Generous donation from The Freemen of Haverfordwest

We are incredibly grateful to the Gild of Freemen of Haverfordwest for their generous donation of £250 to the Racecourse Trust at this time when we are totally reliant on support from members and our local community.

The Gild of Freemen of Haverfordwest held their Benefactor’s Service at St Martin’s Church on Sunday, 3rd of October 2021, and met later in St Martin’s Church Hall for the Gild Charitable donations of support which were also presented to the Haverfordwest Museum and the Portfield Recreation Committee.

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

Secretary’s Report

HAVERFORDWEST RACECOURSE PUBLIC PARKS TRUST

(Charity No: 509842)

SECRETARY’S REPORT (AUGUST 2021)

It was so pleasing to witness the very large turn out at our AGM on Tuesday 17th August. Fifty people attended to show their interest in the running of our affairs and all appeared satisfied with the standards achieved during the troubled months of the pandemic. Thanks to all who attended and all those who expressed their support.

 

The finances of the past two years prompted a number of well delivered questions and those posing them seemed to be satisfied with all matters except for those surrounding the level of financial assistance provided by our Town Council.

The Mayor, Cllr Alan Buckfield, gave an explanation as to why the Council had decided not to grant financial assistance. His remarks appeared to suggest that if I had submitted a request, then it would have been favourably considered.

I may have misunderstood him but many I have spoken to since the meeting have confirmed my understanding. They felt that a further explanation to the one I gave at the meeting might serve to clarify the position for those who attended the meeting as well as give important information for the many that were unable to attend.

 

On April 23rd 2020 I submitted a Grant request in the prescribed manner.

On August 26th 2020 the Town Clerk replied asking me to resubmit my application. This would be reviewed under the new policy.

On 2nd October 2020 I resubmitted.

On 24th November 2020 the Council requested further information.

On 17th December 2020 the Council requested far more details.

On 27th January 2021 the Council’s Administration Officer emailed with this message:-

            ‘Further to your application and all the additional information you kindly provided, I regret to inform you that at a recent meeting of Haverfordwest Town Council it was decided that they are unable to offer support in respect of funding towards this project’.

I hasten to add that my submission was made in the knowledge that it met fully the stipulations laid down in the Council’s Policy and Guidance Document heading Who can Apply and in full knowledge of that document’s paragraph:-

            ‘It will also consider revenue costs if it can be demonstrated that lack of funds has an adverse effect on the town and its residents’.

The Council’s present Policy was decided in April of this year and prevents us, and the Portfield Recreation, from seeking assistance with running costs by dictating that;

            ‘Grants shall not cover an organisations core running (revenue) costs’.

It would not be proper for us to seek grant aid for capital projects as we will have access to nearly £53,000 of Sec.106 from the Persimmon Homes development. We must recognise the withdrawal of assistance with revenue costs from the land owners (Haverfordwest Town Council) for at least three (3) years.

Therefore, we must recognise that we will be totally reliant on the generosity of local organisations and the ingenuity of our committee and its friends if we are to maintain the high standards we have achieved.

Peter Lewis JP

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

Loss of Town Council Funding for the Racecourse

This year the Haverfordwest Town Council has withdrawn its financial support for the Racecourse.  We are not aware of any reason for this.

The following letter to the Town Clerk is to start exploring alternative funding sources,

Madam Town Clerk

I am in receipt of the email dated 27th January 2017 written in response to the application for financial support submitted on behalf of the Haverfordwest Racecourse Public Parks Trust.

You will almost certainly not be surprised to learn that we are very disappointed to know that Haverfordwest Town Council has withdrawn its long standing financial support of our work.

However, life goes on, and we must take comfort from the fact that so many of our townspeople express appreciation of our efforts, especially during these trying times when mental and physical health are under threat.

As Spring and Summer approach, we look forward to welcoming back our young cricketers and footballers, and participating in the weekly Park Run.

In her email, Ms Rees invited me to contact you for advice on possible alternative income streams.  Such help would be greatly appreciated and I hope to hear from you in the very near future.

Yours sincerely

Peter Lewis

Secretary of the 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

Peter’s Fundraising Walk from the Racecourse to Little Haven

 

As you know, the secretary of the Racecourse Public Parks Trust, Peter Lewis, chose to mark the occasion of his eightieth birthday by partaking in a 10,000 metre walk which stretched from the Racecourse to the St Brides Inn in Little Haven.

The aim was to raise much needed funds for the Upper Racecourse and as I am his wife I undertook the responsibility of seeking financial support from those of you who use our wonderful facilities.

Peter reminds me that all he did was walk the six miles, the success depended on the generosity of others.

We set ourselves a target of £500 and you can imagine our surprise and delight when we report that the final figure is £1,530.

This speaks volumes for the popularity of the Racecourse and even more so for the generosity of the people of our community.

Thank you all and please please continue to support and enjoy our wonderful Racecourse.

Patricia Lewis (Committee Member)

❤   Late Donations Welcome