Sunday, 16 August 2009

A constitution for ECGA

Hello everyone

As I've looked into getting some funding for ECGA projects like the Portobello Town Hall garden, it's become clear that we need to make the organisation a bit more formal. Most funders insist that we have a constitution, plan of activities and bank account.

I've put together a draft constitution, using a model from SCVO, the umbrella body for the Scottish voluntary sector. This would give us a set of rules for running things like meetings and membership, but not fundamentally change what we've been doing.

I'd appreciate it if you could read the draft and let me know if you have any comments/queries/suggested changes.
Once I've taken all these on board, we'll need to get as many people as possible together to adopt the new constitution and choose our first office bearers. Hopefully we can do this on one of our workdays in Portobello towards the end of the month or in September. Then I can get on and sort things out with the bank.

At the least we'll need to elect:
  • A Chair, to organise and run meetings of members and act as our public face
  • A Secretary, to look after our correspondence, list of members and the like
  • A Treasurer, to be responsible for the money. I'm happy to stand for this one.
The constitution is quite a long document, but here are some of the key features:
  • A two-tier structure of members and management committee, where office bearers are empowered to act on behalf of the group
  • Membership is free and open to anyone who wants to join, subject to a veto from the management committee
  • The need to maintain a register of members and hold an AGM
  • Meetings of members can be called by the management committee, or at the request of ten or more members
  • Five-year term limits for members of the management committee.
There are also provisions to deal with other eventualities that may arise in future, such as withdrawal/expulsion of members, conflicts of interest, employees, becoming a charity, and winding up the group.


Monday, 3 August 2009

Big gardening plans, small budget

Most guerrilla gardeners have a miniscule budget. Thankfully, that helpful bunch of people known as the general public regularly assist us by leaving all manner of litter which we can use in our battle.

Larger containers are a positive gift to the guerrilla gardener as they easily be turned into a birdbath or planter.

A plastic bottle can be used as a raincatcher, underground reservoir, cloche, watering can, bird feeders or a humane mole deterrents (placed a little way in soil with lid removed - wind makes a sound moles don't like).

The ubiquitous inside-out umbrella can be stripped of its fabric and the metal frame used as a support for climbers.

It's important to clear any litter from a site that could potential harm wildlife and that especially applies to carrier bags. Don't discard them though...even torn bags can be washed and fused together (by ironing them between two pieces of cardboard). The melted polythene then becomes a tough, sewable fabric useful for windbreaks, weedmats or polytunnels.

The biggest stumbling block we currently face on the Portobello site is funding - or rather, lack of it.

We have utilised whatever happened to be on site (strawberry anyone?) and hope to use the strange metal cage thingy as a cloche.

Lucy managed to get some free pallets from B&Q where she bought nails, posts, hinges etc, to make them into compost bins. (However, the prospect of secure storage looks a long way off unless the gardening fairy drops off a shed.)

If you are looking for ideas, take a look at Instructables or get inspiration from Earthship Fife who run Creative Waste Workshops.

If you can donate your time, expertise or equipment (or just want to say hello), we would love to hear from you.

The 'Sprout a Couch' photo is courtesy of ReadyMade