meeting notes

ACE Meeting Notes From 21 November 2023

Here are the minutes of the last ACE Open Meeting.

Meeting Title: ACE Open Meeting
Meeting date and time: Tuesday 21st November 2023, 7pm
Venue Details: Roberts Room, Bridges and Zoom

Present: Charles Emes, Derek Jones, Karen Cornish, Jen Bara, Hamish, Jess Long, John Harris, Katharine Pitts-Tucker, Fiona, Vivien Mitchel, Rebecca, Lisa Hicks-Evans, Jem Jenkin-Jones, Sarah Read, Mary Boase

Apologies: Sue Parkinson, Cherry Taylor, Jim Newcombe, Scout, Tom Kirton, Anthea Dewhurst, Rebecca Cunningham

Agenda and Notes

Welcome and apologies for absence


1. Next Steps for ACE

Charles was confirmed as Acting Chair and Sarah as Acting Treasurer – positions will be voted on formally at the next AGM (April 2024).

It was agreed John Harris will move the ACE banner to different locations in the Monmouth area as and when they are confirmed.

Action – Charles to follow up with The Bridges re banner on their railings.

2. Project Updates

Repair Café – held 3rd Sunday each month at the Rockfield Centre. The Repair Cafe is going well, especially electrical goods, although fewer requests for sewing repairs. The request for more administrative help had been successful with more volunteers coming forward. The meeting agree that more information is needed on social media and the website about what was available.

Regen Ben farm mentoring scheme – three farms have joined the project – Square Farm, near Monmouth; Llanover Farm, near Abergavenny; and Lower House Farm, near Chepstow. Funding has been provided by MCC, Size of Wales and AONB. An article focussed on Square Farm has been published in the Monmouthshire Beacon. Future articles are planned with the Abergavenny and Chepstow local newspapers. Action – Charles to check if there is an increase in interest on Facebook and the website in regen farming or the mentoring project after each article.

Schools garden project – Trellech Primary School received funding from ACE two raised beds, compost, seeds, gardening books and some tools. A request for further funding will be considered as long as it fits with ACE principles. Virador have provided £2,800 of funding to support the project. Other local schools have been approached to see if there is any interest in joining the project. To apply schools need to have clear objectives linked to ACE principles – no dig, no pesticides/weed killers, water conservation etc. and provide a list of what’s needed – fully costed (up to £450). Once agreed schools can purchase the items and send receipts to the ACE Treasurer for reimbursement. ActionCharles to find out if MCC supply water butts to schools for free.

3. Town Council update

Town Fields and the options for rewilding were briefly discussed as consultation is still ongoing. ActionCharles to ask MTC Clerk about next steps.

4. ACE Festival report

The ACE Festival report is in preparation and will be made public in due course with a copy being sent to the Town Council. The ACE Festival stayed within budget with a small amount of funds available to put towards future festivals.

5. Future events

There was a wide ranging discussion on future events for 2024 and possibly beyond. Haberdashers school is hosting an International Sustainability Conference on 30 June – 2 July 2024 and are pioneering projects to become a more sustainable school. ACE has been invited to take part alongside other local community groups and organisations.

ActionCharles to clarify the role of ACE and the scope of the conference including who else is being invited (e.g. local businesses, organisations and schools) before final decisions are taken about involvement.

ACE will be unlikely to organise another festival in 2024 if ACE participates in the Haberdashers International 3-day conference.

Bike Town has been successful in past years but ACE is not considering the same type of event in 2024/25. The suggestion is to consider different types of events to cater for different audiences – for example: street food fare, cooking demos, celebrity chefs.ACE will continue to support other local events and organisations as it has in the past.

Blake Theatre are willing to hold speaker events suggested by ACE provided they are well known and likely to fill the theatre. Blake Theatre would lead on administration and marketing. Some initial ideas for speakers include: Tom Kerridge, Gaz Oakley, Matt Tebbitt, George Monbiot, Kate Humble, Feargal Sharkey

Action anyone who can make connections with speakers – either listed above or other individuals – please contact Charles.

Action – Charles to ask Cherry what ACE involvement was in running the Emily Grossman event.

6. Other Business

The Seed Swap has been run successfully for a few years in partnership with the Heritage Seed Library. The next Seed Swap will be held on 17 February 2024 from 10.30am – 1pm and ACE will be promoting and hosting the event.

MCC has accepted the Revised Local Development Plan but some concerns have been raised about the potential environmental impact given the proposed number of houses (for example: adequate protection of wildlife habitats, phosphate levels in the River Wye caused by sewage, air quality levels around the schools and the impact increased traffic and congestion will have on the town). It was agreed that ACE volunteers would encourage local engagement in consultation/s.

7. Dates for your diary

ACE Monmouth Seed Swap – Saturday 17th February 2024

8. Date of the next meeting

The next meeting is an informal Christmas get together on Tuesday 19th December at 7pm at Bridges Centre. Come along and enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies.