Constitution

The Name of the Group

  1. The group and its members will be called and known as the ‘Friends of Victoria Park‘ (from here on the group will be referred to as the ‘Group’). The Group was formed as a consultation group by Ashford Borough Council on 5th March 2018, and became an independent constituted group on 7th September 2018.

The Definition Of Victoria Park

  1. For the purposes of this constitution, Victoria Park means the area designated as Victoria Park and Watercress Fields in Ashford, Kent.
  2. The Group recognises:
  • The momentum of the town moving south as benefitting the park and helping it to become a destination.
  • The positive effect green open space has on the health and wellbeing of a community, both for improved physical health and good mental health.

The Aims of the Group

  1. The Group believes that Victoria Park is a community resource that should be available for all and as such the aims of the Group are to:
  • Protect, conserve and enhance Victoria Park as a place of freedom, recreation and enjoyment for the long-term benefit of the people of Ashford;
  • To develop and propose ideas and suggestions to Ashford Borough Council and any relevant organisation in accordance with the paragraph above;
  • To seek the community’s suggestions in addition to the Group’s own opinions on any works to improve or change Victoria Park;
  • To promote the use of the park and its attributes within Ashford and beyond.
  • Protect and conserve the ecology and wildlife of the park.

The Objectives of the Group

  1. To fulfil the above aims the Group may undertake to:
  • Encourage recreational use of the park;
  • Create volunteering opportunities – especially for young people;
  • Ensure there is a gateway from the town to the park to encourage people to visit the park;
  • Raise money to pursue the aims of the Group;
  • Discuss with other similar ‘friends groups’ and exchange information and ideas with them as appropriate;
  • Create a marketing strategy for the park with the support of Ashford Borough Councils communications team.

Powers of the Group

  1. To further the aims of the Group, they shall have the powers to:
  • Raise funds and receive contributions where appropriate to finance the work (e.g. insurance, equipment);
  • Publicise and promote the work (undertake social media etc.);
  • Open bank accounts;
  • Make rules and standing orders for categories of members and their rights;
  • Take out insurance;
  • Organise meetings, training courses and events activities and practical tasks;
  • Work with statutory, business, voluntary and community organisations to further the aims of the Group (e.g. KSCP, EA, CSU, KCC[1]);
  • Organise activities, practical tasks.

Membership

  1. Membership of The Friends of Victoria Park shall be open to anyone who is interested in helping the Group to achieve its aims and willing to abide by the rules of the Group.
  2. the Management Committee shall have the power to refuse membership to an applicant, where it is considered such membership would be detrimental to the aims, purposes or activities of the Group;
  3. Any member of the Group may resign his/her membership by giving to the secretary of the group written notice to that effect.
  4. The Management Committee may, by resolution passed at a meeting thereof, terminate or suspend the membership of any member, if in its opinion his/her conduct is prejudicial to the interests and objects of the association, PROVIDED THAT the individual member or representative of the member organisation (as the case may be) shall have the right to be heard at a General Meeting before the final decision is made. There shall be a right of appeal to an independent arbitrator appointed by mutual agreement.

Management

  1. The Friends of Victoria Park shall be administered by a Management Committee of not less than seven and not more than eleven members elected at the Group’s Annual General Meeting or, when the number of Committee Members is below eleven, at any General Meeting. Committee Members must be at least 18 years old.
  2. The honorary officers of the Management Committee shall be:
  • The Chairperson
  • The Treasurer
  • The Secretary
  1. The Group or the Management Committee may nominate members to undertake tasks or accept responsibilities, to aid achievement of the Aims and Objectives or to improve the management of the Group and may give titles to those members. Members nominated as such will not constitute officers of the Group.
  2. The Management Committee shall meet at least four times a year.
  3. At least four of the Management Committee members must be present for the Management Committee meeting to take place.
  4. Voting at Management Committee meetings shall be by show of hands on a majority basis. If there is a tied vote then the issue shall be carried to General Meeting.
  5. The Management Committee have the power to set up sub-groups and working parties and as deemed necessary who shall be accountable to the committee.
  6. The Management Committee may invite to specific Committee or General Meetings, or co-opt as non-voting members of the Committee, members or officers of other organisations to advise the Group as the Management Committee deems appropriate.

General Meetings

  1. The Group may hold additional meetings (called “General Meetings”) as required in order for the Management Committee to report to the Members on the Group’s business and/or for the Members to raise and discuss any topic relating to the Group’s activities. All Members will be invited to these meetings.
  2. General Meetings will be announced by email to all members who have provided an email address, by advertisement in three public locations in or near Victoria Park, and as otherwise considered appropriate by the Committee, giving at least twenty one days advance notice of the meeting.
  3. An agenda for the meeting will be issued at least seven days before the meeting and will be advertised as per the meeting announcement.
  4. Decisions at all General Meetings shall be by a simple majority vote using a show of hands other than elections to the Management Committee which is by ballot. If there is a tied vote then the Chairperson shall have a casting vote.
  5. Every member shall have one vote at General Meetings;
  6. An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) may be requested by not less than ten Members to discuss a specific topic or proposal.
  7. The Management Committee will invite all Members to an EGM and provide twenty one days advance notice of its date providing full details of the topic or proposal to be discussed.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM)

  1. The Group will hold an Annual General Meeting no less frequently than every 12 months.
  2. The announcement, conduct, management and decision making capacity for these meetings will be the same as for other ordinary General Meetings except in regard to election of the Management Committee, the procedure for which shall be as detailed below..
  3. The business of the AGM shall include:
  • Receipt of a written report from the Chairperson on the Group’s activities over the previous 12 months;
  • Receipt of a written report from the Treasurer of the last financial year’s accounts for the Group;
  • Election of a new Management Committee;
  • Review of the Constitution of the Group
  • Consideration of any other matters as may be appropriate at the meeting.
  1. Nominations for the posts of the Management Committee and the requesting of any proposals or business to be put before the AGM will be solicited from the Members in advance of the meeting.
  2. A closing date to receive nominations and additional agenda items will be no later than ten days before the date of the AGM.
  3. The Secretary will circulate to the Members the proposed agenda for the AGM along with ballot papers for those Members who wish to stand for election to the Management Committee no later than seven days before the date of the AGM.
  4. All nominees, proposers and seconders must be Members (in accordance with paragraph 7 above) at the time of nomination.
  5. Members unable to attend the meeting may offer their apologies for their absence and return their completed ballot forms. These ballot forms will be counted along with all other ballot forms.
  6. Any business not on the agenda of the AGM may be accepted and discussed at the discretion of the Chairperson. However, no motions may be passed relating to or arising from these additional items.
  7. The quorum for the AGM will be at least ten Members of which no more than four shall be members of the Management Committee.

Finance

  1. The Group will establish a bank account in the name of the Group and all monies raised by the Group will be collected and accounted for by the Treasurer.
  2. Any expenditure must be incurred in order to meet the aims of the Group as set out in paragraph 3 and with the consent and signatories of the Management Committee as outlined in clauses 38 and 39.
  3. Any expenditure under £25 in total at any one time will require the oral consent of any two of the positions of the Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. Any expenditure over £25 in total at any one time will require the written consent of any two of the positions of the Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary.
  4. The Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary will be signatories to the bank account. Authorisation of two of these signatories will be required for any access to funds and bank account. That authorisation may be by ink signature on a cheque or other document permitting withdrawal of funds or by electronic authorisation using the banker’s online banking or mobile app.
  5. A full record of such oral and written approvals will be maintained at all times and all such expenditure will be justified with valid and original receipts initialled by the authorising members of the Management Committee.
  6. The accounts shall be maintained by the Treasurer. The accounts shall be approved at the AGM, as set out in paragraph 28, having been submitted to an independent inspection in advance of the AGM.

Other

  1. The Management Committee will develop policies to protect the Group, its Members and other service users as is deemed necessary. This may include a child and vulnerable adult policy as well as a risk assessment & health and safety policy. These will be ratified by a simple majority vote by a show of hands at a Management Committee meeting.
  2. If the Group carries out volunteer days or events then the Management Committee will establish adequate insurance cover through either its own policy or the Council’s own insurance to ensure that any work/event is insured for injuries to volunteers or third parties and for damage to any property. Furthermore, all relevant licences will be secured in advance of any volunteer days and/or events.
  3. No Member can speak on behalf of the Group without the consent of the Chairperson.

Alteration of the Constitution

  1. This Constitution can only be altered by consent of a simple majority by a show of hands at a General Meeting the proposed alterations having been first detailed in the Agenda issued in accordance with Paragraph 21, except that any member unable to attend the meeting may notify the Secretary of their acceptance of or objection to the proposed change and their vote shall be counted with the show of hands.

Dissolution of the Group

  1. The Group may be wound up at any time at an EGM called expressly for that purpose if such a request is agreed by 50% of the total number of Members present upon a show of hands at that time. Any member unable to attend the meeting may notify the Secretary of their acceptance of or objection to the winding up and their vote shall be counted with the show of hands.
  2. If such a request to dissolve the Group is approved at the EGM then any assets remaining at the time shall be devoted solely to an activity or purchase at/ for the benefit of Victoria Park.
  3. The Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the Group at the time of the dissolution will facilitate and liaise with the Council in order to ensure that any remaining assets shall be used in accordance with paragraph 47.

 

Adopted at the Friends of Victoria Park Meeting of 07 September 2018
with amendments agreed at the Friends of Victoria Park Meeting dated 29 April 2019

[1] KSCP: Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership, EA: Environment Agency, CSU: Community Safety Unit, KCC: Kent County Council