Minutes of the Projects Committee held in the Mayor`s Parlour, Town Hall Abergavenny at 7pm on Monday 28 April 2014.

Present: Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse,(Mayor)

Cllrs C Woodhouse, N Tatam, M Hickman, Mrs M Harris, R Harris, R Harries, Miss M Toombs, P Wadsworth, Mrs M Powell and D Edwards

In attendance: The Town Clerk, Mr G Matthews (Business Club), Ms H Myers and Mr N Burton

 (Food Festival) and Mr A Morgan and Ms N Needle (Abergavenny Community Coordinator)

1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Ms S Dodd and J L Prosser.

2. Declarations of interest would be made as and when necessary.

3. Food Festival.

The Mayor welcomed Ms Heather Myers and Mr Nigel Burton to the meeting. They attended to talk about this year`s Food Festival and the alterations that were being proposed for this year.

Ms Myers thanked members for last year`s donation to the Festival. This had been welcomed because the funding from Welsh Government had been drastically cut by about £75k, but despite that the Festival managed to do better than break even on an overall spend of some £350,000.

Several deliberate decisions have been taken this year. The first is to work with local community organisations and not to chase a major sponsor, which often brought with it the need to satisfy a series of rigorous conditions. They will be looking for local support either “in kind”, such as hotel rooms for visiting speakers, food etc or in donations. The Fanfare Dinner will not be held this year as it is not seen as a Community Event – very few of those attending come from the local area. In addition, there is a considerable effort needed to set everything up, to take it down for the normal Friday Market and then to reset the Hall for the Festival on the weekend.

The general footprint of the Festival will remain the same, but it will be more community-focused. NP7 residents will be entitled to a 10% discount on 2012 prices on their tickets if they buy them on the website before 1 August. This was available last year but not very well publicised.

There are a number of possible ways that the Council could direct its sponsorship this year. As the Festival is liaising with Monmouthshire CC on its Food initiative, the Fringe Booklet from last year will not be a possibility, but the following are:

– Fireworks for the party at the castle

– Architectural lighting at the Castle

– Market Hall decorations (total cost about £8000)

– Sponsor a venue.

– signage in fields around Abergavenny

Members were invited to consider which might suit their objectives.

Ms Myers asked if when the Christmas lights are erected we can put up the Food Festival banners for the Winter Festival, and take them down when the lights come down. The Town Clerk confirmed this was possible.

The discussion was then opened for members to comment.

It was noted that the extremities of the shopping area were seen as left out. Mr Burton and Ms Myers emphasised that they would work with any shop-keepers to promote their businesses. One possibility was to give discounts during the Festival to anyone wearing a stroller wrist-band, and for this to be advertised on the website. Another possibility was a town trail where people could be encouraged to visit shops in the town to get a card stamped. The emphasis is that if local businesses wish to be involved, the Food Festival will work with them but will not work for them as they are short of resources.

The Mayor thanked Ms Myers and Mr Burton for attending and they left the meeting at this point.

(Cllrs Wadsworth and Edwards left the meeting at this point)

4. Community Coordinator.

The Mayor welcomed Ms  Nicki Needle and Mr Ashley Morgan to the meeting. Mr Morgan is the newly appointed Community Coordinator for the Abergavenny area. He is starting to go out into the Community and will be trying to link up organisations who are trying to develop well-being in the community. This means going into schools, residential homes and visiting individuals who he comes to know about, who are suffering from loneliness. The objective is to get to people before they become isolated, to try to improve support networks without institutionalising people. Support for anyone who is struggling is the objective, to find out what matters to them and what can be done to improve their lot, either from family and friends or from others who will volunteer to help. Mr Morgan`s background is in arts, and he hopes that this may be useful in getting things moving.

The Mayor thanked Ms Needle and Mr Morgan for attending and invited him to come back to see the Committee in a few months to see how he is getting on.

5. Tourist Information Centre.

The Clerk asked the Mayor for this item to be brought before the Committee urgently as there is a need to establish the TIC in the Tithe Barn. At the Finance Committee held earlier in the evening, he had told members that some progress was being made towards finalising arrangements for the establishment of the TIC in the Tithe Barn. The funding from the County Council and the Town Council, together with the grant money anticipated from the National Park, should cover costs for the year if income reaches the expected levels. There remained the problem of the set-up costs. A decision had been taken not to proceed with the telephone system, but only to instal an extra telephone line for point of sale equipment. There remained the problem of modifying the reception desk. Use of the existing TIC desk had been examined, but by the time it is removed and adjusted to fit, a carpenter had expressed the view that it would be about the same cost to produce a new one. On that basis, the National Park representative had asked if this Council would consider making an additional payment towards the desk if they contributed as well. This would amount to £1500 each.

After some discussion, members agreed to support the Finance Committee recommendation that the Council should make the additional payment on condition that the National Park pay at least as much, and that no more be paid this year. In addition, monthly reports of progress would be required and if for some reason the intended scheme did not work out, any funding shortfall would be covered by closing the TIC at the end of the year. This arrangement is for one year only, and arrangements for next year will need to be set up during this year.

The meeting ended at 8:05pm