AGM & Open Meeting on Wednesday, 20th April

Another year has gone by. Time for our Annual General Meeting aka AGM again.

Not the most exciting stuff maybe, but hey, it’s got to be done. We committed to it in our Constitution.

After a quick review of the year’s activities, we did the formal AGM business: presentation of the Annual Accounts and the election and election / re-election of the Steering Group (SG) members.

One new candidate for the Steering Group had come forward, Catherine R, but because of a proviso with her candidacy, that there should be at least 5 SG members, with only 3 members in the SG currently, we could not formally elect her.

One current member of the SG, Peter S, stood down per the consitution rotation rules but offered himself for re-election and was re-elected.

The SG thus continues with  the same three members:  Jack E, Rick H and Peter S, but note:  the SG can co-opt new members any time. Please, do get in touch if you think you might be able to help.

With the formal bits over, we then gave the floor to Kathryn H to share with us her experience on “How to organise a ‘Big Lunch’ in your community“. 

Last year, Kathryn organised a very successful Big Lunch in her street: happy smiling faces on all her photos, and very multi-cultural it was too!

Based on her experience, she was able to give us many good tips, such as:

  • Talk to people as well as leaflet them to kick things off. Kathryn went door to door to personally invite people and give them an invite.
  • Kathryn chose to create her own customised invitation letter but The Big Lunch website also has a template that you can use.
  • Put a big reminder poster in your window.
  • Getting the road closed is not difficult. The Council website page on street parties has the forms. (BTW, in her leaflet, Kathryn had asked if people preferred to have the event in the nearby park or in the street, and the vast majority preferred to have it in the street!)
  • Let people know that you are closing the road – see Kathryn’s letter here.
  • Use wheelie bins and tape to block road – easy to move if someone needs in or out during the event.
  • Borrowed trestle tables from a local church and large gazebo from a nature conservation society.
  • Do things together, e.g. someone did parachute games and there was a giant piece of fabric and lots of pens for people to draw on together; others put their table tennis table outside.
  • A good place for cheap large scale craft and decoration material is the Wot-Ever-Scrapstore in Welwyn Garden City. It enabled Kathryn to “carpet” part of the street with felt, so children could play on the ground!
  • For a sandpit for small children, she got a few bags of sand for free from a local branch of a DIY supermarket.
  • Ask people to label their food: description, ingredients (allergies!), who made by.
  • Use separate tables for Vegetarian, Meat and Halal food – makes it easier for people to find appropriate food and saves on labels.
  • But don’t over-organise – just let it happen…

Websites relevant for The Big Lunch:

  • www.thebiglunch.com — Find out if anyone is planning to do a Big Lunch near you, tips on how to organise your own, facility to register your Big Lunch and get a free resource pack, downloadable resources (e.g. leaflet/poster templates) etc.
  • Council website page on street parties — including forms.
  • www.streetparty.org.uk — Another website with good information and tips; part of the Streets Alive initiative which aims to promote community spirit at the street level through street parties and other neighbourly activities.

 Other resources:

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