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Heritage centre AGM - Wednesday 12th April

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Posted: 08 Apr 2017 at 9:30am by sgt homer
Heritage Centre AGM
7.30pm, Wednesday 12th April
Brandon Town Council meeting room


At the AGM, it will be proposed a new team are put in place to oversee the Heritage Centre, with the aim of restoring enthusiasm and injecting back some imagination. 
It is clear that many residents are not happy at the current state of the centre - with volunteers leaving and not being replaced, people reluctant to offer artifacts for display and visitors virtually non-existent.  This does not reflect well upon our generation appreciating the town's heritage and it cannot be inspiring the next generation.

If you have something to say on Brandon's heritage then please do come along.  All welcome.  Perhaps you are happy with the current set up?  Or you have ideas on how to improve it?  Or perhaps you can assist in some way?  The Heritage Centre needs its community, so if you are able to then please come along to the meeting.

Brandon your HERITAGE needs you

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chessman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2017 at 12:17pm by Chessman
Trust everyone responds to the call Darren! Unfortunately Wednesday is Brandon KG chess club night so please accept my apology.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hugh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2017 at 2:23pm by Hugh
Well done Darren, we will need a new 'management team' as a committee to run the centre and trustees to help support the committee to maintain it as a charity. On top of that helpers to be in the centre when it is open.

Wednesday will be a milestone in The Heritage Centre's existence, we must not let this gem slip through our hands. Let's pull together NOW.

Hugh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2017 at 9:07pm by Mark
Well done Darren
 
Totally agree, we need a new group of enthusiastic people, we can then make the Heritage Centre something to be proud of and something that can be an asset for the future generations of Brandon.
If you are interested in our heritage come along on Wednesday, everyone can have a part to play and working together we will get things moving in the right direction. This is a great asset with so much potential so lets work together to make sure it is not lost.
 
Mark Skinner 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chessman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2017 at 9:18am by Chessman
The one thing that did cause great concern with the old management committee apart from the lack of public support, lack of Trustees support in addition to the the lack of financial grants from local authorities. FHDC in particular charging business rates when clearly this was a local registered charity providing a public service by volunteers who gave up time their freely to keep things going. The final straw came when the treasurer had to go cap in-hand to Brandon Rotary Club for a donation to pay the electricity bill! Unless something is put in place to resolve to cash flow problems we see no future for the centre's prospects.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sgt homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2017 at 6:35pm by sgt homer
Chessman, no need to apologise.  If all goes as planned on Wednesday then first thing on the agenda of the new group will be keeping the community informed of what is happening at the centre, so there will be an update on here of how the meeting went.  Then the hard work will begin and no offer of assistance will be turned away.

With regards to the rates, if Brandon has been harshly treated then we need to do something about that asap.  Or if the council are just miserly to everyone due to restrictions of their own funds, then at least we know what we are up against.  To that end I have submitted a Freedom Of Information request to both the St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils asking for details of rates they charge to other charitable heritage-based organisations within their catchment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sgt homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 10:43am by sgt homer
A brief report of how the meeting went.

Let's get the negative out the way first.  It transpired the Trustees had not been served the statutory notice period to hold the AGM, so this has been proposed to happen on 25th May.  Make a note, especially if you were unable to attend last night.  This left last night's meeting available for discussions regarding the centre.  For those wanting change, please do not despair, the feeling from last night was of huge optimism.

So, with the one negative out the way let us focus on the positives from last night's meeting.
  • I am not sure how many people would normally attend the centre's AGM, but I suggest last night's meeting eclipsed most HC meetings over the years.  The meeting was held in the Council Chamber.  We had to get more chairs, with some late comers left standing in the corridor outside the meeting room, peering through the open doors, as it was too packed to get more chairs in.  Thank you to all who took time to attend, your support is truly appreciated.  Our next meeting will have to be in bigger premises.
  • All ages were represented, with a couple of teenage girls wanting to volunteer too - leading to a round of applause when introduce to the meeting.  We do need to inspire others, who in the future will have the confidence and vision to take the HC to the next level.  However we need to get it fit for purpose first!
  • We outlined some things that we believe can take the HC forward - cataloging all items is a must, appreciating volunteers, engaging the community with a presence at fetes, markets, etc, having a website is crucial, social media, inviting groups through the doors for private tours, 'pop-up' exhibitions, all stuff the HC should be doing already.  We also mentioned long-term visions which will happen, but only when the centre is on firm foundations.
  • By the end of the evening we had galvanised, and hopefully re-energised, people about the HC and Brandon's heritage.  A show of hands revealed more than 30 people willing to volunteer in some way.  We have details of more who could not make the meeting.
However, we cannot let last night be our "finest hour".  Now we tap into that enthusiasm and start the re-building with earnest.  I anticipate that outwardly there may not appear to be much change with this year.  If that is the case then please do not judge us on that.  We may have a few pop-up exhibitions.  We may be more prominent in the community.  However the real work will be behind the scenes - cataloging artifacts, getting key people in place, getting a website up and running, creating proper operating procedures that are fit for purpose; for me these are paramount.

Rest assured we will be letting everyone know what we are up to, so if you are on Facebook, or you get the local magazines and newspapers then you will see a lot more of us telling you about the Heritage Centre.  Again, thank you to all who attended and volunteered.  You did Brandon proud.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sgt homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 10:59am by sgt homer
To follow up on the point about the rates.  The West Suffolk Council have speedily responded to my Freedom of Information request with data pertaining to them collecting rates from all manner of charitable organisations - including bowls clubs, scout huts, drop in centres, etc, within the catchment areas of St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath.  Makes interesting reading.  Most notable is the relation between Brandon Heritage Centre (HC) and Mildenhall Museum (MM).

Both became liable for rates from 01.04.1994
Rateable values: MM = 10750, HC = 6800
Rates collected (Apr 2016 to Mar 2017)  = MM = £267.14, HC = £337.96

Pro rata it looks like Brandon is paying twice as much as Mildenhall.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chessman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 11:15am by Chessman
Delighted to hear the meeting went so well, as to Rates comparing with Mildenhall  it should also be noted a considerable grants were invested on their museum at Mildenhall and NOTHING for Brandon as usual! FHDC has a lot to answer for in this respect!!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sgt homer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 12:47pm by sgt homer
Yes, that's right, Mildenhall have had more than their fair share of funding.  But in Forest Heath's shoes wouldn't we all do the same? - favouring the ambitious and thriving museum to give our cash to rather than the dying centre within an apathetic community.  Things wont change if we cry of being a 'victim'.  Instead we (this includes the wider community as well) need to be shouting about our heritage and demonstrating we have something really precious, thus worthy of investing cash into.  It will happen Smile
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