The SRB scheme ended in 2007 . The ‘Exit strategy‘ was for the ‘Community‘ to take over the running of these assets. One option was a Community Interest Company and another was as a Charitable body backed by a trading arm. The HCA has been striving to operate as this second option since the end of the SRB. The crucial part of this was to be to establish permanent funding streams in anticipation of the eventual removal of support by SDC.
In March 2010 the HCA took emergency measures and replenished it’s board of directors who immediatly appointed a new manager, Jan Capel.
For the 3 months that she was employed, Jan Capel was unable to raise any funds and by the time she left the HCA was having financial problems .
The HCA continued to be responsible for the assets and proceeded to rebuild the Board of trustees in preparation for an AGM where the option of dissolution and the institution of a CIC would be considered.
On November 2nd HAG members interupted a meeting of the HCA stating that they had called off the unity Agenda and would proceed with a protest which would put their claims before the media and leaflet the estate with the same. They carried out these actions during the next 2 weeks . All the elected councillors for the Hamp area jointly put out a statement calling instead for co-operation, calm and unity. During the same week as the protest happened several members of HAG withdrew from the campaign and offered to work together to support a unity campaign to save the Hamp assets instead.
Teresa Harvey (SDC) and Cllr Brian Smedley (HCA) at the same time brought forward an ACTION PLAN to the HCA board to propose a way that the Community could move on as a united force and work together to preserve and build on the assets gained and the other achievements from the SRB period.
A NEW HAMP ACTION PLAN - 2010
Sedgemoor District Council have agreed to fund the running of the HCA and its assets (Re-creation and Edinburgh rd) until the end of the financial year 2010-2011. They have further agreed to provide back up support in Finance, Governance and officer time.
A NEW AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP INITIATIVE
HCA have restructured the organisation so that there are new people involved in the Organisation and the capacity for the further involvement of residents and support agencies. Being open, inclusive and accessible is crucial.
The essence of the plan is that there should be a United Community Organisation which speaks for the Hamp Community. This body is currently the HCA but should be re-launched at an AGM to be held in January 2011 and the possibility of dissolution or change of name should also be considered.
At this AGM it should be made clear that any member of the Hamp Community can join the organisation and stand for election to the Board of Trustees and vote for the same. The membership would be ‚open to‘ all on the electoral roll for the Hamp ward of Sedgemoor District Council but membership would be confirmed by an agreed membership fee and recorded membership list.
This body (The Board of Trustees) would be elected annually and would thereafter be responsible for several key roles in the operational management of the Hamp assets. The current HCA board and roles are listed below. The Chairman of the board is currently Hamp resident STEVE AUSTEN.
These designated roles would be in place until the AGM whereupon they would be up for re-election.
1 Governance Arrangement;- Brian Smedley
2 Finance/Accounts;- John Turner
3 Business Planning;- Tina Herbert
4 Funding Strategy;- Jon Cousins
5 Operational management/staff management;- Steve Austin
6 Communication;- Brian Smedley
7 Training;- Kathy Pearce
8 Policy and proceedures;- Steve Manley
9 Building management;- Jason Roberts
10 Risk assesment;- Gloria Jackson
The Key Trustees would be organised within 4 key SUPPORT GROUPS which would meet regularly under a single Group Leader . These would make operational decisions and would also report to monthly Board meetings. It is important that these groups can take on additional resident and professional support as neccesary. Groups and leaders were defined thus.
SUPPORT COMMITTEES /SUB GROUPS
GROUP 1 ADMINISTRATION
Roles;- governance , communication, community liason, training, policy & Proceedures, Risk assesments
MEMBERS;- Tina Herbert
SDC;- Julie Cooper /Dorothy O'Farrell
GROUP 2;- FINANCE,
Roles;- Finance/accounts, Business planning & Funding strategy
MEMBERS;- Gloria Jackson
SDC;- Julie Cooper /Ray Andrews;-
GROUP 3;- MANAGEMENT (Re-Creation)
Roles;- Operational management/staff management Re-creation
MEMBERS;- Steve Manley,
SDC;- Julie Cooper
GROUP 4;- MANAGEMENT (Edinburgh rd)
Roles;- Operational management/staff management Edinburgh rd
MEMBERS;- Steve Manley
SDC;- Julie Cooper
Engagement with The wider community
The Hamp Action Strategy needs to be part of a wider engagement with the Hamp community which takes into consideration previously parked issues alongside a firm commitment to participatory democracy and accountability. This can be achieved by opening up the HCA organisation clearly to the wider community, firstly by clear and effective membership and accountability through good and agreed governance and secondly by establishing institutions that address ALL issues of concern.
COMMUNITY REVIEW PANELS
There are several contentious areas which we agreed to 'park' at the Unity meeting. These must be addressed and this can be by a series of Community Review Panels to investigate them and to make recommendations which have to be acted upon. These should be open to the community in general – and specifically to the HAG activists who have raised the concerns.
2. MINIBUS;- During the SRB a minibus was bought for the Hamp community and has been used extensively as such over the years and more recently stored on school premises. It is currently unused and needs a strategy for either its usage or its disposal. It is proposed that the key Resident for this panel be JASON ROBERTS
3. WIRELESS DOME;-During the SRB there was limited provision made for increased access to internet on Hamp. If this is still relevent today it should be looked at again in the light of what is currently feasible. Brian Smedley has offered to front a Review panel to look into this.
4. OTHER ISSUES;- residents should feel able to approach the Board with proposals for Community Review Panels base don relevent issues that need investigation and resolution.
These issues should be fronted by a lead resident/trustee + the secretary + SDC rep and as large or small a group as is interested. The secretary would undertake to facilitate the meeting and a subsequent report plus recomendations.
Further issues that arise within the community can be brought forward in this way
INVOLVING THE WIDER COMMUNITY
The Hamp Action plan needs to be seen to be working by January 2011 when it needs to be put to the wider community at the AGM .
The AGM needs to include the option of HCA DISSOLUTION and should also include the options of re-launch, re-branding, re-naming with the facts put clearly before the community.
The most important thing for the future is that Hamp must speak with one voice. Hamp people must have faith in an organization that genuinely represents them and a structure that democratically reflects the decisions they wish to take about their priorities.
I strongly urge that the Community draws a final line in the sand now and accepts these proposals as a solution to dealing with previous concerns and at the same time co-operating on a positive way forward and that everybody now gets on board and supports whichever of these sub-committees, and review groups they feel they can best participate in, join the new organization at the AGM in January and work together thereafter in a spirit of unity.
HCA secretary & ward councillor November 2010