A surprisingly ( perhaps?) well attended meeting considering it was January when people can’t be bothered doing much anyway, and the weather was very snowy, with the problems for people getting about. The meeting was opened by the branch convener, who announced the passing away of local party activist and branch member Robert Campbell was a member for 67 years with a long history of promoting Scottish Independence and representation on both the former burgh and district councils. His funeral is this Friday the 15th at St Ninians parish church at 11 am if members wish to convey their respects.
The rule change to the branch rules moving the AGM to September was reiterated, office bearers retain their place until then though of course they are at liberty to stand down prior to this if the timeframe does not suit. The branch has now acquired a gazebo that’s currently being branded and will be used for a sheltered stall when campaigning down the town in coming weeks. The Trossachs and Teith Burns Supper is on the 29th January at Blair Drummond Village Hall 19:00 for 19:30. Speakers are Steven Paterson, Bruce Crawford, Derek Bateman, Margaret Ferrier MP all for £25 with the traditional meal and BYOB. A minibus costing £750 per head has been arranged for 18:15 from Stirling train station, returning at 23:30, speak to Andrew Szwebs to see if there are still places. The following night, the 30th is the Burns supper at Dunblane in Victoria Hall, also £25 with speakers, Keith Brown, Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh and Bruce Crawford, also 19:00 for 19:30 and with a bar. Again tickets available through Andrew or the respective branches. Also this Friday, John Nicolson MP giving a free talk on his journey from broadcasting to parliament at Wallace High School 19:00 for 19:30.
Andrew also attended the unveiling of the short listed designs for the De Moray and Wallace art work to be situated to commemorate the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Andrew also attended the Dunblane branch meeting for January.
The Secretary intimated about Spring conference in March and the availability of branch and paid places to attend as delegates or observers. The treasurers report was satisfactory and Mel reported the commencement of campaigning in earnest for Bruce Crawford’s re election was going well with a huge turn out for the first canvassing outing. Women and Equalities officer Maureen Bennison spoke urging any women members with even a vague interest in council matters to make themselves known either at the meeting or outwith via email with a view to observing council business, understanding the role of councillors and possibly standing for election in 2017. As a branch we want to promote greater equality in numbers of women:men council representatives. Also specific canvassing training for ladies who are perhaps nervous or unsure about chapping doors and speaking to strangers was offered. You can contact Maureen via the email address on our contact page.
Morag, the Disabilities officer intimated regarding the disabled members conference coming at the end of the month, a few members are attending but there are still places for the Crowne Plaza on the 30th. Jim Thomson gave the council group report, there has not been a huge amount of council business since our last meeting. Discussion centred round the Hogmanay Celebrations ( or lack thereof) and the recent planning decision over the proposed Judy Murray development between BoA and Dunblane which was rejected by a majority decision.
Lee also reported there wasn’t a lot to report at Westminster as the MP’s had only just returned after recess, however the first EVEL bill had been presented, and the first time Scottish MP’s had been prevented from voting on a bill in Parliament.
On subgroups, Comms is planning a meeting at 19:30 on Tuesday to discuss comms strategy for the future campaigns, if you are interested in attending to be involved in branch comms contact us via the contact page.
Organising had mostly been covered earlier and on the fund raising front we have the race night coming up in February followed by the Robert the Bruce Dinner in March, tickets are available now via eventbrite or from the branch convener if you let him know in advance of next months meeting.
We then had a very interesting talk by our visitor to the branch, Colin from StartUp Stirling. He gave us a brief overview of the history of the group over 22 years as it evolved as a support organisation for young homeless people moving into proper stable accommodation to its growing role as an emergency food bank for people and families in crisis. He explained how people are referred to the organisation, the nature of support and the scale of the logistical exercise in running this over the whole Stirlingshire area.
Following on the back of this Susan McGill gave a brief talk on the School Uniform Bank, a support organisation born of the Women for Indy movement, set up to provide support to families with financial difficulties in gaining access to NEW school uniforms for the children returning to school. Many of these kids are going out in old, worn or handed down uniforms and it can lead to stigma and bullying in the playground, giving them new kit enhances their confidence and promotes the children’s well being at school.
There was no AOB so next meeting is February 10th and the guest speaker will be Alyn Smith MEP.