AGM 2016

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 25 October at the Meanwood Institute.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 25 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2016 had been a good season for us, with some bumper crops.  The Committee were very active, meeting six times, writing grant applications, and organizing work parties.

We held an Extraordinary General Meeting on the 3rd of August to add a dissolution clause to our constitution as required by some of our grant applications. All of our rules are available online, and posted on our communal hut.

This year we held just one Plant B&B Sale, on 5th June, which was quite successful.  Our Autumn Show, on 4 September, was judged this year by John Maiden, Joe’s son.

As usual, a lot of essential work around the site was done by volunteers: grass cutting, hedge trimming and general tidying.  Work parties got together to sand and paint the hut, grub out a tree stump on a plot, clear weeds on the coppice plot (46T), and start to prepare the “senior” and “starter” plots.

The chair reminded us about the rises in rents we are required by Leeds Council to charge.  Here are the charges for a full plot:

  • 2014 and 2015:  £38.50
  • 2016:  £58
  • 2017:  £65
  • 2018:  £72

The amount of rent we are allowed to keep for our own use stays the same, while the Council’s share goes up each year.

Gillian North is retiring from the Committee after many years.  Many thanks to her.

The Trustees held plot inspections on 1 March, 21 April, 1 June, 18 July, 5 September, 20 October, looking at health and safety issues and standards of cultivation. There was one eviction, and several plots improved after warning letters were sent.

There were several break-ins this year, but not much was taken.  We were reminded to be sure to scramble the codes on the locks, and not to reveal them to outsiders.

Some of our paths are quite narrow, with dangerous drop offs at the edges.  Please try to keep the paths at least 80cm wide, so that wheelbarrows and lawn mowers can get along them.

The Treasurer presented the accounts for the year which showed us to be in good shape.  We bought more manure this year, but charging £1 per barrow means we break even.  Together, the B&B and Show raised £566.

The Secretary outlined three successful grant applications made this year:

  • £1000 from the Council, to be used on the toilet project
  • £8000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help Award, to used for the toiled and a secure tool storage for plot holders.
  • £1500 from St Chad’s fund to used to set up the Seniors’ plot.

Rosie explained about the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners city wide allotment competition, which we are encouraged to participate in. Our member Ros Dunlevey came 6th in the city, winning a gold certificate, and Malcolm Slade and Jayne Harnett each got a bronze.  Ros also had two photos included in the LDAGF calendar for 2017.

Election of Officers

All the officers stand down each year. The following were elected for 2017:

  • Chair Joe Foster
  • Secretary Angie Willshaw
  • Treasurer Ness Clark
  • Committee R Hall, L Allen, J Ward, C Evans, J Tennant-Jackson, D Hood, M Davies, J Balfour, S Stones.

Rosie Hall agreed to manage plot letting again this year.

Prizegiving

The plots and autumn show were judged by John Maiden of Cliff Bank Nursery this year.  Many thanks!

  • Best Plot
    • 1st  Ros Dunlevey
    • 2nd  Joe Foster
    • 3rd  Malcolm Slade
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot  Steve Monether
  • Overall Show Winner Rosie Hall
  • Best Exhibit in Show  Rosie Hall
  • Joe Maiden Cup Joe Foster (the Chair forgot!)

Many thanks to our generous sponsors for the prizes: The Three Horseshoes, Glendor DIY, The Secret Garden Cafe.

Discussions

The coppice wood  on plot 46T was cleared and planted with saplings over the last couple of years.  More work is needed regularly to maintain it.  Later – a big team from Morgans City Living came on 19 November and did a huge amount of work clearing and sheeting down the whole site.

The composting toilet and communal toolshed were expected soon. This project has been made a reality by the hard work and dedication of Angie Willshaw and others. Later – the concrete base and main structures have been in place since January 2017, and are now (February)  just awaiting finishing touches.

The senior plots are planned for plot 10BL. The idea is to create a number of raised beds on an easily accessible part of the site for people who may not want to keep up a whole plot, but would like to carry on growing some vegetables and still be a part of the allotment community. More work is needed to get them ready.

The idea of starter plots is to have a number of beds set out for people on the waiting list who would like to have a go for a year before taking on a proper plot. Later – start has already been made on plot 1B.

 

 

Tesco Bags of Help Grant

The Tesco Bags of Help scheme is offering us a grant to install a composting toilet on our site.

The Tesco Bags of Help scheme is offering us a grant to install a composting toilet on our site.  This should cover purchase of a strong little hut and the toilet, as well as installation, if we are lucky.  You can help by casting a vote for our project next time you are shopping in a local Tesco between 31 Oct and 13 Nov.Tesco explain:

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.
Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 416 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 26 September to 9 October on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards. In total, there is over £12.5 million up for grabs.

Huge thanks to Angie Wilshaw for putting our bid for this money together!

Constitution amended

On 3rd August 2016 we held and Extraordinary General Meeting which voted unanimously to amend our Association Rules (constitution) to include a dissolution clause:

On 3rd August 2016 we held and Extraordinary General Meeting which voted unanimously to amend our Association Rules (constitution) to include a dissolution clause:

15. DISSOLUTION. In the event of the Dissolution of the Society, funds will be used to defray all debts and liabilities incurred by the Society. Any funds remaining after this will, if possible, be transferred to a local organisation with similar objectives in their constitution, or shall be given for charitable purposes. The decision as to transfer of remaining funds will be taken by the committee or, should there be no viable committee, by any remaining Trustees of the Society.

Joe Maiden

We were very sad to hear that Joe Maiden passed away on Thursday, 17 September 2015, after a long fight with prostate cancer.

We were very sad to hear that Joe Maiden passed away on Thursday, 17 September 2015, after a long fight with prostate cancer.  Joe was a gardening expert on Radio Leeds’ for over forty years.  He was also prominent in the National Vegetable Society, Leeds Horticultural Society, and many others.  He wrote a regular column for Kitchen Garden magazine and frequently gave talks around the region.  He has received many awards for his charitable activities.
 
He has been associated with Hollin Lane Allotments for over thirty years, finding time in his busy schedule to walk around our site and judge the “best plot” each year, and to join us on a September Sunday to judge the exhibits in our Autumn Show.   He had his own way of doing the judging – explaining how he made his choices, and throwing out gardening lore, funny stories and good cheer as he went.
 
We will miss the help and encouragement which has done so much to improve our allotments and gardening generally for so long.
Expounding2014

AGM 2015

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 27 October at the Meanwood Institute.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 27 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2015 was an active year, with six Committee meetings, two Plant Bring and Buy Sales, and our annual Autumn show.

We were very saddened by the death of Joe Maiden, who has been a great friend of our Association for over thirty years, judging our plots and show exhibits and giving lots of very helpful advice and encouragement in the process.

Once again the maintenance of the site was done by volunteers:  grass cutting, bramble control, communal bonfires, etc.  Big thanks to everyone who helped out!

We benefited from two generous grants for projects:

  • With help from the £350 from last year’s grant from St Chad’s Community fund we had a series of work parties to establish our hazel and ash coppice at the top of plot 46.
  • We won £500 from Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving initiative.  We used this for construction of a communal shelter, just next to our green hut. This gives us a place to meet and relax out of the weather – really useful this year.  Jon O’Neill, dry-stone waller from Horsforth, did the skilled construction work.

Security was a minor problem this year. There were a couple of break-ins, but nothing much was taken. We had problems with one of our new combination locks, but it was replaced free of charge by Glendor DIY.

The Trustees held three scheduled inspections with follow-ups. They looked for health and safety problems and plots that were not being properly cultivated. There were two evictions, and several people gave up plots voluntarily.

The Treasurer presented the audited accounts for 2014-2015 which showed our finances to be healthy.  Deliveries of manure have worked well, with the £1/load contributions from members enabling us to get more than usual.

Election of Officers

Officers were elected as follows:

    • Chair: J Foster
    • Secretary:  A Willshaw
    • Treasurer:  N Clark
    • Committee:  L Allen, G North, J Ward, D Hood, C Evans, R Hall, Mary Davies, Jenny Tennant-Jackson.

Rosie Hall agreed to continue managing lettings.  Pat Shore and John Oughton resigned after many years of service.  Many thanks to both of them.

Prizegiving

The Chair presented prizes as follows:

  • Best Plot
    • 1st Prize: Joe Foster, plot 3o and 31B
    • 2nd Prize:  Malcolm Slade, plot 8R
    • 3rd Prize:  Peter Blakey, plot 13
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot: Jane Harnett, plot 15BL and Jenny Tennant-Jackson, plot 15BR
  • Overall Winner of Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall
  • Best exhibit in Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall

Joe Maiden judged the plots in July in spite of his illness. Thanks to Gordon Kirby for judging the show.  Thanks also to Pat Shore and Claire Evans for collecting prizes from generous business sponsors.

Thanks also to our generous sponsors, who provided the prizes:

For details of our discussion, please read the minutes of the meeting.

 

Autumn Show 2015

The 2015 show was on Sunday 6 September.

The 2015 show was on Sunday 6 September.  For the first time in over thirty years Joe Maiden was unable to judge our exhibits, due to his declining health.  Gordon Kirby stepped in on the day and did an excellent job of deciding which were our most beautiful as well as our weirdest fruit and veg.  There were the usual delicious refreshments, useful stuff on sale, and a white-knuckle snail race.  The overall winner on the basis of most points was Rosie Hall, who also had the Best Exhibit in the show.

AGM 2014

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 23 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2014 was a good season for most of us, with some bumper crops. It was also an active year, with seven Committee meetings, two Plant Bring and Buy Sales which brought in £400, and our annual Autumn show. We had several work parties: planting 100 blackthorn seedlings to reinforce our bottom fence, pruning brambles and tidying the hedge, tending a couple of large bonfires, and clearing the top of plot 46 for our coppice wood. The paths were kept mowed as usual almost without anyone noticing, thanks to Peter Blakey. We had a skip here during April for rubbish collected around the site.

Security was a bit less of a problem than last year. There were a couple of break-ins, but not much was taken. We had problems with one of our new combination locks, but it was replaced free of charge by Glendor DIY.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting in February we voted unanimously to donate £400 to the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners “fighting fund” to help fund a judicial review of the Council’s decision to double our allotment rents. The judge’s decision from the 16th July hearing was that the Council’s rent rise illegal, so our rents for 2015 will not increase.

The Trustees held scheduled inspections on 1 March, 2 June, and 1 September, with follow-ups on 16 April and 16 October. They looked for health and safety problems and plots that were not being properly cultivated. There were two evictions, and several people gave up plots voluntarily.

Election of Officers

Officers were elected as follows:

    • Chair: J Foster
    • Secretary:  A Willshaw
    • Treasurer:  N Clark
    • Committee:  L Allen, G North, J Ward, P Shore, J Oughton, D Hood, C Evans, R Hall.

Rosie Hall agreed to continue managing lettings.

Prizegiving

The Chair presented prizes as follows:

  • Best Plot
    • 1st Prize: Peter Blakey (13)
    • 2nd Prize:  Mary Davies (10BR)
    • 3rd Prize:  Jenny Ward (45)
    • 4th Prize:  Ros Dunlevey (37)
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot: John Stonard (20BR) and Trina Evans-Cheung (20BL)
  • Overall Winner of Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall
  • Best exhibit in Autumn Show:  Ros Dunlevey

Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging both the plots and the autumn show.

Thanks also to our generous sponsors, who provided the prizes:

Discussion

We introduced our revised Guidelines, which aim for “Hollin Lane Allotments to be a friendly, harmonious, and productive place to grow food”.  After a discussion, they were adopted by the meeting.  They are now posted on the notice board on the green hut.  You can also see them on this website on the Rules page.

We have won a grant of £350 from the St Chad’s Community Fund to establish a coppice wood at the top of plot 46.  This would give us a  supply of beanpoles and a natural area underplanted with native spring bulbs.  We are also waiting to hear if we have won a £500 grant to create a social area and shelter above the green hut.

For more details of our discussion, please read the minutes of the meeting.

 

Plant Bring & Buy Sales 2014

This year’s Plant Bring & Buy Sales were on 18 May and 22 June, starting at 11:00. All proceeds were put towards a new communal hut.

Plant Bring & Buy May 2014

This year’s Plant Bring & Buy Sales were on 18 May and 22 June, starting at 11:00 in the car park area. Plot holders raised extra seedlings of veg and ornamental plants for sale to each other and the public. All proceeds go towards a new communal hut.  The May sale was a great success, with a good crowd of eager buyers.  Items on sale:

  • Veg seedlings
  • Garden ornamental plants
  • House plants
  • 100 good quality 8′ canes (sold out!)
  • Fertilizers from the hut
  • Garden bric-a-brac and used tools
  • Refreshements (including some ravishing home made cakes)

There was also a free tool sharpening service for everything from secateurs to axes (but not for eyesight or hearing!).

AGM 2013

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 14 November at the Meanwood Institute.

Reports

The Chairman reported that 2013 was a wonderful season for most of us, with many bumper crops.  Strangely, although we did not have a wet summer, many of the potatoes had slug damage.

We had plant Bring & Buy Sales on 9th June and 14 July, and our Autumn show on 8 September.  All three were well attended by plot holders and members of the public.

We had problems with the locks on the gates.  The old bronze padlocks were becoming unreliable, and then someone was able to open the gate and steal a greenhouse frame.  We decided it was time to change the locks.  A new set of trouble-free locks plus keys would cost about £500, so we are trying combination locks, as some other allotment sites seem to have success with these.  These have their own problems:  the numbers can be hard to see in poor light, the numbers don’t get scrambled sometimes, and one lock had to be destroyed because someone tried to move the numbers when the lock was not properly closed.  This had the effect of changing the combination, and no one could open the lock afterwards.

A big concern this year has been the Council’s “Allotment Consultation” and then their decision to raise our rents.  The way in which this was done has caused much ill-feeling on all sides, and there has been a breakdown in communication between LDAGF and the Council officers involved.

As things stand, our rents will increase each year until 2016-2017:

Year 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Full plot rent £38.50 £58.00 £65.00 £72.00

At present we keep 2/3 of rent collected + give LCC 1/3.  By 2016-17 we will keep just 32% and give LCC 78%.  The total value of our share stays about the same, but theirs will be four times bigger!

Concession for pensioners will be just 20%, instead of 50% as before.  A concession of 50% will still be available for people in receipt of certain benefits.

Our old lease has been cancelled, and the new one has to be signed by Oct 2014.  The new lease lasts 25 yrs, not just 6, so it will be better for getting grants.  Need to read new one carefully before signing.

LDAGF has started proceedings for a  judicial review to try to overturn the Council’s decision.  Even a favourable judgement will only cover this current decision, though.

We need to raise public awareness of benefits to the community of allotments.  Good news stories are needed!

The Treasurer reported that our finances were in a good state, with about £1500 more in our current account than at this time last year.

The Trustees carried out plot inspections on 1 March, 15 April, 3 June and 16 Sept, looking at health & safety issues and the state of cultivation of plots. Five people were evicted or voluntarily left their plots.  Not all plots have compost bins, and they should.

Election of Officers

The officers elected for 2012-2013 were

  • Chair: Joe Foster
  • Treasurer: Ness Clark
  • Secretary: Louise Allen
  • Committee: Rosie Hall, Ness Clark, Donald Hood, Gillian North, John Oughton, Pat Shore, Jenny Ward, Angie Willshaw.

Rosie Hall agreed to act as letting secretary.

David Jones stood down as Treasurer, and has been helping Ness Clark to take over.  Many thanks to both.

Peter Blakey retired from the Committee after serving for more years than anyone can remember. We will miss his steadying hand and wise contributions.

Prizegiving

This year three of us entered the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners Federation city-wide Best Plot competition.  Ros Dunlevey won a special merit certificate for “effective and innovative use of terracing on a very challenging plot.”  Joe Foster and Peter Blakey also entered.

The Hollin Lane Best Plot competition was judged by Joe Maiden 15 July:

  • 1st place:  Ros Dunlevey (plot 37) and Peter Blakey (plot 13) tied.
  • 2nd:           Joe Foster.
  • 3rd:            Malcolm Coles (plots 19B, 22B, 34).

The best Best Newcomer competition was judged by the Trustees, and this year’s winner was Jess Poole (plot 4BR).

The overall points winner at this year’s Autumn show was Rosie Hall (plots12B, 23B), and the best exhibit in the show was Pat Shore’s onions (plot 25).

Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging both the Best Allotment and the Autumn Show.

These year we were able to give some attractive prizes.  Thanks to John Oughton for arranging this, and to our sponsors for their generosity.  Please support them:

  • Glendor DIY, 2-4 Weetwood Lane
  • The Secret Garden Cafe, 6-8 Weetwood Lane
  • Maria’s, 4 Green Road, Meanwood
  • Fobi’s DIY 44-50 Grean Road, Meanwood
  • Woodies Ale House, 104 Otley Road
  • The New Inn, 68  Otley Road
  • Giorgios Ristorante Italiano, 72 Otley Road
  • Floral Expression, 86 Otley Road
  • Fancy Dress Experience, 88 Otley Road
  • Unwin’s Seeds
  • Steven H Smiths Garden Centre, Pool Road, Otley
  • Kings Seeds

Discussion

The meeting closed with an open discussion. Several points and suggestions were made by members of the audience:

  • C Foren suggested that we could make our perimeter more secure by planting blackthorn (sloes) along the bottom fence. Young blackthorn whips are not expensive, but we would need some volunteer labour.
  • M Coles suggested that we should be quicker to evict people who are not using their plots, and that paths around some plot are badly overgrown.
  • R Hall inquired about plans to replace the communal hut. We need to decide on a design, and get some idea of cost.
  • E Walton asked if we planned to paint the hut. We should have a work day to do this.