That stands for the South West Counties Joint Consultative Committee, the meeting of which I attended yesterday. It was in a new venue: The Merry Monk at Monkton Heathfield, near Taunton. I got lost on the way as there has been masses of new development in the area since my gps was hatched and I was 15 minutes late, but Liz Rescorla had saved a seat for me next to her and the other Dorset delegate Ben Benjamin.
There were about 2 dozen people in all ranging from West Cornwall to Avon, including Simon Jones from the National Bee Unit and George Brown, the recently appointed money generator for the BBKA.
When I arrived there was concern expressed about the counties breaking up and branches seeking individual membership as is happening with the Salisbury branch of Wiltshire. If this becomes widespread, the BBKA will have about 300 members with which to communicate rather than about 50 counties as at present. This would greatly increase the workload and expense. We did have delegates from West Cornwall and from Bournemouth & Dorset South present, so it has been going on for some time.
We discussed, one by one, the candidates nominated for membership of the BBKA Executive. Ken Basterfield was on the list and so left the room during that part of the meeting and I could see him through a window at a distance, so he didn’t have an ear to the door! As there are only 5 candidates for 6 vacancies, all are certain to be appointed.
Similarly with the Exam Board, there were 3 candidates for as many places. The BBKA has been having a rough time lately with re/dis-organisation, as well as a controversial legal dispute in which the Basterfield family was linked so that may be a reason why too few people want to get involved with the running of the organisation.
George Brown spoke to us at length from notes. He is a 56 year old Brummie but with Somerset roots and was appointed 9 weeks ago to try to generate more income for the BBKA, including the Adopt a Hive and Friends of the Honeybee schemes which, it has been suggested, cost too much to run and need re-working. He ran through Build the Buzz, the on-line shop, Young Beekeepers’ meeting, Charity Commission compliance, research projects, bee-science, Bees in the Curriculum and working with schools to have hives in their grounds. The point was made that charity money should be ring-fenced and not spent on admin.
The meeting then discussed, one or two at a time, the propositions to be discussed (or not discussed because they haven’t been costed!) at the Annual Delegates’ Meeting of the BBKA early in the New Year.
Simon Jones gave us an update on the Asian hornet but I don’t think he told us anything new.
Lunch was good: a carvery for £7 (if you were paired up with somebody). As Liz is a vegemetarian, I teamed with Ben.
After the meeting, I used the last hour of daylight to visit the gardens at Hestercombe which are close by. Excellent! I shall go there again!