These reports would have been presented to the Annual General Meeting of Charlton Community Gardens, usually held in October . This year, due to Covid restrictions, a meeting was not possible. Instead we have informed our membership and made the reports available in their draft form. Both the annual report and the finance report are copied below.
Co-chairs’ Annual Report
October 2019 – September 2020
Like so much else in our lives over this period, any account of the activities of Charlton Community Gardens will reflect what was possible before and after the impact of the coronavirus. This way of holding our AGM, by circulating the key documents electronically, is necessary because of restrictions on groups meeting. Many of the changes we were forced to make have actually brought new benefits –to the extent that we might choose to continue them in a post-lockdown world. The garden and orchards have fared well and the organisation has grown stronger.
Each year to raise the funds needed to extend and maintain our gardening projects, we hold a Plant Sale. In May 2020 because of various Covid restrictions, we sold our young plants in our own front gardens rather than at Charlton Station. The event proved hugely successful, with neighbours delighted to queue and chat whilst waiting their turn at the sale tables. A number of sites sold out quickly. Our second sale held the following weekend was another success, providing easy access to other parts of SE7. We were able to donate half of our proceeds to Greenwich Food Bank and still benefit from well above the normal takings.
Our Family Learning Events continue to be very popular with families with young children. The October 2019 event saw a “normal” gathering at Charlton Station of some 17 children, making Hallowe’en creatures and a mask, and planting bulbs. By April in acknowledgement of lockdown restrictions, we had to cancel the event. For our August event, held in Charlton Park, were able to offer families a pre-booked Garden-related Activities take-away bag to make at home. These proved very popular and set a pattern for later lockdown events.
Garden maintenance required new arrangements during lockdown. For the Gardening Parties at the station, volunteers were asked to pre-book and to carry out specific tasks. We are grateful that our watering volunteers for the station garden, often working on their own, felt able to continue throughout the growing period. All members taking exercise in Charlton Park were asked to carry water bottles which could be emptied onto the young trees in the community orchards. Maintenance was carried out mainly by Committee members with a few stalwart volunteers. Vandalism continues to be a problem in the Playground Orchard.
Normal judging for the London in Bloom competitions was not possible and we opted to submit an online outline of our activities. Again both projects, the station garden and the community orchards, achieved Outstanding grades.
We appreciate our close relationship with many local organisations. Our sponsors have been joined by a local beauty salon, Aspire, and Head Start has made a donation in kind, helping us block unwanted advertising on our website. We have continued to receive generous sponsorship in kind from the Old Cottage Coffee Shop, with refreshments provided on days when significant planting has occurred in the Charlton Park areas. With members of our Management Committee also being members of the Friends of Charlton Park, we are able to support each other’s projects. We are particularly grateful for the bulbs passed on for planting in the bed next to the cafe and both orchards. CCRA has continued to give practical support and to champion our activities. We continue to liaise directly with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, in relation to our sourcing water for the orchards and their providing mulch for the Café Orchard Bed. We feature in the borough’s submission to London in Bloom, alongside the wider work they do.
The Management Committee has received the resignation of Pat Taylor and has recruited one of our active members, Ruth Yeo. We thank Pat for her lively interest in new activities with the Purple for Polio project extending the reach of the Gardens group into schools and the local surgery, and for her unfailing leadership and support of the watering volunteers.
The gardens have offered pleasure and fulfilment to many people in the neighbourhood. Heartfelt thanks to our volunteers and our supporters. May the coming year see us all thrive.
Prepared by Co-chairs
Finance Report for Charlton Community Gardens AGM 2020
Year – October 1st 2019 to 30th September- 2020
Prepared by Maria Bloor Treasurer – For the period 1st October 2019 to 30th September 2020
Again, the year opened with a healthy balance of £1079.38, carried forward from last year. This carry forward was a reduction of £796 from the 2017/18 carry forward of £1875.84, when there were significant costs arising from the purchase of new secure storage at Charlton Station.
For six months of this financial year there had been some level of Covid 19 restriction on activity. We did not ask our sponsors to sponsor our beds this year given the difficulties some small companies are having with operating during the Covid crisis. However Headstart has assisted us with some difficulties with our website and agreed to make a donation towards our additional web security costs. They will be invoiced in the next financial year.
Our annual plant sale, which is our largest annual fundraiser, exceeded all expectations. It was held in the front gardens of our supporters, rather than as is usual, at Charlton Station. A whopping £1,620 was made, more than tripling our previous highest plant sale takings of £535. It was decided, that given the generosity of our supporters, and our own more limited costs this year, that a donation of £800 be made to the local food bank.
Our other high cost this year are those charges associated with maintaining our website. Discussions have been held as to whether it is worth keeping the site, or whether a cheaper alternative may exist and be more appropriate. It was decided to keep the site at present, but to continue to regularly review its usefulness.