Minutes of a meeting 23rd February 2023 at 6.00p.m. at Royal British Legion Club
Chairman welcomed all present and accepted apologies from those who could not attend.

Chairman reflected on the life and works of our President, David Hume, who sadly passed away on 14th February 2023.  David took on the role of President in 2015 and has been a great supporter of Halstead in Bloom.  Chairman noted that David was active in many clubs and societies in Halstead and had been Mayor of the Town for a long period.  He was a head teacher and touched many lives in Halstead and beyond.  There will be a memorial service for David at St. Andrew’s Church, Halstead on 17th March at 12noon.  HiB will look to commemorate David in some way, maybe a tree planting or a memorial bench,  
family will be consulted.

Minutes of the meeting of 26th January 2023  had been circulated and were adopted.

UPDATES:  *Donation of £88 was made to Hope for Tomorrow and a letter of thanks and a certificate for HiB were received.  *HiB web site has now been updated and looks much more professional.  Thanks were given to Mike who manages the site.  *Seat has been removed from Mill Chase and is now being repaired by Graham.  It is in a poor state but is recoverable.  Debra noted that the wooden base for the bench is still in situ and gets slippery and the loose ‘tiles’ are a trip hazard (has been reported).  *Talk at Priory Hall was well received by residents who attended.  A donation of £20 was made to HiB and there was £17 in the collection tin.

 ANGLIA  IN  BLOOM  2023:  *The Spring Launch event for Anglia in Bloom 2023 will be held on 31st March at Swiss Garden, Old Warden – next to the Shuttleworth Airfield and Collection.  Cost per person is £22 but this includes all refreshments and lunch plus entry to the Swiss Garden and the Shuttleworth Collection.  Numbers need to be given to AiB by 20th March latest – there is no restriction on numbers.  Chairman will take names and if enough people wish to attend we can arrange a minibus or give mileage allowance for cars.   *Halstead Town Council has agreed to provide some assistance for HiB mainly for watering in the summer but also work during the year.  A list of areas where assistance would be appreciated has been given to HTC and agreed.  Carol suggested that perhaps a volunteer could water the cart at Sudbury Road if HTC personnel could water the seed drill – this will be requested.  Otherwise any assistance is very much appreciated.  *Leaflets were on hand for entry into Its Your Neighbourhood – the RHS initiative for various projects including two or more neighbours, community allotment, work at clubhouse, etc. etc.  Entry will also be via the Local Garden Competition and there are entry forms on the Anglia in Bloom website.  *RHS has an initiative called the Big Seed Sow, details can be found on their web site https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/big-seed-sow.  Programme is aimed at schools and young people, but not exclusively for these groups.  It’s free!!!

EVENTS: Next Community Litter Pick – 26th February.  Meet at Sainsbury’s Car Park at 10.30 am.  All welcome.   *Next River Clean is 5th March.  Meet 10am at Sainsbury’s Car Park. Chairman noted that some work had been done by the River Improvement Group recently and the area between Town Bridge and The Mill was now looking much tidier and attractive. In answer to questions it was said that the stretch of river between The Mill and Mill Bridge is responsibility of East of England Co-op and further stretches are responsibility of riparian owners but that areas over and under the water are responsibility of Environment Agency.    *Great British Spring Clean will be between 17th March and 2nd April.  Our usual Community Litter Pick will take part between these dates so HiB will be registered as taking part.  *Plant Stall will be on 19th and 20th May (second day if we don’t sell everything the first day!).  *Halstead Summer Fayre is planned for 5th August and it was agreed that HiB will take a stall.  We will have the ‘pick a stick’ game that Annie introduced last year at the Fire Station event and which was very popular.  We will possibly also have a stall selling various goods, books, etc. Pitch will be booked.  *Kings Volunteers’ Day was discussed but there was not great enthusiasm for taking part.  It was noted that HTC will be hiring a large screen to show the coronation on Saturday 6th May in the Public Gardens and there will be a music event in the Gardens on 7th May.    *Halstead Marathon will take place on Sunday 14th May and HiB has been asked to marshal as usual.  There was enthusiasm for this but Dave suggested that perhaps we could organise a ‘shift’ system for marshals who feel that staying for the whole event is not possible.  We will need to take volunteer names at the next meeting, please.  * HiB talk:  17th April Halstead WI at the Con Club.7.30pm

Helen reported that there will be some changes made this year learning from experience last year.  The final date will be the FINAL  DATE this year, no late entries will be accepted.  Entry forms will also only be received at agreed locations – postal entries, email entries, entries via agreed locations only will be accepted.  There will be reduced categories for entry – front garden, back garden (these will include patio’s hanging baskets, tubs, containers, etc.), there will be no category for new/makeover garden, there will be no ‘kitchen garden’ category but these will be accepted under the allotment/grow your own category and the children’s garden –under 15 years old will be reintroduced.   Entrants will be encouraged to make entries into several categories.  After discussions by the team it was agreed not to have a category referencing the Coronation of King Charles III but instead there will be a Shop Window competition ‘Fit for a King’, details to be announced.  The date for judging L.G.C. will be moved forward to 1st/2nd July  in case there is another hot summer.  Competition will be launched after Easter and the closing date will be 23rd June.  Secretary reported that she has been approached by a couple of former judges for the Local Garden Competition who are willing to judge again this year – names will be passed to the team.
Chairman thanked Helen and the team for this update and congratulated them on their hard work.

  Joan asked that for Tuesday 28th February members help to tidy the Road Runners’ bed or do some litter picking.   Work will then be decided on a week-to-week basis.

   *Ian noted that Greggs are now in Halstead and according to their promotional leaflet are keen to give donations to local charities.  Annie took the leaflet and will approach them about sponsorship.  It was noted that Costa has now revoked their previous discount to HiB team members so their sponsorship plaque will be removed. *Ian also asked about the poor condition of the Billson Optician building.  This is private property.  *Ian noted that the seat in Halstead Public Gardens near to the New Street entrance is now in a poor condition.  Will be reported to Braintree DC  *Joan noted that there will be a jumble sale at Holy Trinity Church on Saturday 11th March, 10.30am.  Please let Joan know if you have any jumble to give to the sale. *Joan also said that she has had a delivery of plugs of perennial plants that we intend to put in at various locations – 125plugs in total!! She would be grateful if anyone can assist with their care.  She said that there won’t be great displays from these plants for 2023 but they should come into their own next year.  Carol offered to take some of the plugs being grown for our plant sale. *Joan has been approached by a resident who has 3 horse chestnut tree saplings to give away.  It was suggested that perhaps they might be planted along the former railway line or along the river walk.  *Linda noted that the pavements in Colne Road have now been swept and in a much better state, thanks will be passed on to Braintree DC.  *Fiona noted that the sponsor sign in the trough at The Fountain is broken/in poor condition.  Will be viewed and repaired if possible (has been removed for repair) . *Debra informed the meeting that King Charles will be coming to Colchester on 7th March (presumably to celebrate the town’s city status).  *Debra noted that the new greengrocer store in Bridge Street will be opening on Saturday 25th Feb.  *Debra noted that there was a Volunteer’s Pop Up Shop in Braintree last week, HiB hadn’t been asked to attend.  *Margaret C said that the zebra crossing in Trinity Street that is used by pupils attending Holy Trinity School has various problems pointed out by the Lollipop Attendant.  The Belisha  beacon on the side nearest the Church isn’t working – and hasn’t been for some time.  Tree branches are hanging over the beacon obscuring it from view.   There is a large pothole on the crossing that is a trip hazard for those using the site.  These areas are of great concern and will be reported to the Essex County Councillor for Halstead who will hopefully get some urgent action.   *Margie also noted that there is a creeping plant hanging over the wall of Holy Trinity Church that makes walking along the pavement difficult.  Will be reported to Halstead TC.  *Carol noted that the banner (Halstead in Bloom Partnership) on Sudbury Road now looks very rickety and the banner itself doesn’t look great.  Halstead TC will be asked to try to repair the supports, state of banner will be monitored.  *Carol also spoke about the poor condition of the verge outside the ‘temporary entrance’ to the new estate in Sudbury Road.  This is ECC responsibility but HiB has been told that there will be no action to repair.  Carol volunteered to speak to the Site Manager to see if the construction company will make good.  *Julia said that as yet there is no news about BDC plans for planting of summer bedding in Halstead (and Witham and Braintree).

                    There being no other business meeting closed at 7pm.

next meeting is Thursday 30th March 2023 to include the AGM 2022 6pm at Royal British Legion Club. All welcome.

Contacts:  Margaret Eskins, Chairman: 01787  269443; Joan Gibson, plants/working parties: 01787 473070.  Julia Smith, Secretary 07762587141 email;: jaygrey@btinernet.com

www.halsteadinbloom.org.uk:   Facebook: halsteadinbloom;  Instagram @halsteadinbloom
Join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road) and note HiB as your preferred charity to donate via Co-op purchases.