AGM 2017 - Chairmans Report





FoLLNR  AGM 17th May 2017

Chairman’s Report
           
Officers and Committee 
           
The Officers of FoHESC have remained unchanged since the last AGM. Tom O’Callaghan has now resigned from the Committee due to work commitments.

Chair               Tony Bedford
Secretary        Janice Robertson
Treasurer        Pauline Studman


Committee Members are currently:

Jane Grisdale
David Carter
Keith Gander
Malcolm Stewart
Michel Wellborn 
Neil Studman
Helen Brooks

Parks Trust Representatives include:
Martin Kincaid
Phillip Bowsher
Carla Boswell


Election of Officers

Our constitution states that the elected officers shall serve for a term of one year and thereafter be elected at the AGM. 

This year I will be standing for re-election as Chair, Janice Robertson as Secretary and Pauline Studman as Treasurer.

We would also very much like to have some new members on the Committee and invite interested members to come forward after the meeting.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer special thanks to Janice and Pauline for their work as Secretary and Treasurer respectively, to Jane for all the work she has done in organizing our events over the last year and to Pauline and Neil for once again being at the heart of all our Open Sundays by running the “Catering Department”.

Thanks too to all the Committee Members who have given up their time to help organize plan and manage events throughout the year and of course a very special thanks to our very kind Cake Bakers and donators.

Membership

I am pleased to advise that our membership has continued to increase and currently stands at over 400.

FoLLNR Activities since the last AGM.

The FoLLNR Committee has continued to meet every month since its formation to discuss and plan (in agreement with PT), conservation tasks, events and fundraising activities.

We have once again held Open Sundays on the third Sunday of every month throughout the year. They continue to be well attended by permit holders and guests.

FoLLNR have also continued to organise and host various events. During the last year these have included a number of guided walks lead by Andy Harding and or Steph Kimsey and they have been assisted on a number of occasions by Keith Gander. 

Once again we have hosted Bat and and Moth evenings and thanks go to Martin Kincaid and Gordon Redford for making these events so successful. We have enjoyed presentations from Jeff Ollerton on the Nat Hist of Tenerife, Paddy Jackson on Barn Owls, David Harris on infra-red/macro photography and Justin Long on Fungi. Not to forget our very own Simon Bunker on his trip to Africa

Bird ringing by the local BTO group has again continued on a monthly basis throughout the year with over 500 birds being ringed. When possible bird ringing has been co-ordinated to take place on an open Sunday so that visitors can watch and ask questions.

Our informal photographic section has been meeting less frequently due to the talks and other events being held but it is hoped we will continued to meet at least four times a year to enjoy presentations from local photographers and members. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas on speakers and/or subjects we would love to hear from you.
Our Flickr site continues to grow and now features (as of last week) 4385 images. 

I must apologise that our Blog Site (fohescnews.blogspot.co.uk) which was set up in March 2012 to communicate news of views, events, sightings etc. has been a little neglected over the last year, we have now taken steps to revive it and it will continue to be an important part of our communication system. Despite being a little thinner than previous years the Blog continues to prove popular with over 48,000 hits since its inception.

Fund Raising Activities

Our primary sources of funding continue to be the sales of refreshments, second-hand books and other sundry items at the open Sundays and events.

Fund raising has enabled us to keep the reserve supplied with bird seed for the feeders and to provide money for tools, work materials and support various projects.

Practical Work Parties

We have averaged at least one work party per month over the last 14 months and have carried out tasks including: 

Clearing scrub and cutting back overgrowing trees around the reserve, keeping paths clear, seeding meadow flowers and planting and relocating small trees, installing nest boxes and bird feeder stations, maintaining seating benches around the reserve, painting tables, benches and tidying the front of house, repairing and cleaning hides.

The new bridge and new covered screen is nearly complete (a bit delayed due to a few challenges with the local planning authority) and we hope to have this open and in use this summer.

My special thanks must go to David Carter for his work in and around the front Garden and to Neil Studman, Allan Clark and Simon Bunker along with all our other Sunday Volunteers, for their skills and energy on a variety of construction tasks around the reserve.

I would also like to thank the Milton Keynes Green Gym for the very much appreciated work they carry out around the site.

Working with the Parks Trust

Once again I would like to say that working alongside the Parks Trust, who have the funds and support structure to address the maintenance tasks and projects that are beyond the resources of volunteers like ourselves, has been a great boost to the site management and to the upkeep of the site in general. We must thank the PT for repairs around the site including the near hide approach ramp, “far end bridge” and woodland hide roof and for giving the Centre Building a much needed spruce up.

I and other members of the Committee maintain regular communication with the Parks Trust to discuss work plans, projects and ideas and I believe we have a good working relationship based on mutual aims and goals. This relationship has been further strengthened by the signing of a memo of understanding between the PT and ourselves.

I would particularly like to thank Martin Kincaid who has been very supportive and appreciative of much that FoLLNR do and would also like to welcome Phil Bowsher who has now taken up a new position with the PT with responsibility for environment, volunteering and education. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Phil and Martin going forward for the mutual benefit of the site and it’s visitors. 


Proposed Housing Development

As you may know the planning application for around 250 houses on the land adjacent to LLNR was refused by the DCC just over a month ago. I understand that the developers may be intending to appeal the decision and if this is the case much will depend on MKCs ability to demonstrate that they have a 5 year housing development plan in place.

One thing that did come out of the DCC meeting was that, despite what I am led to believe was a very comprehensive list of high priority species being noted during the Environmental Impact Assessment, the MK planning departments ability to demonstrate the high environmental value of this site appeared very poor. We have therefore taken steps to ensure that BMERC are in receipt of full and correct records of sightings and discoveries on this site and the neighbouring lands and I would encourage you all to do the same.


Our Future Plans

We aim to:

  1. Keep building on the excellent foundations we have now laid down and to continue to grow the membership of the Friends Group, so that the members may have a strong voice in helping influence the future of the site.
  2. To continue to work on agreed tasks and projects as outlined in the Site Management Plan to maintain and enhance the condition of the site for wildlife and visitors.
  3. To explore the opportunities for activities available on Open Sundays, walks, events and special interest meetings to meet the interests of the membership
  4. To agree with the Parks Trust and membership plans for future projects and possibilities for enhancing the site habitat and members enjoyment of our environment and wildlife. 
  5. Strongly oppose any threats to the habitat, wildlife and our members enjoyment of the site and to encourage our partners the Parks Trust to do the same.


Tony Bedford 
Chair FoLLNR









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