Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

AGM Meeting minutes

10.30am Friday 6th June 08

Wigan History Shop

Present - Joe Taylor (Chair, Billinge History & Heritage Society), Norma Ackers (Independent Local Historian), Lisa Beckett (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Clare Brennan (Over 50's Forum), Philip Butler (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Tom Glover (Wigan Archaeological Society), Peter Guy (Gin Pit Village), John Hill (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Tony Hilton (NW Catholic History Society), Rev Ray Hutchinson (Wigan Parish Church), Carol Littler (Local History Researcher), Denis Malley (Friends of Wigan Heritage), Nigel Morley (Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers) John O'Neil (Wigan Historian), Rachel Orme (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust), Brian Parr (Wigan Archaeological Society),Tom Price (Chair, Wigan Civic Trust), Emma Scott (Community Empowerment Programme), Jack Topping (Hindley History Society) Zenno Vattev (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust)

Apologies - Anthony Grimshaw (Wigan Civic Trust), Margaret Hodge (Atherton History Society), Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), David Lythgoe (Friends Of Wigan Heritage), Gerry Marsden (George Formby Society), Glenys McLennan (Leigh and District Family History Society), Barbara Rhodes (Aspull and Haigh Heritage Society) Peter Taylor (Wigan Civic Trust), Mrs AJ Wilson (Leigh Antiques and Collectables)

1.0. Welcome

1.1. Joe Taylor welcomed and thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

2.0. Apologies

2.1. Apologies were noted and recorded

3.0. Review of the last 12 months

3.1. Joe informed the group that the last 12 months had been a successful and exciting time for the Heritage Network with projects / activities such as:

· The heritage quizzes that took place in the Townships
· The development of an Heritage Network web-site to store agendas and minutes from meetings
· The formation of excellent working relationships with WLCT (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust) the Council and Cultural Partnership that enabled strategic links to the LSP
· The production of a Wigan Dialect DVD for educational use featuring world famous local linguist Richard Donald Lewis
· The current development of Heritage Network DVD and resource pack for schools

3.2. Rachel reiterated Joe's comments saying that she had worked with many of the people that were around the table and praised them for all their hard work and dedication to the Heritage cause. She also stated that she looked forward to working with everyone again in the future.

3.3. Tom Price thanked Emma Scott for her support whilst Joe was away in New Zealand. He also expressed his sadness regarding the Community Empowerment Programme not being able to support the Heritage Network any more. Tom thanked WLCT officers John Hesketh and John Hill for their interim support.

4.0. AGM

4.1. John Hill explained the nomination process to those present and then the current committee resigned. After the group completed the nomination forms, John reported that the following people had been elected as Heritage Network members.

· Chair - John O' Neil
· Vice Chair - Tom Price
· Treasurer - Peter Guy
· Secretary - Joe Taylor
· Committee member - Peter Taylor
· Committee member - Tom Glover
· Committee member - Norma Ackers
· Committee member - Nigel Morley

4.2. Joe thanked everyone for voting and encouraged the other people present to continue attending future meetings.

5.0. Minutes from the last meeting on 14th April 08

5.1. The minutes were agreed as a correct record

6.0. Matters Arising

6.1. Joe made reference to point 5.1 from the last minutes regarding the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) and explained that the Heritage Network was formed to support the Borough's strategic objectives.

6.2. Ray expressed his concerns about Heritage not being mentioned much in Wigan Borough's plans and how it didn't feature much in the LAA (Local Area Agreement) priorities.

6.3. Joe explained that it was up to the network to make sure that it linked into the LAA priorities.

Action: Heritage Network links to LAA as agenda item at the next meeting

6.4. Rachel reported that HLF were planning to create a funding officers post and the person would be based at the History Shop. She went on to explain that she didn't know the persons remit, but would find out and report back to the group.

Action: Rachel to find out remit of HLF Funding Officers role and report back to group

6.5. Zenno stated that it was important for the group to work in a strategic manner. He also encouraged the group to consider funding options other than the HLF.

6.6. Joe echoed Zenno's comments and explained that the HLF application process is very complex.

6.7. John O'Neil stated that if the Heritage Strategy was re-visited, the Heritage Network would have to be involved. He also said that all HLF bids should be treated fairly even if each group had different aims and objectives. The group agreed with John's comments.

6.8. Ray updated the group about the ongoing work of the archaeological society at the Parish Church Rectory and reiterated the importance of the network and the society working together in partnership.

6.9. Tom Glover and Brian Parr shared about the Roman Road dig in Ince. Both said they were confident about finding the remains in the near future. Tom explained that the Mesnes Park Boer War dig would start again soon.

6.10. Rachel reminded everyone that details about both digs were in the latest edition of Past Forward.

6.11. Tom continued and explained that archaeological societies could now use mini-diggers as long as they had relevant employer's liability insurance. He said that the conditions in the insurance would only allow a maximum of 19 people on site at one time. Tom explained that using the diggers made work much easier for his group.

6.12. Peter Guy made reference to point 10.2 of last minutes regarding the proposal of introducing a of £6.00 annual membership fee to cover the groups administration costs.

6.13. Joe suggested that the group vote about the issue. The group agreed and voted against the proposal.

6.14. John Hill advised that the group should consider fundraising for the future, to cover the groups running costs.

6.15. Tom Price mentioned that the £6.00 membership fee could have been used to buy the Fred Alcroft plaque. The group discussed the issue again with the same outcome. Claire Brennan did however say that the group should look at fundraising in the future. The group agreed. The conversation continued and Joe Taylor said that he would pay for the plaque if the Community Empowerment Programme were unable to do so.

Action: Joe Taylor said that he would purchase the Fred Alcroft plaque if the Community Empowerment Programme were unable to do so.

7.0. The Way Forward

7.1. The group discussed the issue and agreed to carry on in the same manner as previously. They all agreed that they would meet every six weeks at the History Shop at10.30am on Mondays, but if required would be flexible to change days, dependant on need and availability.

8.0. Members News

8.1. Jack Topping shared about Hindley History Society. He said that they had 50 members that concentrated on work in the Hindley area.

8.2. Tony Hilton reported that his group and the WLCT had agreed to site the current remains of the Boer War Memorial at the Parsons Walk entrance of Mesnes Park.

8.3. John O'Neil explained that he had retired as elected member and Deputy Leader of the Council, but said that he was looking forward to working with the network on heritage projects.

8.4. Emma Scott said that she was delighted with the choice of the Heritage Network's new members. She reported that she could now bow out gracefully and carry on with her consultation project for the Council.

8.5. Carol Littler stated that she was not representing a group, but said that she would like to continue attending meetings as volunteer with an interest in Heritage.

8.6. Denis Malley shared about the Friends of Wigan Heritage. He said that his group had been informed with the Heritage Network since its conception and that he was excited about the future of heritage in this borough. He went on to say that the 'Friends' group are actively involved in the HLF History Shop refurbishment project.

8.7. Nigel Morley explained about his group the Wigan Finescale Railway Modellers. He reported that they currently meet in Billinge and that they do numerous exhibitions and displays around the country. He said that 4000 people attended last December's exhibition at Robin Park. Nigel praised the staff at Robin Park because they were so helpful and always went the extra mile when assisting his group. Nigel said that his group were currently looking for funding.

8.8. Zenno offered to help Nigel and at this point, had to leave the meeting. John Hill verbally passed Zenno's contact details to the group members.

8.9. Neil Forshaw shared about the George Formby Society. He said that he was very pleased with the statue in the Grand Arcade and that his group were hoping to hold a convention in Wigan in the very near future.

8.10. Clare Brennan praised the George Formby Society, who recently performed at the Over 50's Forum, explaining that the performance was fantastic. She also stated that George Formby and George Orwell were not celebrated enough in this borough. Clare went on to explain about the work of the Over 50's and how they organise / provide intergenerational activities and projects to address social isolation issues and perceived barriers between the younger and older members of this borough.

8.11. Tom Glover reported about Wigan Archaeological Society. He said that that his group were confident of joining the dotted lines on the ancient Roman map that show the road from Cockium to Manchester. Tom also reported about the ongoing works at Wigan Rectory and how his group were planning to involve the Deanery High School in the project. He also said that the Council's Planning Department would also be involved in the process.

8.12. Norma Ackers explained that her group Leigh Local History Society had not been active for the last 3 years due to the high cost of hiring meeting venues. She said that she had recently spoken to her former group members about putting their publications on the web - system. Norma said that the group had not yet decided if this would happen.

8.13. Lisa Beckett explained her role as Head of Development and shared about the projects she manages, such as the Cultural Partnership, the Wigan Joint Service Centre and the HLF refurbishments at the History Shop.

8.14. Brian Parr praised Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust officers for all their help and support, especially Rachel Orme and the other staff at the History Shop.

9.0. Any Other Business

9.1. Joe Taylor explained that the Heritage Network web-site needed re-housing and said that a friend of his was willing to carry out the task. He then asked the group for permission to re-house the web-site and the group agreed to his proposal. Finally Joe closed the meeting and said that he looked forward to the next one.

10.0. Time and date of next meeting to be arranged.

John Hill
June 08.