Kirk Ireton Community Association public meeting and what happens next…
Glyn called this meeting and was accompanied by Mac, Sue and Keith. Glyn opened the meeting saying it was about the future of KICA and explaining how the four of them had felt compelled to draw attention to the fact that too few people were involved in the association. All four intended to withdraw from the KICA committee.
I chaired the meeting last Wednesday and offered to write up the outcomes; these notes are a record of my understanding of the outcomes and may not be just as everybody else remembers them. There were a number of different threads to the meeting which need to be discussed further.
The really key points are:
- A very strong sense that ‘the village’ appreciates and enjoys the community life here and wants it to continue. A sort of shocked reaction from ‘the village’ for not having understood the crisis situation that the KICA committee is in and heartfelt apologies and thanks to the KICA committee for their achievements. An intention to ‘find a better way’ for the future.
- To make sure that WAKES goes ahead this year, the outgoing committee have agreed to ‘mentor’ a group of volunteers who will take responsibility for the planning. These volunteers will call on many others to make things happen. The first wakes organizing meeting will be on Monday, 15 April at 7.30 pm in the village hall. This is an open meeting, please come if you can.
- The KICA committee will postpone their formal retirement for around a month to allow more discussion about the form of KICA and an election/selection process to be developed. Another public meeting will be arranged shortly to plan this.
Details from the meeting.
What is KICA? The Kirk Ireton Community Association exists to plan community events. It is a legal body and has three legal roles to make it accountable for its activities and funds. These are, Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. There are a few other active regular members and the committee runs on an open meeting basis –all welcome.
KICA raises funds to buy public liability insurance and to underwrite events which could run at a loss. Generally, the committee think that a ‘float’ of about £2,500 a year is necessary to meet the current expenses and risks. Of this funding, only £55 is given as a grant from the parish Council and fundraising is necessary.
KICA is independent; it has no formal links to any other village body although many informal links mean that the school and church play some part of WAKES and Christmas planning. The Village Hall is managed separately by a sub-committee of the Parish Council at which KICA is informally represented and the hall is provided free during WAKES week for Wakes events.
Information about the work required to deliver wakes week and KICA accounts were available at the meeting.
The current ‘Crisis’
Glyn, and other members of the current committee, talked about why the office holders of the KICA committee, and others, are so disheartened. In brief:
- Too much responsibility and hard work falling on the shoulders of a very few people, insufficient volunteers in the preparation and planning of events, too few people actually making the events work
- Events to raise revenue can be poorly attended, there isn’t a clear mandate from the community about what they would support
Generally, people at the meeting expressed support and delight for the community activities in the village and it was noted that last year, in particular, was very positive . A few other issues were raised:
- Communications between KICA and the community are weak and need to be improved, there is too much reliance on the newsletter
- We could consider more structured representation on KICA from other
- There is insufficient information about HOW villagers can get involved and play their part, this needs to be opened out and made more visible.
- The KICA committee isn’t solely responsible for the activities in the village. During the year a number of clubs and activities take place outside of KICA and these add to ‘village life’. During Wakes week a number of activities are organized by others under the protection of KICA insurance.
- A view was put, on behalf of the Parish Council, that KICA might be
trying to achieve more than it needs to.
What do people want from a Community Association?
There was strong support for:
- Wakes week
- Bonfire Night
- Christmas trees and carols
- Picnic in the park
People also said that other activities, such as quizzes and shows, are and could continue to be, organized by other groups.
Ideas and suggestions
A number of ideas were aired:
- There could be more roles on the committee covering things like sponsorship, Communications, etc
- The committee could be formally linked to other village groups
- There should be a time limited tenure for office holders to avoid ‘burn out’
- The meeting should be in a more open venue, not the pub
- There should be more transparency about the jobs that need doing
- There could be separate fundraisers, for example an offer has been made to run a Car Boot fundraiser and half the ‘Open gardens’ money will go to KICA
- An offer was made to provide free text messages as a way of communication
- The village website is underused and could play a bigger role.
Complications were also raised:
- Other groups require volunteers and fundraising and there is a balance to be achieved in spreading talent and ‘manpower’ around village organisations.
Mac, Glyn, Sue and Keith were asked twice, from the ‘floor’, if it was their intention to resign at the end of the month and each time they said it was what they intended to do. They also said that they wanted to be part of a future ‘volunteer army’. However, there were asked if they would stay for a longer period to allow a transition. In particular, they were asked if Wakes planning had already started and if they were willing to mentor new organisers through a Wakes planning period.
It was unclear how a process of selecting new office holders should take place. Three people indicated they would be willing to be selected.
We agreed that the KICA should remain with its officers in mentor roles in order to plan Wakes. A wakes planning meeting will take place on Monday April 15 at 7.30 in the village hall, anyone, everyone, is welcome. A huge number of people left their contact details as willing to be part of the Wakes delivery.
We agreed to go away and consider what had been discussed and get together again shortly to agree a way forward for the community organization. The time frame for this will be discussed at the meeting on the 15th April.