Humber Avenue Community Allotments
I’m delighted to tell you that Worthing Borough Council (WBC) have formally appointed HACA to manage our Humber Avenue site with effect from 1st October. A small committee volunteered some seven weeks ago to start the process of setting up Humber Avenue Community Allotments (HACA) as a Community Interest Company (CIC), registered at Companies House. A CIC isn’t allowed to generate profits so all our surpluses will be reinvested to improve our site at Humber Avenue.
We hope you all are excited about the prospects of developing our site as the committee are. It is the start of a new and exciting era and we will share our immediate plans with you all in the weeks ahead. In addition to registering this company with the appropriate articles of association we have also affiliated with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and through whom we have our public liability insurance. In an amazing short period my fellow committee members have worked tirelessly to put all the plans, financial systems, processes and documentation in place to allow a seamless transition from the Council to HACA. The current committee will only remain in post until the first AGM in September 2022. A new committee will then be elected by you to take office for the following year. In addition the three officers of Humber Avenue Community Allotments Community Interest Company (Registered Number 13572057), Peter Brereton, Peter Davey and Terry Smith will also step down at the AGM. As with the Committee, new Company officers will be elected. Existing committee members and company officers are entitled to seek re-election
We have been blessed with other plotholders volunteering to help with things like risk assessment and auditing, but crucially we are indebted to John Deeprose, plot 14, who has designed a brilliant website which I am delighted to launch today. www.haca.uk is the address and where you can find a whole host of useful information and activities. There is a market place for you to list items you want to sell, swap or give away, a blog to allow folk to follow topics on growing and horticulture. A diary and news facility. In addition there is a repository for documents including guidance on a range of topics from cultivation criteria, tenancy agreement, health and safety guidelines, our constitution and much more. The committee contacts are all available.
From 1st October 2021 all requests for co-workers, age related discount, structure applications etc must be made to HACA not WBC. All forms are available on the website or from Graham or Dave. For those without website access there is a document manual in the social room.
The overriding aim of our transition from Council control to HACA has been to minimise any major changes. There are a couple of small changes. Firstly we weren’t in a position to raise invoices for the plot rents for 2021/2, so the Council have raised these on our behalf and the monies will be transferred to our bank account under the auspices of Peter Davey, plot 10, our treasurer.
Secondly, we have designed a slightly amended tenancy agreement for new allotmenteers who join from now on. The changes are only minor from the terms and conditions that we signed when we undertook our plots. Over the coming year we will revisit these T&Cs and discuss with you how we may move to harmonising these for everyone.
Finally, we are very fortunate to have two great ‘overseers’ whom the Council appointed. Graham and Dave remain in their position, doing essentially what they have been doing. Their title has however changed to recognise we are now in the 21st century! They will be Site Standards and Safety Officers (SSSO). We know this doesn’t roll off the tongue but it does describe their future role more clearly.
Once you’ve had a chance to visit and absorb all the information that’s on the website or in the community room manual, we’re sure you’ll have questions and clarifications for us. We’ve written extensively about our mission, vision, values and ambitions which we hope you will also adopt. We therefore are arranging a ‘meet the committee’ weekend on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th between 10.00 – 12.00 each day with tea, coffee and a breakfast roll and an opportunity to put faces to names and discuss any issues that may concern you. Please put it in your diary.
Finally, we have a vacancy on the committee for a membership secretary. Essentially to maintain the spreadsheet of 100 plots as people join, leave or share their plots. Not an onerous task, but an important one for a person with some IT skills, and help with the work load of HACA.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me on plot 53 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org in the meantime, but the committee look forward to meeting as many of you as possible on the weekend of 23-24 October.
Peter Brereton, Chairperson, on behalf of the management committee of HACA.