Vice-Chairman’s News

After Mike Caswell, SGRA chairman for the last 28 years, stood down at the May AGM, the past few months have seen some significant change. Tina Thompson, SGRA founder Member in 1973 was asked to take up the reins again as Chairman. Mike had led the Association through some very difficult times, always showing great dedication and community spirit to the benefit of all the residents and it is a credit to him that the SGRA is the success it is today.

At the May AGM, I was ‘encouraged’ into taking on the Vice Chairmanship role with
Carol Gray remaining as Treasurer and Liz Becker as Secretary. However, it was soon realised how much energy, commitment and effort is required to ensure its continuing success.

Tina and I met soon after te AGM and drew up a ‘shopping list’ of issues we felt were important to residents and businesses on the Grid and also what tools were required to
achieve them. The ‘SGRA Newsletter had grown from a simple A4 typed single sheet in
the 1970s to a double-sided 3-page colour edition with images and adverts. The Newsletter comes out up to 4 times a year and is delivered by hand to over 2,300 properties within the Grid area. Last year Lynn Harvey took over as Editor at very short notice and has produced some fine Newsletters despite
being very busy in her own work.

The work of producing, editing delivering and cost of the Newsletter has risen
sharply in recent years and stretched the Association’s funds. Some time ago a
local website was established with a SGRA ‘pull down’ menu but this had failed
and the SGRA had no control over its content or input.

At several monthly meetings I had urged the previous Committee to get the SGRA Website up and running, so, after taking up the Chairmanship, Tina Thompson instructed me to get on with the job.  We applied for £1500 funding from the Central Community Funding and were notified in November that our application was accepted and the website has gradually developed quickly since.

The new website has been put together by Ken Richman who runs Togethernet, his new company specialising in web marketing for local businesses and communities. Ken shares premises above The Old Sweetshop Art
Gallery in Brookwood Road.

As well as carrying the latest SGRA news, the website offers local listings for
businesses on the Grid and residents may also create a ‘profile’, allowing us
all to get to know each other a little better! Other benefits include
discussion forums and a free ‘Buy, Sell & Recycle’ service for members and services offered and wanted.

In addition to this website the Committee plans to reorganise the way it operates.
The SGRA Constitution needs to be reviewed and updated along with items such as
finance, adverts, activities and Wimbledon Park issues. Also important are
Communications with residents, businesses, the Police, the Post Office and
especially with our elected representatives, Wandsworth MP and Southfields Ward
Councillors, Planning and the fabric of the Grid.

We have already had a degree of success in this with the introduction of the ‘No
Cold Calling’ initiative and by supporting the formation of the Friends of
Wimbledon Park with SGRA Representative Nick Steiner.

The issue of unwanted junk mail has already received a response to a SGRA letter to Justine Greening MP and a meeting is to be held soon with Council Officers and Councillors with a tour of the Grid about the hazardous pavements.  This is to address the Councils continued failure to adequately maintain the pedestrian highway in a safe and hazardous free condition, which is their statutory responsibility.

It is not intended to abolish the hard copy Newsletter but as more people register
and become SGRA Website Members it is planned to reduce the number of Newsletters and thereby the production cost, delivery tasks and door to door collecting of the SGRA General Annual Membership fee. Hard copy Newsletters will continue to be available at Libraries, GP Surgeries and Schools as required and to those
who do not have internet facilities.

We do hope you will help us to contribute to the success of the website, register,
become a SGRA Website Member for £5 which, will include the SGRA General £1 Membership fee and be involved in the Forums. We also hope you will take advantage of the ‘Buy, Sell & Recycle’ facility and check out the adverts.

Please note that southfieldsgrid.org.uk  is the ‘official’ website of the Southfields Grid Residents Association and not any other websites claiming to represent the SGRA which, was formed in 1973.

Some areas of this website is currently still under development. 

Peter

30.01.2012