Annual General Meeting – 2022

HAVERFORDWEST RACECOURSE

(PUBLIC PARK) TRUST

 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

WILL BE HELD ON

THURSDAY 14TH APRIL 2022

AT 7.00 PM

IN

 HAVERFORDWEST CRICKET CLUB

 

THE PARK RELIES HEAVILY ON THE  SUPPORT GIVEN BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.

PLEASE COME ALONG AND JOIN US

Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers – Portfield School

The students from Portfield School completed their latest session by cleaning up the ‘bus shelter’ and clearing a bit more of the overgrown path. This time they brought fine weather with them to make the task easier.

We have no more sessions planned for them but we hope they will back at some time in the future.
 
The committee and, I’m sure, all regular users of the Racecourse would like to thank them for all their hard work and efforts.  Despite everything they remained cheerful and committed to the tasks.
 
We wish them well in the remaining challenges ahead of them in the quest for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
 

Portfield School DofE back again

The pupils working for their volunteering component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme were back again on 17th March.  While some of them continued the work on clearing the sides of the paths the rest got stuck in felling the dead saplings in one of the central copses.  Sadly these were all young Ash trees killed by the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus, also know as Ash dieback.

This was much harder work than anticipated but the teams remained cheerful and enthusiastic despite this and the occasional Pembrokeshire downpour.

After lunch, combined with a demonstration of the Trangier stove system (to provide a hot brew) the teams swapped over to finish the day’s work.

Local and a London-based representative of the DofE scheme also visited to watch progress and provide support.

Portfield School helping the Racecourse

As part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, some pupils from Portfield School volunteered their time in the pouring rain to start on some path clearing. This involved pushing back the encroaching grass and mud and has already shown just how wide our paths actually are before nature tried to take over.

They will be working for a couple more days later this month so please give them some encouragement if you pass them.

 

SECRETARY’S LETTER (Sept 2021)

At its last meeting the Committee of the Trust decided to form two working groups.

One was to address the technical issues we meet and how to use the money that has been given by the Persimmon Homes resulting from the Planning Act’s Section 106.

This money can only be used for development and cannot be used for maintenance purposes. Add this to the fact that the Town Council’s new Grants Policy forbids us to request money for revenue purposes and you will understand why the second working group is given the task of raising funds that will ensure that our high standards are maintained.

Both these committees will soon settle down to the tasks they have been allocated.

Each year I try to make a contribution to the efforts of our fundraisers, Bill Carne, Roy Thomas and Pat Lewis. Last year I walked from Haverfordwest to Little Haven on the occasion of my eightieth birthday. The generosity of our supporters was amazing and over £1,700 was donated to our cause.

My initial thought for this year was to kick start our fundraising efforts by donating £100 but then I was presented with an idea that might give generous people an avenue through which they can give financial support to our efforts.

I have decided to take part in the “Sober October” Campaign This will mean that I will deprive myself of a fair amount of pleasure (because, like many, I enjoy a pint with my friends). Instead of pocketing the money saved, I will sponsor each of the first 30 days to the tune of £3 (the average price of a drink) and the last day I will sponsor for £10. This may seem frivolous and non-productive and perhaps I should be ashamed to say that it will cause me more discomfort than did last year’s walk! However, I am hoping that some people will see enough merit in this way of raising funds by supporting a day with a donation of £3 (or support more than one day). I would like to record the names of those donating and I hope for at least two for each day so that the record would show: –

            1st October – Peter Lewis, David Loosmore, Brian Griffiths

            2nd October – Peter Lewis  Roger Chapman, Helen Lewis.

Before officially beginning this venture £150 has been added to my contribution and you would not believe how this has encouraged us.  The recording of the names of donors will also inspire our fundraising committee. 

Peter Lewis

Annual General Meeting 2021

The Haverfordwest Public Parks Trust AGM will be held on Tuesday 17th August 2021. It will be held at Haverfordwest Cricket Club, starting at 7pm. Any users of the Haverfordwest Upper Racecourse are welcome to attend.

Every effort will be made to ensure Covid safety by providing space for social distancing and good ventilation.

Will all attending please wear a face mask.

*** Update to date of AGM ***

*** Update to Secretary’s Report ***

Further to the Secretary’s previous letter it has been decided to postpone the meeting that was hoped would be held on 19th July 2021.
 
It was thought that lockdown would be opened up earlier but as this is not the case a new date has been set. This is Tuesday, 17th August 2021.
 
Hopefully nothing will happen to cause a further delay and it will be possible to issue formal invitations to attend and these will be posted well in advance.
 
July 2021

Secretary’s Report – June 2021

MEETINGS

It would seem reasonable to believe that ‘Freedom Day’ from the Covid Lockdown will be

Monday 19th July 2021. On this basis I will seek to call an Annual General Meeting and Committee Meeting within days of that date. When a suitable venue has been found, notice of these meetings will be posted on site and on social media in the coming days.

The pandemic has caused a delay in calling these meeting but, I am confident that you will agree that the delay has not had a detrimental effect on the Racecourse itself.

MAINTENANCE

Thanks to the efforts of our groundsman, Mr David James, the Racecourse is in superb condition. We remain indebted to Haverfordwest Town Council for the regular emptying of the waste bins and the grass cutting at the entrances to our facilities.

County Councillor Tim Evans deserves our gratitude for his assistance in getting much needed repairs to our car park and committee member Mike Wort has been instrumental in ensuring that dangerous trees have been safely removed from site.

Regular users of the Racecourse will have noticed that certain areas of grass have been left uncut. Money is expected from the 106 Agreement between Pembrokeshire County Council and Persimmons Homes. The careful development of meadow land areas is one of the allowed uses of this money and we have decided to leave these areas uncut for the time being so that the areas we wish to develop as meadow land are easily identified. It is thought that this extra contribution to biodiversity will be appreciated. Further such contributions may be considered in the near future as we are in the early stages of developing a request for a financial allocation from the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Fund.

FINANCES

Members will be pleased to know that we have sufficient funds to cover the expenses to be incurred this season. Full details of the present financial details and of the recent income and expenditure will be presented to the next AGM.

The Vice Chairman and I attended a meeting with Mr Paul Lucas of the Portfield Recreation Committee and Ms Sinead Henehan of Pembrokeshire County Council on 21st June at which we were informed that the sum of £53,000 would be allocated to our Trust from the 106 Agreement mentioned above. The use of this will exercise our minds for many months to come! None of this can be used for annual running cost so we eagerly await to hear from the Town Council about its possible policy changes that may allow us to have a similar financial allocation to that given to Pembrokeshire County Council for the Saturday afternoon support of the Library. Fingers crossed!!

The Friends of the Upper Racecourse Account (originally set up to offer support at times of great need such as machinery replacement) has now been brought under the Trust’s control. One of our late Chairman’s last actions was to write a cheque for £5,000 help meet our immediate financial transactions. The new account now stands at just over £5,000 and is earmarked for its original purpose.

In addition, our new fundraising platform, set up with ‘Peoples Fundraising’, has already realised £546.25.

 

I hope this information will prove useful to Committee members and supporters of the Trust. Should anyone wish to contact me please accept my apologies for not being on Facebook but please feel free to contact me on email thomaslewis123.667@icloud.com

Loss of Town Council Funding for the Racecourse – 2

I have been asked, in my position of Secretary to the Racecourse Public Parks Trust (HRPPT),  to give an explanation of the present situation that exists between the Trust and Haverfordwest Town Council (HTC)

In the best interests of clarity and transparency I have chosen to submit the following under two separate headings.

FACTS:

1.      HTC has given HRPPT an annual grant since 1981.

2.      HTC has now decided to cease this support.

3.      No reason has yet been given.

4.      No explanation has yet been received from the three town councillors that also serve on the committee of the HRPPT.

5.      Hopefully all will become clear when the minutes of the January 2021 Council meeting are published later this month.

6.      HTC assisted greatly in the development of the all-weather surface paths.

7.      The trust is presently 10 years into its second 40 years lease.

8.      HTC is the Landlord and HRPPT is the tenant.

9.      HRPPT has to pay its landlord an annual rent of £1,250.

10.  The lease stipulates that it can only perform those duties imposed on HTC

by Statute Law (1838 Enclosure Act and subsequent legislation).

11.  Our task therefore is to develop the land for ‘the recreation and exercise of the local population at their free will and pleasure’. (the same obligation placed on HTC).

12.  The committee of the HRPPT feels that it has achieved a high standard in meeting its obligation to the people it serves. It remains eager to continue its efforts.

13.  We feel that we are making a meaningful contribution towards the mental and physical well-being of our fellow townspeople, neighbours and many visitors.

OPINION:

I must stress that the following is my personal opinion.

1.      The HRPPT should not have to go cap in hand to HTC for the financial assistance needed to carry out what are the Town Council’s obligations to the people of our town. We should be automatically granted, each year, at least £5,000 of the £312,000 Haverfordwest people give each year for such purposes.

2.      If HTC can grant the County Council more that £60,000 over a five years period to keep its library open on Saturday afternoons, it can surely grant £25,000 over the same period to allow our people to enjoy the obvious advantages afforded by what many consider our town’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’.

Peter Lewis JP
Secretary/Treasurer
Haverfordwest Racecourse Public Parks Trust

A Message from Peter Lewis

Dear Supporter

The generous donations to my Sponsored Walk, from almost all of the committee, and from so many members of the public, has meant a great deal to me and my fellow officers. The latest donation given by Merlins Bridge AFC has pushed the total raised to over £1,700.

Such generosity, along with the numerous letters of support, requires more than an expression of thanks. It deserves an explanation of how the money is spent. But before I present that explanation may I give you the assurance that every penny received goes towards the upkeep of our wonderful Park and not a penny goes towards administration.

Over the last few years we have lost the financial support of Pembrokeshire County Council and the Bridge Meadow Trust. This has left a £5,200 hole in our income stream, leaving us more and more reliant on the generosity of members of the public.

Last year was a particularly expensive one as we had to contend with deteriorating seats and the problems experienced with an ageing tractor. We have improved the seating on the Racecourse by repairing a certain number and purchasing others. This has brought appreciative comments from a large number of people, especially our elderly users.

The main thrust of our work is the sixteen cuts of over 60 acres of grass. This cannot be done without a tractor. The repairs and fuel cost nearly £3,500 so I hope for a trouble free season this year. With a certain amount of hedge trimming added, the grass maintenance cost £5,000. I think everyone would agree that Mr David James is doing a marvellous job and has helped enormously to deliver a park that contributes massively to the enjoyment and mental well-being of the very many users of our facilities. It is reckoned that use of the Racecourse has quadrupled since the onset of Covid 19.

It was time for the miles of hedges and ditches to be brought up to standard and this set us back nearly £2,500. Add to this such items as gate repairs and the cost of new waste bins and you will understand that we have had to eat into our very slender reserves.

The land was given to the Town Council in 1838 to ensure that it is used for the recreation and leisure of the neighbouring population at its free will and pleasure. I hope that you will all agree that we are truly helping the Town Council achieve its obligation.

Peter Lewis     –        16th January 2021