Minutes of the committee meeting held via Zoom.
Wednesday 26th January 2022. The meeting started at 7.30pm.
Welcome and apologies for absence:
PRESENT: David Atkins (chairman) DA, Barbara Fry (vice chairman) BF, Marina Richards (treasurer) MR, Jacqui Knight (secretary) JK, Francis Knight FK, Catherine Atkins CA, Sally Wood SW, Kay Strain KS, David Mozley DM
APOLOGIES: Peter Fry and Paul Badman
Minutes of the meeting held on 24th November 2021: DA checked that everyone had read the minutes from the previous meeting, and it was agreed that they are a true record. Signing of the minutes will take place at a later date.
Matters Arising not on Agenda: None
Chairman’s Report: DA has not spoken with the Parish Council yet about the plaque photo from Gravenchon. He will be in touch with them before we have contact with Gravenchon.
Secretary’s Report: All payment receipts have now been sent out by email for membership and lottery payments. If you have made a payment but have not yet received a receipt, please contact Jacqui at firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer’s Report: Please see the financial report at the end of the minutes.
Current account balance £8860.98
Deposit account balance £8059.46
FK said that Meriman Park should be included, and DA and MR agreed.
DA spoke about the amount in the reserve account. This has gone up a lot since the pandemic as we have not had exchanges or many outgoing costs. There followed a discussion about what the reserves could be used for. Previously there had been a group of committee members that discussed the level of reserves and DA would like this to happen again. DM as a new member of the committee was asked to join this group which he is happy to do. BF suggested that some money could go to new families that join to help with costs. SW said that we are coming out of an awful couple of years and there may be members that will now struggle with the cost of twinning and hosting as purse strings are tightened with a lot of people being financially worse off. JK asked the committee not to be hasty in re-allocating or spending the reserves as we do not know what the future holds, it may become more expensive to travel not only due to Covid but now being out of the EU. She also said that we might still have to pay privately for PCR tests before travelling and it would be good if the reserve funds could possibly help members with some of these extra hidden costs. BF said that travel insurance costs could be more and perhaps it would be a good idea to look into group insurance. DA agreed that it would be right to keep some money back but to use some of the reserves and this is what the group will look at and report back to the committee.
Membership & Member’s Welfare: JK reported that we now have 39 paid adult members and 4 children under the age of 18. The list of members that have not yet paid was split between committee members. They will be contacted directly to find out their thoughts as to whether they would like to re-join twinning and to gauge if they would be looking at possibly hosting or travelling this year.
DA would like to review the current membership situation and look at creating a Supporters category. He stated it can be misleading when organising exchanges to say we have a certain number of members but with some of those members not hosting or travelling. JK had some reservations. She stated that some of the members that do not travel still pay full membership. She also stated that she has a list of supporters who can be invited to events, but she doesn’t send the minutes to them. DA said that when there are subs involved you are either a member or not but if you are a supporter many other groups charge a small amount so as they can stay on the list and attend events. SW agreed and is a member of a society where “patrons” pay less than full members but are still invited to special occasions, they are informed about everything that is happening. BF agreed that it would be a good idea to have a separate category and some of the non-travelling members still help out at events and this would give them a standing within the group. DA said that this will need to be brought up at the next AGM for the constitution to be amended if it is agreed.
Isny: BF recently contacted Isny to say that things are getting a lot better in England, but some are still anxious and finding their way through things. Christine replied to say that they do not know whether they will be able to visit Street this year as it is very complicated at the moment and it may be easier to do it next year instead. They will speak to the coach company. They are trying to find a family for our new family, and she sends greetings to all the group. Wolfgang replied to say that it is difficult to plan anything at the moment. It is difficult to make contracts with companies as they are unable to cancel. He suggested having another zoom to speak to everyone. DA summarised that the outcome of that is Isny are in no place to decide, and they are sounding like they would like to postpone. We can’t say that they will not come but we need to be aware that it might not happen this year. A zoom will be arranged in a couple of months’ time.
Gravenchon: JK has spoken with Sharon, and it is sounding hopeful that we will be able to visit France this year. The proposed dates are Wed 26th to Sunday 30th Oct when both English and French children are on school holidays. Sharon will be contacting their members to see how many would be potentially interested in hosting this year. We will be looking at organising a zoom in February.
BF and JK will discuss dates for zooms and then contact the relevant parties to arrange them. DA will draft an email to send to our members about the possible future visits. We would like to get an idea of who would possibly be interested in exchanges this year. Nothing is set in stone, but it would be good to gauge members thoughts.
Fundraising and Events:
Bric a Brac: DA thanked everyone that helped and reported that we had raised £94. There are some items left and there are members with more items to sell. DA asked if the committee would like to hold another one. FK stated that it is important to be out there and seen to keep the twinning in people’s minds and the committee agreed that it would be a good idea to hold another one. This will be discussed at the next meeting, and it was suggested that nearer to Easter would be a good time.
January Social – Afternoon Tea: DA reported that it was a nice simple gathering and there was a £15 profit. Special thanks to CA and KS for their help on the day. MR said that she had great memories of the strawberry teas at Avril and William’s house where there was cake, games of boule and a raffle. This was seen as a fundraiser previously, but it was suggested that we should try to hold an event like this again as a social event.
Website & Facebook: Peter Fry was not at the meeting to report about the Website, FK reported that the website links to and from Gravenchon were now all ok. JK has put a post on Facebook to remind people about the lottery, membership payments and to share a photo from the afternoon tea.
Publicity: DA stated that it is difficult at the moment to try to promote twinning as there is not a lot to offer at the moment. MR agreed saying that many groups are in the same situation at the moment as there is not much going on. DA will send something to JK to look at, but it was decided to put off putting something in the paper at the moment.
Lottery: 74 tickets have been sold which is brilliant and this makes it possible to stick to the same lottery winnings. Congratulations to the winners of the January lottery draw. The numbers were drawn by KS during the zoom meeting.
1st Prize no.5 Gill Davey £20
2nd Prize no.26 Avril Berry £10
3rd Prize no.36 Daniella Della Valle £5
DA thanked KS for taking the lottery on.
Chairman’s Closing Remarks: DA said that the meeting in February will be held via zoom. It was a lengthier meeting tonight but probably not enough to warrant a face-to-face meeting. This will be reviewed again at next month’s meeting. He thanked everyone for their support and for attending the meeting.
Meeting Closed at 8.40pm
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 23rd February at 7.30pm
To be held via Zoom.