THE HEART OF TOPSHAM
The Topsham Community Association was established in the 1960s. It has recently reconstituted itself as a company limited by guarantee and now has a formal membership structure.
The objects of the Community Association remain unchanged. They are:
• To promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Topsham; and
• To establish and maintain a Community Centre.
The directors of the Company are volunteers who carry out the work to achieve these objectives. They are elected by the members of the Company at its Annual General Meeting each year.
What do we do?
We hold the lease on Matthews Hall and surrounding land and run it as a community centre for the benefit of residents. We receive a grant for the rent from the City Council, but the costs of running the hall, its maintenance and repair are paid for by the enterprises organised by the Company.
The Saturday market is an important contributor to the income of the Community Association as are the hire fees for all the activities which go on in the hall. In order to undertake the work relating to Matthews Hall we have two part time staff to handle bookings and the market and a full time caretaker who ensures that the hall is fit for use. The directors manage the Company and carry out the administration.
We also represent the community of Topsham to Exeter City and Devon County Councils on issues affecting the life of the town. We respond to consultations and seek the views of residents on issues which are identified as being important.
We organise meetings on topics we consider of interest to residents to keep them informed to ensure a lively interest in the life of the town.
We also organise the TCA August Youth Activities, a summer programme for children and young people, introducing them to activities which will enrich their experiences and develop interests.
Who are we?
The Company (Topsham Community Association Ltd) is managed by a board of directors. The original directors were appointed at the Company’s formation, but are subject to election at the first Annual General Meeting. Thereafter, one third of the directors must stand for re-election every year. Directors must be members of the Company. Members of the Company must be aged 16 or over and live or work in Topsham. To become a member an eligible person must complete an application form which must be approved by the directors.
Why become a member?
As mentioned above, the Community Association responds to consultations from the City and County Councils. One of the considerations from these organisations is the number of members in any responding organisation. The only way we can demonstrate that we represent the views of Topsham people is to show that we have a significant membership. As we must retain a formal register of members we can consult with our members electronically or by post and can therefore respond quickly to issues raised. Even more important, only members may vote for directors of the company at the Annual General Meeting each year. The directors need to have confidence that they are carrying out the wishes of the community in line with the objectives of theCompany. This is best demonstrated when their nomination and election is confirmed by a broad cross section of the population.