1. Jeremy Cross, Chief Officer Tunbridge Wells & District CAB
Jeremy began by outlining the role of the Citizen's Advice Bureau, which offers its services locally in the community. During the year 2014/2015 nearly 6.000 clients were helped across the borough, with 21,000 different problems, such as debt, welfare benefits, relationship problems etc. Of this number 227 people were from Rusthall, with 792 different problems, which is approximately 6% of the total. As individuals benefit with income problems, this in turn helps the local communities.
The work the CAB does is totally confidential, independent, impartial and free, but it does depend on local support and charitable trusts, as it receives no money from central Government. It depends largely on volunteers to make the bureau work. Advice is given face to face, by telephone, by email or Skype. Adviser with Wheels is a new service whereby clients in isolated communities can meet with an adviser at a mutually convenient place. Home visits can be arranged for housebound clients.
Jeremy said that it may be possible for Rusthall residents to meet with advisers here. Jenny Blackburn asked if it may be possible for CAB to pay a small fee to the parish council to use the new Rackcliffe community centre. It was agreed that Jeremy would meet with the parish council at a later date to discuss this.
Thelma Huggett asked about the audit and confidentiality. The audit is completely annonymous. Information gathered, advice and follow up are checked to ensure consistency etc, but no names of clients are released. All volunteers have to sign a confidentiality agreement. However, a client may agree to have their information shared, eg with an employer if their problem is with the employer. This is the client's choice and a form of permission will be signed.
Some lawyers give their time free on a time limited basis. CAB can sometimes suggest a suitable lawyer relating to the problem, eg employment law, housing, relationships etc. Sometimes individual problems clients bring to CAB can be used to influence change in larger organisations.
The CAB can be contacted via telephone, email or in person at Gateway in Grosvenor Road. Leaflets outlining the services offered can be found in the library.
2. Ed Langridge The Rusthall Newsletter
Ed runs the Langton Life Newsletter, and he explained how this had developed out of a church pamphlet into a very successful and popular magazine which is delivered free to all Langton households bi monthly. Ed is now in the process of developing a similar magazine for Rusthall, to follow the same format of a minimum of 24 pages. He said that the biggest issue will be distribution, as in order for it to succeed the magazine must be delivered promptly to all houses in Rusthall. At least 20 people will be needed to do this, with one person as the main contact. Jenny Blackburn said she had the beginnings of a list and would ask for more volunteers. The plan is for the first issue to be published in March.
The village will benefit from the newsletter as it will bring news of all activities together and thus encourage people to get more involved, so bringing the community together. Copy will need to be with the publisher by 15th of the month for issue on 1st of the next month, ensuring that news is current. Langton Life and Rusthall Life will overlap in their publication dates i.e. March, Rusthall Life, April Langton Life and so on.
Advertising will cover the cost of the publication. At present some Rusthall businesses advertise in Langton Life, and they will be encouraged to advertise in both for a reduced fee. The printing company has not yet been decided on. Flo Print of Langton print Langton Life, but other quotes will be sought for the most competetive company.
The newsletter will be non profit making, but any small profit made will go back into the community, to be spent on something to benefit the village and/or its inhabitants. The community will be involved in this decision. Potential advertisers should be made aware of this as it may influence their decision to advertise.
It was pointed out that St Paul's church issues its own parish newsletter, and it was suggested that Ed should contact them as soon as possible to ensure they are aware of Rusthall Life. It will be important to develop a good working relationship between the 2 magazines and to ensure they are not seen as being in competition with each other.
Break for Raffle ticket sales and socialising
3. APPOINTMENT OF SECRETARY AND TREASURER ROLES
Following the resignation of the previous secretary and treasurer, the following were put forward:
Secretary: Sue White was proposed by Alex Britcher, and seconded by Jenny Blackburn
Treasurer: Hazel Duncombe was proposed by Alex Britcher and seconded by Irene Heskett
All present were in agreement with these appointments.
4. COUNCILLOR REPORTS
Borough Cllr Thelma Huggett:
Thelma reported that the Council had been quiet over the Christmas period. The only item of note was that an Arts Council grant has been received for the new Cultural and Learning Hub in Tunbridge Wells, made up of the library, museum, art gallery and adult education centre. They are now in the process of applying for further funding from the Heritage Lottery fund.
Jenny Blackburn reminded everyone that Thelma and Joy Podbury run a surgery on the last Friday of each month in Rusthall library, which is open for all.
RPC Cllr Jenny Blackburn
a) Following the accident in November which resulted in the death of an elderly gentleman, the parish council are seeking a meeting with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council, Arriva Bus company, Centaur commuter coach company and the One Stop shop (regarding their delivery lorries), to discuss the road situation. This meeting will not be open to the public. The main problem arises from people parking on both sides of the road, parking on corners and on double yellow lines, thus making the lines of sight difficult. Other delivery lorries also compound the situation, but the shops have to function and it is important that these small businesses are protected and supported. A police camera car now patrols the street, but as yet no figures have been received as to any prosecutions following illegal parking.
b) The Queen's 90th birthday celebrations. It has been suggested that Rusthall should have a beacon to commemorate the occasion. The parish council will be talking to the Bonfire and Fete Committee with regard to holding a bonfire at Common View. Another suggestion has been to hold a Street Party, but this could be difficult with the number of cars on the streets. Any further suggestions should be given to Jenny. She will also visit the primary school to see what they are intending to do.
c) The new Rackcliff Community Centre is almost complete, and bookings are being taken. The official opening will take place on 23rd April, in conjunction with the annual parish council meeting. Various groups will be invited to the opening. Pictures of the centre are now on the parish council website.
d) The level of petty vandalism is rising. This may be compounded by the absence of the community warden, as no new appointment has been made by KCC.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
a) RVA Chair Alex Britcher reported that the Arts Festival Open Day last Saturday 16th January was very successful. Many good ideas have been put forward, and 28 workshops will take place in the lead up to the festival. It is proposed that a speaker from the Arts Festival Group will come to the next RVA meeting in March to update the members on progress.
b) Rusthall Community Cinema. Hazel Duncombe updated the meeting on the progress of this. The main focus is to get sponsorship to start the process. The name of the main sponsor will then be included in the title of the cinema. Film Industry grants will be available, but not until it has been proved that the cinema has benefitted the community for 6 months. The main item of equipment required is a screen, other equipment such as projector etc can be borrowed initially.
Meeting closed at 21.00
Chair Alex Britcher firstname.lastname@example.org 07967 011 467
Website editor Nigel Suckling
nigel.R.email@example.com 01892 544345
Minutes: Sue White