MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING held at the YWCA, Queen Victoria Road. Llanelli on 7th February 2008.
PRESENT: Mr. Andrew Stevens (in the absence of both Chairman and Vice Chairman, AS took the chair and conducted the meeting). Mrs. Diana Hopkins (Treasurer), Mr. Richard Pryce (Secretary), Mrs Kath Pryce (taking the minutes) and twelve voting members.
APOLOGIES were received from Messrs. David Poulter, Richard Smith, Barney Gill and Simeon Jones.
The MINUTES of the 2007 Annual General Meeting were adopted and signed without amendment (Proposed by Dr PA Jones, seconded by Mrs Viv Lewis).
MATTERS ARISING: There were no matters arising.
CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT: The acting Chairman welcomed all those present to this, the 34th AGM of the Llanelli Naturalists. He thanked the Officers, Committee Members and all Members for their contribution to the Society's success and appealed for contributions for the newsletter. He concluded by calling on the Secretary to present his report of the year's proceedings.
SECRETARY'S REPORT: The Secretary opened by thanking the acting Chairman for his statement and continued by outlining the Society's activities over the past year which had included indoor meetings about Otters (Dan Foreman) and Brown Hairstreak (Richard Smith) and outdoor meetings at the Huntsman Works in Bynea (2 meetings), Tywyn Burrows (Dune Gentian and Autumn Ladies Tresses) and various Fungus Forays led by Dr PA Jones. Several of the Society's meetings promoted liaison with other bodies such as the Huntsman Chemical Company, the Ministry of Defence and the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales (see photo on p.3). He drew attention to the next indoor meeting on Biodiversity in Carmarthenshire by Isabel Macho. During the year, Newsletter no 73 and Bulletin no 7 had both been produced and he appealed for articles for the next newsletter which was due to be produced in May. A grant of £1000 from CCW had been gratefully received in 2007 and part of this was used to cover printing costs. Another application for CCW grant-aid has been successful for 2008. The Secretary said that the website would now be managed by Mark Newton who wished to link it with the Carmarthenshire Bird Club and Carmarthenshire Biodiversity websites and who was in the process of scanning all the old Newsletters in order to make them available on the website. Mr Geoffrey Williams asked if Mark Newton will be including an index on the website and the Secretary promised to ask Mark about this The Committee had met on three occasions and issues discussed included the venue for indoor meetings. (The decision was to stay at YWCA at present as it was a central location and cheaper than other options, despite the less than satisfactory situation as regards chairs and kitchen equipment). Local development issues of concern included the Coed Bach Power Station and the Transco Pipeline Llanelli Naturalists is represented at Carmarthenshire LBAP meetings by Kath Pryce and Andrew Stevens represents the Society on the Llanelli Water Vole Action Group which is carrying out conservation work in the area by Berwick roundabout, where fencing has been done and a footpath is planned. The RAF Pembrey Conservation Group meetings had been attended by Richard Pryce and Dr PA Jones. The Secretary then appealed for speakers at indoor meetings and leaders for outdoor meetings and finally thanked the Officers. Chairman, Committee and Membership for their work and support.
TREASURER'S REPORT The accounts, which were received and adopted by those present having been proposed by Mr Geoffrey Williams and seconded by Mrs Edith Jones. are presented below. The Treasurer explained that there was a loss of £52.16 in 2007, which was largely due to increased costs for printing of the Newsletter and Bulletin. but said that the quality had increased. The loss would be made good when the CCW grant money was received. Public Liability insurance was again arranged through BTCV and although the cost remained the same as the previous year, affiliation to BTCV had increased by £5. The Treasurer said that sale of calendars had been good although payment of Subscriptions had been slow and that a bequest from Tony Lewis via sale of books and records was very much appreciated. The Natural History Museum in London had asked for back copies of the Newsletter and Bulletin and then wished to continue to receive them. Back copies from 1995 onwards were available. The society also sends copies to the CCW library in Aberystwyth, The British Library and the National Museum and Gallery of Wales in Cardiff. As a result of this the Treasurer said that subscription rates would need to increase but that it was proposed to add an 'institutional member subscription rate to the constitution. The Secretary then thanked Diana for her many years as Treasurer to the society. The membership now stands at 80 with 10 complimentary. Four new members had joined during the year.
PROPOSED RULE CHANGES the following rule changes were proposed:
1. To add 'Institutional Membership' as an additional membership category and to amalgamate 'Junior Membership' with' Concessions' at paragraph 3.
2. To add an additional sentence at the end of paragraph 5 as follows:
'Annual subscriptions become due on 1st January of each year and until monies are received. only the first subsequent Newsletter will be sent to non-paid-up members.'
These rule changes were discussed as follows
1. institutional membership. It was proposed that this should be £10 per year Mike Smith asked whether the meeting was confident that institutions were willing to pay this, as it was in the interests ot the society to distribute information as widely as possible It was agreed that this should be implemented in January 2009 and that the Treasurer would write to the institutions to explain the change (CCW. as grant provider receives the Bulletin and Newsletter at no extra cost as evidence of how grant money has been utilised).
2. It was suggested and agreed that where email addresses are known, members owing their subscription would be contacted by email.
SUBSCRIPTION RATES: it was proposed to increase subscriptions to: Single £6.50, Family £8.00, Concession £4.50 (combining the previous categories of junior. student and unemployed). The new category for Institutions would be £10.00 as agreed earlier during the meeting. It was agreed that these changes would be implemented in January 2009.
ANNUAL HONORARIUM TO SECRETARY: It was proposed and agreed to increase the annual honorarium to the Secretary from £26.00 to £52.00. (It had remained at £26 for 30 years)
Ffrwd Fen: Dr P.A. Jones reported that the Marsh Pea continues to flourish and that the Marsh Honey Fungus was seen early in the year and again in October, although the weather was too wet for it this year. Phil Ward of the Wildlife Trust had carried out some fencing, which had just started to make it secure. The internal footpaths created by the Trust some years ago had not been maintained. He advised that a meeting between the Trust and Llanelli Naturalists is urgently required to discuss management of the site.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS: The following Officers were elected unopposed: Mr Barney Gill (continues as Chairman for his 2"d year of office), Mr Simeon Jones (continues as Vice-chairman for his 2nd year of office). Mr Andrew Stevens (elected as Secretary), Treasurer: vacant (although Mrs Diana Hopkins agreed to continue as Treasurer until a replacement can be found). [Note that following the meeting Mrs Sue Matthews offered to take over the post of Treasurer]. The Committee Members proposed were Mrs Angela Radcliffe. Mrs Kath Pryce, Mrs Pat Gill, Mrs Edith Jones, Dr Philip Jones. Messrs. Ian Morgan, Richard Pryce and Mike Smith. All were elected unopposed. Mrs Sandra Stewart was elected as Financial Examiner.
1). To relinquish the Society's charitable status: Dr PA Jones explained the background to the Society becoming a charity which was necessary when land at Ffrwd was purchased in the 1970s. However the Charity Commission's rules have changed over the years and the Llanelli Naturalists would not be eligible for charitable status if it were to apply now as its annual income does not exceed £10,000. To comply with new CC rules, the cost to the Society would be a burden which could not be sustained It has been established that the CCW grant does not depend on the Society having charitable status. although some organisations or individuals may only wish to give to a charity. The Society does not claim gift aid as, because of the small number of members, it is too cumbersome and time-consuming which are not justified for the very small return it would produce Therefore, Dr P A Jones and the rest of the Committee thought that the benefits to the Society of its continuing to have charitable status were outweighed by the costs and new rules Mr Geoffrey Williams, having had experience of this problem with other small societies. agreed with these conclusions. The resolution to relinquish the charitable status of the Llanelli Naturalists was proposed by Mr Geoffrey Williams and seconded by Mr Andrew Stevens and was adopted by those present. Dr P A Jones offered to write a letter to the Charity Commissioners requesting that the Society's charitable status be relinquished.
2). Viv Lewis thanked the meeting for the mention of Tony and said that he would be very gratified that we thought of him so highly.
The AGM closed at 8.25pm and was followed by a selection of slides shown by Mike Smith on "Clubmosses in North-east Carmarthenshire" and by Richard Pryce on "Highlights of the Society's 2007 Meetings".