PPC – Minutes of Meeting

St Benet’s Beccles; Parish Pastoral Council (PPC)

St Benet’s Beccles; Parish Pastoral Council (PPC)

Minutes of Meeting; 18:30; Thursday 22 July  2021

  • Welcome and Opening Prayer.
  • Those Present: Linda Last (Chair); Terry O’Brien (Sec’y); Fr Martin; Deacon Tony; Jo Hamer; Brian Lewis; Tim and Steph Madden; Chris Scott; Pam Storey. Mike Ellwood (H&S Co-Ord). attended part-time
  • Apologies for absence: Sam Barlow; Brigid Rawlinson; Bernard Segrave-Daly; Mike Wells; Sue Workman.
  • Minutes of Previous Meeting. (Circulated with Agenda.)
    1. The minutes of the meeting on Thursday 15 April were accepted.
  • Matters Arising
    1. There were no matters arising not covered in the agenda.
  • Health and Safety (ME)
    1. Having just taken on the role of H&S Co-ordinator, Mike reported he had conducted a full survey of the parish procedures and administration. While there was an understanding that some of the tests had been carried out, there was no legal record of them.  Some procedures were missing, and few risk assessments had been documented in the required fashion. A full “Fire Risk Assessment” had now been completed by ME.
    2. The most important failing was the lack of documentation of any checks being carried out on Contractors’ competence and that appropriate insurance cover was held. This failure could put the parish at financial risk in the event of an accident to people or property.
    3. A survey of electrical wiring and systems, and the testing of portable appliances was in progress. Other matters to be addressed were the need for a) a documented asbestos survey b) re-routing of a gas pipe running across the boiler house steps and c) erection of a central handrail to the St Mary’s Road steps.
    4. A further need was for the provision of personnel trained to deal with any likely emergencies – e.g., fire, flood, or accident; this could be a role for the parish team of stewards
    5. Mike pointed out that the Church was not a “high-risk” property, but it was still important that all routine activities should be assessed for the risks involved, and for safe practices to be established for their conduct.
    6. It is proposed to hold a “H & S Awareness Day” for all Group Leaders
  • Data Protection Act and GDPR (ME)
    1. The fact that individual’s religious adherence and commitments were involved in some of the data, made our GDPR a “Sensitive Issue” As ME is both  the H & S and GDPR Co-ordinator, it is proposed to hold any review of our DP procedures in abeyance until the H&S issues were resolved.
    2. However, it was already clear that all personal data should be centralised in the Parish Office and kept in secure storage.
    3. Individuals’ phone numbers held by activity leaders, would not be affected.
  • Finance and Fabric Committee Report.(BL)
    1. A reduction in weekly basket collections was being counter-balanced by an increase in Standing Order donations.
    2. Confusion was caused by the reporting of OLPS basket collections separately; these would probably be combined in future.
    3. The change to being a Diocesan Parish would require a new set of Parish Bank Accounts. Payments and levies currently paid to Downside would in future be made to the Diocese;  the actual amounts were not yet known
    4. The tree work was delayed as a larger than expected brace was required.
    5. The repairs to the Hall roof were the most urgent, as water was entering the fabric of the Church. Responsibility for the cost of this work was accepted by the school/MAT.
    6. On the Church, gullies and drains were being cleared and  roof tiling repaired.   A specialist was being employed to repair or replace one badly damaged section of gully.
    7. Stonework damage is largely cosmetic rather than structural.
    8. For the future, major expenditure will be required to complete all the outstanding maintenance work required.
    9. A legal agreement is required to rationalise the position regarding the rights to, and responsibilities for, the Parish Hall and its use by the School/MAT.
    10. The question of applying for “Listed Building” status was in abeyance pending the completion of the transfer to the Diocese, as they would then become the owner of the property.
  • School and Parish Working Together.
    1. The School Report circulated before the meeting was welcomed.
    2. The closer co-operation between school and parish was most impressive and was to be commended.
    3. Further opportunities for collaboration would be welcome.
    4. Anyone interested in obtaining a DBS check, to enable them to assist in the school, should contact Bernadette Starak in the first instance.
    5. The possibility of using the School Wi-Fi (in the Hall, in the evenings, by the Parish Computer Group) would be investigated.
  • Parish Life.
    1. The primary need, post pandemic, is to get our “Spiritual Life” back on track after the limitations of lockdown. This would require us to re-engage with all parishioners
    2. The “Stewardship” initiative, to be headed by Bernard Segrave-Daly, will play a major part in the way ahead, as we work together on a common aim.
    3. A number of new social activities have been proposed – with volunteers to co-ordinate them. It was agreed that they should start after the AGM
    4. It is intended that the new Tuesday Social Group should meet in St Anthony’s Chapel to avoid intruding on Fr Martin’s home.
    5. We must encourage more parishioners to come forward with their own ideas of what they want – and, ideally, offer to help put them into practice.
  • Stewardship
  1. The report from B.S. was welcomed.
  2. It was agreed that this Programme should be launched in Autumn, ideally at the AGM.
  • Parish AGM
    1. The Parish AGM will be on Wednesday 15 September at 18:30
    2. It will be a primarily social event, with Wine, Tea, Coffee & Light Refreshments.
    3. We could use the event to decide which Charities we would support in future  It is proposed that this choice should be for a longer period, to build a relationship with the charities concerned and give them a more stable income.
    4. There will be some “business” to be conducted – Approval of the Accounts; Approval of the Change in Term of Service on PPC;  Launch of Stewardship.
    5. Other suggestions for the “SOCIAL“ aspects would be welcome.
    6. Post the meeting, it was agreed that the presentation of funds already raised for our local adopted charities – May Centre; Clinks Farm; Waveney Centre – should be arranged as soon as possible.
  • Any Other Business.
    1. Removal of Covid Legislation. It was agreed that given the anxiety of a number of parishioners the “safe capacity” of the Church should remain at 80, with flexibility where families or bubbles were seated together.
    2. In addition, we would take a careful approach to the relaxation of our other procedures.
  • Date of Next Meeting
    1. The next meeting will be on Thursday 21 October at 18:30 in the Parish Hall.
  • Closing Remarks and Prayer


Terry O’Brien.  Secretary.  26 July 2021


  • Items Omitted from Any Other Business
  1. Wedding Ceremonies The conduct of Wedding Ceremonies now requires the preparation of a Risk Assessment for the actual church ceremony. This is in hand – in liaison with ME.
  2. Funds Available for the Needy in Beccles Attention was drawn to the existence of the Beccles Jubilee Fund which can provide funds for the purchase of items such as domestic equipment or mobility aids.  Contact the Town Clerk’s Office in the first instance.


Terry O’Brien.  Secretary.  27 July 2021