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Where has all the money gone!
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TOPIC: Where has all the money gone!

Where has all the money gone! 11 years, 1 month ago #1

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Tom Taylor
Reporter

In October 2011 we were informed that a group - Eastwood Nursery Allotments Association (ENAA) had leased a substantial section of land from East Renfrewshire Council.

After much hard work by volunteers on the site, in April 2012 we were then informed that “In a few weeks’ time we would see gardeners starting to sow their first seeds of spring, and this area will become an active and attractive piece of the park” and that in addition a herb garden had been created on the site.

Almost £70,000 in public grants has been received by this group to develop what we would know as good old fashioned ‘allotments’

With the appearance this week of the spring sunshine we went along to see how well these allotments have developed over the twelve months that have elapsed.

When we visited the site we could find no discernable signs of activity by ‘actual’ plot holders in the past year.

This is how the site looks this week.

DSCF9303.JPG


Papers that Newsline have obtained indicate that there has been £68,795 acquired by way of grants from public organisations. £3600 has been paid for drainage and £225 paid for compost beds.

Of the remaining money £31,546 has been earmarked for connection to water and electricity supply, greenhouse foundations, greenhouse, top soil, individual plot fencing, pathways and disabled surfaces, poly tunnel, communal shed, outreach materials, community event, outreach officer, weighing scales and project management and yet all that appears to be left is a bank balance of £4868.55 and £169.70 in petty cash.

We found no evidence of buildings, greenhouses, plot fencing etc.

These papers also indicate that this sum includes £29,548 that was received via a grant from CSGN (Central Scotland Green Network) and paid to TRA, the chair of which is Lisa Marie Robertson and apparently she holds the audited accounts for these monies.

TRA refers to Thornliebank Residents Association, of which the chair (Lisa Marie Robertson) is also the secretary of ENAA and she is also the treasurer of East Renfrewshire - Disability Action.

Which raises the question, why did monies intended for ENAA end up in the accounts of the TRA?

As TRA's are statutory bodies we have requested to see a copy of their recent accounts.

Enquiries have revealed that a number of people have concerns with regards to other matters.

Newsline has requested comments from the following, amongst others:

1) Iain McLean, Head of Planning - who was referred to by the secretary to the ENAA, as having been involved in the preparation of a new constitution and stating that they could exclude the public from the AGM.

ERC - PR Department refused to answer our questions put to Ian McLean and referred us back to the association.

2) Lisa Marie Robertson, Secretary to the Association

Despite our questions being directed to the secretary, her only response has been she 'would need to put it to the committee'. Newsline has since pointed out our enquiries are centred on ‘her’ actions and not the committee's, but she has still failed to respond.

3) Councillor Vincent Waters, Convernor of the Environment.

The Cllr has ignored our request and failed to respond.

As a consequnce of this silence we have been unable to obtain answers to the following questions.

• Why was it necessary to place a bouncer on the door at the AGM as it is normally incumbent on these associations to hold their meetings in public?

• Why was it felt necessary for the secretary to call the police to remove a member of the public who had simply requested entry to the AGM?

• Why were members of the local community excluded from the AGM yet Cllr Vincent Waters was invited and chaired the meeting at one point.

• Why was in necessary to alter their constitution to include such things as the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science. The relief of those in need by reason of age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage,

• The association’s secretary stated that ERC had been heavily involved in the preparation of their constitution. Why would this be so, do ERC not have a potential conflict as the landlords.

• Why did the association’s secretary state that Iain McLean, Head of Planning at ERC had advised that members of the public could be excluded from the AGM?

• Why have personal associations that may be relevant not been declared?

• Why will the ENAA's secretary not speak with Newsline on this matter?

• Why will ERC’s PR Section not speak with Newsline on this matter?

Given the sums of public money involved, should total transparency not be paramount.

Re: Where has all the money gone! 11 years, 1 month ago #2

  • Gerry
Nothing growing - the money is still in the bank - nae bodies talking - and ERC are also no saying anything aboot their tenants - Naw. Ye are making it up

Re: Where has all the money gone! 11 years, 1 month ago #3

  • Why?
The baldy fat man with the repeating record of failure who presided over the collapse of the association of community councils refused to show any numbers in the accounts, created rifts when chairman of barrhead cc and drove the chamber of commerce into oblivion rears his ugly head again. He sold out Labour to join the SNP but ensured his wife stayed with Labour giving him access to Labour info. How Fletch can sit in the same room without punching him is a tribute to Fletch the politico. This counciller is in bed with the enaa secretary and it will all end in her tears as he always looks after only himself. She will take the fall and he will run back home to barrhead when the music stops. Grate scoop Newsline.
Buchanan better watch his back there is a fat cookoo in the snp nest.

Cloak of secrecy? 11 years, 1 month ago #4

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So what of the AGM - did Lisa Marie Robertson the Secretary, really telephone the police and request that they attend and arrest a man for wanting to join her association.

This was a man that we are led to believe has been known to her for many years, who had previously volunteered to create and host a web site free of charge for the allotment association, attended the fundraiser and spent a lot of cash, and offered to pay on the evening to join the organisation and make a sizeable donation.

We contacted Chief Inspector Campbell Crawford, Area Commander for East Renfrewshire and he said" I can confirm that police received a telephone call requesting that they attend at Woodfarm Hall on the evening of 14th March ". "Prior to officers attending a second telephone call was received some thirty minutes later cancelling the officers attending".

But what of the man who wanted to attend the AGM of a public association, we contacted him and this was his response.

"I tried to attend the AGM of the ENAA as an interested local resident.

I have been a supporter of the project from the start, have attended fundraisers, visited the plot on open days.

My children attend local schools and nurseries, so would be expected to be included in outreach schemes to include local schools.

I have actively promoted the ENAA on a number of community websites I help run, and have spoken at Parent Council meetings in support of the Association's aims (to run community allotments).

I offered my web development skills for free if a website was required, but this offer was not taken up. (I sometimes do community websites for free, in my spare time).

I am not a paid-up member, as I do not wish to have an allotment plot - I already have a large garden.

Plots should be prioritised to those without big gardens.

I have however probably donated enough money to cover the membership fee - at a fundraiser, they would not "keep the change" at the bar, insisting I received raffle tickets.

Unfortunately we got so many we ruined the raffle by winning most of the prizes.

I had heard from committee members that there were issues regarding the running of the Association, particularly a new constitution that was being proposed.

As I live a minute’s walk from the AGM location, I thought I would go along, as a local, member of the public, to hear both sides of the story.

Clearly, as a non-member, I did not expect to speak or vote. I understand in the current constitution, members of the local community can be voted on to the committee at the AGM - presumably.

Upon arriving at the venue, I was told I could not attend, as I was not a member. Some committee members recognised me and welcomed me, but there were 2 other committee members creating a barrier at the entrance.

I was told I had no right to attend, and that if I did not leave the building, the police would be phoned. I did not raise my voice, or cause a scene - I requested that the police be called, as I was doing nothing wrong.

I simply wished to attend the AGM of a voluntary organisation, founded with the support of our local Community Councils, which has received a considerable amount of public funding, in a community hall.

I offered to pay the membership fee - I offered double the fee, cash, as a donation on top, but I was told it was too late, I could not join.

I offered to sit at the back, not say a word, and just observe, but no.

It was all down to the constitution, it barred my entry.

While I was there, another non-member arrived, and was welcomed in, Cllr Waters.

I'm not sure if he was invited, or if the other ward councillors, Cllr Fletcher or Cllr Wallace, or indeed the Community Convenor Cllr Montague were also invited and did not attend.

A Giffnock Community Councillor was turned away. I'm not sure if the constitution allows for special guests to be invited to the AGM, but I understand the Cllr Waters played an active role in the proceedings.

The AGM started without me, and I was left with what appeared to be a bouncer, a large gentlemen, who told me that he was not attending the meeting either - I'm not sure why he was there in that case, other than to provided "security". I did not wish to be party to the wasting of police time, so I left and walked home.

This is a community group, run by members of the community.

It is applying for and receiving considerable sums of money in grants.

Surely they should make sure that their organisation is open and transparent?

Community Councillor Barred 11 years, 1 month ago #5

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"A Giffnock Community Councillor was turned away"

This refers to a long standing Community Councillor who has been on the allotment site giving of his time and energy as a volunteer since the inception of the project.

We contacted Community Councillor Ross McKemmie and he said "I don’t have a problem about being excluded from the ENAA AGM.

The allotments are the business of the allotment holders and the neighbouring businesses and residents.

They can exclude whoever else they like from their AGM.

I did have a concern that the members might not appreciate the implications of the change to the constitution whereby present and future committees can pursue a very wide range of activities in the associations name, whether related to allotments or not.

However I understand that this was fully explained at the AGM, and that the members were happy to accept this responsibility.

I am glad that the association now has a committee elected by its members, with a constitution that they have agreed.

I hope and expect that the allotments will now move forward and prosper."

Community Councillor Barred 11 years, 1 month ago #6

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Community Councillor Ross McKemmie is the secretary of the Giffnock Community Council, seen here with other volunteers on the allotments site.

1_2013-04-10.jpg


What are Community Councils
Community Councils are the most local tier of statutory representation in Scotland. They bridge the gap between local authorities and communities, and help to make public bodies aware of the opinions and needs of the communities they represent.

Have Giffnock CC been involved in this project.
From the local newspaper....But four local community groups Thornliebank Tenants and Residents Association (TRA), Giffnock Community Council, Thornliebank Community Council and the Woodfarm Residents Group have been driving and developing the allotment project idea over the past five years.

We would love to be in a position to explain why the ENAA banned CCllr McKemmie from attending their AGM, but they will not talk to us.
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