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Changes Bristol AGM

5 December 2013

This was the 10th Anniversary AGM, held in the meeting room on the top (4th) floor at Barton Hill, a large room with French windows opening onto a room terrace. Despite it being a dark November night, these were wide open, a tribute to all the hard work done by Changes volunteers (specially Nicholas, Colette, Sam and Jonathan) in preparing the room, which had caused them to over-heat!


The pictures show how good the display they had put together was. The blue boards had pictures about social activities, the Changes auction, Creating Changes, the adventures of Secret Squirrel and Admin Owl and the Depressed cake stall. The Amy Hart Creativity Exhibition had a selection of paintings, poems, music and pottery, done by members plus key rings and bead work made in Creating Changes sessions. There was a framed piece of writing celebrating Amy Hart’s life, and a candle and a vase of flowers. We were lucky to have Amy’s parents present at the meeting.


There were smooth vibes to welcome and soothe us, with our founder Richard playing his excellent keyboard music, and singing to it. A lovely buffet was laid out to be eaten after the meeting, and drinks and snacks were available when we arrived. We signed in (22 people attended) and there was paperwork laid out for us: an agenda, information about Trustees, a review of activities, Articles of Association, and Accounts. We were each provided with two squares of paper, one green and one orange, to raise in order to vote for or against during the meeting.


Jonathan read out apologies and ground rules, and then he delivered the Joint Chair’s report, with an account of the impressive amount of work carried out this year. We voted to approve the report, and the Treasurer’s report, of which Richard gave a mercifully brief overview (sorry, I know it’s crucial but it’s hard to make fun….). Then Hannah (who is about to complete her training to qualify as a chartered accountant) spoke about the Constitution. The major news is that Changes is preparing to change its legal status to


become a Company Limited by Guarantee. This has a number of advantages, the main ones being that the Trustees will no longer have to be personally financially liable should Changes get into financial difficulties, and also that Changes will then be able to enter into contracts for services, rents etc. which it has been unable to do up until now. We voted to approve the Constitution.


Then the sheet describing each of the Trustees was read out and they identified themselves for those of us who didn’t know them. An invitation to nominations for new Trustees having been omitted, Hannah made it clear that new Trustees can be appointed at any time during the year, and she described the straight-forward steps to do this. Anyone interested is invited to contact the office to start this process. We voted to agree to block vote about Trustees, and to approve their appointment, and that ended the formal part of the meeting.


Then we tackled the buffet, which had varied, tasty and healthy food prepared by Barton Hill staff, and soft drinks. Debbie played some classical pieces on Richard’s keyboard, and people chatted and definitely appeared to be having a good time, meeting new people as well as catching up with their mates. People also had the opportunity to purchase some lovely Changes Christmas cards were on sale designed by Sam. It was a shame that more people weren’t there as it was such a well prepared, informative and pleasant evening, the up-side being that there was spare food, and left-overs were offered to anybody to take home if they wished!