Pat reminded the group that TT was now a limited company, with six Directors. In the interests of maximum transparency an extra meeting had been arranged (26 March, 19.30, at Prospect House) to clarify the group’s future aims and format.
The Planning Meeting focused on existing commitments and new ideas.
- The website had been re-designed in the spring of 2012, and would continue to be adapted to meet future needs.
- The Community Garden (next meeting: 16 February) was encouraging input from the school. The orchard trees would need pruning in the next month or so. Meanwhile, the apple press was still available for use by members.
- Farmers’ Market. Debbie had been asked for a written plan of our themes and activities for the year. This appeared to reflect possibly negative attitudes to TT by some stall-holders; Debbie would attempt to establish the nature of any doubts or objections.
- The Car Club scheme had stalled over recent months, and would need to make progress in the spring if the plan was to work.
- The Todmorden Visit was still a possibility, although the date had been changed (see previous minute); Richard was still willing to organise it, as soon as a date could be confirmed.
- Hexham Town Plan was being taken forward, based on about 750 responses to a questionnaire. A list of aims would be submitted to the Town Council.
- TT would have a stall at the Energy Fair (11 May: 10.00-16.00). Phil was hopeful that a video would be produced by a group of young people. It would be also be good to have any tips and ideas for energy conservation, or demonstrations on the day.
- There would again be two Cycling Maintenance sessions during the year. Meanwhile, the Cycling Tynedale group saw itself as moving gradually towards independence, with 150 supporters
Gillian noted that TT has become more project-based over recent years and suggested that there might be scope for a return to more general consciousness-raising. In brief general discussion the importance of developing a sense of local community was underlined. Some relevant examples included a Waste Energy project in Prudhoe and a food co-operative for bulk purchases (Barbara).
Richard suggested formalising the links between TT and local schools and colleges, so as to achieve greater impact from the various research projects which we were asked to support. These currently tended to be ad hoc, with little or no feedback; it would help the group if there were clearer expectations on both sides. This was agreed.
Gillian suggested two extra meetings, one with an external facilitator to provide guidance and reflection on purpose and aims, and another for more internal discussion. In general there was a need to cascade activity via groups. One other suggestion concerned a directory of supporters who had acquired knowledge or expertise in relevant areas (eg, solar panels, or other insulation) and who would be willing to pass on ideas.
The next meeting would be on 6 March (Skinners Arms; Barbara in the Chair), and in addition to the usual items would review the points raised about the Farmers’ Market, the plans for a more formal approach to research projects, and possibly a visit to Humshaugh for a view of community initiatives.