AGM 2019 Minutes

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Minutes of the fifth Annual General Meeting
held on Freegle Discourse Discussion Forum
between 00.00hrs 11 November 2019 and 11.59hrs 18 November 2019

These Minutes were approved at the 2020 AGM

The AGM was rescheduled from 21 October 2019 and moved to the Freegle Central Discourse discussion forum. This was as a result of the decision by Yahoo Groups to turn them into email only lists. The Freegle Geeks therefore speeded up the process, which had already begun, to transfer our discussion forum from Freegle UK Central Yahoo Group to Freegle Central Discourse Forum.

Edward Hibbert (Board Chair) chaired the meeting

Quorum Declaration and Apologies for Absence

A quorum was achieved of 29 Members attending the meeting at 11.28 on 11th November 2019, allowing the meeting to commence. During the meeting, 11 more Members indicated their attendance, bringing the total attending to 40. No apologies were received.

Edward welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Minutes of the last AGM held in 2018

These were approved as a correct record.

Matters Arising from 2018 Minutes

2018 AGM Proposal 4: Alternative discussion platform for groups such as Central

Edward said that he was aware Discourse was not some people’s first choice, and the Geeks are still tweaking it for our purposes. He was pleased to see some new faces posting on Discourse who didn’t post on Central before. He asked for comments on the platform as the Geeks are willing to be responsive to suggestions, if possible, and are hoping to improve the platform. Members commented that mainly they found it easier to use than Yahoo Groups. The pros and cons of using Badges were discussed.

Chris suggested that:

  • We have a review of our experience of Discourse in a couple of weeks time after the AGM and tried the system some more. He explained that there may be some good suggestions to make it work better for individuals or everyone. He has already done various tweaks which hopefully help.
  • As well as technicalities we think about other ways of using Discourse, for example, reviewing what groups we have.
  • Reviewing whether summaries are useful.
  • Think about whether a volunteer newsletter would be useful.
2018 Discussion: Recruitment of volunteers

At the last AGM we had a discussion about recruitment of volunteers. The main points made were:

  • We should allow groups to indicate which of various types of volunteers they’re looking for (or none!).
  • We should look at having a simple “Volunteer” button.
  • We should make more use of the Volunteer Opportunities feature to benefit Freegle. Some of this could be automated for groups which are seeking volunteers.
  • We should explore the area of automatically giving mod rights to members based on their activity, initially as a way of helping Mentors recruit permanent members.
  • When moving our discussion forum away from Yahoo, we need to bear in mind what is and isn’t appealing to new volunteers. That’s secondary to existing volunteers, but still relevant.
  • Local groups would like more national support in getting volunteers (but there’s a chicken and egg thing there).

Edward said we’ve not really made any progress on points 1, 2 and 4 but we do now have a flag in the database to record when a group is being looked after by the Mentors Team. Edward has plans to look at some of this probably in early 2020. Once the initial new version of Freegle Direct is in place, then a rewrite of ModTools will follow, which will include some of this.

Part of point 3 has been achieved. We now have a keen geek volunteer called Jason who is helping out in some of the CSS. We could do more.

Point 5 has been achieved and was the rationale for choosing Discourse as a platform but Edward does recognise that it is always difficult when fundamental changes are made.

Point 6 has been achieved as the Mentors Team do a fair bit of training of new moderators on behalf of local groups.

Edward welcomed comments from the meeting. It was suggested that:

  • New volunteers could work with existing national volunteers to help introduce them to Freegle and suggest other tasks that may be suitable for them. A new volunteer explained how helping with Freegle nationally had made it easier and more enjoyable for her to interact with other Freegle volunteers. An experienced volunteer said that she was initially apprehensive and not confident but working with others had helped her a lot to become involved in a task she really enjoys.
  • We could encourage climate change ambassadors from the WI to become involved with Freegle.
  • A volunteer coordinator could help with liaising with existing and new volunteers on tasks that need doing.

Reservations were expressed on whether active group members necessarily made good moderators

Board Annual Report 2019

This can be found at:

Finance and Auditors Report 2019

This can be found at:

A Member asked if there were any strings attached to the donation made by the very generous anonymous sponsor to Freegle. Sheila, retiring Director, confirmed that our very generous donor gives us very regular donations of hundreds of pounds and expects absolutely nothing in return. Only a couple of people know who he/she is. Sheila expressed thanks for the generosity.

The results of the polls were:

  • 2019 Annual Report :
    • 22 Members voted, 21 accepted the report , 1 abstention.
  • 2019 Finance Report :
    • 21 Members voted, 20 accepted the report, 1 abstention.
  • 2019 Disapplication of audit requirement
    • 22 Members voted, unanimous approval.

Group Names

Jo, a Member, asked that the meeting discuss whether new Freegle groups should be required to use the group name ‘Freegle’ after their area/town name. This potentially would include groups moving to Freegle, perhaps after Yahoo Groups have shut down.
The meeting discussed this and also whether this requirement should also be applied to existing groups who do not have the word ‘Freegle’ in the group name.
The present guideline is

The meeting discussed this and polled. There were 20 valid votes. The results were:

  • Proposal 1 - All newly affiliated groups must use ‘Freegle’ in their group name.
    • 20 votes, 19 agreed, 1 abstention.

This proposal is therefore carried and the guideline will be amended to reflect this.

  • Proposal 2 - All existing Groups that do not have ‘Freegle’ in their Group name must change their name to include ‘Freegle’
    • 20 votes, 2 agreed, 16 disagreed, 2 abstentions

This proposal is therefore not carried.


Proposer - Chris Cant, Seconder - Wanda Hall

The resolution is:
To change one line of the Group Affiliation Requirements Policy from:
At least one moderator of the group to be a member of Freegle Central (on minimum of special notices) - mandatory to: All Freegle Volunteers will receive national announcements - mandatory.

(This particular policy can only be changed by Freegle Member vote. Additional or amended mandatory requirements require at least 66% of the vote in order to be adopted.)

Chris explained the background to this proposal which was discussed on the Yahoo Development group in October. He also explained how it would work in practice.

Members commented that they felt this proposal would make it easier for members to engage with Freegle on a national level and it establishes an agreement for all volunteers to receive the occasional direct email/notice from ‘Freegle’ as part of being in the Freegle family.

The meeting polled on the resolution . There were 23 valid votes and the resolution was passed unanimously.

Proposer: Andy Ludlow, Seconder: Dee Moss

I propose that Development investigate how Freegle can move towards its guideline that…. we will seek to offer remuneration…… at least in line with a minimum equivalent full time salary for any particular job.

Edward declared a conflict of interest in this discussion.

The meeting discussed some of the issues surrounding employed and self employed status of a worker and the difficulties of implementing this resolution. There wasn’t a poll concluded, but the topic will remain live after the end of the AGM discussion.

Director Election

Jo Fisher and Andy Ludlow voluntarily stood down. Sheila Little’s term of office is now completed.

Three nominations have been confirmed as candidates. There were fewer candidates than vacancies, so Jo Fisher, Andy Ludlow and David Greenfield were elected unopposed.

There is one Director vacancy.

Edward thanked Jo, Andy, David and Sheila for past and future kind gifts of their time.

The AGM finished on 18 November 2019.
Edward thanked Jacky and Alison, Returning Officers, for the background organisation.