Minutes of Meeting 5th July 2012

Mid-Warwickshire Amnesty Group 156

Minutes of the Meeting of 5th July 2012




Present:, Malcolm Hancock (Chairman), Roger Frost, James Kennedy, Denise Fowler, Martha Pittarello, John Payton, Myf Hodkin, Simon Lieberman, Helen Lord, Denise Fowler, Felicity Smith, Sassa Woodhouse, Alice Woodhouse, Penny Halpin, Jean Wannop.

Apologies: Will Roberts, Fiona Clayton, Jo Hobbs, Maureen Hirsch,


Discussion. Alice Woodhouse, who is AI’s Sixth Form HR Reporter of the year, spoke about her research into Racism and Gypsies. She wondered what it is that makes ordinary, nice people racist. She based her research on Harbury, the village in which she lives. The subsequent discussion covered the number of Roma in Coventry and what might be practically done. There was a feeling that AI could make clear the difference between Asylum Seekers and Economic Migrants and explain better to the public what has driven the former to seek refuge in the UK. On a practical note it was agreed to encourage members to write to the Warwick District Council as individuals to urge the inclusion of a Travellers’ site in the plans for future building within the Authority. The discussion concluded with Malcolm thanking Alice for leading the discussion and congratulating her on her achievement.


The following is Chris Begg’s  information re the WDC Plan:


Following our discussion yesterday, we can read the relevant pages of the
New Local Plan at http://tinyurl.com/wdcgypsyplan.
In order to give our views, we must either register online or fill in a
downloadable paper form, as per http://tinyurl.com/wdcconslt

This is my comment - variations obviously equally welcome.
In the new Local Plan out for consultation, it is admitted that "there are
currently no temporary or permanent sites for travellers in the District"
(7.62). The public considers this issue to be urgent (7.65). Please register
my concern at this lack of provision, and take action now to resolve this
long-outstanding issue (7.70) in fairness to Traveller communities and
incidentally to remove the Council's vulnerability to challenge (7.67) in
respect of unauthorised sites.



  1. The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.
  2. Arms Control Treaty. Malcolm reported a fruitful meeting with Chris White MP, who fully supported AI’s position and would write to the Prime Minister. Malcolm also reported that he had received from 10 Downing Street, a very encouraging letter on the subject.

Website now up-to-date. Please visit  https://www2.amnesty.org.uk/groups/mid-warwickshire


  1. It was agreed that there should be no speaker in October in light of Kate Allen’s visit on 13th October.
  2. Summer Social. This will be on 26th July at Denise’s, 15 St Nicholas Church Street, Warwick, at 8.00pm. Bring drinks, nibbles and dessert. Simon will construct a simple quiz!
  3. Kenilworth Stall, 7th July. Roger reported that all the arrangements had been made.
  4. Letter Writing Evening. 26th June. Only 7 attended, but wrote a lot of letters. The next will be held on September 25th. It was agreed that the evening should be more widely advertised. Helen and Martha agreed to coordinate the evening.
  5. Policy on Asylum Seekers. This will be discussed at September meeting. Maureen, Simon, John and Denise agreed to produce a report for the meeting.
  6. Poetry for Amensty. Stratford AI Group are organising on 29th July. Jack Mapanje and Jean Lapotaire. At Queen Elizabeth Hall, Henley St. at 7.00. Box Office: 01789 294911.
  7. AI Finances and Campaigns. Members will be briefed at Meeting in Birmingham, addressed by Tim Hancock (AI Director of Campaigns) on Thursday 20th September and report back later.  AI members welcome. Venue is Quaker meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6AS. Refreshments 6.30pm for meeting at 7.00pm. Pleas let Bourneville AI Group know if you intend to go (martintombate@yahoo.co.uk)
  8. Kate Allen, 13th October in afternoon. A members only meeting. The group organising meeting is Will (chair), Fiona, Helen, and Martha (Malcolm ex officio). To report at September Meeting.
  9. Burma. Generally good news. Our POCs have bee released as most of AI’s cases.
  10. Friends of Palestine, Coventry. Exhibition of Work by Children in Gaza from 15th July to 30th  August at St Mary’s Church, Warwick.
  11. Myf Hodkin. Myf is moving to Edinburgh almost immediately. The Group thanked her for her support over the years and wished her well in her new abode. Malcolm has her new address.
  12. Next Meeting. Thursday 6th September at 8.00 pm at Jo’s Warwick CV34 4PL. Access to The Manor is in Wharf Street, Warwick, by the wrought iron gate opposite the car dealers and by the railway bridge.

Speaker: Jane Knight on women’s rights in Sierra Leone.

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