LONG ASHTON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING HELD AT 7.30 P.M. TUESDAY, 3rd OCTOBER 2019 IN THE JUBILEE PAVILION.

The meeting opened at 7.30pm and the Chairman welcomed everyone.

  1. APOLOGIES. There were none.
  2. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING. The Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 18th September 2018 were accepted as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
  3. MATTERS ARISING. There were none.
  4. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT. Mrs Pullin gave the following report:

‘The objective of the Charity is to manage and maintain the Community Centre and Recreation Grounds on behalf of the Parish Council for the benefit of the inhabitants of Long Ashton, operating under the terms of a 28 year lease from the Parish Council, dated December 1999. Its aims are to provide good quality facilities at an affordable cost to voluntary organisations serving the community as well as groups and individuals. Trustees meet monthly at the Community Centre.

Various changes of personnel occurred during the year. Two Trustees, John Maughan and Trish Kabala resigned. We are grateful to John for the work he undertook with the finances during his short time with us and thank Trish for her many years’ service. The Community Association acknowledges with gratitude the help she gave to founding and later managing the café, now a successful part of the services offered at the complex.

The café is continuing to grow in footfall and a projected nil balance became a £6000 surplus. The Mobile Library which began its twice weekly visit to the car park offered a prospect of increased café usage but the Tuesday afternoon session did not prove fruitful and the café is only open once a month on that afternoon for the very popular afternoon Cream Teas.

The facilities continue to be well used by a variety of organisations and ages, some groups thriving and others just surviving. Our regular Quiz Nights and Beer and Cider Festival continue to be well supported. The 2018 Village Picnic made a small profit but only because of the inclusion of a ‘Bark in the Park event’. Friends of LACA evolved during this year, to plan for the 2019 weekend celebrations for the anniversary of the opening of the Village Hall. The local branch of the Royal British Legion has re-located to the refurbished old Youth Hut, having lost their HQ elsewhere in the village.

The Trustees were pleased to make a contribution to the extremely well attended end of World War 1 celebrations by offering Peel Park and the Village Hall at no charge.

A sum of money from a past planning decision became available to the Parish Council and £17000 was allocated to the Community Association to purchase some new play equipment, now installed. Donations from schemes operated by Bristol Airport, Tesco, and the Co-Op together with a legacy from Long Ashton Community Care Association provided equipment, now in place in Peel Park, for the beginning of an Outdoor Gym.

For various reasons some changes of café, caretaking and office staff have taken place and the Trustees are appreciative of all who have helped and continue to help, to ensure the smooth running of the centre. A door entry system to cut down on the attendance of a caretaker was investigated and is now in operation. Regrettably plans to extend the Club Room/Café/Youth venue came to nought when the bid for the much needed financial grant was not successful. The Garden project to be incorporated with these works was also put on hold.

We try to carefully manage the bio-diversity area in Peel Park to minimise flower seed impinging on the surface of the playing pitches.

Storage always has been and continues to be a problem. We have lost the custom of some groups because we have been unable to provide them with this facility. We had hoped to combine a store with the new library building but this has not proved practical so we are now investigating providing a space elsewhere on the complex.

At the 2018 AGM a complaint was received regarding the pool table restricting table space for café customers. Some other organisations who use the room had also queried the permanent fixture of the table. The Community Association looked into providing a replacement folding table which could be used by the Youth Club and stored away when others use the room. However negotiations with the Youth Club to replace the current table with a folding table have failed to reach agreement.

The Trustees are aware that working groups have formed to provide a Skate Park and replacement Library on the complex and aim to work with both to obtain the desired outcomes.’

  1. TREASURER’S REPORT. Mr Williams gave the following report:

‘Thanks go to all of the users of the facilities here as this has enabled the Association to maintain the funds needed to ensure the continuation of LACA in providing community amenities.

Thanks must also go to the Long Ashton Parish Council who have continued their invaluable support of the Association through grant funding as well as advice and guidance where needed.

In summary, total income was up 7% on 2018, due to improved revenue from the LA Café and rentals from usage of the halls. Total expenditure was slightly lower than 2018 by 1% despite increases in the Peel Park maintenance costs and the LA Café expenses. This was mainly through reduced activity on maintenance and capital expenditure. The circulated pie-charts show break-down of income and expenditure more clearly.

The café continues to be popular with users and has made a good contribution to the overall financial situation of the Association.

At the end of March 2019 LACA had cash reserves of £105,403, up from £75,165 at the end of the previous year.

Associations such as LACA need to maintain a realistic level of reserves to ensure that they can meet the various demands of them in both day-to-day operations, maintaining the fabric of the infrastructure and also planning for future major expenditures. The Committee are currently reviewing the planned maintenance and asset renewal for the coming years to ensure that it can continue to provide good quality facilities to the community.

Major items of expenditure since the beginning of the financial year 2019-2020 included redecorating the village hall and the village hall floor being resealed, outdoor benches, a specialist coffee machine, a dishwasher to the Club Room and a door entry system. Other items needing urgent review included the sports hall floor, tennis court line marking, changing room showers (with regard to efficiency), storage units, and a possible review of the reservation system.’

  1. QUESTIONS. Mrs Pullin invited questions from the public.

Mr Johnson raised a question about community involvement in the Strategy and Capital and Maintenance Plan to which the Manager responded that the Capital and Maintenance Plan was probably an in-house task to be carried out by those most connected with the building. However, LACA recognised that it would need to work with other stake-holders with regards to the future library and skate park.

Mrs Anderson asked whether LACA would consider further open meetings and also whether the monthly minutes could be published on the website. Mr Cave responded by saying that it was a good idea but often engaging with the public was time consuming and lengthened meetings. Perhaps there could be occasional open meetings though. Mrs Pullin stated that trustees were volunteers and it was a question of how much time they had to give. The Manager added that it might be possible to publish elements of the minutes on the website but sometimes confidential

issues were discussed, eg staff. Mrs Anderson stated that she just wanted to ensure that there was a vehicle for transparency and accountability.

Mr Pemble stated that there was an income figure for the Tennis Courts in the accounts but no expenditure figure. Mr Cave responded with the fact that there had been no expenditure on this area this year.

Mr Johnson stated that it was great the LACA recognised the necessity of working together with both the Skate Park Working Group and the Library Working Group. Could LACA say what the desired outcomes were? The Manager responded by stating that LACA had met with the Library Working Group and were satisfied with the way things were progressing but that a meeting with the Skate Park Working Group was due in two weeks’ time, so it wasn’t possible to comment on the latter at this stage.

Mr Wilkinson, on behalf of the Parish Council, stated that the work of the LACA trustees was much appreciated and thanked the Committee.

  1. LA CINEMA. James Ewen reported on the LA Cinema and engaged with those present on various questions including publicity and the democracy of choosing films.
  2. LONG ASHTON POST OFFICE AND VILLAGE SHOP. Lucy gave an interesting and informative talk on the various products that the Post Office were now selling to reduce impact on the environment.
  3. ANY OTHER BUSINESS. No other business was raised.