On 15th October BIG held its Annual General Meeting.
The AGM is a time for the BIG directors to report progress to members. The AGM is an important event in the year of a Community Interest Company like BIG as it gives members an opportunity to review the achievements of the last year and the progress towards BIG’s objective of making the Bearpit welcoming, safe, diverse and inclusive. It also provides a forum for them to contribute their own views and ideas.
This year’s AGM also saw a change of Chair. After three years as Chairman of BIG, Alan Morris stood down from the post and was replaced by Mike Thorne who was previously company secretary. During his three years as Chair, Alan Morris has overseen some significant developments in the Bearpit, which are detailed in his annual report: BearpitImprovementGroup-2014_15annualreport.docx
Key achievements of the group in the last 12 months include:
- physical improvements to the space–paving, steps, lighting, power supply, walkway/cycleway were all completed in September;
- the introduction of a café in a vintage bus in March, together with a spring event to coincide with its opening;
- provocative environmentally-themed art delivered by People’s Republic of Stokes Croft as part of Green Capital year;
- a series of art interventions during the year delivered by The ArtinBearpit arts project, led by the Hand in Glove arts co-operative;
- the installation of heritage panels in May in the bus station subway ramp, detailing the history of the Bearpit and surrounding area;
- working with police, Bristol City Council’s homelessness support and cleansing services via Place Management meetings;
- completing Bristol City Council’s licence of the space to BIG in May;
- recruiting a number of new volunteers during, adding to its mix and strength.
As well as those achievements several other initiatives are in train or just about to begin, including:
- landscaping and planting improvements in the autumn;
- a series of play improvements to be implemented over the coming months, including a re-designed north-east grassy area;
- following submission of two funding bids for a ‘Community Hub”, continued pursuit of funding and partnerships;
- working with the Council on plans to convert the female toilets for use for trading and an arts space, and to reconfigure and refurbish the remaining toilets to become male and female toilets;
- re-engaging with the Council’s senior management, which is now reviewing its strategy for the Bearpit alongside BIG’s own development plan.
As required by the Company’s constitution, the current board of directors stepped down and a new board was re-elected. Many of the retiring directors offered themselves for re-election. The new board is as follows:
- Tina Hart
- Sue Kilroe
- Mike Thorne
- Alan Morris
- Sara Venn
- Chris Chalkley
- Miriam Delogu
- Kat Hegarty
- Richard Jones
At the subsequent board meeting, the Directors were allocated areas of responsibility.
The Bearpit Improvement Group was set up with the objective of providing a service to the community and is keen to engage the talents and enthusiasm of local people in its work. If you are interested in becoming a member click here for further details.