Minutes of the AGM held at 7 PM on 24 OCTOBER 2022 at Victoria Inn, Haddington

Present:  Neil McGowan (Convenor), Jane Patmore, Diana Stevens, Jock Stein, Billy Graham, Andrew Strachan, Philippa Ramsden, Margaret Evans, Judith Stewart, Mary Johnston, Anne Jones, Brenda Thomson, Yvonne Dalziel, Cynthia Stephens, LesleyMay Miller, Olivia McMahon Farrington, Lorna Dixon, Dawn Anne Dister,  

Apologies: Graham Leake, Hannah Faoilean, Tammy Swift Adams

Minutes of AGM held on 25th October 2021 were approved (proposed by Jock Stein and seconded by Diana Stevens)

1  Convener’s Report (Neil McGowan)

Winter 2021 continued to be challenging but throughout most of 2022 our groups have resumed normal face-to-face meetings, with some retaining a blended approach. Not all of our previous facilities are available and some groups have had to hire premises for their meetings.

It has been a very positive year for fundraising with grants from Magic Little Grants, the Co-op Community Fund and excitingly a major grant from the National Lottery Awards for All. The lottery funding included a sum in lieu of membership fees which means that once again, for 2022/23, members have not been charged an annual fee.

The grants have allowed us to resume our arrangements with our Creative Writing Fellow, Margaret Skea, and all our groups have now started work with her. We are also planning a series of writing workshops over the winter. With the stated aim of increasing our membership back to pre-pandemic levels, the winter workshops will be open to members and to the wider community. We should be doing what we can to publicise our groups and encourage new members and we hope that all groups and members will get involved in supporting this.

Our website has been updated to make it more secure and our thanks to Diana and to Leora Sharp (The Webmistress) for all their work on this.

2 Vice Convenor’s News (Jane Patmore)

We were very pleased to be chosen as one of Tesco’s ‘bags for life’ awards groups in the Musselburgh store, with a potential grant of between £500 and £1,500. However, last week we had some very exciting news – we were identified as the winner of the Golden Grant. This marks Tesco having made national community grants of £100million, and it means that our award will be £10,000!! That gives us great security regarding our ability to continue with our CWF and other initiatives over coming years. Thanks to whoever placed the golden token in our channel…

3  Treasurer and Membership Secretary’s Report (Diana Stevens)

Accounts The draft accounts to 31 March 2022 have been agreed by the Trustees/Committee. Copies have been circulated to members and will also be available to download on the Tyne & Esk website, together with the minutes of the Annual General Meeting.  https://tyneandeskwriters.org.uk/

OSCR (the Office of the Scottish Charity Register) will require sight of the accounts by 31 December 2022 at the latest.

The balance at the bank at the year end on 31 March 2022 was £17,567.  The balance currently stands at £16,053.  Donations and grants during this financial year were £8,075 from the National Lottery Awards for All Fund, £1,732 from the Co-operative Community Fund and £500 from Local Giving Fund.

Because of the above generous funding membership fees were again waived, and those members paying by standing order were given the chance of a refund on request

Membership; At the present date 64 membership forms have been returned, an increase from 39.  In addition, there have recently been several enquiries from the website which hopefully will result in further new members.

As stated above, as not all groups were meeting face to face, the Committee agreed that the membership fee would be waived. It was also agreed that if members paid by standing order or direct debit then a refund could be issued.  Please don’t hesitate to contact the Treasurer at info@tyneandeskwriters.org.uk if you would like a refund.

There are now new contact forms on the website so potential members can join online. It is also hoped that in future it will be possible to pay the membership fee online.

If you shop online at Amazon it is still possible to put your purchase through AmazonSmile and select Tyne and Esk who will then receive a donation.  (See note at the end of this minute*).

4  Group Reps / Trustees

No changes

5  Office-bearers

Neil McGowan stood down as Convenor and was thanked for his work. Neil thanked Alison Low for her work as Vice Convenor during the year.

Convener:   Jock Stein agreed to undertake this for one year (proposed by Jane Patmore)

Vice-Convener: Jane Patmore was appointed (proposed by Jock Stein)

Treasurer:   Diana Stevens agreed to continue to serve (proposed Jock Stein)

There was a plea for new office bearers to take on these roles. They are not onerous and anyone interested should speak to the current post holders.

Philippa Ramsden was also appointed to the committee (proposed by Jock Stein)

6  Any Other Business

Winter Workshops

We anticipate several writing workshops held over the winter months: Catherin Simpson, Jane McKie and Sam Best had been approached.

The meeting closed at 7.30pm.

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