Minutes of the joint meeting of the Administrative Officers
Minutes of the joint meeting of the Administrative Officers of both Associations and invited councillors held at the Porthcawl Town Council Offices at 6pm on Tuesday 26 April 2011.
1. The meeting was chaired by the Mayor Cllr Mary Emment-Lewis and Robert Chick Chairman of PSSTTA. Others present; for Porthcawl, Secretary: Caroline David (CD),Treasurer: Malcolm Hanbury(MH), Membership Secretary: Dave Bush (DB),Town Council Representative:Cllr Wendy Ingram(WI), Deputy Mayor Cllr Barbara Stubbs (BS), and from St. Sébastien sur Loire: Chairman: Valerie Sourisseau, Deputy Chairman: Bernard Dusoulier ( BD), Deputy Secretary: Gerard Richard(GR), Cllr Georges Normant (GN), Cllr Agnes Revol (AR),Jean Michel Richard (JMR), Jean Luc Billet (JLB).
2. MEL opened the meeting and welcomed all present. The chair was handed to RC to conduct the business of the meeting.
Due to problems with the council photocopier the requested agenda and previous minutes had not been provided for the meeting.
Apologies: There were no apologies for absence received.
Minutes of last meeting: RC provided a French version to VS who summarised these in English and they were accepted by the meeting.
Matters arising: RC stated that he still wanted to ensure PSSTTA did more to promote activities and culture in schools and involved older youth. RC made reference to the possible special event in SSSL during 2012 and the proposals by Joel Guerriau (JG) in respect of Golf, Lions Club and music schools. RC referred to the possibility of alternative communication between the Associations and which had previously been discussed and he had already emailed VS regarding the possibility of using Skype which is free.
3. Raison d’être of Associations/ Constitutions.
RC said that in Porthcawl there had been some hesitation realising and accepting the full scope of our constitution – we are here to do more than promote individual friendships – there should be a much bigger agenda. We need to bring people together, promote mutual understanding especially involving youth and ensure there is a sense of fun. At the same time we must not forget the more serious agenda needs also to be considered e.g. the issue of disability issues in communities raised by JG in 2010, environmental issues, political matters etc. He is now more open to money from ‘outside’ to facilitate and support or objectives e.g. grants to schools. Town Twinning must promote and facilitate youth exchanges to ensure its future. Our own children have grown up and we need ensure we still concentrate on a youth agenda ( nods of agreement from the French members). VS asked if it is written as in France in a legal requirement. RC confirmed it was but that friendship and understanding is not enough. We have no strong community base and exchanges which involve concerts, rugby and other cultural and sporting activities are essential as they will hopefully attract parents as new members.
RC paid tribute to DB’s work in getting people to join and remain members of our Association. We have 81 memberships which relate to nearly 200 people and 31 very active memberships. RC asked if there were an optimum number of members for the SSSL Association. VS said they had similar number of members (rather than memberships). She added that they have four twinning and corporation links. There followed some discussion on the problems of finding sufficient hosts at the time of visits. RC said that using hotels was expensive but it did allow more people to participate and they did fund themselves. This approach would always be necessary if we planned any special events. Hosting had proved difficult for the Technical students and the rugby was deferred because of similar problems. VS said their people would not come as it was not in the spirit of twinning but RC said that choirs and some of the older members preferred to use hotels for personal reasons. VS agreed this would be acceptable for choirs. A limit may need to be set on the number coming on any one exchange and some people may be offended. BD suggested there could possibly more than one visit each year with 40 people at different times of the year. RC confirmed that would likely be the case for the rugby which is now planned for October/November.
RC stated he would like to know more about the French approach to fund raising. Some of the replies were that the council helps and that car boot sales are held in the supermarket carpark – with a charge being made for pitches and the sale of refreshments- one event made nearly 2,500 Euros in a day. MEL said there were already many other organisations in Porthcawl doing a similar thing. VS suggested street markets and WI expanded the idea. RC said we are not a registered charity but perhaps we should look at this considering our educational/ cultural emphasis and our providing small grants/prizes from our funds to students. However we needed to be careful of how we raise money for the public which could be seen as for our own purposes. Licences to sell food or drink would be more difficult to obtain than they are in France.
6 Recent Initiatives.
i. La Baugerie students. VS said this was the first time the college had been involved in a visit and everyone had enjoyed the trip. The exchange with Neath/Port Talbot college organised on this side by RC was a good visit and in May the students will need to make a presentation about it. VS promised to provide details for the occasion. She thanked everyone involved.
ii. School exchanges. Once again three students Visited SSSL and were each given some financial aid from the Association. Two students from SSSL were now being hosted during the current visit.
iii. Concert. A choir from Villenave d’Ornon which is twinned with Bridgend took part in a very enjoyable concert with Sounds Familiar a local group from Porthcawl. Some 150 people attended and funds were raised for both Bridgend and Porthcawl TTA’s. There was agreement that a future PSSTTA could involve members from SSSL with both choirs singing the same song. MH said September and Christmas would be difficult for the Porthcawl Male voice choir.
7. Proposed Initiatives.
i. Junior rugby exchange. Hopefully this will now take place in Oct/Nov 2011. Some host have already come forward. VS stressed that the rugby clubs will organise. RC said the Association would help facilitate the exchange and if necessary he would help with hosting.
ii. Further ideas. RC asked “What do you do to engage with people?” JMR said there are many organisations in SSSL with up to 1500 members e.g. craft workshops doing patchwork into which Twinning can link. RC spoke of a 3-4 day exhibition which could involve many activities. BD Said their Mayor would be going to National Assembly in Paris next year and maybe we could meet them there.
8. 2012 Visit to SSSL. The Queen’s Jubilee is in early June and there is also the Olympics in the summer which will need to be taken into consideration. DB suggested the end of August. VS said she would get back to us by email. Several members also referred to the special event in SSSL to showcase Wales in 2012. No details were available. RC stated it was important that we be given plenty of notice for such events. DB would like a Badminton Club exchange and AR asked to be sent a written proposal.
VS suggested handball but it was explained we do not have this sport in Porthcawl. JLB said it was important we do things together even though we may have language difficulties e.g. a joint walking programme. MEL thanked everyone for attending.
9. Any Other Business – None.
The Meeting closed at 7:15 p.m.