Minutes of Sumac monthly meeting (July) 5/7/2010

Present: Penny, Bob, Helen, Sally, Stuart, Patrick, Alan, Meirion, Jenny, Kate, Andrew, Ben, Claire, Dean, Dom, Liz, Mike.

There were no apologies

The standing agenda was rolled over
to the next meeting to allow time for the matters concerning children
and Sunday opening.


The issue is that local children come
into the yard and centre and it is not always possibly to supervise
them or ensure their safety. Both of these are necessary, knowing the
past behaviour of these particular children. Sometimes they vandalise
things and cause trouble for the residents. When they come in at bar
opening time they put our licence in danger.

We took a constructive approach and
in general the kids’ committee and Tuesday club that Dom & co.
set up seems to be working and the kids are enjoying it and behaving
OK. Things have been better since this was set up. But they are still
around too much for the residents and this led to the residents destroying
a den, which confused the children because they had been allowed to
build it by the kids club.

So, the first point is that we all
need to be on the same page and have a consistent line, which is:

Kids are encouraged to come on Tuesdays,
when the gardening club is on anyway. Kids are only allowed in the yard
at other times when a member of the kid’s collective is there and
has time/is willing to supervise them (as applies anyway in the case
of adults who aren’t engaged in Sumac activity; it might be useful
to point this out to the kids). The collective has CRB checked workers
and other people wanting to be involved are applying. We are concerned
as much for the children’s safety as we are about the garden itself,
and risk assessments are being drawn up. The residents would like other
people going in and out of Sumac to take the initiative here, and this
was agreed. The Kid’s collective will meet 30 mins before each Sumac
monthly meeting to ensure that 5the monthly meeting is up to date with
how things are going.


This follows complaints about noise
levels at an evening gig after the Punks’ Picnic (a Sunday). The meeting
noted the following:

  • Live music is a good thing
    and part of what we do!
  • We need the income from
    the gigs to keep the centre viable.
  • We do have a music licence,
    incl. for live amplified music. But if we abuse this and the council
    upholds the complaint, it could close us down.
  • We have a ‘quiet’ policy
    on Sunday nights, and this was not adhered to.
  • This hasn’t seemed to
    be a problem to the neighbours except occasionally. Historically the
    issue has been about people leaving noisily, not the music itself. There
    have been very few complaints about Friday or Saturday nights. Even
    though this was just one Sunday night, some neighbours now seem to be
    complaining in general terms.
  • Because the agreement with
    the neighbours of no live music on a Sunday has been broken it has raised
    wider issues. This is probably because some neighbours now feel that
    they have no control in relation to us and we think we can do as we
  • Some people consider that
    the volume and style of music might put some people off coming to the
    centre. The organisers pointed out that punks are part of the community

So we will:

  • Investigate specific
    noise levels in conjunction with the neighbours to see what they consider
  • The above needs to be communicated
    fully to all Sumac volunteers, and there has been some confusions between
    the bar collective and the gig organisers. The organisers feel that
    they have been communicating with bar volunteers. This should continue
    to be a priority.
  • There will be no more live
    music on Sundays.
  • Dom and Kate offered to
    go round the neighbours and talk to them/distribute a letter if they
    are not in. We will hold a meeting with them (Wed 14, tbc?)
  • When there is a gig on,
    someone should answer the phone if it rings. This could have sorted
    the problem out on the Sunday night itself. Instead neighbours had to
    leave messages and come round in person.

There was some abuse to the meeting
in general and then to individual people challenging this. The person
concerned left the meeting, as asked to by the meeting. This meant that
the one of the people abused didn’t leave as they said they would.
The residents will communicate to the person concerned that the next
monthly meeting will look at what response he makes between now and

Meeting closed.