Minutes of the Projects Committee Meeting held on Thursday 23 July 2015 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.
Present: Cllr Mrs M Powell (Mayor)
Cllrs Mrs S Woodhouse, J L Prosser, N Tatam, S Horrell and D Edwards.
In attendance: The Town Clerk
Ms Shirley Lightbound (CAB Chief Executive)
Mr Elfed Roberts Eisteddfod Chief Executive
Marion Pearse, Paul Down and Leah Hardisty (Abergavenny Community Centre)
Alan Michie (Chair, TeamAbergavenny)
1.Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs R Harris, Mrs M Harris, C Woodhouse, M Hickman, Miss M Toombs, Ms S Dodd, P Jordan.
2. Declarations of interest would be made as and when necessary.
3. Monmouthshire CAB
The Mayor welcomed Shirley Lightbound, CAB Chief Executive, who had come to update members on the progress of the Monmouthshire CAB. Since May the Monmouth CAB has become part of the Monmouthshire CAB, and there are now five paid staff across the oounty and 87 volunteers. The total budget is about £190,000 with £70,000 from Monmouthshire, £75,000 from Welsh Government and the rest from Town and Community Councils. Last year they received some 3,500 clients and dealt with some 10,035 issues. Abergavenny has about one third of the total clients. The CAB recovered some £250,000 for its clients last year.
They provide outreach in Usk on half a day each week, and in Wyesham and they ae looking at other possible areas. Between them Abergavenny and Monmouth provide five day cover and the CAB also provides on average 25 hours a week telephone advice cover for the whole of Wales.
At present they do not cover Crickhowell, and a challenge is training supervisor volunteers as you cannot end one volunteer only to do an outreach. There is some exchange of volunteers between offices so as a result there is more resilience from the mergers.
One big issue is the need for a common IT system and telephone system. That would cost about £5,500.
Some of the larger Community Councils in this area contributed to the CAB, but not all.
Members were very pleased with the report and thanked Ms Lightbound for coming to the meeting. She left at this point.
4. National Eisteddfod
The Mayor welcomed Mr Elfed Roberts, Chief Executive of the Eisteddfod who had come to give members an insight into the Eisteddfod. It lasts or 8 days and will feature a concert by Only Men Aloud. The Competition starts on Saturday and continues to the following Saturday with concerts eah evening. The chosen site is Castle Meadows for the majority of the activity. They are busy talking to nearby landowners to secure camping, parking and additional performance areas. They need some 45 acres for the caravan park alone with the possibility of some 850 caravans.
There is a bit of a problem inducing North Walians to come to South Wales.
The total cost is some £3.4M with Welsh Government and WLGA contributing about 25% of this. Monmouthshire has been asked to raise £300,000. Monmouthshire CC are attending this year`s Eisteddfod to sell Monmouthshire for next year.
The Eisteddfod would like the Town to help and they will also try to help the town to get benefits from the Eisteddfod. It was emphasised that it is a County Eisteddfod, not just Abergavenny.
They would welcome input on the Maes from local people able to advise what there is to see around Abergavenny and they would also welcome venues for filming. Tours around the town would also be very welcome as had been done in Denbigh. The idea is to encourage people to come for more than one day, or to come back again to the area.
The Eisteddfod has 16 staff and they would welcome a local staff member at the gate to help with advice about Abergavenny.
They would also suggest a shop window competition and anything which would encourage Abergavenny people to feel part of the Eisteddfod. Ideas are welcomed and we could meet again in September to bring that together.
It was noted that Planning Permission for the event is to be considered on 4 August. Cllr Edwards declared an interest as a member of the Planning Committee but suggested that the History Society were well placed to help with guided tours. TeamAbergavenny would also be interested in giving assistance. There was some discussion about the possible use of Bailey Park as a supplementary site. Agreed to get back in touch in September.
The Mayor thanked Mr Roberts and he left at this point.
5. Abergavenny Community Centre
The Mayor welcomed the three representatives from the ACC.
They described where they were at present. They had received the keys at the end of January and had opened in March. They now have a warm, dry, safe space which is already being well used.
Cllr Edwards declared an interest as a member.
Initially they have a three year lease with another 25 years conditional on them raising £230,000 of funds which may come from donations or grants. They want to extend the building to include a child-care facility which would be a money earner to help fund the centre. Presently they are collecting enough from room bookings to fund their annual outgoings. They are working to log evidence of use and support to help when they bid for funds. They need to highlight what social return there will be. They have a website and Facebook page and a google calendar which shows what is going on. As an example they had 100 people in the centre today. There are a variety of activities going on including courses, Men`s Sheds, NHS drop in, origame etc
They plan to leaflet the whole town in the next 2 months. The Bereavement Cafe has been put on temporary hold as there has been a problem for the organiser which will hopefully be resolved soon.
At present they do not have IT connections which they need for Job Clubs etc but they are working on it.
The Mayor thanked the three representatives for their time and the detailed presentation and they left at this point.
Alan Michie presented a brief summary of progress being made by the Team. He explained that they had changed the name to reflect an area wider than the town only, and at present they were focusing on six project areas designed to develop prosperity in the area in line with the County objectives of food and tourism. Most of their activities were directly linked to the objectives in the Whole Place Plan, and they were focusing on Public Realm, Tourism and Events, Green Spaces, Business and Wealth Creation, Town Hall Cost Centre and Communications and Publicity. Each of these is being led by a Team Member. They will be setting up a limited company to handle finance when it comes along. They have been invited to apply for seed funding to assist with developing projects and are currently trying to work out how that can be achieved. There is also an e-commerce project with Welsh Government money to help businesses to improve their business use of IT and they are looking at the possibility of working with the County on devolving services. He emphasised that it is very important that TeamAbergavenny works with the Town Council and none of their business should be hidden.
Members welcomed his presentation and confirmed their interest in working with TeamAbergavenny in the future.
7. Town Hall Accommodation.
The Town Clerk distributed a modified plan of the first floor accommodation in the Town Hall to show how an additional area could be added to the first floor leading out from the Mayor`s Parlour.
This would probably mean rearranging use of space in the Town Hall if it is subsequently agreed to install the Hub there. He asked if members were prepared to be flexible with the space needed for Meetings, Mayor`s Parlour and office. Members welcomed the proposal and agreed that they would be prepared to discuss alternative arrangements within the Town Hall if the Hub is located there.
The Meeting ended at 8:55pm