Meeting 8 January 2007
Attendees: Sue King (chair). John Webb (secretary), Laurie Baker (treasurer), Keith Billinghurst, Diane Broughton, Paula Fisher, Jason Green, John Kennett, Marion Kennett, John McLaughlin, Viv Stevens, Helen Valdes, Jane Webb, John Wellington. Alison Harris, Town Centre Manager, attended.
1. Sue welcomed Alison Harris to the meeting following her recent appointment as Town Centre Manager.
2. Apologies were received from Jonathan Bangs, Greenwich Council and Sophie Walker, Outside In.
3. Minutes. Some amendments were made to the previously circulated minutes from the last meeting; in particular Eltham Society and the E Nesbit Society would ‘endorse’ next year’s calendar rather than being produced ’in conjunction’ with them; also a proposal at the meeting was to site a new sundial in the Pleasaunce rather than re-locate the existing one.
4. Finance and Membership. Laurie reported that an account had been set up with the Nat West and the balance stood at £61. The £250 start-up funds from Greenwich Council could now be claimed, along with the £100 which had been previously collected for the Friends. Membership cards for 2007 had been produced and these were distributed. The current membership stood at around 50.
5. Other reports:
- Winter event: in general this had been successful. The lessons to be taken forward for next year were to iron out the gap between the outdoor singing and the start of the indoor entertainment. The gap meant that a number of people with children had left when the entertainment began. The sequencing of events, between the indoor and outdoor parts might also be looked at again, possibly to allow children to make their ‘wishes’ inside in a more co-ordinated way. Also, it would be desirable for a group of children from a particular organisation to lead the singing. Although attendance had been satisfactory, greater numbers could have been accommodated.
- The calendar had sold well, with more than 550 paid for. An extra order of 100 had proved unnecessary as sales had not been as strong in December as expected, therefore, the project would this year only just about break even. However, lessons on ordering and distribution had been learned which would ensure profits for next year; printing before July would attract a 20 per cent discount.
- The website had been expanded and was attracting upwards of 1000 unique visitors a week. The site would continue to be developed and content deepened, with more contextual material for those unfamiliar with the park and area. Jason had been taking some excellent pictures of birds for the website as part of a work experience project. It was suggested this might form a good story for local papers.
- A column had started in the monthly SENine magazine detailing events and developments in the Pleasaunce; this was an important way to communicate with the public
- An effort was being made to increase publicity for the twice-montly ranger walks; nine had attended the previous Wednesday’s walk, more than usual and this should be developed further. They were on the first Wednesday of each month and the second Sunday
- Opening Times: there was confusion about Bank Holiday opening times. The Pleasaunce leaflets suggested it was open but members had found it closed on days over the Christmas period. Also, the policy on opening gates was not consistent. The policy of only half-opening gates had been raised with the Council; action had been promised but had not been forthcoming.
- The Breathing Places grant application had been submitted in time; the outcome would not be known until May. There been very good co-operation from Parks and Open Spaces who had been enthusiastic about the possibilities offered by a successful bid.
- Barefoot Memorial: the Co-op Funeral Service advised that the stone was too soft to make restoration practicable. They were going to estimate how much it would cost for a new one. The material and design chosen would need to be discussed with Parks and Open Spaces, the Management Committee and the Council’s property department. An application to the Greenwich Pride scheme might defray the costs.
- The photographic competition had been a success; this might be extended over a longer period this year to take in different seasons.
The meeting took some time to talk through the practicability of ideas for events. One already scheduled were the Bird Watch on Saturday January 27.
- a garden event, in conjunction with Mottingham Horticultural Society had been discussed which could involve other local societies; this was being considered for late March. It was suggested Hadlow College at Mottingham might want to be involved in this. The Greenwich arboriculturalist might lead a walk.
- the E Nesbit Society put forward an idea for an evening event in the autumn; this was enthusiastically agreed.
- Alison said she hoped to have a stall available for local groups to use in the Town Centre. It was felt this would be a good outlet for the Pleasaunce Friends to advertise themselves. It might also be used to sell calendars in the run-up to Christmas. She also said that she hoped to develop noticeboards for local groups to use to advertise their events in the Town Centre.
- the Friends would also want a presence at the May and August events.
- one idea was put forward were to devise trails for children to follow based on trees, flowers, stone, iron, wood and historical features.
- other ideas were for a sensory garden, an allotment/produce show, an art day and wind turbines/solar panels. These ideas would be considered and taken forward at future meetings.
It was agreed that Officers would draw up a schedule of meetings.
7. Date and time of next meeting. Monday February 26 at 7.30pm in the Tudor Barn.