Minutes of the Projects Committee held on Thursday 28 September 2017 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny

Present: Cllr D Simcock (Mayor)

Cllrs Mrs M Harris, F Morgan, T Thomas, Mrs T Davies, N Tatam and Mrs P Simcock

In attendance: The Acting Town Clerk, together with various representatives who had come to address the Committee.

  1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs  R Harris, M Hickman, Ms S Dodd, G Jones, T Konieczny, S Head and M Groucutt.
  2. Declarations of interest were made by Cllr Tatam as a Director of Homemakers and Cllr Morgan as a member of Y Fenni Business Community.
  3. Arts Alive

The Mayor welcomed Bettina Reeves, Justine Wheatley and Aine Morris who had attended to make the Committee aware of how Arts Alive works and its involvement with the Food Festival. Each year the display in the Market Hall is changed and a new design introduced. The scale of the work in such a large space is an important consideration, together with the time available for creating the displays. The designs are created to match the skills of the participants as far as possible, with some only wishing to be involved in stitching and others with the creation of the models. They use a studio in Crickhowell for the work which suits their needs but many of the volunteers are from Abergavenny. They tend to be older people it has been difficult to attract young people due to their day to day commitments.

In addition to the Market Hall models, Arts Alive also starts and fosters other groups Crafty Women is one of their groups. Currently they have funding for a well-being project for younger people which is just starting up.

There was further discussion on the work of Arts Alive and questions from members.  There has been downward pressure on their budget which is an issue.

The displays in the Market Hall from the previous year are often used elsewhere afterwards (Owls from last year have now been relocated ina building in Bristol)

It was noted that the Melville Theatre has funds to improve its facilities. (Cllr Mrs Simcock noted her interest in this building)

It was noted that any alterations to the Market Hall should be made known to the Arts Alive group so that they could comment on improvements that might improve the display arrangements.

The Mayor thanked the three representatives for coming and they left at this point.

The Mayor welcomed Ms Lucy Hywel and Mr Andrew Powell who had come to update the Committee on the progress of the Business Community.

Last January some 100 people had joined (people with an NP7 address), they meet monthly with approximately 12 people attending meetings and they have run events such as the Easter Egg hunt in which 100 families took part. They also ran a slightly less popular event at the August Bank Holiday. In October they will be running a scarecrow trail.

A map and guide leaflet was circulated to members to show them what had been produced. It had been rejected for funding by the Council a few months ago, but it had been widely distributed in its first print run and had been vey successful. The 6000 print run was now nearly exhausted it was being used by the TIC as well- and they are looking for additional funding to pay for a further 7000 print run before Christmas if possible. Town Team and ADTA had supported the original run with 300 each.

Presently membership of the Community is free but they plan to hold an AGM in January at which it will be proposed that a small annual subscription be charged to help to pay for things like this. It was noted that the previous Business Club had disbanded and handed its reserve money to Team Abergavenny and the Civic Society without widely consulting its members.

Councillors felt that the request for funding should be resubmitted to the November Finance Committee and efforts made to avoid the technical reasons why it was not supported last time. They also felt strongly that a commitment to charge a membership fee was important as the Business Community would benefit from this leaflet and should support it.

There is no online version at present but they intend to put that right very soon.

The representatives were asked if they had any links with the Team Abergavenny Business Theme Group and this was acknowledged.

The Mayor thanked Ms Hywel and Mr Powell for attending and they left at this point.

The Mayor welcomed Mr Rob Davies from Homemakers who had come to talk about developments at Homemakers.

Presently they are building new workshops at the old gasworks to take the place of their facilities at the old Workhouse. One is for stripping down furniture for recycling and the other is for sorting goods from house clearances. They expect to be in the new workshops by March 80% of the material they strip down is recycled and some 400 tonnes a year is diverted from landfill which is their main source of income from the County. They have 7 staff and about 100 volunteers of whom about 80% are offenders. This can be advantageous to the people concerned as often you see improvements I confidence and self-esteem from them.

Homemakers are also able to help people to set up home with recycled furniture in circumstances where thy cannot afford to buy new.

They charge for house clearances and have more than they can cope with at times, and they also shred confidential waste.

Councillors will be invited to the opening of the new buildings in due course.

The Mayor thanked Mr Davies for brining members up to date with their progress and he left at this point.

It was agreed that this could be discussed at another meeting when a PCSO is available to talk to members about it.

It was agreed to make the following nominations-

Spreading the Word Cllr Mrs P Simcock

Encouraging Business to Thrive Cllr F Morgan

Enabling Communities to Thrive  Cllr Mrs T Davies

Enhance the Environment Cllr N Tatam

Moving around more easily It was agreed to ask Cllr T Konieczny if he would join this group

Cllr Mrs Simcock suggested that this matter be deferred to a small sub-group to identify the issues and to come to a recommendation for Council involvement. This was agreed and Cllrs Mrs M Harris, Mrs P Simcock and N Tatam volunteered to join the group. Its first meeting will be on the morning of 25 October.

A request for the Council to take responsibility for the work connected with establishing a legacy for last year`s National Eisteddfod was considered. After discussion it was agreed that if the funds are transferred to this Council and the orders are committed by the Council and duly paid for, this would be an administratively sound and appropriate way of doing it.

There being no other business the meeting was closed at 9pm