Constitution and Rules of Friends of Forster Park
1.1 The Group shall be known as the Friends of Forster Park, otherwise known and hereinafter referred to, as ‘the Group or the Friends‘.
2.1 The objects of the Group shall be to represent and protect the interests of users of the park known as Forster Park (hereinafter called “the Park”) in dealings with the London Borough of Lewisham (hereinafter called “the Council”), its contractors, consultants and other relevant organisations.
2.2 In pursuit of the above, the Group and its members will seek to take all appropriate action to combat discrimination of all sorts, including discrimination based on gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexuality.
In furtherance of the above objectives, the Group and/or its elected officers may, in relation to the Park and its immediate environs:
3.1 Attend meetings, make written submissions and otherwise take all reasonable steps to represent the interests of Park users, in person or writing, on any matters that Group members consider affect their enjoyment of the amenity of the Park;
3.2 Promote good and improved communication between Park users, local residents and the Council, its consultants and its contractors;
3.3 Liaise with other organisations as necessary and lobby Councillors, the relevant Member(s) of Parliament or other elected or appointed persons;
3.4 Organise events in the Park, in liaison with the Council, its contractors, its consultants and other organisations;
3.5 Work together with the local Police, the Council, local schools and others towards the reduction of crime and vandalism in and around the Park;
3.6 Take all reasonable and practical steps to enhance the Park and its environment;
3.7 Raise funds and make bids for grant aid or other external funding as may be available;
3.8 Donate towards projects to maintain or enhance the environment and infrastructure of the Park, wildlife habitat, sports and exercise facilities and community garden, or otherwise use such monies to promote the interests of Park users; and employ and pay staff, consultants and/or contractors.
3.9 Shall have wider powers in respect of advocating for the needs of Park users with regard to the environment and infrastructure of the local area.
Membership of the Group shall be open to all individuals or organisations who:
4.1 Use or have an interest in the Park, whether or not they live in the immediate vicinity;
4.2 Assent to the objectives of the Group; and have attained the age of sixteen (but see para. 5.1 in relation to officers). [Applications from junior activities are welcome where the application is made by the adult organising the activity in question.]
4.3 Applications for membership (which should be in writing) shall be made to the Chair/Chairman, Secretary and/or Treasurer, two of whom shall together determine within a reasonable timescale whether to admit such applicants to the membership. There is, however, a presumption that applicants will be admitted unless they fail to meet the above criteria or there is some special circumstance, which would make such membership contrary to the interests or functioning of the Group.
4.4 Unless agreed by the Group at an ordinary meeting that has been duly publicised amongst the membership, there shall be no membership subscription.
4.5 Any organisation admitted to membership of the Group may nominate a representative to attend and vote at meetings.
4.6 Membership shall terminate if the officers unanimously consider that continued membership is not in the Group’s interest (subject to that member’s right of appeal to the next ordinary meeting of the full Group); on resignation (in writing); on non-payment of any membership subscription approved by the Group; or on the death of a member.
5.1 The Group shall, at the Annual General Meeting (or otherwise as any vacancy arises) elect from amongst the membership a Chair/Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer and four other members as the Executive Group. The term of office in all cases shall be until the following AGM, unless decided otherwise by the Group at a meeting that has been duly publicised amongst the membership. Only members who have attained the age of 18 or over, can serve as elected officers, unless the role is of a ‘young person’s officer’. Once elected, the Executive Group shall chose, from amongst their number, a member to act as Vice Chair to undertake the role of Chair when he or she is unavailable.
5.2 Every candidate for election to the above posts shall have consented to nomination and be proposed and seconded for election by other members of the Group (either in writing or at the meeting at which the election is to take place).
5.3 The principal roles of the Chair/Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer shall be as follows: the Chair/Chairman shall be the main formal contact for the organisation and shall represent the organisation as necessary at meetings and in the making of representations to other organisations or individuals. He/she shall, in normal circumstances, chair meetings of the Group, ensure adherence to the Constitution and report formally to each AGM on the Group’s activities.
5.4 The Secretary shall maintain the Group’s membership list; in normal circumstances, prepare and despatch agendas for, and minute, Group meetings; and keep copies of all agendas and minutes for ordinary meetings and AGMs, which should be made available for inspection upon request (other than any papers or minutes that are confidential etc. -see para. 6.8 below) and be available on the Group’s website.
5.5 The Treasurer shall take responsibility for the proper management of any funds under the control of the Group and shall submit a Statement of Accounts to each AGM.
5.6 The remaining members of the Executive Group shall be given specific responsibilities as agreed by the Friends at the AGM, or as determined by the Executive Group.
6. MEETINGS OF THE GROUP
6.1 An Annual General Meeting will be held in October 2016 at which this Constitution will be adopted and the officers of the organisation elected. Once a year thereafter an AGM shall be held (not later than fifteen months after the holding of the preceding AGM) at which officers will again be elected, reports from officers received, the Group’s accounts approved and other business, as may appear to the Secretary to be urgent, conducted.
6.2 The policies and general management of the affairs of the Group shall be determined in normal circumstances at ordinary meetings duly publicised amongst the membership. Such meetings will be called by the Secretary (see 6.3 below) at intervals of no more than six months, with prospective dates being canvassed in advance, where possible, at a Group meeting.
6.3 The Secretary (or in his/her absence the Chair/Chairman) shall give at least five clear working day’s notice (by the most appropriate means) of the date, time and location of all the Group’s ordinary meetings and AGMs to the membership. Accidental omission to give notice of a meeting to an individual member will not, however, invalidate that meeting or decisions taken thereat.
6.4 All members of the Group shall be entitled to attend, vote at, and put proposals to all ordinary meetings and the AGM, but not at any sub-group meetings set up, with specific delegated authority, for particular purposes (although any member can attend such sub-group meetings as an observer). The quorum at all Group and sub-group meetings shall be four of the seven members of the Executive Group and no decisions can be taken at inquorate meetings. Decisions will normally be taken on the basis of consensus, but any votes carried will be determined by majority (with the Chairman having a second or casting vote), except in relation to alteration of the Constitution (see para. 8.1 below).
6.5 Meetings will normally be held in public, though where confidential, contractual, legal, or other sensitive matters are to be discussed or determined, at the full Group or a sub-group, it may be necessary to exclude the public and/or anyone not a member of the sub-group in question).
6.6 The elected officers shall be empowered to invite other persons (i.e. non-members) to meetings to participate in discussions or to address the Group on specific issues, but such persons shall have no voting rights. In normal circumstances, representatives of the Council and its grounds maintenance contractor will be invited to attend meetings but are not members of the Group and shall have no voting rights.
6.7 The Group may appoint such sub-groups, task groups or working parties as may be deemed necessary and may determine their terms of reference, powers, composition and duration. Any such sub-group will be advisory only and will not have any power to take decisions on behalf of the Group as a whole unless specifically authorised so to do. It will be a matter for any/each sub-group to determine how they conduct business, although they should have regard to this Constitution at all times. Subgroup papers need not be circulated to the full membership, only to sub-group members and to the Secretary, who will maintain full records of all meetings where possible.
6.8 Reports to, and minutes of, meetings will normally be available to all members of the Group and publicly available, though where confidential, contractual, legal or other sensitive matters are discussed or determined at the full Group or a sub-group it may be necessary to restrict circulation (either to the Group or solely to sub-group members as appropriate).
6.9 Subject to and in conformity with this Constitution, the Group may make and amend the rules and regulations governing the administration of the Group and take such steps that are considered appropriate in pursuit of the object of the Group as a whole (as set out at paragraph 2.1 above).
7.1 All monies raised for and on behalf of the Group shall be applied to further the objectives of the Group and for no other purposes.
7.2 The Treasurer shall keep proper financial records.
7.3 The Statement of Accounts for the preceding financial year shall be submitted to the Group’s Annual General Meeting each year.
7.4 If and when required, a bank account shall be opened in the name of the Group with such a bank as the Group shall from time-to-time determine. The officers shall authorise any two of the Chair/Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to together sign cheques on behalf of the Group.
8. ALTERATION TO THE CONSTITUTION
8.1. Any alteration to this Constitution shall require the assent of no fewer than two thirds of the members of the Group present and voting at a meeting, the agenda for which must be despatched in accordance with paragraph 6.4 above, giving due notice of the proposal.
9.1 The Group may, by simple majority of those present and voting at the AGM or an ordinary meeting, decide that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the Group. However, the Secretary (or Chair/Chairman in the Secretary’s absence) shall give no less than 21 days notice of such a proposal and shall indicate the precise terms of the resolution in question. If such a resolution is confirmed, the Chairman or Secretary and Treasurer shall be empowered to dispose of any assets help by or in the name of the Group to some other local organisation(s) with objectives similar to those of the Group.