and there are many groups around the country.MG explained that our priority has been with Marsa and explained that we have tried many ways to contact people but have not had much response. He asked if anyone had any ideas how to encourage people to join, and that they would not be expected to have to be too committed, maybe to appeal to people who have holidayed there and love the islands. It was wondered if adverts in Maltese may help and perhaps arranging trips to Malta may help. JA explained he had taken two groups of people some of whom needed help and support but now feels they could go independently.
HHW asked if a short “ strap line “ or motto which could be “punchy” may help.MG suggests that if anyone has any ideas to bring them back to the group.
Date, time and place of next meeting.
MG suggests we ask the landlady if “The Squibb “if we could use the pub and planned for Friday 18th November at 7.30 pm.
PM will contact Sue the landlady and let everyone know.
MG expressed his grateful thanks to Pat and Jenny Parker for holding the AGM in the Mayors Parlour and their kind hospitality.