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The Digglers' Minutes

Meeting held on 07/07/14

Present:

  • Kath Pearson
  • Michael Gourley
  • Norma Smalley
  • Nicola Worthington
  • Joan Butterworth
  • Damian Lawless
  • Also present were invited guests Sam Elliott and Jason Worthington.

Did not Attend:

  • Rachel Bean
  • Catherine Unsworth
  • Helen Unsworth

Apologies:

  • Val McKeon
  • Kath Birch

Matters Arising:

There were no matters arising

Accounts:

Copies of the accounts for the last financial year were circulated. Kath P explained that because Revenue had been over £25,000 the Charity Account Commissioners had decreed that they had to verified by a qualified accountant. This had involved paying Peter Robinson £600 as well as the fee already paid to Sue, the bookkeeper..

Michael asked for some clarification regarding how the donations were shown and suggested it may be helpful to show bursary donations separately. Kath P agreed but explained that this was apparently how they had to be presented..

The accounts were approved by the Trustees.

Election of new trustees:

The election of Nicola Worthington and Damian Lawless as trustees was proposed.

Damian has been doing much of the garden maintenance and other manual work. His election was proposed by Kath P and seconded by Norma.

Nicola has expressed a special interest in fundraising and is already planning a fund raising event this weekend. She was proposed by Kath P and seconded by Joan.

Both new trustees were unanimously elected.

Bursary update:

Michael reported that there had been very little activity as regards the bursaries. The aim is to support students who already have a degree and cannot get adequate funding for a second degree in veterinary medicine.

Any students who register with the charity are issued with an identity card and a letter of guarantee which ensures that any money raised on their behalf will go towards a bursary.. Students must be UK nationals and must have evidence that they have been offered a place at university.

However, the number of bursaries registered with the charity had fallen from 9 in 2013 to 4 this year.

Solicitor - Storage of deeds:

Thanks were noted to Chris Allen and Julie at Pluck Andrew Solicitors for agreeing to store quite cumbersome documents including proof of purchase and the deeds of the land at Diggle.

Diggle Update:

In January KathP and Norma visited The Willows Veterinary Practice to present a document on adopting and implementing a gift voucher scheme for clients. They represent some 20 practices and initially seemed very interested. However they later expressed reservations and listed problems they had perceived.. Kath was able to answer many of their queries and allay many of their fears.. She also furnished them with the names of two practices who had adopted such a scheme.. Kath is hopeful that they will eventually adopt such a scheme.If so she will suggest that vouchers could be donated to The Digglers to help to pay for veterinary treatment.

The Willows also mentioned that they have a A Cheshire Pet Network Scheme Hopefully The Digglers will be included on the website.

Thornsbeck Wood is doing well though not all the trees have grown. Hazels are doing best,. Oaks, blackthorn and ash are also doing well.

There is a problem with drainage,.Richard cannot get the tractor down. To hire a digger would be expensive and would involve a £2000 deposit!!

Jason suggested trying to find someone who has their own digger and Sam suggested contacting the Probationary Service for help. Kath P will explore various possibilities.

Joel Broadbent the shepherd, has agreed to be sheep consultant to Diggle and has also offered to look after the sheep in bad weather or if Kath can’t get there for any other reason.

There has been a rat infestation at Diggle and in the surrounding area.. A leaking septic tank belonging to properties across the road may have been a contributory factor. This has now been sorted out and Environmental Health have put poison down Kath took the cats from Diggle home as a precautionary measure. These will not be returned to Diggle.

Sadly 3 cats have died since the last AGM - Mavis, Elma Pelma and Holly. Despite being successfully operated upon Holly was diagnosed with FIP. Another of the cats – Bobby Socks – has gone missing from Diggle.

Guide Dogs Update:

The guide dog Sparkle has now qualified and a new dog is being sponsored. He is called Freddie.

Fundraising:

The charity is short of funds. Kath explained that due to the failure of a fund raising activity approximately 2 years ago she was wary of any projects which involved a lot of initial outlay. She was also worried about attracting sufficient numbers of people to an event.

She suggested holding an event with asporting theme and had compiled a list of possible contacts. Manchester City Football Club had already responded by sending a family voucher.

Jason said he thought it was better to start with more locally based events on a smaller scale. He suggested that Facebook, Twitter etc should be used to attract audiences ,participants etc. For example singers, dance groups etc were always looking for someone to perform and they in turn would attract an audience. Social media would also be a way to get the charity known. Damian offered to set up a Facebook page to publicise forthcoming events .

Nicky and Jason kindly said they would help organise some fund raising activities. It was agreed unanimously that social media should be used to try to raise much needed funds.

Thanks to all that attended. Thanks to Daimian for hosting the venue.

Meeting closed