Local consultation to decide future of Westbury Park Community Association
The future of the Westbury Park Community Association was discussed at the group’s Annual General Meeting, held on 30 October.
Chair Kevin Chidgey welcomed attendees to the meeting and proceeded to outline the challenges facing the Association, particularly the position regarding the Committee with two members resigning and his wish to step down as Chair. Kevin thanked the retiring Committee members for their efforts over the years.
Following the formal AGM business the meeting was asked to consider four options for the future: Revitalisation, Ticking over, Suspension or Closure. These had been set out in a previously circulated paper which had also listed the challenges facing the Community Association.
Kevin voiced the view that revitalisation was not a practical option in the absence of offers to join the Committee. He felt that “ticking over” (circulating information on local events and key issues) or suspending the group were the most realistic options.
Discussion followed on the history, purpose and activities of the Community Association. It was noted that the current Association came into being in 2011, shortly after the now defunct Neighbourhood Partnerships had been created. This had created opportunities for local groups to access grants and exert more influence concerning City Council policies and proposals.
The meeting was not in favour of suspending or winding up the Community Association and discussion focussed on how these outcomes might be avoided. Sue Cooper, David Bruce, Jane Wills and Ann Kennard proposed a fifth possible option, which was termed “Transition”. This would involve consulting with the community (up to 2,000 households) about what they would like and expect from an Association, and whether and how they could support it. This met with general assent and it was proposed that a group be established to take forward this idea.
It was formally agreed that there would be a transition period to October 2020 during which time a group would develop ideas for the revitalisation of the Association.
In the next year Kevin Chidgey and Janet Brewer will continue to keep members informed about social events and key issues affecting our area. The capacity to take on other activities such as organising social events, lobbying, bidding for funds, upgrading the Association’s website and improving communications through the use of social media will be much reduced.