meeting notes

ACE Meeting Notes From 19 January

Here are the minutes of the last ACE Open Meeting.

Meeting Title: ACE Monmouth Community Meeting
Meeting date and time: 19th January, 7pm
Venue Details: Zoom

Present: Cherry Taylor (Chair), Rebecca Cunningham (Project Officer), Charles Emes (Treasurer), Richard Cotterill, Barbara Cotterill, Nichola James, Sue Parkinson, Chris Seabury, Jem Jenkins-Jones, Jen Bara, Laura McCartney, Carl Touhig (MCC), Charles Boase, Tom Kirton (Deputy Mayor), Clare Catto, Wendy Levefre, Sue Parkinson (MCC), Katherine (second name unknown).

Apologies: Hayden Cullen-Jones (Secretary), Paul Trotter, Steve Garrett
Agenda and Notes

1. Welcome and apologies for absence

2. Introductions

3.  Agree minutes of last meeting

4. Treasurer’s Report
    • Current balance = £6031
    • Earmarked future spend = £1972
    • Next Monmouth Town Council (MTC) installment = £7500 (due in April).
    • ACE has about £4000 in the Monmouth Building Society, with some restrictions on it and will most likely be used for the ACE festival in September 2023.

5. MTC Update

  • After two successful partnership meetings with ACE volunteers, MTC has created a Working Group to take their own climate change mitigation plans forward.  *Note: First meeting is set for Wednesday 1st February, 7pm at The Riverside Hotel, Monmouth.  These working groups are open to the public.

6. Project Update

Energy Surgeries. Chris Seabury summarised progress to date, suggesting the way forward is to work with other Monmouth-based community groups to hold talks with their membership to inform and discuss ways in which individuals could save energy. This was to be done in partnership with Andrew Davies (South East Wales Energy) and Carly Bond (Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)). It might require a couple of ACE volunteers to be trained up as the project gains momentum. Action: Chris to set up a zoom meeting with Andrew, Carly and ACE volunteers to discuss further with a view that the first session being with a group like Monmouth U3A.

Air Quality Monitoring. Chris has been speaking to a number of contacts and organisations regarding air quality monitoring in Monmouth. Next step would be to identify where and what type of air quality monitoring would be needed. Jen Barra raised a question regarding the anti-idling of Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) vehicles. Carl Touig (MCC) confirmed that all council vehicles are monitored so that should be limited, and that sometimes the engine is needed to run to power items of equipment, like generators. Sue Parkinson agreed to look into this further. Action: Chris to speak to a contact at Swansea University about previous studies and to ascertain how best to take it forward.

Green Business Awards/Deforestation Free Monmouth. Cherry Taylor described a ‘Green Business Award’ scheme, with the proposal of a 1-5 star system to be allocated to local businesses in conjunction with MTC and Size of Wales. Action: To be explored further at the strategy meeting with Size of Wales on 24th January.

Food/cooklng Workshops. Cherry has had an expression of interest from a few individuals about being involved in these, hopefully to be run at Bridges. These could be in partnership with Food Monmouthshire and Size of Wales.

Farmers Group. Rebecca Cunningham and Cherry let the group know that work has started on involving the farming community. People were asked to speak to their farming friends and neighbours and invite them to get involved in ACE.

Schools Group. A schools sub group was created with Rebecca taking the lead. Clare Catto, Jen, Barra, Laura McCartney and Nichola James have joined. Action: Rebecca to contact the group to discuss further. *Note: Initial discussions have begun and agreed the initial focus will be on primary schools. If you would like to be part of this group email Rebecca

Beictown. This festival-style event will return again in 2024. The possibility of having the Vintage Ride (managed by Honeysuckle Wood) as part of the Monmouth Carnival this year was discussed. Action: Jen to contact Honeysuckle Wood about the feasibility of Vintage Ride.

Adopt A Bike. This is designed to teach the pupils at Overmonnow how to care and maintain bikes to encourage active travel. A suitable company based in Cardiff has been found to undertake the workshop at a cost of £450 (for 3 technicians). It was agreed that an alternative local company would be approached but if unable to take on the work then the Cardiff company was acceptable. Action: Jen to contact Wyestone Bike Shop. *Note: Wyestone will be very good to involved in other ACE projects, but the Cardiff team have more relevant experience and are better value per technician. The ACE Officers have agreed to fund this project.

Repair Cafe. Richard and Barbara Cotterill reported 38 repairs undertaken at the last event – a significant increase. While the project has sufficient volunteer repairers and on-the-day helpers, it desperately needs trustees and on-going admin volunteers. Next Repair Cafe event is on the 19th February. Action: The Repair Cafe to email a list of roles needed and the associated duties so ACE can help advertise these roles. *Note: List is now prepared and ACE will advertise accordingly.

ACE Monmouth Festival. Date for the next festival is the weekend of the 23rd/24th September 2023. A steering group will drive the organization with Zoom meetings initially taking place monthly. Members to date are Nichola, Sue, Paul Trotter, Jen, Cherry, Charles Emes, Laura McCartney and Rebecca. Action: Rebecca to set up the first meeting. *Note: First meeting will be Wednesday 8th February 7pm via Zoom. If you would like to join please email Rebecca

7. Events Schedule Update

    Cherry updated the group on the upcoming ACE events:

  • Strengthening Our Local Food Systems, Marianne Fisher (MCC). Thurs 26th Jan, Bridges
  • Seed Swap. Sat 25th Feb, 10-1pm, Bridges
  • Deforestation Free Monmouth, Nichola James. Thurs 30th Mar, 7pm
  • Hydrogen Talk, Averil MacDonald. Mon 24th April, 7pm
  • Supermarkets on the Environment, Martin Sutherland. Thurs 22nd June 7pm
  • Circular Economy Talk. TBC
  • Farm Visit to Regen Ben TBC

8. MCC Update

  • Carl confirmed there will be four Circular Economy Project Officers, working across the four corners of Monmouthshire with the aim to support groups like ACE. The hope is that two of the roles will be filled this side of April and the others in the new financial year as part of a two year project.
  • He acknowledged the constraints of the Mitchel Troy recycling centre. Options have been explored to improve it, including expansion, but unfortunately it is not feasible due to very high costs. MCC is looking to reduce the number of black bag skips to make room for more recycling options.

9. New Project Ideas:

  • Wendy Levefre suggested a project where the community might bulk-buy solar panels in order to reduce the individual cost. Recommendations included discussing with Gwent Energy and Wendy and Chris to see if there could be synergy with the Energy Surgery project. Action; Wendy to contact Gwent Energy. Rebecca to put Wendy and Chris in contact with each other.
  • Wendy also proposed using recycled materials to create hedgehog houses and swift boxes. Proceeds would then go to Gwent Wildlife Trust, RSPB or similar. Potential sources of wood identified as the reuse centres. If you are interested in joining this project and possibly running some workshops, email Rebecca
  • Nichola spoke about £5000 grants available for projects designed to make the local food system more sustainable. She highlighted previous schemes that had been successful. Deadline 10th February. Action: Rebecca to explore further with Nichola.
  • Laura proposed an NCT-style sale run through ACE at a cost of £1500 with some costs being reimbursed to ACE post sale. It was agreed that the full proposal would need to be sent over via email and to be discussed further. *Note: After further discussion, ACE has agreed to fund a pre-loved ‘Kids Clothes and Kit Sale’ for 0-12 years following an NCT model before Easter, costing £310.

10. Marketing Update

  • Cherry flagged the relaunched website. Still some sections to be populated with copy. The new Facebook Group is growing steadily and needs daily theme posters. Laura and Nichola agreed to join the team. Action: Cherry to add them to the posters messenger group.
  • She spoke about ACE’s recent outreach event with U3A and a desire to do more. If you are a member of a local group who might like ACE Officers to come and explain what ACE is all about, email Rebecca at
  • Further locations for the ACE banner were discussed and MCC offered to help determine suitable locations. ACE also needs someone who is town-based to manage the putting up and taking down of the banner against a monthly schedule of locations. Action: Rebecca to email Sue with regard to this. *Note: Sue has proposed 5 possible locations.

11. Any Other Business

  • Tom Kirton reported that MTC has approved MCC’s planning permission for the new footbridge over the Wye.

Date of Next Meeting: Wednesday 15th February, 7pm, Bridges.

Please note: ACE apologies to anyone who tried to join this zoom meeting using the link in the email reminder, which unfortunately did not work. For future reference, the link to these open meeting, when held on zoom, will also be posted in ‘Events’ on the website and also on the ACE Facebook Page.