Annual Parish Meeting – May 2013

Minutes of Gillingham Annual Parish Meeting – May 2013

The Gillingham Annual Parish meeting was held in the village hall on Wednesday, 1st May, 2013 at 7.30pm.

THOSE PRESENT:
Parish Councillors Mr Money, Mr Massingham, Mrs Thrower, Mrs Roberts,  Mrs Black, Mrs Ward and Mr Buggs-Davison.  No members of the public attended.  Gillingham Parish Council Chairman Mr Money chaired the meeting.

MINUTES:
The minutes of last year’s annual parish meeting held on 14th May, 2012, have been distributed and Mr Money asked if there were any matters arising from them.  None voiced.  The minutes were approved by the council and signed by the Chairman.

PARISH COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON’S REPORT:
Highlights of the last year included the purchase of new grit bin at Hemmant Way/The Street; with winters becoming longer this is necessary. Thanks to visits from the Highway Rangers we are now able to request cleaning and general work (posts, road sign resiting, cleaning, etc) which will hopefully keep the roads in the village in good condition.   However, speeding in the village and on the Yarmouth Road past the Waterloo junction remains a problem and inconsiderate and dangerous parking is still a concern: we know that space is at a premium but parking close to junctions or on the blind corner of the Street jeopardises the safety of all residents.  Whilst on the subject of our roads, many potholes appeared over the harsh winter but the temporary measures to fix them did not stand up to the weather and they quickly reappeared.  Hopefully, repairs have and will be carried out to acceptable standards.

In November, Councillors again attended the wreath laying at the War Memorial; the school had also laid a wreath.  The Chairperson also represented the village at the memorial service at Geldeston.

St Michael’s school has completed building work on the extension.

Cllr Roberts continuing efforts to secure grants will allow the council to replace play equipment items and improve the playground, including the replacement of the toddler swing which we have been without since June 2012 as it had become dangerous.

The Parish precept remained the same as last year.

Thanks to pressure from the Council, the BT box that was placed too far forward of the hedge, was successfully moved.

Cllr Pat Marsh resigned after many years of dedicated service but was replaced by Jane Black so we still have the full complement of councillors. Sadly, Cllr Tony Tomkinson is not seeking re-election.  We thank him for all his support over many years and wish him well in his new position.

Unfortunately, we are still suffering from a lack of volunteers from the residents to help out with small one off jobs.  If you could spare any time, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Petty crime remains a nuisance and residents need to keep their eyes open.  Again, do heed the advice given by the police about the dangers of leaving doors and windows open, even if you are in the house.

The emptying of the dog bins has fallen behind on occasion this year but is hopefully now back on track, although, sadly, these bins are still not being used by all dog walkers. We have received general complaints about the state of footpaths being overgrown, which unfortunately is a sign of cutbacks.  Please report problems with specific paths directly to South Norfolk Council.

Finally, there is uncertainty over the future of St Mary’s Church and it is feared that it may be closed which would be a loss to the community. On another sad note, the Octogenarians gift list dropped by £90 this year indicating that we had lost many old folk from the village.

In conclusion I wish to extend my thanks to all the councilors and especially our Parish Clerk, Julia Punt, for all their hard work throughout the year.

Tony Money

VILLAGE HALL CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
2012 has been another amazing year of commitment from the committee members and saw more improvements made to the village hall with funding secured and works completed on the installation of a brand new kitchen.

This is a much needed improvement and has provided a clean, safe and modern facility for use by all hall hirers, adding to much needed storage space and a new oven that allows many more catering based activities to take place.

However, there is still much improvement to be made to the hall and its facilities and the committee are currently looking for ways to fund the installation of a new and much needed floor in the main hall which is no longer able to be resurfaced.

In addition to this the car-parking surface is another area which the committee are currently looking to raise funds for improvement.

USAGE:  The hall continues to be well used.  In addition to the daily pre-school there are regular weekly bookings by various clubs and groups as well as party and function bookings, and many fundraising events for a range of good causes.  However, there is always room for additional use and enquiries are always welcome.

FINANCE:  The hall continues to operate in a solvent capacity despite these testing and rather expensive times with the usual expert guidance of our treasurer.  The annual Gillingham Transport Rally was a huge success in 2012 with record attendance and a real mix and variety of attractions.  This brought the hall a much needed boost to funds and enables the committee to look forward again to the possibility of carrying out necessary improvements that can guarantee the future of the hall for our village.

CONCLUSION:  2012 has been a good year for the village hall and it is with pride that I thank once again the members of the village hall committee without whom this facility would immediately cease to exist.  Their tireless efforts, provided on a voluntary basis, enables the hall to continue to provide a valuable asset to the village of Gillingham.  We do, however, desperately need extra members to assist with both the running of the hall and the Transport Rally.  So if you could possibly spare a couple of hours one evening a month for the committee or provide assistance with the Rally , which this year is to be held on Sunday 28th July, then please don’t hesitate to contact me on the number listed below as this would be an enormous help!

Daniel Snowling, Chairman GVHC

0788 165 8431

GILLINGHAM EARLY YEARS:
At present we have 34 children registered with us and a waiting list. We will be lack of uptake.

We enjoyed celebrating the jubilee last year with a street party in the hall, which was enjoyed by all. We are currently planning a school trip to the play barn in Poringland in the summer and have been enjoying half termly visits to Gillingham Primary School.

We have been lucky enough to receive a grant from Norfolk County Council Early Years to improve our outside area. We have turned it into a more natural and open space, in which the children can play and explore; we now have trouble getting them back indoors!

The Village Hall’s new kitchen has also been of great benefit to the children. We were able to provide the children with cooked Chinese food to taste for Chinese New Year and make, cook and flip pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, also a big hit! sending 16 Children off to ‘big school’ at the end of the summer term. Our holiday club has worked well, although we have decided to only run it one day a week, due to

We have a table top sale coming up on the 8th of June at the village hall and plan to do a sponsored walk around the village to raise funds for the school trip.

GILLINGHAM St MICHAEL’S FIRST SCHOOL May 2012-May 2013
Once again the school has had an exciting and eventful year and continues to be an important part of the village of Gillingham.

The school celebrated the Diamond Jubilee by releasing 60 balloons from the grounds. The children had attached labels with contact details for the school and were very excited when they had several replies, some from as far as Germany. The children also shared a picnic and fun afternoon with Glebelands School. All of the children were delighted to receive a gift, which was partially funded by a donation from the Parish Council.

The school and many families enjoyed a day in Southwold watching the Olympic torch pass through the town. The day then continued with fun and games on the common.

During the summer term the older children took part in the annual camp held at the school and involving lots of activities both on site and at other local locations. This has become such a success it is now a regular summer event and enjoyed by children, teachers and parent helpers.

The school said “goodbye” to its first year 6 pupils as they moved onto Hobart and Sir John Leman High schools. The pupils, teachers, parents and Governors were treated to a performance by the year 6 children reflecting upon their time at Gillingham St Michael’s.

The summer term was rounded off with annual Fun Night, which is a perfect finale to the year, not only bringing everyone together but also raising funds for the school.

During the summer holidays the Reception classroom was extended to provide much needed space for the growing numbers in this class. The extension was officially opened in September by a former pupil who is now an A ‘level  student at Sir John Leman High.

The autumn term saw the school welcoming new pupils into various year groups. The Reception children made a very good start and settled quickly into school life.

The pupils celebrated Harvest Festival with a service at Gillingham Church, with produce being donated and distributed to the local community.

The Christingle service took place for the first time at Geldeston Church and was well supported by not only families of the children but also local parishioners, and everyone enjoyed the refreshments served afterwards!

The school continues to host Family Services lead by the Vicar, who also takes regular family worship assemblies at the school.

Children from Gold class laid wreaths at the war memorials in Geldeston and Gillingham and the whole school then observed a minute’s silence as they shared with the country in showing their respects.

The pupil’s delighted family, staff, local residents and Governors with their Christmas play. The celebrations continued with a special guest appearing at Christmas lunch to give all the pupils an early present of a ticket to the pantomime in Lowestoft, which brought 2012 to an exciting end.

The school continues to have a very active “Friends” committee who work tirelessly all year providing much needed funds to purchase equipment, help fund trips or support transport cost etc.

Events such as bingo and the annual toy fair continue to be well supported by not only families, but the local community also. The making of Christmas wreaths was a huge success and saw the funds given a very welcome boost. The school is grateful for all the time and effort the committee gives.

The School Council arranged a sponsored ball bounce to raise money to purchase a basketball hoop. This was well supported and hopefully the pupils will benefit from using this now the better weather has arrived.

The school always welcomes parent helpers who help with such activities as reading, giving the pupils a very valuable chance to demonstrate and practice their skills.

Several student teachers and work experience students have also been welcomed at the school over the last year, not only gaining vital knowledge and experience but also providing the children with the benefit of additional adult support within the classroom.

The school continues to value its links with other countries, sponsoring a young boy in Brazil and is currently forming a link with a school in Peterborough, which although not very far from our own County, has diverse cultures.

The school has participated in many external activities, including sporting events within the Beccles Pyramid. Members of the younger class took part in the first Beccles Dance festival, entertaining the audience with a lively Pirate Dance. Students also took part in a music performance at Gorleston, where they were given the opportunity to show the skills they had learnt on their individual instruments.

The whole school has participated in road safety activities organised by Norfolk County Council, giving them valuable skills and awareness.

The School has supported the curriculum with external visits where possible. The Children of Gold class recently visited Seething observatory, whilst the younger children were treated to a very special visit by a spaceman during their studies of space.

The Teachers and Governors continue to be very proud of all that is achieved at our school.

LADIES GROUP:
The group holds meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at the village hall.  They have guest speakers, organize outings and have a Christmas meal.  Anybody interested in joining please contact Margaret on 01502 711564.

Gentlemen are also very welcome and one of the upcoming meetings will be a speaker who will bring some models he has made and talk about model making.

ST. MARY’S CHURCH:
Lack of attendance is still putting the church very much at risk.  Mr Pitkin has reluctantly given up being the church warden and the post is currently vacant.  Services at the church are now strictly limited although it is still open for Weddings and Funerals.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
There being no other business, Cllr Money declared the meeting closed.

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