Minutes from GCCG Meeting 19th September 2017
PO welcomed everyone and opened meeting.
Attendance and Apologies
Attendance: Peter Owen (PO), Sue Pilling (SP), Anna Forrester (AF), Bill Forrester, Bettina Taylor, Nigel Bent (NB), Derek Brennan (DB), Linda Cullen, Alan Butler (AB), Emma Burrows (EB), Margaret Brennan, Elizabeth Latimer, Keith Holloway (KH), Michelle Inwood (MI), Gillian Oakes, Bill Oakes, Rebecca Haughton (BH), Christopher Washington (CW)
Apologies: Jim Arkwright, John Pollard (JP), Chris Nield (CN), Sharon Matthews, Angela Bent, Edwina Baher
Minutes from last meeting
Minutes of last meeting from the 20th June were agreed and signed off.
No matters arising from previous minutes.
AF gave her treasurer’s report. The account balance was £4530.99. Since our last meeting we had £401 in expenses from the purchase of two feather banners and repairs to the boardwalk. We had made £76.00 from Splat the Rat at Gatley Festival . This, together with subscriptions and donations created an income of £323.
In the absence of CN, PO read out Chris’ bird report:
GATLEY CARRS BIRD REPORT AUGUST 2017
I always feel August is perhaps the saddest month of the year as we say goodbye to the Warblers that have been with us since Spring. The Reserve is much quieter as most birds have now reached the end of the breeding season. A few birds ie Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove will breed all year round, but are less prolific as the days begin to shorten and cool down.
The star bird of the month was a beautiful Male Redstart that Peter Owen was lucky to find in his own garden 9th August. The bird looked quite dishevelled and wet. The previous evening there was heavy rain and it is quite possible that this little bird had found refuge in Peter's garden whilst it recovered enough to continue its long journey. Although not rare birds, they are usually found in oak woodland, with strongholds in Wales and parts of Cheshire Forestry, it is unusual to find them in gardens. I am sure we all hope that it returned to its Winter habitat safely.
Other birds seen on the Carrs this month were a Sparrowhawk, Jay and Goldfinch. Lesser black-backed Gulls flew over on several days and a few Black-headed Gulls were also seen. A Buzzard was seen on several dates and Swifts were plentiful.
The only birds I saw on the pond were Moorhen with 2 new young, Mallard and 2 Little Grebe.
Plenty of butterflies were about on sunnier days, including, Red admiral, Speckled Wood, Green- veined White, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. Plenty of Brown Hawker Dragonfly, Common Hawker and few Damselflies.
SP - the current membership numbers had dropped to 77. Those paying by standing order had increased slightly to 23. There were approximately 30 members that hadn’t renewed their membership in 2017 so it was decided that letters would be sent out to these people, as we previously seemed to have a better response from this rather than email.
Schools liaison ideas
Following on from our recent Sunday afternoon informal gathering on 20th August on the Carrs in the hope of attracting new members/helpers, EB reported that we had several members interested in helping with school liaison, namely Margaret Brennan, Edwina Baher, and Becky Haughton. EB to arrange a meeting to discuss further and also a meeting with the schools to discuss how to take things further. PO reported that we had a recent email from Gatley Primary to see if they could visit the Carrs for a nature project.
Maintenance Tasks Update
AB - good response of 20 people helped with the balsam bash on 25th June. The pathway had also been cleared with the help of the council, four men turning up in one day. Thanks to Jim Arkwright and Johnny McVicar who repaired the netting on the boardwalk. We now have 5 bird feeding stations ready for the start of the winter feeding rota. The next job due was the cutting of the wild flower meadow which should take place in the next few days. AB also thanked everyone who had helped the previous Saturday by cutting back the willows, with a good turnout again for this. MI said she hadn’t known about this as it had just been put on Facebook so a group email would be a better way to advertise this when help was needed. KH said also it needed to be advertised on our website also.
PO and AB recently met with conservation volunteers to assess the state of the pond. They had given a quotation of £1269.95 plus vat (£1523.94) to fully clear the pond area of overhanging trees, thereby improving the water quality. There was a possibility that the council would pay for the VAT for this project, provided that this was a registered supplier. PO proposed that the group went ahead with this project, AB seconded. AF suggested that we obtained other quotes first, EB agreed, however it was pointed out that these must be from companies registered with the council. This was put to the vote and agreed to go ahead on the proviso of getting another quote or ensuring that the council would pay the VAT for this.
PO - Following the cutting of the WFM, it will need to be reseeded with yellow rattle seed. 100 square meters would cost approx. £100. – this was agreed to go ahead. Also some aerating weeds would need to be added to the pond - we would need advice regarding this once pond is cleared.
Next Events/New ideas/Succession Planning
This was opened up as general discussion.
NB summarized by saying that 2-3 years ago we had several social events - these were fun events enjoyed by the majority but these didn’t generate much money. Several recent events involving the nature aspect of the Carrs hadn’t been as popular so the idea would be to hold a couple of social events once more in the coming year both with a view to being more fun but also generating some income. It was agreed that some members were purely interested in the social aspect of the Carrs and others the nature aspect. The ideal would obviously be to combine the two.
BH - event at Bethany Church Hall such as making Bug Hotels would be good idea. BH agreed to head up social events with Sharon. Sharon and Becky to get together and suggest meeting for active members regarding this.
DB - we haven’t got enough people to organise events and that different people wanted different things from the group. Hopefully our Christmas event with the tree would be repeated this year and also suggested holding the Teddy Bear’s Picnic earlier in the year, May was suggested. However we would need to positively recruit people to help us with this event.
CW - we could organise a poll on the Facebook page asking for people’s opinions about certain matters. He also volunteered to set up on Instagram.
MI - better advertising was needed especially round the village.
EB - putting the gazebo up on the Carrs every other month.
NB - membership be increased to £10 per family.
DB - we are lacking a membership committee. Also proposed meeting to sort out a programme for the following year inviting anyone interested in membership and communication. He said that we needed to know more about our current members. NB –we need targets to aim for and publicise, e.g. pond clearing, disabled path, also then easier to apply for grants. Posters on noticeboard in Carrs needed with details of specific projects.
MI – attended Greenspace Forum on 9th September- problem of lack of recruits/ volunteers throughout Stockport area.
SK8 directory may help with publicity but we need Press Officer – EB volunteered for this.
DB proposed meeting at his house on Thurs 28th Sept to discuss membership and communication and future programme of events.
Generally decided that Christmas events to be as last year – foraging walk for decorations on 19th November and tree decorating, carols and mulled wine on 10th December. Most at meeting donated towards a Christmas tree for this event - £69 collected.
MI – approach large local companies for manpower and funding. AF to follow this up – sponsors and presentation. MI works at university – students could get involved. Also collection boxes locally maybe an option.
Fields In Trust
PO reiterated that this proposal had been knocked back by Ian Walmsley, Greenspace officer for the council. KH said he was still puzzled by this decision. Local petition is next step. Stockport local planning meeting on Thurs 28th September to give update of existing plans and invite comments from local public – EB to attend.
SP – leaflet supplies getting down – PO to order replacements.
AB – the dog memorial to be replaced by Keith Huxley.
NB –bulletin board for online chat between active members or WhatsApp group chat.
Next event – Carrs in Autumn – 22nd October – JP
Next meeting - Tuesday 19th December 2017 7.30pm