The new Board for 2016 was elected at the Devonshire West Big Local AGM on Tuesday 24th November 2015.
Sue Shoesmith of 3VA (our “locally trusted organisation”) was chairing the meeting and extended our thanks to the people who were stepping down. Outgoing DWBL Chair Jane Dubery gave a report on the group’s work during 2015, including £40K of grants, and offered her best wishes and encouragement to the Board going forwards.
There were eight candidates for the new Board, as published and circulated on 10th November (the full candidate list is published in advance for absolute transparency). Because the legal requirement is for between eight and twenty members, this was an uncontested election and all eight were proposed, seconded and appointed. It is possible for additional candidates to be co-opted later; one person put themselves forward as a future candidate for co-option and this will be voted on at the next Board meeting.
After a brief refreshment interlude, Alan Wenham gave a presentation on the history of Devonshire West, accompanied by a slide-show of photos of views of significant local points. The audience was genuinely captivated, with murmurs of recognition and satisfied chuckles at different times.
Community Stuff provided buffet-style food to refuel us, before the new Board went on to their first meeting to set dates and agree roles.
Click here for more details about who was elected, and see below for the speech by Jane Dubery, outgoing Chair.
Here is the speech from Jane Dubery, outgoing Chair.
Jane has been involved with DWBL from the start and has been a really positive, active and productive Chair for the last year and a half or so but has now stepped down. Thank you, Jane, for all of your work and support and endeavours.
Here is her signing-off speech from the AGM:
DWBL Progress Report & statement from retiring Chair
They say that as you get older and when you are enjoying yourself time seems to pass more quickly. I’m not sure which of those is applicable to DWBL but I do know that it seems only yesterday that we heard that Devonshire West had been awarded £1 million by the Big Local Lottery fund when in fact it was almost 3 years ago and who here knew where Devonshire West was in 2012?
Well we do now and so does the wider Eastbourne community and that is due to all the unsung people who have been involved in the project in many ways. Then there are various groups such as Creative Force, Community Stuff and Cotton Candy who have run a variety of activities and the Bo Ho group who last Friday ran the second successful winter event. All of these have brought a wide variety of people to our area and spread the word about Devonshire West and the Big Local project. Oh and by the way Bo Ho next year is 18th November so put the date in your diaries.
Following the process of consulting with the local community including residents, those involved with local businesses and various community groups such as the Royal Hippodrome and Leaf Hall, we developed our plan which was accepted just about a year ago. We received the first 6 months’ worth of money at the beginning of this year. We would have had it a bit earlier if a certain rather important letter had not been posted without a stamp, not our fault, so we actually had to pay to get the lottery money – I wonder if Big Local will add that £2.50 to the final payment we get!
So, as we now have part of our funding, we have been able to accept bids for funding from a wide variety of groups and have given out grants totalling £40660.40. Normally a progress report would now tell you in detail about the groups we funded and the outcome of their projects but I don’t think I need to go into detail as this is covered very well by the bumper community newsletter that has been circulated.
So I could just sit down and let the AGM proceed but you aren’t getting rid of me that easily because, as usual I have more to say for myself, and I do want to mention in particular some of the work that Board members have been involved in beside agreeing the awards..
The first is the newsletter I’ve just referred to. Lorna has produced a series of small newsletters over the past 18 months that have kept the community informed and which have been circulated electronically and through various places such as Leaf Hall, here at the Children’s Centre, the Crown & Anchor and Scarlett Dancewear but we felt that there was no guarantee that we are making contact with most of the people in the area.
Some of you will remember the work involved in the first year in putting leaflets through every letterbox in the area. Well I didn’t think I could do that again and understandably the other Board members weren’t keen either so we decided to take the bull by horns and do a paid for circulation. We went to town with this amazing bumper issue that Lorna put together and employed professionals to deliver it. We have worked out that it cost about 20p per household which I think is money well spent and I hope the exercise will be repeated next year.
The other thing I want to mention is the commitment of the Board members. They attend our regular Board meetings and turn up at the various public events such as the Grant Fairs, our global Big Local event and on a very cold November night were out en masse at the Bo Ho event last week handing out our DWBL refreshment vouchers. I’d also like to thank Monika our new administrator for coming along to that and I’m still very envious of the scarlet gloves she wore!
And before I do finish there’s one other person I’d like to mention and that’s Jim Boot. He has patiently listened to me letting off steam, been a sounding board and offered constructive and helpful advice. Thank you Jim.
So as I finally come to the end of this speech and my term as Chair of DWBL I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board for the work that they have done during this first year of the plan and I want to share some of what I said to the Board a couple of weeks ago because I think it helps to understand the work that Board members do and I think it can also apply to the wider community that is involved with DWBL.
This year has been interesting and, at times, challenging as we have begun to fund the various groups and projects that have applied for awards and it has been satisfying to see the wide range of activities that have taken place and, will continue to take place, because DWBL has been able to help.
We come from a variety of backgrounds with a wide range of interests, skills and experience that have enabled each of us to contribute different things to the project. During the year the Board has had some lively discussions that I hope have helped us to understand and share our differing opinions and approaches and will help everyone to work together in the future.
So finally I want to take this opportunity to wish those who are on the new Board and the wider Devonshire West community continued success in helping the diverse population that makes up our area, be they residents, business owners and employees or anybody who has a connection to the area, to achieve what they, what we all as a community, want for Devonshire West.
So thank you everybody for all your hard work and good luck for the future.