↑ Return to TRIM Minutes 2013

3 – October Minutes

Present    

Robert Pearson, Josh Hardwick, Eileen Carr, John Davidson, Natasha Wood, Jan Moore, Alice and Nina                                                                          

                                                       Apologies                                                                                                                       Ann-Marie Whyte, Pamela Hanlon, Joan Tilsbury, Emma Sipple, Vince Logan, Mark Hendry and Cllr Cammy Day                                                                                                                              

In Attendance    

Henry Coyle (N.E.L.O) Betty Stevenson (Edinburgh Tenants Federation), Valla Moodie (N.E Arts Community Growing co-ordinator)

Some members didn’t attend as they know the services that ETF provide and would get any new information passed onto them by the Secretary.

Agenda item 1 – Welcome                                                                                                    

Robert started the meeting by asking that the meeting follow the agenda no personal or new items were brought to the table.   If anyone had any tenant concerns or complaints that they wished to be taken up there were reporting forms on the table to take away and fill in or they could report it after the meeting and it would be dealt with in the normal manner.                                                                                                  

Robert thanked the tenants, guest speakers and Henry for attending and welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked that people introduce themselves around the table.

Agenda item 2 – 

Apologies                                                                                                As above

Agenda item 3 – Approval of last minutes 

Proposed John Davidson and seconded by Jan Moore

Betty stated that a council worker should not have seconded previous minutes and Mark Turley and Peter Strong will come down heavy on us if they find out or if anyone tells them.  Eileen stated that although this might be technically correct all groups work differently and TRIM has always worked on the premise that everyone around the table has equal rights to discuss, debate and vote regardless of their position.  There is nothing in TRIMs constitution that prohibits council workers from voting – it may not be seen as good practice by some groups or  historically not been allowed to happen but TRIM believes that by working together in an open and transparent way we can achieve more than being separate and we would defend that position.  John stated that Betty was technically correct and that only tenants should  vote – Robert stated that tenants and residents in the TRIM do vote and are in the majority at all meetings and it is important for decisions to be made and agreed by consensus by everyone around the table regardless of position. 

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Agenda item 4 – Matters arising from last minutes

·         Henry confirmed that funding has been identified and a date has been set for replacing the cavity wall insulation in November.   John has spoken to Ewan about this.

·         Although Mike was not at the meeting it was confirmed by Robert that he (Mike) had passed on Henry’s contact details to the tenant he was concerned about at the last meeting.   Henry confirmed that the tenant in question had not been in touch.

·         John pointed out that in the previous minutes it was not kitchens being replaced but heating systems.  Eileen will amend  this.

Agenda item 5 – Correspondence

·         ETF – October Federation Matters – presented and filed

·         Bank of Scotland – Change of signatures document (removing Gordon Davie and inserting Robert Pearson as authorised cheque signatories along with Eileen Carr (Secretary) and Vince Logan (Treasurer). – noted and filled in.

·         Bank of Scotland – statement number 4 – presented, noted and filed

·         20 e-mails mostly asking for advice and signposted to agencies that could provide the best advice or assistance needed by the tenant.

·         Facebook notifications – 10/12 daily leading to approx. 3 daily being taken up by TRIM for action and the rest signposted to agencies that can provide the best advice or assistance needed by the tenant.

Agenda item 6 – Finance  

Funds in bank account as of today 8th October                                                                 TRIM – £2,459.80                                                                                                            

Community Shop – £0 (money held separately and not in TRIM bank account)

INVOICES

Web site (2 months) £11.98

Room hire/refreshments etc.  £87.40

Group agreed to pay the Web site on a yearly basis other than monthly so cheque will be written for £71.88 (12x£5.99)

Total left when invoices plus yearly Web-Site taken off – £2,288.54

Agenda item 7 – Edinburgh Tenants Federation                                                                 

Betty reported that at the conference on rents nobody voted for rent increases as Edinburgh has the highest rents in Scotland and ETF feel that other budgets could be looked at and cut instead of everything coming from the rents budget.

The mental health awareness group is very successful and workers are being trained to a high standard and working well.

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High rise group looking at the over-cladding on the high rise buildings.

Betty stated she was aware that Robert (TRIM) had a problem with the work taking place at Inchmickery Court and said that the work was essential to allow the safe turning of emergency vehicles – Robert clarified that he at no time stated there was a problem with the actual work but with tenants not being aware that the work was being carried out.  This was reported to TRIM (with photographs) from a few tenants from Inchmickery Court who had no knowledge of the work starting and would have liked to have been informed about it.  Henry confirmed that there was a consultation/comment exercise but that it was carried out 1-2 years ago so tenants may have forgotten or not been in the tenancy so may not have known the work was starting.   On being made aware of this issue by TRIM letters have now been delivered to all tenants of Inchmickery Court.  Robert again stated that at no time was TRIMs issue with the work being carried out but with the lack of communication to the tenants which was made clear on the social media sites where the tenants had complained.   Henry explained the different budgets and investments in the area.

Betty confirmed that the High Rise is speaking about replacing the windows again.

Betty stated that there is an open morning and afternoon in Birnies Court on 28th Oct (times to be confirmed) with council officers attending.  The tenants will be able to discuss various issues with the council workers and hopefully will encourage people who don’t like accessing the services at the Local Office to participate.  Henry confirmed that the Wednesday Drop-in at the local office is very successful as was the road shows – especially at the Community Shop.  The council realise that tenants get in touch in all kinds of ways and the community will probably see more of the Drop-in or road show type of events.

ETF has had its request to raise a question with the European Parliament regarding the Bedroom Tax (housing benefit welfare cut) accepted and being taken forward under the Human Rights heading.  Jan stated that the council has a policy not to evict people for bedroom tax arrears if the tenant enters into dialogue with them.  Henry confirmed that the council want to support and keep tenants in their tenancies but some anti-bedroom tax groups are giving tenants advice not to pay at all and there is concern that arrears are building up quickly for the most vulnerable tenants.   ETFs advice is to pay what you can.   Robert confirmed that we don’t get many enquiries or comments about bedroom tax but we would signpost anyone with welfare reform issues or problems to the proper advice agencies best suited to deal with them.   Discussion followed on different issues regarding welfare reform.   John suggested a council Drop-in information session in the Millennium Centre supported by TRIM – Henry said that the council have a template for this type of event – Betty thought this was a good idea for Muirhouse Low Rise but stated that the High Rise Group can deal with their own tenants.                                                                

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Single bedroom flats are being refurbished in Muirhouse View.   The City of Edinburgh Council, in partnership with NPower and the Scottish Government, is carrying out a refurbishment programme to install a range of energy efficiency measures to 96 flats in Muirhouse. Work to these non-traditional “no-fines” properties include installing new efficient gas boilers, insulated render to the external walls and a new insulated flat roof system. This work is part-funded by the Energy Companies Obligations (ECO) scheme, the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes Scotland (HEEPS) scheme and the City of Edinburgh Council – with a total investment of £1.4m”

 Betty confirmed ETF deal with 63 groups and have 4 workers – they provide help and support to tenants groups from setting up and grant applications through to supporting them with training and advice – they give people a voice.  

Bettys High Rise tenants group meet every 2 months.   Eileen stated that since there was only 2 Tenants Groups in Muirhouse we could do some joint working to support each other.   Betty stated that there might be an environmental issue in the future we could work together on but doesn’t feel that there is anything else suitable at the moment and doesn’t see the need for it.  Robert suggested that Betty takes it to her group to see if they can think of any way we can support each other – we can advertise the High Rise meetings, highlight their issues etc.  He stated that some people in the High Rise don’t know anything about the High Rise group and ask us for help – Betty confirmed that the information is in the notice boards in the High Rise flats and stated that all high rise tenants know about them.

Agenda item 8 – shop report                                                      

Macmillan Coffee morning was a huge success – and we raised a total of £610.09                                                                                                                          We had council road show on Tuesday the 17th which was well received by residents and a great success.    

Community Shop foot fall is still on the increase with approx 60 per day.                                                        

Over 100hrs volunteered each week

Future                                                                                                                           

 Centipede project pumpkin event this month.                                                              Possible fundraising event for local children’s charity leading up to December to be decided by the volunteers.                                                                                                 Issue                                                                                                                                          We have a leak in the toilet which needs fixed (Henry took a note of it)                                Thanks to everyone involved in the shop and a huge thanks to the volunteers

 

 

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Agenda item 9 – Valla Moodie                                                                                          Valla introduced herself and spoke about her new role at North Edinburgh Arts as Community Growing Co-ordinator.   She explained that NEA got funding from the Big Lottery Fund which funds her for 2 years to develop an inspirational garden with professional landscaping, art works and social areas.  There will be plots for local groups to use and bedding/fruit growing areas.  There was concern raised about the money being spent once again on developing the garden as a project at NEA and John asked if it was sustainable and what was the plan after the 2 years was up.

Valla confirmed that she is in post for 2 years and will source funding to help with the sustainability.  She also confirmed the use of Community Payback to help with the maintenance of the plots.   John stated that the garden has had various make-overs costing ridiculous amounts of money over the years and it is important that this time it is sustainable and not just another good plan left to wither and die when the funding dries up and another new plan is drawn up and more money thrown at it..  

The garden will be fully accessible not only through NEA but from various points outside the building.  Eileen asked about the kind of path as gravel is not good for wheelchairs – especially electric ones.

Jan was concerned about local gardening groups losing out while NEA seems to get all kinds of funding and asked if Valla would be supporting local gardening groups that are struggling and are desperate for help.  Valla confirmed that her remit is for NEA only and doesn’t include outreach work but would offer support local groups when she could and she has already spoken to Kirsty Sutherland from West Pilton Community gardens.   John spoke about the importance of local groups using land and taking ownership of it and mentioned that there are plans to start a gardening group (Muirhouse Community Centre and TRIM) for tenants of Muirhouse Terrace to develop and use their back garden area.  Henry stated that hopefully in the future their will be a co-operative approach to groups to get together to change/use community space to benefit the local community.

The funding also pays for an artist in residence (Natalie Taylor) who will organise outdoor art, workshops and events.

Agenda item 10 – Action Plan                                                                                           Group agreed that ‘Action Plan’ will be added as an agenda item each month with time for discussion.   Henry passed out the agreed Action Plan verbally gave report on it.  

The Action Plan is available on request from the Secretary and will be put on line as soon as Robert can organise it with Henry. 

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Agenda item 11 – Any Other Business

·         Eileen stated it was time to start thinking about the AGM (Annual General Meeting).  After short discussion it was decided by group to hold the AGM in February 2014 and Eileen will start organising it.

·         Eileen stated that we have a generic constitution that most other Tenant Groups use and although it covers all the basic requirements and fulfilled a need while we were forming it doesn’t reflect the unique community based group that we are growing into.  She asked if the group would like to consider having one with a more relevant content that reflects the uniqueness of TRIM as a group and if so she could start pulling information together to draft one to present to the group for approval to put forward at the Annual General Meeting in February as a change of constitution.   This would be the ideal time to do it as we would have to call a Special General Meeting to make any changes and it means that all the business can be done at the one meeting.  Group agreed to change the constitution to reflect the values and principals of TRIM.   Eileen will work on the draft with Robert and all members can e-mail their ideas or comments.

·         Café at Fidra Court – request from Time Bank and Jan for a donation to help set up the Fidra Court Tenants Café.  Although this is a High Rise project it is important for TRIM to support all tenants in Muirhouse regardless of where they live to make it a more positive place to be.   This is an ideal opportunity for the community to work together to make a difference in their own part of the community.   Henry confirmed that the council had received the plans and it wouldn’t be too long before Jan heard from them.   The group agreed a donation of £100 to be given when the council had confirmed the lease arrangements.  

·         Robert asked Henry what would be the next steps to take when you have reported repairs to Clarence and they haven’t been completed.   Henry gave Robert the names of the people and departments but stated that if Robert e-mailed him the details he will pass it on to the people concerned.  Robert thanked Henry for the information.

Robert ended the meeting by thanking everyone for attending especially the tenants who always support us really well.

Date of next meeting Tuesday 12th November 2013 at 7pm in                            Muirhouse Community Centre

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