AGM CHAIRPERSONS REPORT
JUNE 1st 2021
Reflecting on the year 2020/2021 has been extraordinarily difficult because, quite simply it has been an extra ordinary time. Something that none of us have lived through or could have imagined. We last met as an Action Planning Group on March 3rd 2020. Plans were in place for the AGM on March 31st and the Launch of the Parish Hall project led by the LCA on March 29th. Posters had been printed to advertise the Plant Sale on May 17th and speakers were booked for our Monday talks. Exercise classes were in full flow and we had a date in the diary for the Love Lydgate Lunch and the September Song concert. We were looking forward to a busy and fulfilling year. A date had been set to remove the sleepers around the raised bed and replace them with stone. It looked like being one of our busiest years ever.
News of a mystery illness erupting in China was beginning to filter through. It seemed far away but caused me to postpone my long dreamt of holiday in Japan. Who could have imagined that by Monday March 23rd we were in complete lock-down. The weather was beautiful and we were hopeful that we would get through this difficult period and easily come out the other side. The Community spirit soon kicked in.
I started to communicate with people by email on March 19th, asking if people needed help, asking for pieces for the newsletter in April and encouraging people to support the foodbank in Oldham. This was the first of many such emails which I always tried to accompany with an uplifting picture.
Charles had to close the White Hart but let the accommodation be used by NHS and other frontline workers. Love Lydgate contributed £500 towards the running costs and Margaret undertook the huge task of doing the finances for the project. We quickly made a banner ’Lydgate loves the NHS’ out of my tablecloth and Kath Hodges sheet. Thanks to Susan, Kate, Dorothy and Lesley. This was put up on April 10th. April 12th was Easter Sunday and some of us gathered around Lydgate Fold to sing’ Thine is the Glory’ accompanied by Philip Clarke and Peter Wilson. Stirring stuff! Difficult times but I think spirits were high.
Very soon the harsh reality began to kick in. This was not going to be a quick fix. The focus of community support led by the White Hart changed from accommodation to providing meals for the ICU and the vulnerable across Oldham. The plan was to raise £10.000 to supply 5000 free meals. The response from individuals in the community was fantastic and Love Lydgate, Lydgate Band Contest Committee, Great Get Together Committee, Saddleworth Round Table all rallied to the call. The sale of beer at the White Hart raised £4,947 in 2 hrs and together with the donations reached a total of £7,447 in 6 days.
The story was told in our newsletter which was emailed out on April 18th as we could not deliver.
On June 2nd, which was Whit Friday, the White Hart again sold beer and pizzas, to take away, to raise more funds. Throughout all this Margaret was paying out bills and overseeing all transactions.
Work continued in the village. The well was cleaned out, the beds weeded, and planting done. Work had started on the Parish Hall and somehow progress was made, much of the work being undertaken by volunteers.
By August, the White Hart had opened again, and church services had resumed. The tier scheme was introduced and by November 5th we were in Tier 4 and locked down again. December 3rd should have been Switch On. Knowing it wouldn’t go ahead we encouraged people to do little Light Ups in Lydgate and we had a good response. In fact one house is still lit up!
The situation gradually unwound by March 29th and by May 17th indoor facilities could be accessed.
It has been a real roller coaster but through it all acts of kindness have spread across the patch and beyond and I would like to think that the existence of Love Lydgate has helped to make that happen.
There is now much to do. The children have missed out on their schooling and social activities. Little ones have grown up in a cocoon, with no opportunity to mix or learn from others. Many of the older generation have missed out on seeing family and in some cases have lost confidence in doing simple day to day tasks. Some people have been very ill and apart from the impact of Covid, we have lost some very special people from the community. Last Friday’s Beer & Brass showed what can be done to inject some fun and bring people together, without too much organisation. I do hope you all agree that we should continue to work together to pick up the pieces. To look out for each other and to look out for Lydgate.
It seems the concern for the village is there and it showed itself when a totally inappropriate planning application went in for the land opposite the White Hart. I am not averse to building in the village personally. In fact, I think some development is healthy, but what people build matters, It was clear to everyone except the applicants that a three story sprawl in the centre of the village would not fit in. One positive out of this has been that I am now sent the planning applications for the whole of Oldham and Saddleworth.
Hopefully the 20mph speed restriction that I applied for, will make a positive difference but we need to be positive about it ourselves. The children at St Anne’s are behind it and have done some lovely posters for you to display. We now have good communication with school. I am in touch with Lynsey Coleman, Deputy headteacher, who used to live in Lydgate. The headteacher is keen to support too.
In December we found out that the Defibrilator was not working- another impact of Covid as the White Hart had been closed. With a lot of investigation and negotiation this was put right. The White Hart paid for the electrical work and Love Lydgate paid for new pads etc. which were out of date so good came out of bad. Thanks as ever to Clare Pritchard at the White Hart who regularly checks the facility.
We have not been able to run any fundraisers but hopefully we can start to plan ahead in the next few weeks. We have been approached by Saddleworth Male Voice Choir to put on something in September and we have a suggestion to run an afternoon tea on September 19th instead of our usual Plant Sale/Home Bake. Thank you to Gordon and Julie who made a donation after selling their garden tiles. That was a good help.
The exercise classes stopped for a while but then continued via Zoom. At first, we could cover the cost by using the Grant I had accessed in 2019 but latterly we have had to rely on Love Lydgate to support the costs. Hopefully, we can start classes again on June 28th and then hopefully we can contribute to the coffers once again.
The newsletter continues to be a lifeline and much appreciated. Fortunately, I was able to get a grant for £200 to help with the printing costs.,
Fate threw an almighty bomb shell at the world in the form of Covid 19. It’s been horrendous and it still is. Obviously, it has impacted our little community, but we haven’t just hidden away and ticked over we’ve continued to make a difference. And I feel privileged to be part of it.
Whether it’s speaking to complete strangers working for the NHS staying at the White Hart who commented on the friendliness and generosity of people. So much so one wanted to come and live here and the parents of one young doctor wrote to thank us.
Singing Happy birthday in Kate Platts’ garden when she was 89
Or calling to say I haven’t seen such a body, do you think they are ok?
Small things but put together make a big difference.
Of course, it isn’t all sweetness and light, people can rub each other up the wrong way but it rarely lasts. And it makes for a bit more fun!
So my message is, well done everyone and thank you.
Going back to my 2019 Report expressing concern that it was getting hard to plan for succession, things may change in how we have to manage things in the future and what we can achieve. But even if we can’t do the books and In Blooms and the big projects. We have shown that even in the toughest times we still have the most important essential….community spirit.
Lydgate Parish Hall Tuesday 1st June 2021, 6-00 pm
Love Lydgate AGM
Jennifer, Lesley S, Lesley H, Dorothy, Gordon, Julie, Frank, Margaret, Ian, Rev. Pat, John, Rachel.
JG talked through the Constitution. Although meetings had not been able to take place it was important that we kept things in line with the constitution as much as possible and this is reflected in the numerous reports that are attached. The present meeting was quorate.
2. Apologies: Molly, Kate, Andrew, Lorna.
3. Matters Arising :
The minutes of the AGM 2019 were passed as a correct record.
All trustees and volunteers were thanked for their continued hard work and support.
4. Report from the Chair : See attached for both 2019 and 2020.
JG was pleased to note that during what has been a difficult year due to the pandemic, there has been a good community spirit shown. The message for the future ‘To continue to look out for each other’.
5. Report from the Treasurer – See notes from Margaret.
Thanks to Margaret for her hard work and dedication during a time when the accounts have been particularly complicated due to Covid. She also had to regularly liaise with the White Hart regarding to our financial contribution to the work of local NHS workers.
6. Health and Safety – No accidents recorded.
7. Reports from Sub Groups
8. Planting – Lesley S spoke about the need to replace the large, raised bed at the crossroads which had been put on hold.
£130-00 had been purchased from OMBC and are being delivered on 6th June. Help needed.
A priority is the watering. A team of volunteers needed – to be discussed at the next Action Planning Meeting.
A good quality hosepipe needs to be purchased. It is expected to cost in the region of £90. Lesley S, Ian and Gordon to look into this. Permission needed from Church to site the hosepipe near the outdoor water supply.
Lesley S mentioned the trees that are seeding in the Churchyard. Rev Pat said that Brian Devenport had this in hand.
JG thanked Lesley S for all her hard work.
9. Newsletter – Gordon read a report written by Kate – see attached. Everyone agreed that the new style Newsletter is excellent. Thanks to Kate for all her hard work.
10.Stitchers – JG read out a report that Celia had prepared for the 2020 AGM that didn’t take place due to Covid. See notes. Updated report from Kath Ryder attached.
JG told the meeting that the newest wall hanging constructed by the Stitchers was almost complete and would hang from the ceiling in front of the newly plastered wall.
11.Lydgate Larks – no report prepared but the meeting was told that Saddleworth Male Voice Choir are keen to collaborate on another concert with the Larks, September Song?
12.Exercise Class – Lesley H read out a prepared report detailing the progress of the exercise class which has continued throughout the pandemic via Zoom. See attached.
13.Election of Trustees :
Jennifer, Margaret, Rev Pat, Lesley S, Lesley H, Dorothy : all volunteered and were unanimously voted in. Others members can be co opted to help as and when needed with specific tasks. We we
14.AOB – none
The meeting closed at 7-15pm.
To download the financial report, please click here (PDF file).