Halstead in Bloom.  Secretary’s Report 2022.

2022 saw a return to a full complement of monthly meetings.  An extra-ordinary meeting was held early in January to decide on whether Halstead would enter Anglia in Bloom 2022 campaign – majority vote was for no entry but some additional category entries which were judged virtually were submitted.  All entries received good reports with Halstead Public Gardens being judged as ‘Best Park’ 2022.  An enjoyable ‘Christmas Tea’ was held at Queen’s Hall in January and was well attended by volunteers.  All enjoyed the afternoon and expressed hope that it could repeated in future.

This year we asked for support for volunteers from In Bloom partners and Braintree D.C. pledged continuing co-operation and in return HiB continued to be ‘eyes and ears’ for reporting issues.  Halstead Town Council continued to discuss what support would be available.

It was decided to produce a calendar 2023 and team members submitted photos from which choices were made.  The calendar was well received.

Halstead in Bloom continued to support local groups and events especially those celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Bedding plants for both summer and winter were purchased from our usual sources – Colne Valley Nurseries and Bourne Brook Nurseries.  Many complimentary remarks were made about the displays.  Well done Joan for designs and to all for planting and maintenance.

At our Annual General Meeting 2021 – held in February ’22 – Margaret Eskins was unopposed as Chairman and was re-elected to the post.  Secretary/Treasurer was also re-elected.  It was proposed that all posts should have deputies to step in as required.  Mike Rees put himself forward as Deputy Chair and he was adopted.  No names were put forward for deputy secretary/treasurer but Annie Rees offered to take on the role of sponsor liaison and a team took on organisation of Local Garden Competition.  Cllr Mick Radley offered to oversee accounts.

Halstead in Bloom gave talks at Halstead U3A, Tollesbury Gardening Club, West Bergholt Flower Club, White Notley Gardening Club and Braintree Quadrant Coffee Morning and interest was expressed about In Bloom at all events.  Donations were received at U3A, Tollesbury, West Bergholt and White Notley and Lin and Doug joined HiB as volunteers as a result of the White Notley talk.

The proposed Town Centre regeneration work did not take place in 2022 but is said to be scheduled for 2023.

Monthly community litter picks have been a feature this year and have generally been well supported.   HiB successfully lobbied Eastlight Homes to remove the raised bed at Blamsters Crescent.  This was effective and the area has now been grassed and three fruit trees planted.

HiB was pleased to take part in the spectacular flower festival in July arranged by the Friends of St. Andrew’s Church and team members assisted at the event.  The first local garden competition for 2 years was a success and the managing team are keen to go forward to 2023 with new ideas and strategies.  HiB was pleased to take part in the Christmas Tree display at St. Andrew’s Church and Annie and the Krafty Krew were voted ‘Best Tree’ by visitors to the event.

The very hot, dry weather in summer 2022 posed some problems but with good team efforts and hard work displays were maintained and appreciated by residents and visitors. 

HiB was pleased to assist the family of the late Michael Hutchings by providing a memorial plaque for a bench at Mill Green Playing Field.  The family raised considerable funds for Halstead in Bloom in Michael’s memory.

Year was rounded off with a coffee and mince pie afternoon at the White Hart and was well attended by team – a great end to another successful In Bloom year.

Halstead in Bloom Treasurer’s Report 2022

I am pleased to report that once again Halstead in Bloom had a successful financial year in 2022 finishing in a slightly better position than the year began.

Annie has done sterling work attracting sponsorship with all past sponsors returning and new sponsors coming in.  Halstead Templars Rugby Club, Halstead Women’s Institute and Crownlea all gave sponsor money and have had sponsor signs displayed. 

Donations were also increased this year with the family of the late Michael Hutchings contributing greatly to funds.

Calendar 2023 showed increased profits over the former year and speaker’s fees/contributions were £225 when none were received in the previous two years.

Halstead Town Council paid us to provide baskets in 2022 where we had not charged for them in 2021.  Baskets and much of the town centre planting are owned by Halstead TC which is why they are watered by HTC although we plant and maintain throughout.

Christmas Cards showed a profit of £216.24 in 2022 against £49.33 in 2021 – thank you to Joan and Dennis for this contribution.

Retail donations (from the Co-op and Give as you Live) increased this year to £1038.46.

Interest on our savings account for the year was £2.06 up from 20p. the previous year

On the cost side the amount paid for plants was up by £561.76 and market forces will mean a steeper rise in 2023. 

We paid a greater amount for compost this year, up £361.12 mainly because we had non in stock at the start of the year.

Postage costs rose slightly this year – about 15 copies of the minutes are posted every month plus some additional letters of thank you, etc. We continue to monitor closely the balance sheet for Halstead in Bloom and the Trustees are mindful of their duties to oversee finances diligently.