Minutes of a meeting 21st March 2024 at 6.00p.m. at Royal British Legion Club 

Chairman welcomed all present and accepted apologies from those who could not attend.
Minutes of the meeting of 29th February 2024 had been circulated and were adopted.
UPDATES and NEWS: *Hope for Tomorrow donation (£60). A letter of thanks was received for this donation. *Co-op Community Event feedback – 4 people from HiB attended and 1 from the 21st Century Group so the evening was not as Debbie had hoped. Debbie, as Community Champion, is hoping to set up a community network for idea sharing and general support. Further information will be sent. Thanks to Debbie for arranging this evening, shame it wasn’t more beneficial. *High Street Regeneration; HiB has been told that all necessary licences are in place and a contractor has been appointed. However an email asking for information about containers required (which HiB has offered to purchase) has not been answered. No further news. *Stones; some 590 have been collected so far and team has varnished all received. Stones have been allocated for ‘H’ ‘A’ ‘A’ ‘L’ and ‘T’ so three more letters to go! Stones will be collected from Little Pickles Nursery next week and hopefully from Holy Trinity School and some others that are being painted by team. This should mean that we have enough for all letters with some ‘spares’ to fill in gaps. Groundworker has been contacted regarding laying a concrete bed for the stones. The surrounding wood will need some treatment. There are some white stones on the outer parts of the bed and some shingle inside the letters but further supplies will probably be needed. Another varnishing session will take place later. *Re-vamp on W81 bed (outside Fire Station) Peter Robertson has this in hand.
EVENTS: *Next community litter pick is planned for 31st March (Easter Sunday). Meet at 10.30 in Chapel Street Car Park. Total bags collected will be added to the amount cleared for the Great British Spring Clean event – target 50 bags and after the litter pick on Tuesday this target is well within reach! *Next River Clean event will take place on 7th April. * *HiB Plant Sale will be on Saturday 11th May, Joan has purchased plants, some have been offered to us. Pat has knitted some stunning flower displays that will be on sale *Summer Plant Sorting Saturday 18th May. Paul from Plants that Grow will be delivering but it is feared that this may be a slow process, we will see what we can do to collect plants in good time. The area for sorting won’t be available to us this year but Peter Robertson has made part of his field available – thank you Peter and Claire! Planting commences Sunday 19th May *Halstead Summer Fayre ’24 will be held on 3rd August. *There is proposal for a Guys in the Park event. Details when released. *Annual Town Meeting will be 29th April, 7.15pm at Queen’s Hall, format of the meeting was explained – meeting is open to all and questions can be asked.
ANGLIA IN BLOOM 2024. Spring Launch will be held on Thursday 28th March at the Rugby Club, Wymondham. 4 people from HiB will attend plus Joan, Graham and Julia. This year entries for Its Your Neighbourhood in 2024 will be given a National Garden Gift Token of £15 – to be distributed with certificates in October, we entered 6 areas last year – surely we can beat this in 2024! RHS is looking for any stories related to In Bloom, especially about friendships made through the scheme.

WORKING PARTIES: Joan gave details of upcoming days: Tuesday 16th March Annie would like a couple of the team to help at the Loom clearing and digging (speak to Annie if you can help). There will also be some deadheading in the town. 2nd April – Linda would like some help in St. Andrew’s Churchyard, usual hand tools please. 9th April there will be another stone varnishing session! Gloves required!! Some work will also be required in the Surgery garden.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: . Christine asked about arrangements for collection of HiB green bin at the Empire. BDC missed collection on the first week of March, although it was collected a day late when requested. Collection was also missed this past week and hasn’t been collected yet in spite of requests. HiB has been assured that it will be collected on first date after Easter (2nd April) and the collection will be made regularly thereafter. Joyce spoke about Mount Hill and the fencing panels that have been left on the bank by owner of adjoining property. Joyce was also concerned about fallen branches laying on the bank that could fall into the path/road. Our Essex County Councillor will be contacted to see if a clearance can be made. Margaret C noted that the owner of the new craft shop in Bridge Street has some small pots of varnish that she would like to donate to HiB – all contributions gratefully received. Linda spoke about the dog poo bins at Willow Park. She has reported the overflowing bins and has asked for an extra bin. Linda will monitor the situation. Annie and Joan went to Olivers and to Cherry Lane and have purchased some plants for the Loom (Olivers gave a 10% discount on purchase and were very helpful.) – as an aside Don said he had visited Perrywoods recently and had been very surprised at the cost of plants. Margaret E reported a loose paving slab outside Gregg’s in High Street and also the loose manhole cover near to the roundabout at Kings Road. Both will be reported.
Margaret spoke about a recent meeting between trustees of HiB and Halstead Town Councillors, Town Clerk and 2 Town Council groundsmen about the way forward for HiB. It is recognised that existing volunteers are progressing in age and that it seems to be difficult to attract new volunteers; HTC has suggested that they try some volunteer recruitment. HTC is planning to employ a person for 10 hrs per week from June to September to cover the watering that Tim can no longer take on board. It is understood that interviews will take place shortly – if you know of anyone who might be interested in this work please contact Town Clerk. Concerns were raised that it might be difficult to attract someone who would be retained for future years but help with watering will be very necessary. It was said by HTC that entry beds are very difficult to water (we knew that!) and HiB has already said that we will look to putting in sustainable planting where maintenance is awkward. HTC said they would be interested in entering Anglia in Bloom but the team felt that at the moment with the poor state of shops and the necessary regeneration work it would be very difficult to get to the required standard. There was a general desire from HTC and from HiB to continue with discussions about the future of Halstead in Halstead in Bloom.
*There being no other business meeting closed at 6.50 pm.
Next meeting is Thursday 25th April 2024 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 .