Date of meeting: Zoom meeting – Wednesday 12th May 2021, 6pm
Present: Pam Moore; Neil Hickson; Katy Sneyd (Wigan MBC); Mark Tebbutt; Phil Moore; Fiona Eccleston; Nicky Bailey; Andy Sheridan; Angela Blackshaw; Chris Roberts
Apologies: Allison McGuinness
Chair: Pam Moore, who explained that she and NH, as joint chairs, will alternate the chairing of the meetings going forwards.
Minutes: Angela Blackshaw
Declarations of interest:
Key Contacts for various aspects of the farm:
Strategic Review: Pam M; FE and NB
Care Farm: AB
Café/Shop: CR: FE and NH
Growers: Pam M
Woodlands, Buildings and Infrastructure: AS and MT
Allotment Liaison: MT
We Are With You Liaison: Phil M
Finances: NB and FE
Governance: AB, AM
|Minutes of meeting 21/04/21: Approved by: NH, but all agreed they were an accurate record Seconded by: ASMatters arising: None|
|1||Strategic Review Team Report (FE)|
An email update was circulated to the board by FE on 08/05/21, however this has been amended, so a new report was circulated on 12/05/21.
Initial plan was to do detailed consultation via questionnaire with members. However, given that a consultation was put out in Nov 2020 it was decided to consider outcomes from this and other relevant documentation in the first instance, and consult with key stakeholders with a view to doing a full consultation after we have re-opened fully, hopefully in Summer.The plan remains to meet with staff individually and in groups, i.e. Care Farm incl. a member from the Strategic Review Team, the named board key contact and any volunteers. This is to ensure staff are listened to, share the mission statement and so on. Strategic Review Team to contact the Key Contacts over the next few weeks to set up meetings
|2||Grower’s Report (PM)|
Circulated to board via email from Pam M on 12/05/21, which included report from the Grower.
Feedback was sought on how the board felt the current work and plans were going. Positive feedback given. Companion planting, attracting beneficial insects and so on is in line with the Greenslate Values. Pam to feedback to Growing Team. Salads are being supplied to Lily’s Kitchen. The Allotment Café were previously very keen on our salad crops, NH offered to email to see if they would like us to supply to them and will discuss with AM.
|3||Woodland, Building and Infastructure Report (AS)Report circulated to board via email from AS on 11/05/21. Has been liaising with a Wigan MBC Environmental Health Officer and RJ (Farm Manager) to evidence the work that is being done regarding the Bore Hole and Legionella safety/compliance. A new person, ideally based on the farm frequently, will need to be identified and trained up regarding this, as we have been informed that we need 3 fully trained personnel. Currently we have RJ, KH (Care Farm Co-ordinator) and DL (long-standing volunteer), but as KH will be commencing Mat. Leave in the coming months will we need to identify a replacement.MT and AS will meet next week to assess what needs to be done.400 tree whips are being stored/looked after in polytunnel 1. MT to liaise with BH/SH re: Greenslate Rangers planting them.Recent successful funding bid – Power To Change. AS & MT will work with FE & NB to consider the best ways of using the grant with Care Farm and wider project, and to liaise with former board members PB and DM who worked on original costings/plan. The grant from the Co-op also needs considering in detail. Could some of the funds be used towards CCTV?|
MT & AS
AS & MT
|4||Financial Update (NB)|
Report circulated to board via email from NB on 10/05/21.
Power To Change grant – whilst we’ve been informed the funding bid was successful, the amount of the grant is yet to be disclosed. Once we know the amount, we can start planning accordingly.FE – while there doesn’t appear to be a requirement to obtain member’s approval of accounts, but it has been done every year so this will continue to be honoured. Approval is usually done within AGM but it wasn’t this time, so FE is liaising with Nick Ashcroft on using Election Buddy instead. Current members details are still in this, and RJ has confirmed that no new members have joined. This may miss out the few members who do postal votes. Has requested list of these members from former board members PB (doesn’t have one) and BH (awaiting response) Deadline end of June.
MT – we had a £5,000 credit note with Jewson for tools, timber and so on, approx. 2 years ago. HM, former Care Farm Co-ordinator had arranged this. Details to be established.
Looking at historic issues with accounts – this work has just started.
Income Statements will be brought to future meetings. Have received some one off income, equally one-off expenses.
Request that we keep Finance Team in the loop regarding income ideas or expenses.
Allotment holders have agreement to pay for their email address, NB to invoice.
|5||Café Update (CR)|
No report to board circulated prior to meeting.
Regular meetings have been being held. Need to employ up to 3 staff (2 cooks, 1 manager), needs to be someone who will work with Greenslate’s values. Initial plans to reopen May Bank Hol are no longer realistic due to staffing, permission sought to recruit. MH has handed in notice, plus NP and KG were lost last year. NH to forward the resignation email to accounts@ to sort out final pay details.
Kickstart Work Programme – KS will send details through.
Initial consideration to open Fri/Sat/Sun, to include further days once more re-established. Front of house staff in place. Anne Jarett keen to volunteer in kitchen, and assist with planning. Pam to contact her for Anne and Ste H to work on this.
CR to work on adverts, email to board for feedback, pending outcome of meeting 14/05/21
Pam M/Ste Henderson
|Care Farm (AB)|
Report circulated to board via email by AB 10/05/21, which included report from Care Farm Co-ordinator.
Initial plan: KH (Care Farm Co-ordinator) to commence Maternity Leave Sept 21, taking 3 weeks A/L prior to this. CM, Learner Support Assistant would act up into the co-ordinator role, and work towards Level 5 qualification. CM has now declined this due to balance of the extra responsibilities, studying and managing commitments outside of work. Someone with Level 5 qualification is required, given the level of safeguarding management required. No other staff wish to “act up” so external recruitment required. Pool of bank staff will be created for essential use.
AB will continue to liaise with Care Farm Staff
Need to identify a member of staff who train up regarding legionella.
|8||Policies and Structure (AB)We need a Maternity Policy, review of existing polices and inclusions of new ones. We need to ensure personnel files are up in place, clear structure needs to be in place to show who is responsible for ensuring policies are adhered to, staff are adequately supported and trained, and that potential disciplinary issues can either be prevented where possible or managed clearly and fairly where unavoidable. We need to improve on transparency and accountability for all, whether members, employees, board members, volunteers. Revisit original constitution for starting point, and Employee Handbook, Volunteer Code of Conduct. This will also be considered within the strategic review.|
AB and AM
|Digital Management – NH|
Report circulated via email to board by NH, 12/05/21
Digital ManagementRequest from NH for contribution to be included in newsletters, a photo and paragraph from each team on the board. Publishing calendar can be created. Aims to have monthly newsletter.
Has secured members list and newsletter list.
Has secured documents that PB (previous secretary) has put on to PB’s Microsoft Teams account, NH has not been able to access this so AS has forwarded some to NH. PB has said he has more documentation to upload when he has time.
This, along with other issues about obtaining full handover documents, highlights the need for GCF to have farm data and document management policy. Board@ email address can be used (primarily by secretaries) for board communication, as correspondence with farm should not be through personal email addressed.
Need to include GDPR policy to ensure data is correctly protected and retained, and accessed by relevant people only. Agreed that a policy needs putting together to show that when board members relinquish their posts they agree to either forward information to current board, destroy it from their own systems and agree to no longer use it in anyway.
Virtual Café – Reconciliation Panel
Aims to aid communication, resolution and sharing of relevant info. Have held two sessions now. Name may be reviewed. It is not a forum for dealing with complaints/disciplinary issues but it is for reconciling people who wish to be reconciled. New members welcome. Will move to being held in the actual café, with live streaming, when Covid-19 restrictions allow.
Action for NH from last board meeting was to discuss with Wigan MBC if there were any objections to dismissed employees returning in a visitor or voluntary capacity.
KS confirmed that clarification of roles was important, but that this would be something that members needed to decide, not the council. KS explained that the council’s role was that they were asked to come in as advisers, to look at governance structure and so on, prior to the dismissal case, which they then provided HR assistance with (there would ordinarily be a charge for this, which was waived as they were already involved). Council are here to guide, not instruct.
Board discussed this previously and in current meeting, and agreed that if nothing was included in the dismissal proceedings to state that the person needed to be barred from GCF, (for example if they posed a threat to safety) and the person wished to volunteer, we would not object to this. Agreed that roles (volunteer, member, employee, board member) needed to be clarified, with a code of conduct put in place covering each of those roles.
Agreed that this will be incorporated into current and new policies, with the common thread being that mutual respect was needed at all times regardless of role.
KS also raised that we have the Greenslate Members group, Greenslate Grower (now defunct blog), as well as the Greenslate website. Can these be brought together now? NH to lead on this. In the three boards we have had within 12 months, some people have raised concern that only one person has access to the Facebook account. NH named 3 other people that had access, and others can request this as well. With the website, people do have access to relevant sections of it (online shop and so on). If anyone else wants access they can request it.
NH/Pam M, AB and AS to work on GDPR
AB to incorporate into policy.
|Any Other Business:|
DBS checks – there has been an intention that volunteers (including. board members) are DBS checked. Need to check whether volunteers who are not 1:1 with Learners or other vulnerable people are required to have DBS and at what level/cost and establish who already has them. Ensure that Safeguarding Policy covers how people are protected and links with DBS policy. Pam M will contact RJ to establish current procedures/provision and establish what is needed.
KS visited farm today with a family who need disabled access to an allotment plot. Established that there is no named Allotment contact on the board and suggested MT, who has a plot there. MT agreed to be the key contact and will need to consider access to the plot, and the Memorial Garden.
Phil M raised liaison with the Community Rehab, We Are With You, with a view to their return to Greenslate. Considerations about returning currently due to Covid-19, also monetary aspects of their return. They have been covered by funding under the Straw Bale, this expired March 2021. KS has raised this with WMBC’s legal team, in terms of who WAWY are incorporated into asset transfer, and will feed back to us. Phil M agreed to take on the role of WAWY liaison.
NB asked that, as we now seem to be meeting on a monthly basis, could we set the dates of next meetings for until the end of the year from a planning point of view. Ideas were shared on how this could work. Initial agreement for 2nd Thursday of every month but this will be discussed with board members who were not present. Proposed dates below.
AS asked for clarity on managers’ roles and remits regarding budgets and management level decision. NB clarified the position for the managers for up to the end of the current financial year (when it will be reviewed):managers have authority to spend up to £300;Between £300 – £2000 requires Treasury approval;Any figure over £2000 requires Board approval
Next Meetings (PROPOSED)