What Actually Is the Committee?…

A post about what the committee does, why we have one and why we need YOU to help out too…

Why is there even a management committee anyway?

Marina Allotments is a self managed allotment. This means that the land is owned by Hastings Borough Council, but the allocation of plots, management of members, collection of rent, maintenance of the site and a bunch of other stuff, is organised by us. We pay an annual rent to the council and are bound by the terms of our lease with them, but other than that, pretty much everything about how the allotment operates is down to us to organise.

Who is in the committee?

The committee is made up (ideally) of a chair person, treasurer, secretary, membership secretary and at least four other members. It is voted in at the AGM each year, normally en bloc. Any full allotment member is eligible to join and new committee members can also be co-opted if required. The current committee can be seen here. Committee members give their time for free and are usually limited to a maximum of four years on the committee.

What does the committee do all day?…

The committee meets once a month to discuss, plan and organise. We also meet on site occasionally for things like plot inspections or to meet contractors or new members. Here is a non-exhaustive list of what the committee does:

Chair person:
– Arrange and chair meetings
– Main point of contact with HBC
– Coordinate non-committee volunteers
– Communicate with members (newsletters etc.)

– Issue invoices and collect membership rent
– Produce annual accounts
– Manage bank account and pay invoices
– Arrange annual insurance

– Minute meetings
– Manage main email accounts & respond to members questions / problems
– General admin, plot inspections etc.

Membership Secretary:
– Manage the waiting list
– Manage vacant plots and allocate
– Induct new members and administer contracts

Other tasks which the committee is responsible for include:
– Manage the shop and volunteer rota
– Manage health and safety (policies, risk assessments etc.)
– Coordinate volunteer work days and site maintenance
– Manage tools, equipment and other infrastructure
– Manage the website and social media

And many more things besides…

Why being a self managed allotment is a good thing and why we need more members to get involved in helping to run things…

Here are some quick fire reasons that it is good for us to manage ourselves: We’re in control of the rent we charge members and how we spend money. We currently (as of summer 2023) charge members about 30% less than HBC managed allotments and up to 300% less than some allotments in the UK! After paying our bills (rent, water and insurance), all of the money goes back into the allotment in one way or another. We are able to run a shop on site, own and hire tools to members and to run social events.

Also, the history of why Marina Allotments ended up being self managed is a bit long winded, but in short, HBC would not want to re-adopt our allotment. If we fail to run it ourselves, it’s possible that there won’t actually be an allotment in the future…

Your allotment needs you!

Often, the running of the allotment, and the jobs of the committee in particular, end up falling on the shoulders of just a handful of dedicated members. When the committee is under resourced, as it is currently, it’s a huge burden. But if a few more members stepped up, it would make a massive difference.

The committee currently needs members who can commit to attending meetings and giving at least an hour or two a week. There are also plenty of jobs to do which don’t require being a full committee member.

Marina Allotments is a special place. But there is no “them”, only “us”. It is the responsibility of every member to give some time to support the running and upkeep of the wider allotment. 

By working together we can ensure Marina Allotments remains a beautiful, tranquil and productive sanctuary for years to come. 

Please consider joining the committee. Speak to a current member on site, or email the committee to arrange an informal chat. You’re welcome to observe one of the monthly meetings to get a deeper understanding of what goes on before you commit.