Notes of AGM meeting on 7th November 2022 held at 7.30pm at Bramcote Memorial Hall.


Chair: Helene Laanest

Committee present: John Appleton, Jane Hardman, Steve Severn, Eric Curtis (Treasurer), Nick Woodier (Secretary/ minutes)

Total in attendance: 16

Apologies from: Elizabeth Dalton, Carol and Allan Bridgwater, Barbara Lynes, Andy Blackham, Stan Heptenstall, Pauline Glover, Viv Chamberlain Helene welcomed the Friends to the AGM.

The meeting was quorate.

Matters arising from the last AGM

  • Fire beaters: suggested considering the dry weather and because of previous fires. Consultation was undertaken and Geoff Fewkes (founding member) provided feedback that this should not be taken forward. Rationale was: it requires 1) multiple beaters in multiple areas, 2) damage and vandalism, 3) wildfires are dangerous and unpredictable. The Committee decided not to progress this.
  • High-visibility jackets for working sessions: £7.75 before VAT. Due to cost and not feeling the necessity the Committee decided not to progress this.

Chair’s report

Helene wanted to bring the Friends attention to the following:

  • Greenwood Community Forum and Friends of the Forum – The Friends were previously members of the Forum from 2001 to 2014, but membership was not continued. Helene met the Forum at a recent event and saw a list of reserves around the region. Helene raised for discussion, whether the Friends should re-join the Forum. The price is £30 per annum, with the main benefits being support, guidance, funding, advertising, training, website development, and project support. They provide a set of display boards, banners, etc. Helene felt that it would be nice for the Friends to be part of the Forum and access learning. The Committee felt this would be appropriate to progress and asked the Friends for their views. Those in attendance raised no objections.
  • Insurance – the Friends were previously insured by Zurich, but due to doubling of the premium (up to £140), insurance has been moved by Helene (now £64/ year). Insurance is now with BHIB Charities. No objections were raised by the Friends.
  • Green Flag Award – The Friends have successfully won the award for 2022/23. Most comments were positive. Helene read out the recommendations for improvements – 1) attaching signs to trees may be harmful to trees and may not send the best message (Helene has written to the Council to ask how best the signs can be put up); 2) ensure any bedding are grown in peat-free compost (Helene clarified the Friends do not use this compost); 3) ensure habitat work is carried out in line with management plan stipulations (Helene described that the Friends undertake work in line with a management plan which is available via the Broxtowe Borough Council website); 4) could make more use of social media (Committee agreed that the Friends could move to use social media, but that there are other routes that are more appropriate for the area, and can use existing social media platforms rather than create a new one). The award noted that the Friends were committed to keeping the area accessible and ideal for wildlife.
  • Flower survey – Emily and Isobel have been volunteering with the Friends for their Duke of Edinburgh award. The Friends had tasked them with undertaking a wildflower survey. The pair were given a list of what had been planted and sown, and they undertook a review of the different areas of the Ridge and logged what was seen and not seen. The Friends were grateful for the work they had undertaken, it was felt to be very beneficial and supportive.
  • Bird boxes – the Friends wanted to extend their thanks to Ewan for his continued dedication to the Ridge and for his work on bird boxes.

Work sessions report

Helene provided a report for each month and paid thanks to Jane for her litter picking. There has been a good attendance each month with 10 – 20 Friends per month, except for September 2022. In summary:

  • January – visit from Mayor and Chris Riley (Council) to discuss benefits of various seeds; scarified grass land areas; planted plugs and seeds.
  • February – clearing paths and brambles.
  • March – plug plant planting.
  • April – more plug plants and planted some patches of nettle as suggested by the Council; cleared ash saplings and cut back new growth.
  • May/ June/ July – cleared bridle path and cutting back.
  • August – tidied wildflower areas; tended to new hedge off Heather Rise.
  • September – bramble clearing.
  • October – birdboxes cleaned (all had been used, just one with abandoned eggs); cleared Russian vine (thank you to Brian Abthorpe who has also been working on it); replaced wood edging; removed broom from wildflower area.
  • November – planted daffodil bulbs; cleared bridle path; removed fallen trees.

Treasurer report

Eric provided the treasurer report. Balance as of 31 October 2021 was £1315.52. Income over the past year has been £25, including £20 on subscriptions, and £5 donation from Robert Armitage. Expenditure has included wild flower seeds (£55.99), hire of hall (£30), wine (£10), total expenditure £95.99. The accounts have been examined by Nick Cooper (accountant) as auditor for the payment of a bottle of wine. The Friends are grateful to Nick for his ongoing support.

Financially there were no concerns. No questions were asked by the Friends. Eric confirmed that the Friends are now taking subs online, but cash and cheques were still fine.

Bird and butterfly

John provided the update and noted there had been no new bird species this year. The sparrowhawks nested in the dense wood off Thoresby road, for a second year. There were also two large flocks (over 50) of goldfinches. Regarding bird boxes, this is the first time there have been 5 eggs left in a single box. John will investigate which box it was to look to move it.

Currently seeing nuthatches daily, and woodpeckers, goldcrests, jays, and chiffchaff. Not many swifts this year. Sparrows, song thrushes, and starlings are very rare in this area now.

Regarding butterflies the usual 18 species were seen, no painted ladies. There have been good numbers of Orange Tip and Holly Blue, but very low numbers of several species compared to last year, probably because of the heat. John considered that the bareness of grassland in the past year may have been impacting on this.

The Friends wanted to thank John for his ongoing work with bird and butterfly reviews and having done so for past 20 years.

Election of committee

No new nominations and the current committee were willing to continue in their posts. The committee were re-elected by the Friends.


Helene asked for suggestions for new projects. Suggestions were:

  • Information boards (suggested by the Council). It was suggested by the Friends that these could include birds and butterflies to encourage people to wander around and spot them. Council is supportive of this as it is part of their management plan. The Friends may be able to supply information to the Council to create a board, potentially with a QR code for the website.
  • Wildflower area at the top of Sandy Lane. This has been poor for the last few years and was suggested to be converted to grassland/ meadow. There were no objections.
  • More bat and bird boxes. It was suggested to look at the current boxes on the Alexandra Plantation in December/January. Helene will get some quotes for kits and several Friends can start building them.
  • Question asked about Notts Wildlife Trust, they have an online map on which individuals and organisations can map their work. The Friends will find out more.
  • Water on the Ridge. Helene questioned about a water area? This could be beneficial to increase water supply for animals but would need to consider aspects such as health and safety.
  • Planning applications. John pointed out that there is a new planning application for 2 houses which will include a large pond between them. Reference: 22/00790.

AGM planned for 6/11/2023

Meeting closed at 20:31

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