21 October 2013

Ham Amenities Group AGM 2013

Ham Amenities Group (HAG) is one of the local community groups that I belong to. My main contribution is paying my annual membership fee but I do also go to their AGM when I can. This was their 34th.

Ham Fair had been a great success helped by the good weather. This is HAG's main activity and provides most of the money that it donates to local charities. £4,600 had been paid out last year to around 20 charities.

The Chair said that several things were changing and that would meaning more work for HAG. In anticipation of this subscriptions will have to go up next year to pay for the additional materials etc. They were only £3 (I paid £10) so a raise was unlikely to put anybody off from joining.

One of the changes coming was the establishment of the Neighbourhood Forum. The Chair will represent HAG on the Forum.

HAG planed to use the new community room at Ham Library for events, but not just yet.

A Grand Raffle was planned for next Summer Party, and we were encouraged to start saving things for it now!

There was a need to boost membership and a flyer being produced. I made a note to get an electronic copy so that I could promote it on this blog and elsewhere.

The Membership Secretary planned to stand down after this meeting when the members present would be paying their subscriptions for the following year.

Lady Annabel Goldsmith had agreed to be the HAG Patron.

There were 10 trees coming to Ham Street, will include a Ham apple tree, to be paid for by Waitrose.

HAG was looking to expand the range of socials, i.e. do more than coffee mornings.

After the (not very) formal part of the meeting we had an interesting talk from Paul Jacobs on the Street Pastors in Kingston.

It was a long and interesting talk and these are the main points that I noted; he said a lot more than this.

Street Pastors had been in UK for ten years, started in Hackney with 15 people, in Kingston 7 years.

The idea was copied from Kingston, Jamaica.

They had to agree protocols with the Police re dealing with illegal items, eg. drugs or weapons. The Street Pastors have to comply with the law but it is better if they take drugs off somebody and pass them to the Police than leave them with the user.

Street Pastors require 54 hours of training over 5 months. They now have 11,000 trained staff, 64 in Kingston. They have spent 17,000 people hours on the streets so far, Their average age is 60. They are all Christians.

Pastors/Angels do reduce crime. The Police can escalate some situations that the neutral Pastors can dissipate. Kingston has a safe reputation, which helps bring more people in.

Nightclubs are ok, the problem is alcohol. The Kings Tun holds 1,000 people and the night clubs hold more than this. Kingston draws people from a long way, even Wales, c5,000 on a weekend night.

The food shops are open until 3:30am then the three 24h shops get very busy.

They clear up a lot of bottles, these are potential weapons. They give out lots of information re buses etc. They are well stocked with emergency repair kits like plasters, water, bus map, flip-flops and gel, etc. Flip-flops are useful (bare feet and broken glass) and can change the conversation too, as do lollipops.

They work in 3 x 2 hour shifts from 10pm. They are always a team of 4 including a first aider. It's very loud, which makes communication difficult.

They do emergency praying, eg. to ask for an ambulance when none are free.

My view of Street Pastors is that they do a good job and they do make a difference but this is because of their early intervention and neutral attitude and not because of anything spiritual.

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