Tales from Gazen Salts

Moving Forwards

Gazen Salts Wildlife Garden yesterday 05th April 2023 and the pathways are now being chipped.

Sidenote – the complainant is still lodging formal complaints against Gazen Salts even with the meeting with the committee members last week. Last weekend she and her husband sent well over 30 emails of complaint. The DDC is now taking legal actions – not against us, as we are not in the wrong – but against the complainant and will issue a Vexatious Order against the husband and wife.

They will also begin billing them if they continue to make formal complaints with no merit, which results in Government Officials having to investigate. The complainants’ actions have resulted in thousands of taxpayer money being spent and ultimately wasted.

This may result in the complainant stopping.
Or it may not.

Yesterday l volunteered at Gazen Salts as l do on a Wednesday, and last night l attended a committee meeting. Last weekend l emailed three Gazen Salt’s committee members who l consider my friends and trusted allies – the treasurer and the two conservation officers – and informed them that unless the upper management and politics improved, l would be leaving the reserve.

Some of you may recall a substantial dramatic drama llama ding dong political upheaval in January when the then-chairman became so frustrated that he resigned and left everyone in limbo.

I’ll not bore you all with the intricate details as to why he thought this was the right thing to do in such a childlike fashion; however, it resulted from destructive politics and management running disagreements created by the vice chair and the chair in the first place!

More annoyingly, whilst resigning, the vice-chairman refused to accept the chair’s resignation and so began for the next ten weeks, until last night, a massive period of indecision from the committee about what was happening. Before the chair’s January departure, he vowed that those remaining would see the charity’s demise without him at the helm.

Yes, l know .. like seriously.

During this limbo period, the vice-chair also refused to allow any forward progression and decided to award the chair a time of rest to make his decision correctly. So Gazen Salts was without any formal management. We had a treasurer, but there were limits to what he could do without the vice chair or chair wishing to carry on.

The charity, of course, could carry on normal day-to-day functioning, and it did. Without anyone properly at the helm, things felt like they were floundering. The vice chair would not move for monthly committee meetings, so that Gazen Salts couldn’t move forward.

I did attend the first committee meeting of 2023 since December last week, which was a shambles, but ultimately what came out of it was that everyone except the vice chair was willing, more than willing to accept the January resignation of the chair.

I left last week’s meeting thoroughly discouraged. There were already pressing concerns as far as l was concerned with Gazen Salts and the administration and management. I had long ago accepted that l would never see the warden’s role, but also, l know that the charity needs to have the monies to finance that position.

Why did l want to be the warden?

Well, l love the reserve; l have been an active volunteer there since mid-June 2021, when the volunteer projects began again after an absence of eight years since the flooding in 2013. I could finally give my time to a worthwhile opportunity for the community with something l was passionate about.

If there were a paid position, that would also assist, but the latter was not my first need. Working outside with nature was what l craved.

So once l accepted that l probably would not get the role of warden due to a lack of finances, l asked how else l could do something for the charity, and the answer was to become a committee member.

I made that decision in August 2022. That is where my actual stresses began with Gazen Salts because the upper management – chair and vice chair wanted to avoid new faces sitting on seats of power or, worse, new people would mean more voters that could, in essence, topple bad managers.

The aforementioned is a loosely defined version of everything from my application in August 2022 to become the new warden for Gazen Salts and my approach to becoming a committee member of the charity.

I worked my butt off to show my loyalty and dedication to the other members of the committee to show that l was committed and that l believed l had something to offer and whilst everyone below the vice chair and chair could see that l would make a valuable Trustee, no appointments followed.

Of course, l have yet to mention the charity’s constitution and the poor way it was managed and never updated by the then secretary, who was only there for one in every three meetings. Because the document couldn’t be found, the recognized and official appointment of trustees couldn’t occur …..

By November of last year, it was more than just me trying to become an appointed trustee to the committee. There were several others but to no avail. There was a lot of discontentment. So when the chair resigned in January, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and thought, OK, time to move forward, only to be faced with a vice-chair refusing to accept the chair’s departure.

Jumping forward to last night’s committee meeting, which was classed as the Extraordinary Meeting 5-April-2023, the resigned chair was present and promptly officially left in a semi-friendly/hostile’ fashion as a formal resignation. The ‘vice chair’ then assumed the role of acting chair of the moment and informed everyone that the committee could start moving forward.

In the interim period of indecision between 23rd January to 4th March 2023, the committee and volunteers had been working to introduce a new working document for updating the charity constitution.

However, last night’s meeting then formalized that the Gazen Salts Charity would stop being classed as a charitable organization but, as soon as administratively possible, would become recognized as a Charitable incorporated organization—the same but with a few differences.

The next stage for Gazen Salts will be next week, when a volunteer meeting will be held, and ideas and discussions will be discussed. Once the charity has changed its official title, there will be an annual general meeting where new members will be appointed.

I have told Suze, myself, close confidants, and friends alike that l will stay for April and, come to the end of the month, decide whether l wish to proceed any more with the charity or continue volunteering at the reserve.

Other opportunities are presenting themselves to me and, technically, my business Earthly Comforts – The Compost Doctor, which may prove more beneficial. But there are, in addition, other projects appearing on my horizon as well that will need examining.

We shall see.

The bark chipping’s bay is now finished. As l said before, it’s not really functional for storage in a great way, but it now looks less like a waste ground dumping site and hopefully more like an official unloading area for chippings.

Designs – Earthly Comforts – Inspired by Nature – see collection here

Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is about my time and stories of my voluntary work with this project.

I’ll see you next episode. Thanks for reading.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Sandwich, Kent, England, UK

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

11 thoughts on “Tales from Gazen Salts

    1. Indeedy, there’s no denying the truth in that Grace. I don’t like to throw the towel of anything in too quick and try to work all avenues to success, but l feel that as much as l love Gazen Salts, l may learn to love the reserve more than the committee.


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