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Warwickshire Conservation Volunteers Committee.

Meeting Wednesday 20th December 2023. Wainbody Wood

Present: Pam Reason (Chair) Chris Bills (Secretary)

Trevor Simpson (Treasurer) Mike Skinner (Task coordinator)

John Phillips John Clements Milton Vaughan Sarah Richards Mike O’Donnell Adrian Miles

Brendan Noonan Paul Goode Lorna Wheeler


Apologies: Domonic Smith, Tim Johnson


1 Minutes of previous meeting accepted.


2 Matters Arising none


3 Activities Report:


  1. WCV is now 11 years old and our score of task days is now 690 * This year we have managed to do 23 tasks for Coventry CC, 1 for Astley Castle, 1 for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, 2 for Bagot's Castle, 3 for Heronfield, 8 for Warwickshire CC, 3 for Willow Park, 2 at Willoughby plus other odd ones at Pam's meadow, Chesterton, Radford Semele, Alderminster and a couple of footpath improvement tasks off our own bat.

  2. In addition to the Wednesday tasks, John Phillips has supervised 18 Thursday task days at Coundon Community Wood, Pig Wood and Binley Little Wood..

  3. We do get appreciative comments from our customers now and again, especially Mitch at Heronfield and by members of the public alike. We have had “Thankyou” messages on Facebook for the footpath improvement work in Kenilworth and a nice e-mail from the clerk of the Willoughby Parish Council

  4. Forthcoming projects are: -

  1. Continuation of regular work for Coventry CC.

  2. Further work for Warwickshire CC.

  3. More projects with WKWT on their reserves around the county. As I mentioned last year, Nick Martin is now Nature Reserves Manager for all 66 WKWT reserves in the county and he is very keen to get our help as it seems they cannot manage with their current volunteer numbers.

  4. Val is discussing with Balsall Common PC more work in Willow Park and in the cemetery at Temple Balsall.

  5. I have had a request from Warwick District Council for help with some hedgerow planting in Newbold Comyn Park so this may open up further opportunities.

  6. Possible further work at Russel’s Nursery in Baginton.

  7. We have only visited Guy’s Cliffe House once this year. Adrian told me that the reason is “finances are a bit tight” but he has not forgotten us. There is still a wall to complete.

  8. Astley Castle has also only had one visit. I am not sure what Landmark Trust's plans are for the castle. Maybe they want to let it go "wild" but I have had no word from them since June which is rather surprising.

  9. Following the sudden death of our customer David Hewer I am not sure what work we might still have at Bagot’s Castle. Delia thinks we will still be needed there.

  1. Our annual outing this year on the 6th July took us to Leckhampton and Crickley Hills where we had wonderful views over the Vale of Evesham and picked out several well-known hills in the Welsh borders. We also found some “Roman Snails".

  2. We should welcome Pam’s friend Lorna into the group and hope that she will become a regular.

  3. In conclusion I would like once more to thank everyone for their hard work over the last 12 month


4 Chairman’s Report:


It’s been another good year for the group. Lots of variety in the tasks from the usual holly bashing in the Coventry woodlands to bridge building, stream clearance and step building. Thanks to Mike for organising all our tasks and finding some new clients for us. The only thing he couldn’t organise was the weather – we seem to have had more wet Wednesdays than usual this year.


Thanks also to Mike for arranging a lovely day out in the Cotswolds in the summer – a great walk with stunning views (and dry!)


As usual Trevor has balanced the books brilliantly, with a very useful allowance for everyone towards clothing and tools.

We recently welcomed Lorna and another Sarah to our ranks and we hope they have enjoyed themselves and will continue to join us when they can. Due to work commitments, Devi has been unable to join us but keeps in touch by email.


The last thanks must go to all of you for your dedication and friendship. From lifts to cakes and biscuits and the lovely feast today, I’m proud to be Chair of such a lovely group and hope we can continue for many years to come.


5 Treasurer’s Report:


Accounts end of year figures are on the Web.

With an increase in non-paying tasks income was much lower than previous years.

Income from task work was £900 down on last year at £3475, with £2400 of that from Coventry City Council work. Total income was £4863.

Administration and training costs (£480 last year) now £272, insurance has returned but some payments relating to the website do not renew annually. Within this there is a monthly charge of £5 for maintaining the bank account.

Clothing &Tools rocketed because of the move to spread the surplus over mileage and attendance (mileage is now included here).

Equipment includes the ever-rising cost of the storage garage now over £810 p.a.

So the end of the year shows a deficit of £856 compared to a surplus of £4300 last year, leaving a bank balance at the end of the year of £5031 compared to £5888 at end of previous year.

This is enough to make payments on the basis agreed last year, splitting an excess of £3000 between mileage and attendances to still leave a working balance. Payments being early transactions in the next accounting year. The resulting mileage rate worked out at just over18ppm as distributed in December.

Web site - I aim to keep up to date showing the next events and locations, with the accounts updated about once a month.



6 Emergency Discussion:


John C had circulated ‘Annual General Meeting – Mater Arising:


At our last AGM I said I would make some suggestions to be discussed by the group, arising from the circumstances surrounding the death of Eric, 2 years ago.

Some simple improvements were made at the time - e.g. inclusion pf aspirin and an emergency blanket in the First Aid Kit.

Some things bear reiteration - the person making the call to the Emergency Service needs to know the precise location of the work site - grid reference or 'what three words'. (I made the call but didn't know our location).

But the main concern was the length of time it took to get help. For me, this falls into two parts:

Firstly, Eric seemed to become ill quickly. We cannot know if he had any inkling or premonition of what was about to happen but he may have felt embarrassed and reluctant to 'make a fuss'. For the future, we might agree amongst ourselves that if one of us does begin to feel ill we will say so. Having witnessed someone apparently healthy and cheerful die within a couple of hours, I think the group could be relied upon to react speedily and sensitively to that information.

Secondly, to state the obvious, the Emergency Services were a long time coming. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the position has not improved much. It is agonising to recall that Eric remained conscious for a considerable length of time, while we were a few hundred yards, over level ground, from our cars and then less than 30 minutes from a major hospital. It is unlikely that we will ever find ourselves in exactly that situation again, but if we were to find ourselves in similar circumstances, having first called the Emergency Services, I would suggest that we should at least discuss the advisability of transporting the patient ourselves. This could be done in consultation with the Emergency Services call handler.


Trevor started by asking for Mike’s list of personal details for everyone he said he had. It was agreed it couldn’t go on the webpage so Mike would give us each a paper copy. Mike said he had asked his GP daughter about an emergency kit. She had said aspirin which is now in the First Aid box and a space blanket which he has ordered and she will give a list of things to do in emergencies. She also said a sterile needle is needed for splinters. She said we had done the correct thing in not trying to get Eric to the road but to start CPR straight away and continue until paramedics arrive. Lorna said she had trained as a nurse and would recommend that we all know our location and there needs to be two First Aid kits for when we are working in two groups. Location of defibrillators is needed but it was found the nearest to Wainbody was at the top of Gibbet Hill so too far to get it and use it.


7 A.O.B


John C said chain saw needs servicing and he needs a refresher chainsaw course. Mike said that WWT might provide that now we are doing tasks for them.

Mike said he had sent a Christmas greeting to all our customers.

He said that the cost of the garage for storing our kit has gone up 10% again this year


The meeting ended at 2:35

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