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The Annual General Meeting and Picnic, 2022

Brimstage Orchard, 4th September, 2022:
these are just outline notes from the AGM and are subject to approval at the next appropriate meeting

Annual General Meeting notes: 4th September, 2022, at Brimstage Orchard, 2:00 p.m.

Apologies received from Perle Sheldricks, Moira Gommon, Elena Edwards, Lena Chard, Màire Bannon plus 10 others

Present: included Genevieve Woodland, Dave Ellwand, Steve Yandell, Eddie and Beryl Williamson, Mike Thornton, Mike Inger, Roger Merry, Sarah Spoor, Michael Pierce, Steph Rooney, Alice Kuchemann, Freya Levy, Andrew Sennett, Colin Armstrong-Liles, Don Naylor, Margaret Watson, Irene Ellis

1) Financial report:

the meeting accepted the financial statement from the hon. Treasurer, with thanks for his work in bringing the accounts in line for the financial year, as agreed at the previous AGM. The meeting accepted the verified accounts up to 1st April, 2022 and thanked the hon. auditor. Both had drawn the attention of the meeting to a future shortfall in income, as Royden Park Servery is closed and there is likely to be little or no income from WEN for future courses such as we provided for them in the last year.

  1. Our current balances are: in hand xxx, in the bank xxxx (updates requested)

  2. Main outgoings in the near future will be

  • Public liability and personal risk insurance £157:00 est.

  • Tree Council membership £189:00 est, [note: not mentioned at AGM, but we have paid forward an extra year, to 2024

  • Meetings/training sessions (3) £45

(2) the meeting discussed improvements in finances and control as advised by hon. auditor and hon. Treasurer. In order to satisfy the requirements of the constitution (which requires 2 signatures) and the bank account (which requires one for free accounts) the meeting resolved to adopt changes in procedure, whereby a second officer initials all transactions in the pay-in and disbursement records, and each transaction in the period between meetings in tabled for approval at the next executive meeting.

3) Chairperson's report, including CoOrdinators feedback:

  1. 21/22 had been marked by restrictions on activities as a result of Covid 19, and there have been only 2 committee meetings in the last year

  2. Activities included several successful Apple Days; a Wassail at Dibbinsdale, Claremont and Brimstage;

  3. The Tree Wardens continue to play an active role with other members of Wirral Initiative on Trees in Wirral Council’s committee, monitoring the implementation of the Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy and working on improving the protection of trees and hedges.

  4. Tree Wardens and affiliate groups with Tree Warden involvement, such as those at Wallasey and Neston, Rotary Heswall have been especially active in finding temporary homes for tree seedlings, tree planting, nurturing and maintenance. Wirral Council report a record 21,000 new trees planted.

  5. There have been approximately 40 incidents reported where trees were at threat. They are not all in Wirral, but were dealt with or referred appropriately. Dr Nicola Wallbank heads up tree strategy work at Wirral Council, including an oversight of tree specialists in planning, parks, countryside and highways. She is the contact point for any tree protection and planting queries in Wirral Borough Council area. 

  6. The Orchard has a backlog of work on pruning, (watershoots NOW, an active winter pruning from late November, and a Summer thinning and watershoot removal from June 2023) there are also some trees to be regrafted and replaced. The Orchard Book needs updating and improved signage. This is the reply from the Leverhulme Estate manager which clarifies our security of tenure at the orchard. The committee last year agreed that it was acceptable:

    1. “I am happy to positively endorse your custodianship and maintenance of the orchard and continuing benefit of its produce.

      We have previously discussed the merits and constraints of entering into any formal agreement and understand we are both content to continue with no formal agreement but an understanding that the work you do is appreciated and I will ensure you are kept abreast of any future changes to avoid the circumstances that previously arose.

      Alongside this I would hope to have your support in the estates future strategy/ plans and discussed some of these with you previously.”

  7. We have only 10 paid up members at the moment, 19 trained tree wardens, 142 on our mailing list and 597 on our Facebook list. Perle, Steve and Dave are to chase up memberships and subscriptions. We’re grateful for the offer of help from Colin to sort out mailing lists, newsletters and notifications.

  8. We have our Apple Day on 18th September and ask you all to help – either by providing apple cakes and tarts, by coming along and guiding visitors round the orchard or by helping with pressing apple juice and tasting last year’s cider.

  9. Thanks to Dave, who is standing down as co-ordinator. He’s agreed to continue to help with training and orchards and to support the preparation and training of successor coordinators.

4) Current Officers stood down, with thanks.

5) Officers for2022/2023 chosen: the meeting endorsed the selection of Genevieve Woodland as Chair, Steve Yandell as Treasurer, Perle Sheldricks as Membership Secretary, Sarah Spoor as Secretary. Colin Armstrong Liles will help with mailing and publications 

6) selection of executive meeting group for 2022/2023: officers above, plus Mike Thornton, Eddie Williamson, Stephanie Rooney, Màire Bannon?

7) training: we have a special hedgerow course next Friday and several modules of the Tree Council training to run (NB hedgerow course was cancelled) The idea of training was partially to encourage more tree wardens to act as local project initiators and leads. The meeting clarified that activities such as the Wallasey Tree Group’s are covered by Tree Warden insurance:

  1. They are listed on our activity calendar,

  2. they are led by trained and named tree wardens,

  3. We will hold a copy of the risk assessment document that the group has prepared,

  4. Their activities are wholly inside the aims and constitution of the Wirral Tree Warden network

Other tree wardens and local groups can follow this pattern – in the first instance discuss this with Dave or Gen. If the activity is on Wirral Council or CWAC land and led by a Park Ranger, then the local authority provides the insurance and public liability cover

8) Wirral Tree Warden Network Co-ordinator role: Dave is standing down after 7 years and we need a replacement. Dave and Gen to discuss this with WBC and Tree Council (NB the coordinator is not part of the AGM processes )[NB. Apologies: we should have mentioned that Roger was selected as Deputy Co-ordinator at the 2022 AGM, after Lena had said she could no longer attend regional meetings, etc. Most members knew this, but we had several newcomers at this AGM, who were not aware]

 9) Wirral Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy: progress and way forward: Dave, Hilary, Roger, Steve will attend the next meeting, with Sam and Jon from the Tree Council in support.


The executive meeting will be at 7 pm on Wednesday 5th October, at Serpentine Road Church (100 Liscard Rd)

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