Bevin Court TRA meeting 24 May 2015 minutes
Meeting 24/5/15 to discuss setting up a Tenants and Residents Association at Bevin Court.
Val Barnes LBI (London Borough of Islington)
1. Julia Barclay
2. Jackie Coote
3. Mick Page
4. Tim Spoor
5. David Heckling
6. Anita Poulter
7. Alan Fenelly
8. John Moyle
9. Sue Petts
10. Carol Horner
11. Tom Cordell
12. Justin Oh
13. Rajiv Shah
14. Josie Afolabi
15. Mark Rose
16. Sally Grey
Introduction from Val Barnes
TRAs exist to give residents a closer relationship with the council and for residents to effect change. Two-way process – the council uses residents as much as the residents use them. TRA gives them the word on the ground. TRAs are v Important to the council. There are in the region of 50 in the Old St Area Housing Office but they want more. Without TRAs it’s very difficult for the council to hear what residents want.
VB referenced the Islington Tenants & Residents Association Handbook as the key reference book for TRAs – almost like a bible http://www.islington.gov.uk/publicrecords/library/Housing/Information/Guidance/2013-2014/(2014-03-04)-Tenants-and-Residents-Association-(TRA)-Handbook.pdf
- Must be at least 15 residents – but not related
- Should be a mix of tenants and leaseholders
- Must not be a majority of leaseholders
Every TRA has a committee:
Chair, Vice Chair (optional), Treasurer and Secretary
plus 4 or more committee members
VB says it shouldn’t take too much of your time
JB: we’re looking at a committee meeting every 6-8 weeks
Annual full meeting four times a year (quarterly) including AGM
Suggests name of “Bevin Court TRA”
RS: what’s the timescale?
VB: all residents must get sufficient notice of forthcoming meetings; ideally at least 2 weeks’ notice of meeting setting up TRA or voting in people to positions. If the numbers of people are adequate to be quorate then the council will recognise the TRA and it is up and running.
JM: how would LBI know that we have adequate members?
VB: by inviting them to the meeting which VB would attend.
VB: The chair is the spokesperson, the point of contact for LBI. Also represents the TRA at other meetings.
The vice chair shadows the chair.
The secretary (JB notes that this job can be split between 2 or more people). This is an admin role, the oil that keeps the TRA running. Minutes, inviting people to meetings, record keeping. JB notes that the person doing this job must keep impartial records without biasing them to their own point of view. VB reiterates this and says impartiality is important for all committee members.
The treasurer sets up bank accounts, is one of the three signatories on the bank account, things like filling grant applications, looking after expenses, keeping finances in order.
AF: interjects to say there the main problem for the estate is the lack of security and youth drinking. He also says that the listed building status of Bevin Court limits what can be done for security.
JB: says there is funding available for security improvements but not unless there is a TRA
VB: the TRA can address this –
1. Estate security budget – TRAs can bid for this money.
2. With a TRA we can come to the tenants and residents panel where the key figures in LBI and e.g. if the police are present, issues regarding security and safety can be.
JB: every listed building needs a Conservation Management Plan which sets out a standard & scope of works which can be undertaken without making individual Listed Buildings Consent applications. If we had a CMP in place then this could guide modifications to the building that would improve security.
AF said that money spent restoring the mural and planting flowers should be spent on security.
JB explained that these were funded externally.
JM: we need a neighbourhood watch group and to take more responsibility for security ourselves.
VB brings things back to original purpose of meeting – having a TRA will help address these problems and give access to the decision makers who may have the power to allocate resources to fix these problems.
Funding: Estate security funding (£40k) and environmental improvement funding (£100k) are available. These are annual figures for the whole of the Old St Housing Area). Once the TRA is recognised then start-up grants are available plus an admin and publicity grant of £200/pa, plus 50p/dwelling. There are also discretionary payments for things like equipment & fun days where we can apply on a case-by-case basis. If we had a community room then LBI would fund WIFI.
AP: can we apply for external match funding? VB will have to check this.
Training: There is training available for chairing meetings, financial management, negotiating skills. This is run by the Resident Engagement group.
There are also specific training courses – including DIY, Shop Cook and Eat, etc.
Next steps: Publicising the next meeting, inviting people to nominate for committee.
JB: Who wants to be on the committee? The following names volunteered:
JB reports that Sally in absentia has offered to be treasurer, and Mark Rose in absentia also offered to be on the committee
JM: How do we get people to come to the next meeting?
Speak to neighbours, make posters and leaflets that focus on main concerns – ASB, security and flooding repairs suggested
JM suggests that VB on behalf of LBI emails and/or writes by post to all residents to ask them to participate.
JB: this will give us an officially recognised, collective voice that will be heard.
JM: also that it will make us realise that we’re not alone in dealing with issues related to our homes.
JA: We have a great community here and we have to make it happen.
Nominations for roles:
Secretary: split between Justin Oh and Josie Afolabi
Treasurer: Sally Grey
Vice chair: Tom Cordell
Chair: Julia Barclay
Suggested next meeting on Wed 24th June 2015 at Peel Centre, 18:30 -20:00 (to be confirmed).
It was noted that tonight’s meeting took place during half-term, so some residents may not have been available due to family commitments. Need to ensure that future meetings are not scheduled during school breaks in order to maximise resident attendance.
Additional nominations can be made by email email@example.com or Valerie.Barnes@islington.gov.uk. Next newsletter to state this at least 2 weeks in advance of next meeting.
Minutes recorded by Tom Cordell, revised by Julia Barclay & Val Barnes.