Shepley Village Association (the SVA) intends to consult with local residents on a new constitution.
The proposals will update the current constitution and aim to support local residents better; those who want to take active roles in village life; who share common values in diversity, inclusion, trust and respect for others; and who want to make a difference which benefits everyone across the Shepley community.
New SVA Constitution
The new constitution will aim to strengthen collaboration with other community groups, businesses and organisations across the local area. This year, a record number of groups were involved in the May Day event which the SVA organised. The Association donated the majority of its own profits made on the day to St Paul's Church Hall restoration fund. Many groups use the church hall to hold their events. The hall is a village asset and holds many memories for people across the area. Other groups raised their own funds to support local causes.
The decision to review the constitution came at the Association's Annual General Meeting held last night at Shepley Library. Members voted in a new Management Committee with John Cowan as chair. Several other residents also joined the committee. Like last year, the SVA continues to reflect the broad mixture of people from across the village involved in the local community.
One key aim of the SVA is to promote community leadership. The Association has been aware for some time that its constitution needed updating. Gaps in the current version have meant that the organisation has been unable to defend itself against unfair criticism from a small number of people in the village. In defiance of our well-established and fought-for democracy, some have even attacked the SVA for allowing Shepley's elected councillors to join the group. They've accused the association of being too political - a manipulative tool that's often been used in history to break up democratic organisations and destroy people's individual rights and freedoms.
Our local councillors, whatever their political party are elected by local people to represent all our interests. Whether we actually voted for them, or not.
To date, the Association has avoided being draw into local disagreements in order to preserve the status quo in the village. Given the current political climate to regulate social media better it's also right that the SVA doesn't get drawn into arguments on social media. There is a right way and a wrong way of engaging properly with local people, as we've witnessed recently.
Never out of touch
The SVA has never been out of touch with the feelings of local people. Committee members are involved in many other community groups, including Shepley Cricket Club, the Bowling Club, the WI and local businesses.
However, in future the Association will take a more proactive approach to communicate better with local residents, businesses and community groups. The new constitution will set out, with far greater clarity, what people should expect from the group, how they can get involved, and with what support.
The SVA never interferes with the good work other community groups are doing across the village. Where asked, the Association will help facilitate a project by bringing others onside to support the overall mission and objectives. Perhaps even to lend a practical hand. But, the SVA is always content for others to take the initiative and lead where necessary.
One recent example concerns finding a permanent place for the stolen War Memorial plaque. The SVA launched the initiative to set up a cross-community committee to ensure a suitable place was found in the village. Local stone mason Dave Bradbury chairs the committee - a recognised independent group.
The SVA has plenty of ideas and plans for the year ahead. Villagers who are interested in getting involved can contact the association by email email@example.com