Chair welcomed all to the meeting, passed on apologies
Present: Davie McCrae (chair), Candice Peden (vice-chair), Stephanie Wint (treasurer), Catarina Costa Gallon (housing), Davie McCrae, Jnr (environment), Julie Logan, Maureen Chalmers, Liz Mulligan, Phil McLean, Agnes Logan, Jeff Haddow, Monika Kasprzyk, Riaz Agaui, Stuart Reynolds, Tanya Fyans (communications), Louise Weeze, David Blair, Susie McCrae (minutes), Jim Orr (CEC), Kim Soliman (Spirit of Dumbiedykes), Joe (Comas/Tower Power), Harriet (Comas/Tower Power)
Apologies: Fiona Henderson (secretary), Susan Fraser (social), Willie Buchan (communications), Craig Hamnett (communications), Gillian Hamnett
Due to length of last meetings minutes and the fact that the minutes had been mailed out, only 2 hard copies were printed out for this evening in a bid to reduce our environmental impact; several people however stated they had not received email. Communications group to follow up.
Approval of minutes held over til all can read minutes.
Kim from Spirit of Dumbiedykes gave a short talk about the group and then answered questions from the members. The main points were: money from the sale of assets for Commonwealth Games created a legacy fund which was to be ploughed back into communities over three years, with up to £250,000 available to each one; 14 communities in the UK, 6 in Scotland, received funding after a tendering process, Dumbiedykes was one of these communities. Spirit has been operating for 18 months so far, with another 18 months to go. A community panel has been established with 11 members including 6 community members and 5 organisational representatives to help decide how to distribute the resource budget.
There are three tiers of grants available to apply for, for projects which will benefit the community in one of the four priority areas: sports and physical activities/arts and culture/youth development/volunteering and social action.
The three tiers are: Sparks- individuals and informal groups can apply for funds up to £500; On Your Marks- constituted groups can apply for £250-£2000; Go- also for constituted groups, up to £25,000 is available.
Examples of previous projects funded included the two gala/fun days(’15 & ’16) and the Christmas event (’15)- organised by a subgroup from the panel and other community volunteers; currently there is a campaign to solicit tenders for a community art project, the winning bid will be chosen by a popular vote from the community. Other groups to receive funding include CYP for the Playrangers, Libertus (targeting over 50s), The Crags and Comas.
The Spirit panel are especially keen to support projects which will be sustainable, ideally supporting local people to help each other, after the initial funding runs out.
Agreed that communication was an issue- initial engagement sessions had been held along with door-knocking, Facebook and the newsletter; past six months had not had so much proactive efforts (apart from the fun day).
Query about benefit to the community of the bee-keeping (one of the recipients of a sparks grant) found that once established the project would indeed be open to the public to view and learn from; the lady also hopes to set up a live feed via web-cam.
Query about whether the “My Dumbiedykes” Facebook page was run by Spirit of Dumbiedykes- no, it is operated by The Crags.
Joe and Harriet from Comas gave a brief history of Comas- means ‘ability’ in Gaelic and tries to help people achieve their full potential; it is a community development charity whose projects include:
- 20More shop – aims to make everybody better off by £20 per week; includes Financial Inclusion Officer who can provide advice and support regarding debt, benefits, etc; access to a landline for telephone calls where needed; provides a social space for residents and a garden area; shop with many items bought in bulk from cash and carry and then sold at cost-price; also have a hot food lunch deal (soup, crisps and a piece of fruit for £1).
- Tower Power – scheme developed to get as many Dumbiedykes residents as possible cheaper electricity. Noticed that fuel poverty is a big issue for many residents and have joined forces with Community Energy Scotland to help reduce energy costs- this will include bulk buying, use of solar panels and smart meters.
- Green Drying – project looking at environmental, economic and health impact of drying clothes indoors; raising awareness and looking for alternatives for residents; running workshops and trialling various drying equipment.
- WomanZone – project aimed at helping women in recovery; includes yoga, singing and craft sessions.
Serenity cafe- operated for and with people in recovery; also hosts a lot of other support groups (Families Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous); contains office space where many Comas staff are based (when not in 20More).
Q: how many solar panels? On which flats? Would there be consultation with the residents or would it just be imposed?
A: numbers will depend on residents- project still in development so no definitive answers yet, but will be full consultation with residents.
Q: how much money did you get?
A: not entirely sure I can say, can tell you we’re partly funded by Community Energy Scotland, one for the office.
Q: do you employ any local people?
A: yes, Karen and Monika both live in the area.
Q: do smart meters actually make a difference?
A: can help people change their behaviours re: energy use; for example- smart meter can show how much energy you use boiling a full kettle as opposed to a cup’s worth of water.
Q: are you actually a business? Could it not have run as a community cooperative?
A: we are a limited company and a registered charity; easier to set up this way, however will be looking for community members to sit on the board, looking for lots of local involvement.
Q: would we have to have the smart meter if we signed up to the scheme.
A: don’t know for sure, something to check out with CES.
Q: Small scale operation, limited staff- how would you manage customer service? If I made switch and had an issue with my supply how quickly could you respond and fix a problem? Would there be someone I could speak to?
A: would aim to have a member of staff available to deal with customer issues by phone/email, can contact us through the 20More too, customer service a huge consideration. Still putting project together, we want you to keep telling us your concerns and ideas.
Susie gave a brief update on communications: thanked Tanya and Craig for work on getting website up and running, outlined its use as an archive of minutes from meetings, it’s contact page and the proposed addition of a problems contact page so that all residents could have the correct departments and phone numbers to contact with queries and complaints. It was noted that in some cases it requires several separate complaints for an individual issue to draw response, so was especially important to ensure that these were directed to the right office.
Facebook page continuing to build steadily. Query about duplication of information on various pages perhaps confusing; agreed that provided information not conflicting, then multiple streams not a problem.
Pointed out by member that not all are receiving emails and that many people don’t use social media so posters and newsletter are particularly important. Agreed that non-digital communications very important, will try to link up with MyDumbiedykes and Braidwood Blethers about newsletters; will look at gaps in email list.
Candice reported that Gavin Brown has prepared a survey for residents regarding parking and that this would be sent to the Braidwood Centre for delivery to households on the estate when printed. It is very important that we get as many responses as possible to ensure that our voice is heard and that we have our requirements met. This is our chance to let CEC know what we need here.
Q: is this set to be a zone 3 controlled area then? Is there no vote or option to pay a private company?
A: the decision has been made by the council that this will happen, yes. A private company is legally unable to enforce fines on a public road; the system we had previously was entirely illegal and should never have happened.
Q: so we will have to pay hundreds of pounds but still not be guaranteed a parking space?
A: this is one of the reasons that we want to have as many responses as possible to the survey, so that we know what the level of need is from residents; there will also be creation of more spaces through removal of yellow lines, these being replaced by marked parking bays.
Q: so is this just about the council making money?
A: personally wish that there was a better, immediate solution; would also love to have free parking again; but think that this is the best solution going forward. Seven day parking controls are coming to the centre of town and the problems that we are having would become worse, this way there will at least be controls in place.
Catarina reported that the issue regarding the tokens for the launderettes housed in the two high rises was due to people bulk-buying and then hoarding them at home; Billy (concierge) has ordered more tokens so that there will be a larger number in circulation, hopefully avoiding this problem in future.
Catarina has also been in contact with council regarding the stair-cleaning contract: she found that in 2003 CEC introduced a stair cleaning service in tenements where there was a 50% or higher council ownership. Council tenants are charged £4.38 per fortnight, to be collected with their rent; homeowners are invoiced either quarterly (£26.22) or twice per year (£52.44). In blocks with more than 50% privately owned homes, residents can opt in to this cleaning contract providing there is a majority in agreement. Some blocks successfully operate a rota among the owners to look after the cleaning of the common areas.
In blocks which are covered by the council stair cleaning company, there should be a record sheet of cleaning team visits which also has contact numbers for complaints if it is felt that the contract specification is not being met. (The cleaning specification is attached to the end of this document.)
Q: is there any way for council tenants to opt out of this service as it does not provide value for money?
A: will find out and report back at the next meeting.
Stephanie reported that there is no change to the bank balance as there has been some difficulty arranging the second signatory, however she and Candice are working on it and hope to have this resolved soon.
There are also former signatories to the account from previous incarnation of residents association to be tracked down so they can complete the paperwork to be removed from the account.
Once these requirements have been met, SW will reimburse SMc for the cost of ink used in printing posters, minutes, agendas, etc.
Davie Jnr thanked Stephanie and Julie for their help in documenting the overflowing recycling bins; noted that in the absence of John (estate street cleaner) during his holiday between the 8th and 18th of August the problem was even worse than is normally the case and highlighted how badly the recycling facilities are being misused- largely by residents according to the pieces of mail which D has photographed lying with other rubbish).
Has contacted both SEPA and the Environmental Wardens to clarify what the situation is with having penalties enforced and found that 4 separate complaints about 1 location should draw a visit from the wardens; littering can be met with a £40 fine which if not paid becomes £80, if this ignored then will lead to a court summons and possible fine of £2,500.
However, leaving furniture or bags of rubbish by the recycling areas is classed not as littering but as fly-tipping and receives much stiffer penalties starting with an initial fixed penalty fine of £200, non-payment risks prosecution and a fine not exceeding £40,000.
Rather than launching straight into an attempt to have everybody misusing the facilities fined and/or prosecuted – given that this is our friends and neighbours we are talking about (business owners using the bins is not illegal and they tend to use them correctly anyway)- propose we begin an awareness and education programme aimed at residents.
Q: used to be free uplifts for bulk items, but this is chargeable now at £26 for up to 6 items- not everyone can afford this.
A: CEC can’t afford to fund this any more- can look at ways we can arrange to have people get together to split costs.
Q: could there be free pick up days?
A: there have been drying green ‘amnesties’ before where a skip was hired, but the council can’t afford to do this now. Jim Orr interjected to say that while CEC can’t afford to do this as a matter of course, there are funding streams available to apply to, perhaps on a block by block basis, if people get organised and apply for these grants.
Q: what about the weeds all over the place?
A: still on to do list, hope to have answers for you at next meeting.
Davie Snr- We have heard lots tonight about different funding opportunities available to us as a community; have also heard some great ideas about what we could do. What we need is people who are willing to get involved in making these things happen! There is only so much that the officers can do: we work, we have families- just like everyone else. Organisations and associations like this fail when everything is left to the same people over and over again, so what we need are working groups for different projects- these may contain an association officer, but will not necessarily be led by them. If you have something in mind, get in touch with us and we will support you and put you in touch with other people who have similar ideas. Susie will put this on Facebook page too.
Q: This is why we need our own space, for meetings at short notice about things like this. Can we not share the community room with Comas?
A: Don’t believe that this is needed- have never had a problem getting a space here at the Braidwood, the management committee have always been very accommodating; this is our neighbourhood centre and we should be actively supporting each other as organisations. There are also accessibility issues with the community flat as it set between two flights of stairs; the Braidwood Centre is equipped to enable access to everyone who wants to be involved.
Jim Orr- There are indeed lots of funds available, for example the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership offers grants of up to £5000 for community projects. Groups like CYP, Comas and the Crags receive funding from these things because they are organised, well-practised and they put in bids; there is nothing to stop the DRA applying to these funds. You just need to make plans and bid!
Kim Soliman- The Spirit panel has discussed opening themselves up to a wider panel, considering employing a paid facilitator to open the discussion and find out what do residents want?
Received an invitation for a DRA member to sit on the Quality of Life panel: quarterly meeting involving agencies like the Fire Service; police; CEC Housing Safety Officer. Usually a morning meeting which is difficult for many people due to work commitments; Jim Orr offered to see if possible to reschedule for an evening. No volunteers, will put it out to wider community.
Riaz Agaui introduced himself to the meeting; he is moving into the area so will be a resident shortly; asked to talk about his group Dumbiedykes Youth Movement at next meeting. Chair requested more information to be sent to committee.
Stuart Reynolds asked if anyone knew what was happening regarding the cladding programme of works; also if we could have more information about the payment requirements. Will look for information for next meeting.
Suggestion that we look at obtaining noticeboards for each block, similar to high rises, for communication of information in addition to news letters and digital communication.
Question via email from new resident regarding ownership and responsibilities in relation to upkeep of the allotments and small plots set in to the paving.
8. Agree date and time of next meeting
Next meeting agreed for:
- Wednesday 28th September at 6.30
- in the Braidwood Centre
Chair thanked all for attending and declared the meeting closed.