The VGS is an organisation of three parts:
- Groups – people aiming to achieve something within a subject area such as planning, energy etc. (eg: SidEnergy).
- Projects – well defined practical activities with a clear timescale for achievement. (eg: Community Actions from the Neighbourhood Plan). These need at least some people with existing skills.
- Initiatives – ideas or themes which the VGS can host or initiate, or where it can work with other groups. (eg: Sidmouth Plastic Warriors ) These may start completely from scratch with people developing knowledge as the initiative takes shape.
What do we do?
The Vision group is …
- A research group
- A focus for consultation
- A forum for open discussion of issues, problems and competing solutions
- A pooling of local talents for local problem-solving
- A think tank and ginger group
We are a voluntary organisation and have no political affiliation or funding.
In a little more detail:
The Mission of the Vision Group for Sidmouth is …
- to cherish the heritage of our Regency Resort and the surrounding coast and countryside
- to seek to improve amenities and facilities appropriate for residents and visitors in the 21st Century
- to encourage a vibrant economy, and
- to commend our vision to Local Planning initiatives
The Vision Group for Sidmouth is a branch of the Transition Network
The Vision Group works with other organisations such as …
- Sidmouth Town Council
- The Sid Vale Association
- The Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce
- The Sidmouth Hospitality Association
- East Devon District Council and Devon County Council
- Kennaway House
- The Transition Network
… and other local organisations
Save Our Sidmouth
Further details about VGS can be seen in our Constitution below.
Constitution for the Vision Group for Sidmouth – Revised on 20 June 2018 – Adopted on 1st September 2018
1. Type of Association
- VGS is a voluntary, cooperative, unincorporated, not-for-profit, secular, non-party association.
2. Aim, Purpose and Values
- The aims of VGS are
a) to enable informed debate: VGS is committed to transparency, participative decision-making and social inclusion; and
b) to incubate and develop exemplary projects: VGS provides a means for citizens to raise and organise action on projects that support the core purpose of the VGS.
- The core purpose of VGS is to encourage the civil parish of Sidmouth to make the transition towards a society and economy based on the ideals of ‘sustainable development’ – “that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Brundtland Report)
- As ‘Sustainable Sidmouth’, VGS has adopted the values and principles of the Transition Town movement: “We respect resource limits and create resilience; promote inclusivity and social justice; adopt subsidiarity (self-organisation and decision making at the appropriate level); pay attention to balance; are part of an experimental, learning network; freely share ideas and power; collaborate and look for synergies; and foster positive visioning and creativity.” transitionnetwork.org, about the movement
3. Membership, Policies and Governance
- Anybody in the civil parish of Sidmouth (which includes Sidbury, Salcombe Regis and Sidford) can become a member of VGS by adding their name and contact details to the VGS distribution list, and can resign by removing their name at any time.
- There is no membership fee.
- VGS does not endorse any political party or political campaign and is not affiliated to any sectarian or religious organisation.
- Individual members may hold or stand for political office or engage in political campaigns and utter partisan or contentious opinions, though not explicitly as officers or members of the VGS.
- Governance of VGS resides with members who take part in open General meetings, including an Annual General Meeting, normally held in June.
4. Action Groups, Projects, Forums, etc.
- VGS’s work is undertaken by groups and individuals who focus on a particular issue for action, research, awareness-raising, participative planning and decision-making or other activity.
- Such action groups, projects and forums work autonomously, but provide and receive mutual support and advice through the umbrella of VGS. They may choose to establish their own constitution and affiliate to networks or organisations with similar aims.
5. Management – the Coordination Group
- VGS is an open network and all aspects of its management shall be transparent to all members. The VGS is organised flexibly to respond to appropriate project needs of the town.
- The Coordination Group provides ongoing management of the VGS.
- The Coordination Group responsibilities include coordinating VGS activities, supervising resources including finance, initiating projects, external publicity, internal communication and liaison with other organisations.
- Representatives from established VGS action groups, forums and projects form the core membership of the Coordination Group. Additional Coordination Group members can be co-opted onto the Coordination Group when agreed by the Coordination Group. The representatives of the Co-ordination Group shall be recorded in the minutes.
- The Coordination Group has one formal officer: that of Treasurer. The ongoing management and workings of the Coordination Group are the responsibility of the Coordination Group representatives. Meeting Chairperson and Secretary will be agreed before any meetings and their responsibility being to organise an agenda and record minutes.
- A General Meeting approves the appointment of the Treasurer, normally for a period of one year. It is expected that the treasurer officer will remain in office for no longer than three consecutive years.
- Any member may attend and speak at a Coordination Group meeting.
- Notes from Coordination Group meetings are published on the VGS website. Email distribution to members and some manual distribution may also be necessary.
- The Coordination Group meets at least once per year with at least seven days’ notice of each meeting.
- Decisions of the Coordination Group are where possible by consensus, but if necessary decisions are voted on by a show of hands. If there is a tied vote then the Chair has a second vote.
- VGS resources are held in common, administered by appointed officers, and applied solely to achieve VGS objectives, as agreed by the Coordination Group.
- The Coordination Group provides at least three named signatories to the VGS bank account, two of whose signatures are needed to authorise any transaction.
- The Coordination Group receives regular reports on the finances.
- Payments from VGS funds must be authorised by the Coordination Group, normally in advance.
- The Coordination Group from time to time sets the maximum emergency payment that may be made for any activity, prior to the Coordination Group’s retrospective authorisation.
- The accounts are independently examined each year to see that they are a true record of the transactions by an independent person, not a member of the Coordination Group.
- VGS may be dissolved by a two thirds majority voting at a special General Meeting (the dissolving meeting). Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of debts and liabilities shall be transferred to a local not for profit organisation with similar objects, as approved at the dissolving meeting.
7. Alterations to the Constitution
- Established in 2005 as “The Vision Group for Sidmouth”, VGS adopted a formal constitution in June 2008.
- The aims and procedures of VGS will evolve and be re-articulated from time to time.
- The constitution can be amended by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a General Meeting.
8. Adoption and amendment of the Constitution
This revised constitution of VGS (formally “the Vision Group for Sidmouth”) was adopted on 1st September 2018:
as agreed at the Annual General Meeting held at ‘Dissenter of Sidmouth’ on 30th May 2018. Details of the process are shown in the Minutes of 21st June 2018.
The members of the Co-ordination Team in 2019 are
Treasurer Roger Till
Communications Officer Mary Walden-Till (incorporating Webmaster, Publicity Officer and Secretary)
Chair of the Futures Forum Robert Crick
Secretary of the Futures Forum Jeremy Woodward