AGM 2019: News from Friends of Woolley
Walking around the Woolley area these days makes it clear that our neighborhood is changing. Many of the physical changes – fill-in developments, modifications to existing housing, road signage and so on – have happened over a period of time. It is more obvious now that our neighbours are changing also: more comings and goings, younger people, more children.
Friends of Woolley is conscious of these changes and hoping to go with the flow. We have appointed a Membership Secretary to devote more attention to how we shadow the changing neighbourhood. Ahead of the Annual General Meeting we have completed a recruitment exercise to try to fill in some of the gaps: people who have moved out and new people moved in, addresses which have resolutely remained outside the fold, people we have met casually at events or in the pub. We have added some new members and would welcome more on your suggestions. After the AGM we shall follow through with a membership survey to identify better what our members seek from Friends of Woolley.
This may be a good time to ask where Friends of Woolley are going. The original impetus was resistance to inappropriate housing development. This was soon followed by community activities – apple juicing, Wassails, social events, keeping-Woolley-tidy efforts – which usually have been very popular. As the emphasis has shifted away from fighting large-scale development and to a more introspective view of Woolley, it seems time for Friends of Woolley to reflect on where it is headed. There is certainly a lasting need for vigilance again predatory development. There is continued appetite for activities that bring us together, and past experience is that such events are well supported. The success of activities such as keeping Woolley Street presentable and preserving its special characteristics has shown that there is scope for groups within Woolley to get together on specific issues and make a difference. And more could be done: local history talks, oral history, services for people with special needs, baby-sitting circles …: are you interested and up for it? Don’t hesitate to make suggestions or get involved; that’s the only way things will happen.
Is the Executive for you?
The Friends of Woolley Executive is charged with the day-to-day running of the Friends. It is not exclusive and any member can attend and take part, and suggest items for the agenda. There are formal agendas for the bi-monthly meetings but we discuss whatever is appropriate at the time. We also invite people from other Bradford on Avon organisations to contribute, and further suggestions are welcome. Individual members can get involved by coming along to meetings, offering and running a particular initiative, and feeding into the regular meetings.
Last year we changed the way the Executive works and a recent review suggests that these have made some impact: Meetings are less frequent but are usually well attended, though some members feel that some continuity is lost with fewer meetings. Some members have taken on ownership of standard agenda items but more could be done. Further input will be sought from the AGM.
On the development front we have been frustrated by what has happened since the Bellway application was approved on appeal last year. The development is now well into the construction and marketing phase. Some of the developer’s actions in respect of its obligations under the conditions attached to permission have been questionable and we continue to protest, but it may be some time after completion of the development until some of the ecological damage will be reversed.
In the meantime, Friends of Woolley has had its own Plan for Woolley 2026 for some years. A recent review of progress suggests opportunities for further development but with a sharper focus and more limited and realizable objectives to ensure things get done. Come along to the EGM and share your thoughts!
Where do you fit in?
Friends of Wooley continues to thrive because its members take it seriously: they take a bit of time out of their lives to keep it going, they bring new ideas to the table, they suggest and organize useful and even fun things to, they support each other in ways that also foster a community spirit. Be one of those!
Remember that the Annual General Meeting is at 15.00 on Sunday 2 June 2019 in The George, when these and other topics will be discussed. Please come along or let us have your comments in writing in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org.