An open meeting for Party members interested in forming a Labour Party branch covering Heathfield and surrounding areas was held on 25th January 2016 in Rushlake Green. Those attending decided unanimously to set the group up as a formal branch of the Party, and appointed four acting officers pending a formal ballot at the AGM later this year.
Acting officers appointed are: Chair Barry Simons, Vice-Chair Matt Davis, Treasurer Jonathan Prus and Secretary David Newman (the permanent appointments will follow party rules on gender balance). The group discussed and agreed objectives for the Branch:
- To work to ensure that local elections are contested and voters offered a Labour candidate.
- To provide an outlet for members to discuss local issues, share ideas and take action where appropriate.
- To establish a social media presence via website, Facebook, Twitter.
- To provide a means for members to establish local ties.
- To support the CLP.
The following points were raised and discussed as to the short term development of the branch,
- The name of the branch was discussed and in order to reflect the area covered it was decided at this time to name it the Heathfield and Herstmonceux Branch.
- A group of members currently meets in Herstmonceux. Matt suggested our next meeting should take place there in order to garner their involvement with the new branch. This was agreed unanimously. (Provisionally this will be Wednesday 9th March, The Woolpack Inn, Herstmonceux)
- The meeting after that will be held in Heathfield. Suitable venues are being investigated.
- It was agreed that meetings every two or three months would be sufficient but networking within the group and sharing ideas (via social media) was to be encouraged.
- Meetings should be inclusive, friendly and free from all unnecessary procedural trappings.
- Formally becoming a branch will enable branch mailings and improved contact with potential activists.
- The branch will need to establish its own standing orders as prescribed by the Labour Party. This is to be discussed at the next meeting.
- Two members have offered to start development of the branch website to complement the CLP and Battle branch sites
- Jonathan will liaise with CLP officers to establish a branch bank account.
- Those interested in the looming European debate are directed to www.doorstep.eu
- If you want to know what the B&B MP has said in the House of Commons then register at www.theyworkforyou.com – this enables more focussed communication to him and to the media in general
The next branch meeting is scheduled to be at 8pm, Wednesday 9th March, The Woolpack Inn, Herstmonceux. Confirmation of this and an agenda will be circulated towards the end of February.