LITCHAM ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Held in Jubilee Hall on the 20th April 2009 at 7.30pm
click on name of organisation to go to report
ALL SAINTS CHURCH (Parochial Church Council)
Richard Vogt - Churchwarden
Litcham ALLOTMENTS and Leisure Gardeners Association (L.A.L.G.A.)
Annual Report from the Parochial Church Council
Despite the continuing interregnum for well into the year, Litcham Parochial Church Council has maintained its equilibrium. Meetings have been regular and the pattern of worship has kept its continuity. Great importance is placed upon this primary function, which has been uninterrupted for many centuries and must not be derailed by temporary difficulties in recruiting incumbents.
Whilst a full time Rector (now technically a Priest-in-Charge) has yet to be found, an interim appointment was made during the year of the Reverend Dennis Rider, a capable and experienced priest who is working on three weekdays and Sundays. This is in order to ensure that there is smooth transition when a full-time incumbent is appointed and in order to encourage applicants for the post, in that they would not be walking into a vacuum. The post has been re-advertised in recent weeks and we should shortly hear of the applicants.
Several applications for the post were received during the year and one proceeded to interview stage, but a majority of group Churchwardens felt the applicant to be unsuitable for this particular situation.
The ten parishes in the new community are coming to terms with the new arrangements. Both churchgoers and other parishioners will have perforce to acclimatise themselves with these. Even a full time priest will not be able to cover ten parishes in the same way as we have been used to in the past, either in terms of worship or pastorally. More duties will therefore fall upon the laity.
Apart from the above issues, the PCC has been occupied with the perennial issues of finance and ancient buildings. The balance of income in recent years has moved from regular giving to special occasion fund raising. This is less predictable and gives less opportunity for recovery of income tax under the Gift Aid Scheme, so regular commitments of any size are very welcome. The church has managed to meet most of its commitments during the year, but after its contribution to the costs of the ministry, utility bills and buildings insurance, which we have always resolved to keep at full cover, there is little left for discretionary items. We are currently working on the provision of a new heating system, as a very cold and protracted winter has taxed the stamina of churchgoers. We are therefore very desirous of improving the physical welcome of the building before next winter.
A most important event during the year was the formation of the Friends of All Saints. Formed and catalysed by the enthusiasm and hard work of one supporter, membership has grown quickly. The Friends organisation, a Registered Small Charity, is independent of the Church Council and is pledged to raise funds and facilitate work to maintain the fabric of the church building, which is at the heart of the village and has a place in the lives of its inhabitants irrespective of their beliefs or attendance at services. The first project is the restoration of the church clock to visual and audible function and plans for this are well on the way. Various grants have been pledged, including a generous donation from Litcham Parish Council.
Richard Vogt, Churchwarden, April 2009
Annual Statement Presented to Litcham Parish Council AGM
We only received this afternoon the invitation to present a report to the Annual Parish Meeting, so it will have to be a very brief report.
As an association we have had several fund raisers over the past twelve months both here in Litcham and at Gressenhall. Some considerable time has been spent in the clearing and ditching of the corner allotments on the Dereham & Dunham Roads, but more work is to be carried out.
We understand there is a waiting list of people requiring allotments, but with the uncertainty at the moment that we are all working under, and we are now awaiting clarification from all of the appointed Trustees of the Litcham Relief in Need Charity, as to the future of the allotment site and our own position as allotment holders.
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting
The past year has seen LitchamÕs bells rung only infrequently, due to their generally poor condition and a lack of ringers within the village. However, with the help of people from other villages we have been able to ring the bells for some special services and for occasions such as weddings and Christenings. For example, this month the bells were rung for the Palm Sunday service and last Friday a quarter peal was rung, dedicated to a couple in the village who have recently become engaged.
The bell restoration project is making slow progress. Three different firms have carried out surveys and provided quotes, with a view to comprehensive repairs and tuning work being undertaken. So far the funds raised amount to around £2,900, but the total cost of repairs will probably be in excess of £30,000, so there is a lot still to be done. However, the end result should be a properly tuned set of bells that will not need any further major work for perhaps a hundred years.
LitchamÕs bells and tower are of historical interest and Tim Angell would be happy to show them to anyone who is interested. All you need is a head for heights, depending on how far up the tower you want to go.
Litcham, Tittleshall & District Branch
Annual Statement presented to Litcham Parish Meeting
Sadly during the past twelve months we have lost two members namely John Lambert & Marianne Mulrenan and our membership now stands at 21 members. Having lost several members and the increasing age and ill health of several members makes it very difficult to attend meetings. We do continue to look for new members to join the branch and anyone interested please contact the secretary or any member of the branch.
We have changed our meeting day to the first Wednesday in the months of February, May, August and November (AGM) in the afternoon at the Tittleshall Village Hall, commencing at 2.30 PM
The poppy appeal for 2008 was again very successful and thanks must go to Arthur Clarke acting as the Poppy Appeal Organiser, and the numerous collectors and shopkeepers in the surrounding villages and of course the generosity of the local populous. The final total for the poppy appeal, along with TittleshallÕs contribution amounted to £1441 approximately.
We attended the Armistice Services in the churches at Litcham, Tittleshall & Mileham also the memorial service held at the American War Memorial in Beeston followed by a buffet lunch in Beeston village hall.
We would like to record our thanks to former officers and members of the branch for past support.
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting
At present we are holding everything in abeyance as there is no way forward until a decision has been reached concerning a site on which to build the Recreation Area. Any advice from the Parish Council will be most welcome.
Litcham Common Conservation Group was set up in January 2004 to assist with conservation work on the common. The group is relatively informal, with no written constitution or formal membership list, and uses the Litcham Common Management Committee bank account to hold funds. However, the group is a member of, and insured through, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). The groupÕs only income this year was a grant of £250 from Litcham Parish Council, for which it is very grateful. This covered the cost of insurance and expenses such as minor equipment renewals.
Volunteers meet on the second Saturday of each month
and carry out tasks agreed with Norfolk County CouncilÕs Countryside
Department. Over the past year the work done has included cutting and burning
scrub, clearing rubbish and litter, and raking up cut vegetation on a nearby
Roadside Nature Reserve.
Individual members of the group carry out regular welfare checks on the ponies that graze the common, on a rota basis. They also help round up the ponies from time to time for inspection by a vet or farrier.
The volunteers come from other villages as well as Litcham, and have ranged in age from five upwards. Those who come enjoy the physical exercise, company, pleasant surroundings and a sense of achievement.
Litcham Common is a Local Nature Reserve and the CommitteeÕs primary responsibility is to manage it as such, particularly taking account of the siteÕs importance as an area of lowland heathland. At the same time, consideration needs to be given to maintaining a diversity of wildlife habitats, as well as taking account of the commonÕs importance to the people of Litcham and surrounding villages for recreational purposes.
The members of the committee include representatives of Norfolk County Council (Sarah Cureton), Lexham Hall Estate (Neil Foster), Litcham Parish Council (Mike Oldfield), Litcham Common Conservation Group (Tim Angell), and also three residents of Litcham (John Jones, John Mitchell and Joyce Green).
After many years service, Joyce Green has decided the time is right to step down from the Committee. The other members are very grateful to Joyce for all she has contributed over the years.
The Committee would like to hear from anyone who is interested in taking JoyceÕs place. Ideally the person should be a resident of Litcham who regularly uses the common and is able to attend a minimum of two weekday meetings a year, in March and September. In the first instance anyone interested is asked to speak to one of the current committee members mentioned above.
The main focus over the past year has been the reintroduction of grazing on the area of the common to the north-west of the Dunham road, which entailed the erection of stock proof fencing with gates and stiles, and a holding pen. The fencing was put up in May 2008, with four Dartmoor ponies (two year old geldings) arriving soon afterwards. Funding for the project was received from Norfolk County Council and DEFRA. A great deal of practical help and assistance was also received from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
Overall the project is considered to have gone very well so far, Feedback received from people who visit the common has proved overwhelmingly positive, and the ponies seem to be very popular. They are also doing their intended job of keeping the scrub and course vegetation under control, which helps to preserve the heathland plants and wildlife.
On a few occasions the ponies have escaped through the pre-existing fence running along the northern boundary of the common. No harm was done, but some running repairs have had to be made. The intention is to completely renew this fence in the next few months.
The ponies are regularly checked by volunteers but have proved to be hardy animals, and were declared to be in good condition when last examined by a vet. There is a possibility that more animals will be purchased in the future, and permission also exists for the area of the common to the south-east of the Dunham road to be fenced so that this part of the common can be grazed too. However, it has been decided to wait until the ponies have been on site for at least a full year before making any firm decisions for the future, just in case any unforeseen problems or issues arise.
Other work carried out over the past year has included the mowing of bracken, and selective scrub and tree clearance.
Finally, a problematic issue which has arisen once again is that of people camping on the common. Camping is specifically prohibited under the existing Bylaws, but would probably not be a cause for concern if so much litter and rubbish was not left behind.
It is sad that the inconsiderate actions of a few people are spoiling the environment for the majority, and may result in the Management Committee having to take a tough line.
Report for Litcham Parish Meeting
Litcham Homewatch have been particularly active over the last twelve months as, at the suggestion of our local Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Sarah Smith, we started having regular meetings, approximately every three months. Unfortunately after two meetings Sarah Smith resigned for the police force to go and work for Breckland Council and so far, although we have been promised one, we are not aware of a replacement for her. Thus the last two meeting have taken place without a member of the Police being present.
In February John Mitchell stood down from the post of Area Coordinator, a post he has held since the inauguration of the Litcham Homewatch some twenty years ago. All the current members of the Homewatch team would like to thank John for the time and effort he has taken in keeping the Litcham Homewatch going all this time.
He was replaced by John Relph, who is coordinator for the Rectory Meadow & Archer Farm area.
Crime remains at a fairly low level in Litcham, in total eleven incidents were reported to the Police over the last twelve months. There were three burglaries, one domestic and two commercial and one attempted burglary. There were also half a dozen incidents of damage to property and five theft or damages involving motor vehicles.
There remains a persistent but relatively low-level incidence of anti-social behaviour in Litcham. This has been difficult to for the Police to take action on as accurate reports of incidents have been hard to come by. Generally the Homewatch co-ordinators hear of incidents through rumour and hearsay or, as on one occasion, six months after the event!
I would therefore encourage all residents of Litcham to contact the Police or their respective Homewatch coordinator, (listed below) immediately they are aware of any incidents of anti-social or any other criminal behaviour, this way we and the Police stand some chance of doing something about the situation.
List of Local Homewatch coordinators
Rectory Meadow & Archers Farm. Mr. J. Relph (Litcham Area Co-ordinator) 700 813
Pound Lane, Back Street, Front St. & Lexham Rd. Mr. R. J. Mitchell - 701 342
Butt Lane Mrs. D. Collen - 701 401
Tittleshal Rd. & Back Lane Mrs Claire Lawrence - 700 145
Mileham Rd. Carol Hilton - 700 745
Manor Drive & Upper Church Street Mr. S. Lynn - 701 377
Priory Area Mr. & Mrs. A. Clarke - 701 720
Lower Church Street Mr. N. Housden - 701 218
Dereham Road Mr. J. Jones - 700 184
Oaklands Farm Area Mr. D. C. Holland - 701 304
Wellingham Road Mr. L. Raven - 701 958
Weasenham Road & Keppel Close Mr. T. Walker - 701 592
Lexham Road West, Hall Farm House
& Coronation Cottages Mr. G. Blower - 701 748
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting
I am once again pleased to provide the following report of the school and its events from April 2008 to now. The school sends news every month to the Parish Magazine and this is a good source of information, as is the schoolÕs website.
> The pupil roll is presently 82, which is an increase from last year, pupils continue to join and leave at times other than year end and beginning. We have maintained four classes this year and will be able to for the next academic year. The Reception class presently has 10 pupils but we are promised 15 in September, which to my knowledge will be the highest intake number the school has had for some years. We suspect that the provision onsite of good childcare and our extended schools provision may have contributed to the increase in numbers.
> 2008 saw the school achieving its best set of results at KS1 & 2 and very high profile scores at the Foundation Stage.
> We opened our new library, naming it the Brocklehurst Library, after the couple who own the Norfolk ChildrenÕs Book Centre. Every term the bookshop arrives and they always provide our pupils with a class story session too.
> The teaching kitchen at the childrenÕs centre has meant that a group of pupils are able to cook each week.
> Several families have benefited by being a part of the Norfolk Family Learning 10 week course on numeracy which ran during the spring term on Fridays.
> Work on the development of the school grounds to provide an increased range of outdoor curriculum activities has begun with tree planting sessions. Tomorrow a tyre play system will be installed.
> The schoolsÕ reputation for the provision we offer for pupils with Special Needs has been maintained. The Reading Recovery type programme we offer has shown good results.
> The budget has allowed us to continue employing a Games Instructor and our Music Specialist, who can also teach French, to work for a day each enabling assessment, planning and preparation time for our class teachers and our classes some specialist teaching. The school also continues to provide the opportunity for its pupils to learn the recorder, violin, keyboard and guitar. This year the school has taken advantage of the governmentsÕ widening opportunities grant and we have been able to offer all our pupils in KS2, two classes a 30 minute Samba percussion. The group recently gave their first performance to parents
> All our recycling activities, collecting clothing and paper have continued. The Road Safety programme for pupils in Reception and Year 1 and cycling proficiency to pupils in Year 6 has once again been repeated. Our Year 6 had a residential trip to Wells Field Study Centre in September and in June pupils in Years 5 & 6 took part in outdoor activities at Caythorpe, Lincolnshire.
> The High School Science status funding was able to support us in sending our Science Leader on a two day science coordinatorsÕ course and we our extremely grateful that we are now able to loan science topic boxes.
> We always support several charities during the year, this year sending Christmas parcels to families in Romania, making a sugar collection for the Homeless and a Christmas card collection for the RSPCA. We also raised £300 for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.
> Our Class & School Council system, Energy Busters & Playground Angels are all still thriving and making good contributions to the life of the school.
> With Litcham Childcare we enjoyed a pantomime production of Cinderella at Christmas and pupils in Years 5 & 6 watched the High SchoolsÕ performance of a MidsummerÕs Nights Dream. The school continues to offer a range of clubs during the year, multi-skills, film, drama, orchestra and dancing. At Christmas the lower school produced a Nativity and the upper school pupils a version of Scrooge.
> The Whole school visited All Saints at Harvest & Christmas.
> The Year 5/6 cricket team for the third year running won the cluster tournament and we went on, not only to the area but the county finals too.
Report To Litcham Parish Council by Co-Opted Trustees of Litcham Relief In Need Charity
This report is submitted by three of the five Trustees of Litcham Relief in Need Charity in order to explain to the Parish Council and all parishioners the current position of the Charity.
The Charity is currently in a state of uncertainty, due to the fact that there is disagreement about the length of tenure of the co-opted Trustees. While this may seem a small technical point, it is crucial to the membership of the committee and we are still awaiting its resolution. The Charity Commission has recommended mediation on the issue, but to date our current Chairman, Mr David Holland, has not made any arrangements for such mediation to take place.
Urgent outstanding matters such as the management of the allotments; the setting of rents and the sending out of tenancy agreements; the holding of the first ordinary meeting of the Charity in 2009 (which will also be the AGM when the election of officers must take place) and, of course, the distribution of Charity funds to those in need within the village have therefore been unable to proceed.
In the meantime the co-opted Trustees are attempting to identify and recover rents that may have been sent to Mr HollandÕs personal solicitor at Mr HollandÕs request but without the knowledge or approval of the Trustees sitting as a quorate body.
The co-opted Trustees have enjoyed working with members of LALGA and very much appreciate their energy and enthusiasm in regenerating the allotments.
The co-opted Trustees will keep the Parish Council and the Litcham Parishioners informed of developments through the village website and the village magazine.
Annual Report 2009
Congratulations to Litcham U11 football
team on an outstanding season. The team have been playing in the Mid Norfolk
Youth League and have finished League champions in their final year together in
mini soccer. Having played 16 league fixtures winning 13 and drawing 3 they
have finished this season undefeated in open play. Litcham also won through to
the League Cup Final, playing Old Hunstanton where it
finished 0-0 and Litcham unfortunately lost on penalties. The U11's scored 88
goals and every out field player contributed to the goal tally.
The Lads would like to thank all their friends and family for all their support to make our seaon so successful.
We would also like to thank the Village Butcher and Litcham Post Office who have supported the club this year. - Litcham U1
Litcham needs you for next season
We are only a small village team with a great track record, with not having the resources and a large catchment area like some of our surrounding towns we are looking to take the team forward into the 11 a side game. We need players who want to come to a small club and play in friendly and successful team. If you are about to start year 7 next school year we would love you join our squad, even if you now play for another club and fancy a change. Matches will be played on a Sunday with training during the week run by FA qualified coaches that have been CRB checked.