Friends of Whitecotes Playing Field
Annual General Meeting Minutes
Held at Whitecotes Primary School on 1 August 2017
Keith Falconer – Chairperson
Josie Cooper – Treasurer
Linda Oades – Secretary
Linda Coles – co-opted member
Andy Hill – Vice Chairperson
Welcome from Chairman
Keith Falconer welcomed all those present to the meeting.
Approval of Previous Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting which was held on 25 April 2017 were approved and signed.
Josie reported that since the last meeting cheques for £1545 and £35.50 had been drawn for the noticeboards and hire of the meeting room respectively. This leaves current funds available of £384.00.
Overview from Secretary
Linda (Secretary) reported that the last few months had been a very busy time for the group with Linda the co-opted member investing so much effort in obtaining like for like quotations for the play equipment from various manufacturers. No doubt quite a few people will have seen a group of us meeting with the representatives on the field.
The group have been working closely with the council on this as, before we could even look to apply for funding, we had to confirm that the council approved of our plans as they are the landowner and it is they who will be responsible for the management of the field on the completion of any improvements.
We have received a letter from the Council confirming their support for the project and giving an undertaking that the “refurbished play area will remain in place and be maintained for at least a 15 year period.”
The funding process is rather lengthy and in fact we were required to apply to the funder for their approval before we could even begin the process. It has been decided that instead of applying for the whole amount we would split our application into two. The first part replacing the worn tiles with wet pour in the existing playground and providing two new items, along with a self-closing gate, and the new play equipment for older children.
This would seem to make sense as it is possible that, as in the case of Somersall Park we could be turned down for funding, if this was the outcome we would not be able to reapply to that particular funder for the next twelve months for the same items therefore splitting the application into two parts would give us another chance in the same year, when we could then apply for the paths etc.
Meanwhile we have met with the Eco Warriors – children from the Whitecotes School 7-11year olds who want to become more involved with environmental projects utilising the field and supporting our funding application to preserve and improve the area. They are also producing pictures of the play equipment they like and poems for inclusion on the two noticeboards which have now been erected at the Hucklow Avenue entrance to the field, which is also the back entrance to the school, and at the Hazel Drive entrance.
Contact has been made with a children’s club who use the facilities at Church in the Peak which is located in a building behind Ravenside Retail Park. The group is run by the parents of the children, a large number of whom are local to this area. They have also painted pictures of their ideas for the playing field.
A further site meeting has been held with the council arborist and we have been advised on the best planting areas. Following his recommendations we have submitted a request to the Woodland Trust for sixty whips which are small saplings, which we are looking to plant close to the cemetery. At the beginning of January we intend to apply for approximately six specimen trees including Red Oak, Sugar Maple, Corsican Pine from the Tree Council which will be planted at strategic points identified by the tree specialist.
We are currently in contact with the Equalities Advisory Group at the council regarding the provision of the correct type of disabled access to the field. Another contact for this was passed on From Councillor Ron Mihaly who was present at the meeting.
We have received a request from a local resident who is interested in donating a seat. This request has now been forward to the council to process.
Website and gmail address
Linda Coles confirmed some 50 plus support emails had been received so far. It was extremely gratifying to read the contents of these which has given an enormous boost to the committee. The content of these emails has been uploaded onto the funding request application along with the list of signatures and other support material.
It was pointed out that Whitecotes Playing Field website is now number one on the list showing that we have a continuous stream of visitors to the site. She expressed her thanks to Simon Marriott whose company Spire-Dent has sponsored this. Simon has recently produced a 3D map of the field and Linda had brought along a copy to show those present. Copies of this map are also to be displayed in the noticeboards.
Funding Applications – Current Position
It was pointed out that it is just a year since the formation of the group and we will be sending off the funding form in a couple of weeks, the outcome of which will not be known until the end of the year.
As soon as more application dates are made available we intend to apply for the next part of the project.
Meanwhile we are continuing to gather more quotations to support a bid to another funding organisation to provide disabled access to the playing field, staggered rails at Whitecotes Close, mini goals, 5 a side goals, and seating.
Vote for New Committee members
The vote was carried to elect the current committee for another term.
Any Other Business
Following the last meeting the Secretary had written several emails to the Parks Department in an effort to ascertain the bottom corner of the field was on the mowing list. An email had recently been received stating that the area is on the “Meadow mow list” and should next be cut on approximately the 14 August.
Lesley, a local resident, who has also been in contact with Chesterfield Borough Council says that she has received an undertaking that the “meadow” will be cut three times every year (May, July and September) as per the original schedule which has not been adhered to for some years now.
It was also pointed out that there used to be a pathway onto the field from the bottom of the steps opposite Potters Place, which then ran along the fences at the bottom of the gardens backing onto the field. The possibly of resurrecting this path was to be investigated.
Football on the Field
Someone present asked about the possibility of re-using the pitch for football. It was explained that the Chesterfield Borough Council had been asked this question and their reply had been recorded in the minutes dated 8 September 2016. However it was agreed that we could possibly approach a football team to see if there was any interest in playing there again.
Following the “Picnic in the Park” event organised by a local resident, it was agreed that we should ask the community what sort of events they would like to see and support in the field, suggestions put forward were football/training, boot camps, Buggyfit classes, Nordic walking, a strimming day to tidy up the field by/for the community.
The use of the noticeboard is available to clubs/organisations if appropriate.
With any activity planned for the field the council would of course have to give their permission first.
Date of Next Meeting
To be confirmed later.