Secretary's Annual Report 2019, to be presented at the 2020 AGM

This report covers January to December 2019

The weather in 2019 was generally kind to gardeners, with more rain in the growing months. This should mean that our water bills were lower; all will be revealed in the Treasurer's report later. The wet weather intensified in the Autumn and Winter, leaving parts of Margaret Road under water once again (being close to the river Ise).

As in previous years, our four fields are generally fully let, with a reasonable level of turnover, meaning that those on our waiting lists do not have to wait long. Clearing vacant plots of rubbish and waste (such as carpet) before re-letting them is important to give new members a clean slate, to enforce our rules and improve the overall appearance of our fields. We are grateful for all the hard work done by our stewards in this respect as well as all the other unseen duties they perform. The system of putting 100gsm weed control fabric on vacant plots continues to be successful. Several new members have also purchased this weed control fabric and used it to great effect.

Our rents remain low, with no increase for many years and allotments are very affordable The treasurer will report separately on our finances.

The committee functions efficiently. Our Data Manager (Ilona Bickle) assists the treasurer and secretary and advises the committee to ensure that we are compliant with the GDPR law. Keeping our memberships lists accurate and up to date is an ongoing task as we do have turnover of members. May I take this opportunity to ask all members to keep us updated of any changes to phone numbers, emails etc, so that our database is accurate. 

The society’s newsletter on WordPress has continued every month and has a wide readership. More members are now “following” so never miss out on news and updates from the committee. Nearly 200 people read some editions and currently 31 people are followers.

The winner of the Bridgstock Cup in 2019 was Pat Mullins for the second consecutive year. Well done everyone and many thanks to the cup judges for their hard work.

A change took place at Northfield Avenue when Western Power Distribution (aka the National Grid) dug up the cables running underneath one of our plots and erected poles to carry the 33 000 Volts. This plot is not cultivated. Network Rail also needed access to electrify the railway lines and in return have agreed to supply new gates for our allotment field.

Security is always on the agenda and we were able to transport surplus Heras panels from Margaret Road, some to Northfield and some to Scott Road. The Scott Road ones have been fitted to areas with gaps in the hedge to reinforce weak spots. Northfield plan to do so, but we still have a vacancy for field steward there. If anyone can volunteer or suggest another steward for Northfield, please contact us.

Water bills and collecting rain is another regular item. We were able to purchase another 12 IBCs and sell them to members at cost at Scott Road. Some members have devised some innovative designs to fit rain-collecting metal sheets and guttering to their IBCs and they are now full.

Our Chairman became famous, being the star of a new book “a sparge bag on the washing line” by his wife Julia Thorley. Julia is a writer and decided to write about Clive's adventures during his first year of retirement, many of which involved his allotment at Scott Road.

Finally, a big thank you to all the committee members, field stewards and other Society members who have contributed time, money or labour to help the smooth running and improvement of our fields. Thanks also to KBC our landlord and soon to be disbanded for the new unitary authority. We hope that the new Council will establish cordial relations with us and will work hard to establish ties with them.

Russell Attwood, March 2020