sp
Find a Meeting
To find AA meetings and your local helpline number in Great Britain, and English-speaking meetings in continental Europe please click below.
Search 'online' to see all currently registered online meetings (updated daily)
Alcoholics Anonymous
Great Britain
and English Speaking Continental Europe
Call our National Helpline
Call FREE on
Find a Meeting
Search 'online' to see all currently registered online meetings (updated daily)

Recent Minutes

West Kent Intergroup

Minutes of the 181st Assembly

Date: Friday 20th November 2020

Venue: On Zoom

Present:

Tony M Chairperson

Nick D Vice Chair

Phil S Secretary

Lynden S Treasurer

GSRs

Jeni M. Aylesford

Nicholas Chatham

Paul H Ditton

Helen S Gillingham Thursday (Twydall)

Steve G Goudhurst

Matt A Isle of Sheppy Thursday

Dermot G Maidstone Monday

Kate F Maidstone Wednesday

Tamsin B Maidstone Thursday

Craig L Maidstone Saturday

Jenny T Newington Wednesday

Darren F Rainham Wednesday

Richard B Rochester Monday

Gavin A Rochester Saturday

Mike L Sevenoaks Wednesday

Joan Sittingbourne

Sarah M Snodland Zoom

Shona C Strood Thursday

Sue Tonbridge Wednesday Evening

Heather Tonbridge Friday Morning

Bert M Tonbridge Sunday

Jon P Tunbridge Wells Monday

Debbie R Tunbridge Wells Daily Reflection

Emma C Tunbridge Wells Thursday Evening

Lucia M Tunbridge Wells Friday (Womens)

Danny M Tunbridge Wells Friday

Peter B Tunbridge Wells Saturday

Irene M Tunbridge wells Saturday

Cliff S Tunbridge Wells Sunday

Liaison Officers

Helen A Archivist

Sarah M Convention Convenor

Darren F Electronic Communication Liaison Officer

Mark H Employment Liaison Officer

Kenny J Health Liaison Officer

Gina S Prison Liaison Officer

Sarah P Probation Liaison Officer

Matt A Public Liaison Officer

Michael W Telephone Liaison Officer

Ryan F Regional Representative

Fiona G Regional Representative

Visitors

John F

Julian R

Shirley S


Tony M, Chair, opened the meeting and made his opening remarks

A moments silence was observed to remember the still suffering alcoholic.

The Preamble was read by Fiona G

The Traditions were read by Shirley S

The Aims and Structures were read by Kate F

Apologies

Jonathon K Hildenborough

Nicola G Ditton Wednesday

Dean W Regional Representative

Joan A Sittingbourne

Quorum

Tony M, Chair, checked that the assembly was quorate in order that the elections go ahead, by which WKIG requires a minimum of 20 voting members to be present. A count was taken which numbered 38, confirming that this was achieved.

Matters arising from the previous Assembly

There were no matters arising from the minutes of the previous assembly due to the fact that the record facility was not activated on Zoom. 

Election of Officers

Armed Services Liaison Officer

Proposed by Michael L Sevenoaks Wednesday and seconded by Helen A Archivist. Julian stated that he had 16 months sobriety (apologies if this is incorrect but this is what it sounded like on the recording. He appreciates that this is not a long period but he has found his time in AA positive and he would like to be proactive. He still maintains connections with people that he attended school with who are still in the Armed Services and also meets with a number through social and sporting events such as rugby.

Tony M raised the question on the length of sobriety for this position and ideally it is 3 years. However, Intergroup had elected people to service positions with less than the recommended period of sobriety.

Michael L stated that Julian has shown a commitment to Sevenoaks, Hollybush and a willingness and keenness since coming into AA and this was one of the reasons for nominating him. Motivation that would serve intergroup well.

Darren F, we have a precedent in this intergroup where we have elected officers without the required length of sobriety. My question is "Have we got anybody to sponsor him into this service position? Maybe the P.I. Committee would be willing to assist him then that would allay any fears?

Nick D First and foremost it is important to have this position filled. Our Service men suffer terribly and we struggle to make headway with them so, I am really keen to get someone in place. I am more than willing in my role as Vice Chair helping along and sponsoring in as far as I can with the PI aspects of that and acting as a mentor through it. We have the PI Steering Committee that you can become involved in.

Fiona G The only word of caution that I would utter is that we do not have a Regional Armed Services Liaison Officer for guidance and support. There's not much support there.

Shirley S What do you know about the role that you are taking on, do you know what it?

Julian R Not a lot.

Shirley S Have you looked in the AA Service Manual? The role of all of the Service Officers is in there.

Julian R Yes, I have

Shirley S Although there is not a Regional Armed Services Liaison Officer, Armed Services delivered a very good presentation on the role a short while ago. Mike C who is on the sub-committee at GSO and it could be beneficial to make contact with him.

There was a majority vote of 25 in favour of
Julian taking on the service position.

Share/Literature Liaiso Officer

No volunteers or nominations

Young People's Liaison Officer

No volunteers or nominations

3rd Regional Representative

Helen A was proposed by Mike L and seconded by Darren F. Helen gave her AA CV. She came into the Fellowship in 2013 on leaving rehab. She has held every service position at group level with the exception of Treasurer and has held some positions more than once. She has a good understanding of the Steps, Traditions and Concepts. She has a sponsor and also sponsors.

Fiona G Wanted to know who the outgoing Regional Rep was, Dean W.

Ryan F Asked if she was aware of the workshops at Region and was able to get there.

Helen confirmed that she was and that she has attended previously.

Shirley S. Although there are three Regional Reps. All three reps are expected to attend or else we lose a vote.

Helen I would attend even if I did not need to.

The following positions remain vacant.

Electronic Communications Liaison Officer

Prison Liaison Officer

Share/Literature Liaison Officer

Young Peoples Liaison Officer

***** GSRs Please announce these positions to your groups on \a regular basis *****

Ratification of Officers

The following Officers committed to continue for a further 12months in their post or until their rotation date:

Tony M - Chair

Nick D - Vice Chair

Lynden S - Treasurer

Phil S - Secretary

Helen A - Archivist

Sarah M - Convention Convenor

Darren F - Electronic Communications Liaison Officer

Mark H - Employment Liaison Officer

Kenny J - Health Liaison Officer

Sarah P - Probation Liaison Officer

Matt A - Public Information Liaison Officer

Ryan F - Regional Representative

Fiona G - Regional Representative

Michael W - Telephone Liaison Officer

Review and Ratification of Aims and Structures

The Aims and Structures were not reviewed

There was a Conscience Question from Shirley S. this was

"Do GSRs think they might find it helpful for Intergroup to hold a Conference Questions Workshop led by Delegates. The aim of the workshop would be to assist GSRs to gain a clear understanding of the Questions, prior to their having to facilitate their own group discussions?"

This was seconded by Lynden S.

A vote was taken with a unanimous vote in favour of the proposal. The Workshop is scheduled to take place on Friday 15th January 2021. Full details

Telephone Liaison Officer's Proposals

The first proposal "West Kent Intergroup requires candidates wanting to serve as Telephone Responders to be voted into post by a conscience of their home group and for the group GSR tgo inform the TLO".

Michael W explained"According to the AA Service Handbook Telephone Responders need to be chosen and endorsed through an agreed Intergroup procedure" As there is currently no procedure in place within West Kent Intergroup. As West Kent TLO I felt that it was part of my role to point out that I feel that we might be being deficient in our duty of care to our Responders and the people who are calling our helpline. I have circulated the results of a survey at our last meeting where thyis was discussed and Questions 17 - 24 dealt with risks that callers and responders feel that they are exposed to while giving this service.

Cliff S Tunbridge Wells Sunday night. Our group that that this was a really good proposal and everyone supported it. Secondly, I was surprised to see only 2 questions on the Agenda. Before this question was a question about the role of the Telephone Responder in the survey.

Darren F I am a GSR at a meeting and we wholeheartedly support proposal 1. The thing is, if we are getting someone elected to a role, do we need to get them ratified to stay in post, who is to know if they slip or relapse? As we know things in AA change, who would know if that person relapsed? They may still come to meetings, but no longer have the required sobriety time. Do we need to consider ratification of Responders?

Tony M I see the difference between Elected and Approved, I see this as an Approval rather than Elected, that's only my opinion.

Sue Tunbridge Wells Wednesday We put this to our group and also the Sunday morning meeting and they were unanimously in favour of proposal 1.

Jeni M Aylesford Our group supports the 1st proposal, the survey raised more points than are on the Agenda. More time is required, this was originally 30 minutes before the Agenda was changed. We need to look at more than the role. Do Responders extend their role? Is the 12 Step list deficient? I know that we recently elected a 12 Step Coordinator and John turned up at our meeting the following week with his stamped addressed envelope asking for our list. I am wondering if this is a bigger point than these 2 proposals.

Kate F Maidstone Wednesday I reiterate a lot of what Jeni has said. We need more time to discuss this.The service is complex and the guidelines for the Responders is not clear. Maybe they should undertake regular training, yearly?

Shona Strood Thursday Our group is in favour of Proposal 1, we have concerns over Proposal 2 and feel thaty it needs further discussion.

Fiona G Regional Representative. I will be voting against both proposals that Michael has raised for a number of reasons. Neither point needs to be validated or as Michael has put it "Rubber Stamped by West Kent Intergroup". He was voted into the post of TLO by the West Kent Intergroup with it comes responsibilities . As stated in Concept 3 The serving member has the "Right of Decision". The post infers trust, that when a member is voted in they will follow both the Guidelines and the ethos of the Fellowship when making decisions. It may be that the serving officer is unsure about the decisions that he wants to make and this is where they seek advice before making their decision, it's not a matter for West Kent Intergroup to decide. You may have other thoughts on that. The serving officer ideally asks their Regional TLO and other TLO'S in their region and in other regions if required for their suggestions. Rather than telling their Regional TLO their ideas. This was something that I had to learn to do some years ago when I was TLO in another Intergroup. I was then going onto point 2 the TLO post holder will ideally have read much of the AA literature which clearly shows that none of us are professionals as regard medical matters and we only share our experience, strength and hope with callers with regard to our recovery process. Therefore point 2 is irrelevant and needs to be included in the TLO'S training of responders and not a matter for West Kent Intergroup to decide. Point 1 is also not for Intergroup to decide, the TLO already has the group's trust to use their own discretion when choosing responders. My feeling is that nobody knows me better than my Sponsor and I was given her blessing. When someone does not have a Sponsor then the TLO has the option of declining the volunteer's offer of service. My belief is that we have judged ourselves often quite harshly before coming into recovery and it puts the onus of judgement on the group. I'll cite a member of the same group that Michael and I both attend. "He's a nice chap, hangs up the scrolls will do any reading that is asked of him though he has never, ever shared at a meeting. I would be unable to vote him in as a Responder as I don't feel that I know him. Neither would I wish to decline him his offer of service. I simply don't wish to judge him and I feel very strongly that a vote by the group is not according to the ethos of the Fellowship. While I am speaking I would like to ask Michael how he understands the word Governance that he has frequently used. I have an understanding of it from my professional life however, I am not sure everyone present would understand the term. Maybe he could elaborate on it and when he expects it to be introduced? Also, how he might see it applied to what is deemed as a mutual aid group? And where each group is autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole. How will governance sit with the ethos of the Fellowship?

Michael W I would say that Intergroup in the role that it takes on in making decisions for the groups which are members of the Intergroup have a governance role and an obligation and that part of that obligation is to see that the services are safe for the people who use them and provide them. So, I've had a role as Governor of an NHS Foundation Trust for example this is very similar to a sort of question that I would be dealing with in that situation I think in the final analysis that every institution and every organisation is able to be duped. 

The way that I view this current arrangement is that if the wrong person were to find themselves in the role of TLO then a malign actor could then really appoint other individuals. That is how malign actors have worked in children's homes, that's how they've worked in the Church of England and I feel that having done telephone service myself, having been sent sexual material by a female person because that is perfectly possible, by a female caller that this is worth us thinking about again. I am not as well versed in all of the literature and Traditions of AA as you are, but I do feel that this is a kind an Achilles heel as far as our obligations to keep people safe go. If a person can schmooze me and tell me that they are good enough and I do receive quite often, people saying I've just moved here from Birmingham and I did do telephone service there, I've got 2 years sobriety can I go on the phone? Where do I turn to, I can turn to Peter who is the Regional TLO and say I can refuse, but what if that person is telling the truth? Then I have an obligation to give him the opportunity to provide service. My understanding is that according to the AA Service Handbook this should be done by a procedure agreed by Intergroup, endorsed by Intergroup and as TLO I expect Intergroup to give me that support in endorsing my procedure and I propose the procedure of asking Intergroups to propose responders through a matter of their conscience. If Intergroup feels that the procedure as I have presented it is not an appropriate procedure, and they have a better procedure then that's fine. But I don't think a nod and a wink and saying our endorsement Michael is that you're entirely autonomous in this role. I don't think that that is adequate procedurally.

Tony M said that he was very aware of the time

Shirley S I have been a Telephone Responder for a number of periods over the years, and I am currently a Responder. In theory this is good and I know that the Service Handbook says through an agreed Intergroup procedure. In practice a lot of people in the group won't know anything about the role. A lot of people when voting will vote whether they know the person or not, they will follow the lead of the group. You are not necessarily going to get an informed decision by the group, I don't think. I think that it is a good idea in theory.

Ryan F Regional Representative Having listened to Fiona's, Shirley's and Michael's responses I feel uncomfortable about the proposals when listening to what Fiona had to say.. By Michael's own admission that he does not have a great understanding of the Traditions. With all love and respect I hope that you don't take this personally Michael , a proposal of this nature by someone without the knowledge that is required. Also, to say that Intergroup make decisions for the groups those are the words that Michael used, that is incorrect.

Tony M said that there would now be a vote on proposal 1

The vote was taken on Proposal 1 with 20 in favour, 7 against and 5 abstentions. There were 6 uncounted voters. The proposal was carried by a majority

Proposal 2 WKIG require Telephone Responders to make it clear to callers, that they are not speaking to a medical professional, or an AA official.

Phil S Secretary Asked if there was someone to second the proposal.

Tony M Chair My feeling is that this is a wider subject than we have time for now, I think that it would achieve more if it were to go into the remit of training or a TLO Workshop. We only have 5 minutes left and this subject needs as much time as possible so, I would suggest that it goes over to the next assembly. Michael are you happy with this.

Michael W TLO Confirmed that he was happy with this

Nick D Vice-Chair I'd like to support you on this Tony. I have been listening to discussions across the Intergroup and agree that it needs much more discussion and we need to give it the time that it needs. I'd like to thank Michael for all of the work that he has done and in helping us to understand the role of the Responder and the service we are offering. Great stuff Michael, thank you.

Cliff S Tunbridge Wells Sunday I just want to acknowledge the fact that this was raised 2 or 3 intergroups ago and we are still not discussing it. In fact as others have said there are some really important issues here.

In the Group Conscience we had the question of the role of the Telephone Responder and whether it should be in line with the guidance in the handbook where the Responder should have a minimum talk with the caller because the 12 step work is done by the person on the 12 Step List. The group felt really strongly in favour with this with the exception of one person who was a Telephone Responder who has a different opinion. It was really good because we got to hear from the Telephone Responder. But I think that there are really important issues here. Whether that role should be extended. I can't believe that we are still not discussing it.

Tony M You're right it does require a lot more time and discussion and that is why we are putting it on the next agenda.

Phil S Pointed out that it had been on the original Agenda until it was pointed out that this Assembly was our AGM and Group Conscience.

Jeni M GSR Aylesford As Phil has just said we were allocated more time on the original Agenda I'm sure there was only 10 minutes for this to be discussed we're already hitting 30. Can I just reiterate what Cliff has just said we don't need to put it on another Agenda, is there no way that we can have a special meeting, specifically to talk about this? This is just being bumped down the road similar to the "Can being kicked". We are not talking about it. I really think it needs to be put front and centre and not on another Agenda.

Phil S The original Agenda had 35 minutes not 10 as stated

Tony M The only way it can be discussed is if it is on an Agenda. raised the matter that the meeting would need to be quorate otherwise we could not vote so nothing would be valid. Although, I think that it's a good idea but we need GSR's and other voting members. It would be no good organising it and only 10 people turning up.

Fiona G Regional Representative I called a special Intergroup meeting to deal with an issue when I was TLO and all of the GSR's were there. I wrote down what it was that I wanted to say, all of the GSR's were given 5 minutes for their group's views. Then a vote was taken. It's a Special Intergroup Meeting.

Tony M I propose that we either have a special meeting or that we devote the next Assembly to this issue.

Lynden S also suggested that the Assembly could be extended to 10pm.

A vote was taken with 12 in favour of a special meeting, there was over 20 in favour of having it as an agenda item and if need be to extend the finish time.

Access and Accessability

Mark H Employment Liaison Officer I'd like to propose that this item goes over to the next, or the next assembly or the one after. To be fair I am happy to wait until April's Assembly. I am very unwell at the moment and I need time to prepare. I need more than the 5 minutes that was allocated to me. I have some bumf to gather to present to you . It's not as simple as me talking at you or talking with you because talking to you has not worked in the past so, I would like to bring in some evidence. This item has been raised and pushed back, raised and pushed back over the last 5 or 6 years.

Phil S Secretary reminded Mark that originally he had been allocated more time until the Agenda was amended.

Darren F Electronic Communications Liaison Officer Mark are you talking about preparing a briefing pack so that we can understand some of the background that you are talking about? If we have got some detail with some pointers and references so that we can read up before your proposal We've talked on this subject before and it is a quite deep subject to get into and I'd gladly help you do that by the way Mark if you want some assistance, I'm not just dumping it on you. I think to get something out there before hand so, that people can read and understand and do their own research and talk to their own groups about this. I think would be really helpful.

Mark H I don't want to do it an injustice on my own either, because it is such a bigger issue. It's not just about me being a wheelchair user there's a lot a lot of people who cannot go to meetings for a number of different reasons hearing problems, slight mobility problems. It is necessary to get it out to the groups so that they understand the impact. I'll use this time briefly to say that if people want to help they can message me. Anyone who would like to support I would welcome that and Darren thanks for your offer of support in putting something together, a pack of interest. Access is a massive barrier for some of us. After hearing that another hour added to the next meeting I have put my head in my knees, I'm struggling now. Come 7pm on a Friday night I am really fatigued and I don't think that I will last another 5 minutes that's nothing personal it's just another issue.

Tony M I think that what has been suggested is brilliant. Also, to aid the discussion to get something out on paper, proposals that we can vote on, it focuses the discussion, it's something to work to.

Mark H One of the things that I will leave you with is a lot of people come back to me except in matters affecting other groups or "AA as a whole". If people cannot attend meetings, the effects your group. Just to remember that..

This item has been put over until Friday 16th April 2021. The assembly on the 8th January will mostly be dedicated to the Telephone Service. The Friday 12th February Assembly is for Conference Questions. Sop our next Assembly is 16th April. Tony M asked Mark H to prepare something that can be circulated prior to the Assembly.

P.I.Update

Matt A I have already sent in my report so if anyone wants to go into anything in more detail please feel free to contact me. Since the last Assembly we have been really busy, there is the "Darkness into Light Roadshow" which hopefully will be taking place in 2022. It will be touring the South East Region and West Kent will be hosting it in October so, we needed to sort out a venue so, I have been in touch with the main Maidstone Library and I have been able to book that. I am waiting for an email to confirm the arrival date, the booking has been pencilled in and we had a meeting with the library last Saturday to discuss developing the display itself. I will be keeping you guys updated as things progress over the next few assemblies. I have been working closely with Nick D and a host of other guys, we are running short of timer so, I will not name drop everyone and we deliver a demo meeting every so often to Kent Christchurch University. On Thursday was our very first virtual demo meeting with the guys at the university in conjunction with Al-Anon. A couple of their members came in and did a few talks. It went well as far as I can tell, there were a few teething issues technical difficulties at the start. But it went well, there were a huge amount of responses back from the Students there and then. They were putting their responses on "Chat". It was a pilot one and we are really looking forward to doing another one and the beauty is that because it is virtual there is not a lot of travel to get to where we need to be. At the last Assembly our activity during Alcohol Awareness Week was raised. We now have a very solid P.I. Committee, we meet regularly over the past month or so to pull together some ideas. With regard to KM media adverts that we did last year, we decided that this was probably not the best use of our funds. It was pretty expensive for the advert to last for a week. We could always book 2 weeks if we decided to book it twice. We decided that a better use of our funds was to create our own Face Book page and to advertise on Face Book itself. That way, once it's up and running, for a similar amount of money as the KM advert would have been. We can have a Face Book page running all of the time. We can make it more targeted at the demographics we want to aim at. But also, we have a lot more control over its content. It's much more easier for us to customize. We have all been pitching in and we have some pretty good content on there at the moment. It's not up and running yet, due to health issues with a couple of the guys. But when it is up and running we will send everyone a link so that you can have a good look at it. We hoped to be able to show you something tonight, but due to the issues mentioned we have not been able to. We will keep you updated. We have had a number of good ideas come up as a result of these meetings. Local radio stations are one area. It's been really strange actually, but I thought that it was difficult to get a foot in the door, we did eventually crack it. This year the radio stations have almost become impenetrable. Kenny HLO, has ferreted out some good contacts. I have been emailing them regularly and I will keep this up. It's not just for Alcohol Awareness week it's going to be ongoing I will continue the hard work. The PI meetings are now going to be more regular and what I will do in the next few days is to arrange a follow up meeting and then maybe we can circulate another flyer inviting people to come along and add their suggestions and to see what is going on. I think that you will find it pretty interesting, I know that I did. All ideas are welcome. If there are any questions.

Ryan F Regional Representative Well done Matt, that sounds like you have been really busy and have done a lot of good work. Should you have asked the group about the Face Book page first, Having an online presence?

Matt A We did on our very 1st meeting consider is it something that we should get Intergroup involved with, but we were very close on time and we did want to get something going, with Alcohol Awareness Week which is actually this week. We discussed whether Intergroup needed to get involved. So we decided we would not be creating anything new which was not already AA approved. All of the art work, literature and video links we have just collated them. We have not created a Face Book page saying we are AA, It's just like a sign post presence of AA in West Kent and target people in our particular area.

Mark H I'll share my apologies first as it was my intention to get it ready for this week but I have been bed bound. The actual Face Book page is not something that people can comment on. The telephone numbers direct people to the National Helpline not our local helpline. Although our local literature will be on there. As Matt said, there is nothing on there that is not already out there. It's not an engagement so, there is no need for any further follow up from people. I think that we have spoken about Face Book before at Intergroup and it was already agreed. We have also got in touch with Involve so we will be linking in with a lot of the Doctor's Surgeries in East and West Kent. Kenny is going to work with the East Kent site.

Tony M I think the other with the newspapers is we did not know how many people read it or responded to it. But with Face Book we will be able to see how many people have clicked on it and whether male or female which gives us much better feedback.

Darren F I think that Ryan's concerns are around Traditions and anonymity, I think really what you have is effectively is a clever web page with feedback via Face Book. No one knows who is behind it and there is no breach of anonymity. We already have a precedent there is an AA PI website for West Kent Intergroup where we publish various bit of information, details of our meetings. I don't see this as being any different from one of those normal PI services that we provide.

Shirley S Matt do PI now not deal with Alcoholics Anonymous Alcohol Awareness Month? We used to cover the whole month, although we have the National Alcohol Awareness Week There is nothing in your report, that is why I was asking.

Matt A What we did last year, obviously where the advert lasted for 1 week, we tried to target a particular week because the advert was so expensive. Because we could piggyback off of the rest of the publicity. You are right it should be for the whole month. No one wants me to hand out leaflets for them anymore. We have been very tight for time. It is a valid point and we will do better next year.

Tony M As I see it, it's an ongoing thing it's not for a month or a week, it's an ongoing thing.

Matt A That's the beauty of it I's an ongoing thing it is on Face Book. Maybe next year we can do another advert.

GSR Reports Matters Arising

Paul H Ditton Friday I have sent this through to you Phil. We've continued with face to face meetings being restricted to 15. The last 2 weeks of October we had 21 and we had to send people home. We are going to attempt to run a Zoom meeting in parallel. Details of how we arrange officers are to be arranged. We hope to have this up and running next week. I will update Intergroup.

Liaison Officer Reports Matters Arising

Gina S Prison Liaison Officer East Sutton Park is now open so we need some literature for there and I want to restock the box before handing over the service position. I would like to order £250 worth of literature if that is alright. Approved with a unanimous vote.

Tony M There is one thing that we may get from Lynden later, that is the books for Barbara with the dedication in. Some of these were going to be as a prison resource. So some should come your way.

Lynden S Treasurer Do we include these books as part of the £250 or as extra?

Tony M We keep that amount and any additions are a bonus, that's my view.

Chair's Report

I would like to thank Barbara K for her service as chair for the past three years and for her service to AA over the past 34 years, she will be sorely missed.

I would like to thank those who organized and ran the prison workshop which was well attended and Shirley S for getting an article about the event in the AA Service News.

Thank you for all attending tonight. I am amazed just how AA works and how well we have adapted to the new normal.

Some time ago it was proposed that our Intergroup have three venues throughout the year, one in the Tunbridge Wells area one in Rochester and the others in Maidstone. Having seen the attendance at this meeting my suggestion for discussion next year is to make all the Intergroup meetings on Zoom in the future.

Tony M

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer's Report 26th September 2020 to 14th November 2020

A PayPal Account was set up to allow contributions to the Barbara Kier Memorial. We received generous contributions totalling £143.25.

As my spreadsheet indicates as of 14th November, we now have £1,501.85 in available funds.

This balance is after we retain the prudent reserve of £1000.00 to cover Intergroup costs including the telephone service and £1000.00 ring-fenced for Liaison Service Expenditure. In addition to this there is a cheque awaiting payment of £666.66 for telephone service BT costs.

We have made contributions of £2,500.00 to Region as a Tradition 7 Contribution. I would like to propose to the group that we make no further contributions at this point.

Unallocated contributions are as follows: -

We have several unallocated contributions including individual member contributions. Below is a list of the larger contributions.

25/02/2020 £100 Cash Tonbridge

12/06/2020 £100 Cash Tunbridge Wells

31/7/2020 £300 Cheque Gravesend?

Please can GSRs pass on a copy of the Treasury report to their Group Treasurer, so they can confirm Intergroup has received their groups contributions. If you recognize any of the unallocated contributions as your group's, please let the Intergroup Treasurer know.

As we a likely to be under notable restrictions for some time to come due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, it is agreed that should Individual group members want to contribute for Tradition 7 and they have no means to do it at group level (the group does not have a bank account) these can be paid directly into the West Kent Intergroup Bank Account.

Please note, as there may be numerous small contributions to the Intergroup Bank Account, these will be noted on the Treasurers Accounts as unallocated and will not be assigned to the individuals Home group.

The West Kent Intergroup Bank details are noted at the bottom of this report.

All that remains is for me to ask Group Treasurers to continue the good work of letting us know which group their contributions are from and to keep them informed of any changes in contact details.

Group contributions should be made to ??West Kent Intergroup'

Lynden Stanley Bac's Details

Honeysuckle House West Kent Intergroup

Merryboys Road Account No:81135724

Cliffe Woods Sort Code: 40-31-06

ME3 7TP

Mobile: 07528655428

Email: treasurer.westkent@aamail.org

GSR Reports

Cranbrook Saturday Evening

The Saturday evening meeting is operating as a Hybrid meeting with Ten members allowed in the room.
All our service positions are filled and it is well attended especially on Zoom.

Ivor GSR

Ditton Wednesday

The meeting is now face to face (limit of 15 members wearing masks) with a zoom link up. COVID guidelines are being adhered to.
The meeting is fully self-supporting. We are in a position to send £220 to GSO. I'd be grateful to receive details of how to do this please.
Newcomers are welcomed.
Service positions are filled.

Nicky G GSR

Ditton Friday

We continued with the face to face meetings after being restricted to a maximum of 15. From the end of October we started to have more than 15 arriving and we had to ask people to go home. 2 weeks running 21 arrived for a meeting.

We have decided to attempt to run a Zoom meeting in parallel with the Ditton Friday face to face meeting. The details of how we arrange officers is still to be worked out.

I will update Intergroup when the login details are available. We anticipate being fully up and running next week.

Paul H GSR

Maidstone Monday Evening

The group continues to meet in person at St Faiths Church and has been well attended keeping under the 15 limit. As of yet we haven't had to turn anyone away.

We have noticed a drop in attendance since the second lockdown and just before.

We are just making the rent but that's all.

All service positions are filled.

Dermot G GSR

Maidstone Wednesday Evening

We are approaching our first years birthday as a meeting and we are going to as an extra to our Wed meets have two short sessions where our group takes an inventory and looks at the 13 questions suggested in the orange pamphlet called the AA group.

We want to become a hybrid meeting, but it is dependant, on our landlord installing Wi-Fi in the venue we hire, so far this has not happened, so we remain on zoom. Our numbers continue to be around 20 which has been consistent since we became a virtual meeting.

 We have the main service positions covered, at the time of writing this we are without a literature secretary. Our group has decided to introduce a new service position of Tech Host as separate from Greeter and Secretary to ensure we have a welcoming committee when folk log on and to make sure we spot any unfamiliar faces and establish if they are new to AA or just new to our group and of course welcoming them.

 We are in the process of opening a group bank account which has involved four separate members participation. Our treasurer has set up a group pooling system which allows members to carry out tradition 7 anonymously.

Our meeting format is very similar to how we ran when we met in person, we begin with a statement and then a 5 min meditation, then we read a few paragraphs of the big book and then share on what we read.

Kate F GSR

Maidstone Thursday

Physical Meetings / COVID 19

We reopened as a physical meeting in October and have had attendance generally just below the maximum of 15. When numbers have gone over we have split the meeting and held a smaller group in the separate anteroom, which we believe complies with most recent COVID 19 guidance. 

We are currently revising our risk assessment for the Church, who have been very accommodating, to consider guidance issued this week. At the most recent group conscience we agreed that we would request masks be worn on the same basis as restaurants, i.e. on entering, leaving and if using the bathroom. This will not be enforced as there may be members with unknown health issues that cannot wear a mask. All members will be required to use hand sanitiser and either use the track and trace app or sign in manually on paper which is held in confidence and destroyed after 21 days. These things will be mandatory. 

The WTF and national websites have been updated to confirm we are open. 

Finance:

The group is self-supporting and holds a sufficient prudent reserve at the moment. We are in the process of restocking our literature, chips etc and have an agreement with the church to pay monthly in these uncertain times. Having learnt from the sad and sudden loss of our previous Treasurer we now have a bank account in the name of the group and 3 signatories with access in the event of someone being unavailable. The group are aware that there have not been contributions to IG for some time and this will be reviewed each month. 

Newcomers:

Newcomers have provided excellent feedback and we have a number of people available for sponsorship. We have a service position available for female greeter. 

Tamsin B GSR

Rochester Wednesday Lunchtime

All service positions filled 

Good mix of men and women 

We are fully self supporting and we send money to Intergroup 

We are currently running hybrid meetings and both Zoom meetings and the physical meetings are well attended

Dawn S GSR

Sevenoaks Wednesday Evening

Nothing to report

Mike L GSR

Snodland Saturday Zoom Meeting

The Snodland Saturday reflection meeting continues to thrive with about 10 regular attendees per week. The group now celebrates periods of sobriety using virtual chips each week, and has the Zoom costs paid for for 12 months as this will continue to be an on line meeting for the future. All service positions are filled except chip secretary and we have now decided, following a group conscience, to invite a guest speaker for the first Saturday of each month to reflect on their chosen reading from AA literature. The other weeks are normally used for members of the group to reflect.

Sarah M GSR

Tunbridge Wells Thursday Step & Tradition

Zoom meeting continues to run successfully attracting approximately 15-20 people each week, including newcomers.

No foreseeable date to be able to commence face to face meetings again on church premises- church governed by Archbishop who, in turn, adheres to Government guidelines.

New secretary and co-host voted in at last Group Conscience have been in post 6 weeks and running meeting really well.

Tradition 7 announced each week - members invited to contribute to GSO directly if they wish to do so.

Another Group Conscience to be held shortly to discuss sending contributions to WKIG via PAYPAL. 

Emma.C GSR 

Tunbridge Wells Saturday 11am

Nothing new to report, we are having a group conscience on Saturday so will let you know of any changes - hope to do the Survey 2020 if I get the password in time.

Irene M GSR

Tunbridge Wells Sunday night

The meeting remains on Zoom because the normal venue is still not available due to the Covid situation. We have a new secretary and treasurer as the previous people rotated out after their term ended. The meeting remains well attended with around 25 people. The group hasn't had a means of collecting tradition 7 contributions so far in lockdown. However, the group has now decided to use paypal for tradition 7 and the treasurer posts the relevant link at the start and end of the meeting

Cliff S, GSR

Tunbridge Wells Monday

Not that our group in Tunbridge Wells on Monday has much change for the last report.

Jon P GSR

Liaison Officer Reports

Health Liaison Office

Introduction

Have busied myself with networking and exploring opportunities to increase awareness of our work in the communities in West Kent; the main focus has been as part of the PI working groups.

My thanks to all you for helpful advice from Nick D. and other the team members to mentor me into the role and keep me rooted in our traditions.

Activities

CCCU - We trialled the Christchurch Canterbury computer online presentation platform for functionality on our various devices. All preparations agreed and all roles with alternates in place.

DiL - accepted the invitation to join the working group for the Darkness into Light project to mark the 75th anniversary of AA in the UK in 2022. No further input this period.

GP Surgeries - cancelled intentions to write to individual surgeries following a meeting of PI working group in favour of an existing contact we have with the charity Involve.

Alcohol Awareness Week - have made contact with the following with pdf of posters:

  • North West Kent College
  • Bridgehouse and their NHS intranet
  • Kent Police
  • Kent Libraries
  • Kent FA

In each case I've offered the opportunity for them to invite a spokesperson from WKIG to come and speak.

MP for Sevenoaks - I have a surgery with my MP who is also a member of the Health Select Committee and has a keen interest in alcoholism. It is an excellent to raise awareness of our work in the communities within her constituency. Also I'm liaising with the Sub-Committee HLO Robin H. To keep GSO appraised

Kenny J HLO

Prison Liaison Officer

We had a successful and productive prison workshop with several people coming forward for service. Many thanks to Sarah for creating a great PowerPoint, Mark and Tony for hosting, everyone who spoke. Thanks again for service. 

We have recently started attending East Sutton Park every Thursday which is going well, chairs always needed. 

Swaleside are setting up their own AA meeting and WKIG have provided literature. 

No other meetings in any of the other prisons as yet. 

Also I rotate out in January, if anyone is interested in the role please do contact me. 

Gina S

Probation Liaison Officer

I have continued with my work and sent out various AA literature to criminal based soliciters and lawyers. As well as literature, I have sent my contact information to firms in West Wickham and the Medway towns. 

With face-to-face contact becoming increasingly more difficult due to the current Covid situation, I am doing the best to overcome this. 

I have also emailed the 'Independent Custody Visiting Association' (ICVA), an independent body representing custody detainees and their wellbeing.

I attended a probation conference run by the secretary probation sub-comittee. I found this very useful to me in gaining more insight into my role moving forward. It taught me how the ideas in the fellowship can help my role.

Sarah P

Public Information Liaison Officer's Report - November 2020

A brief run-down of WKPI activity since our last assembly.

There has been progress with booking the Maidstone library for the Darkness Into Light exhibition. After filling out a form, and answering several subsequent emails, it seems as if the booking has been successful. I have yet to receive a confirmation email, but the contact there has said its been pencilled into their schedule for October 2022.

I have been working with Nick D and number of other guys in relation to setting up another Canterbury Christ Church University demo meeting, to be held on the 17th November. This demo meeting will also include Al Anon participation. This meeting will be unique in that it will have to be held online.

On October 7th, everyone involved held a trial run of accessing the software to make sure we were comfortable with the format, and to try and iron out any issues. The trial went well, and any questions regarding the demo meeting were answered. I am also pleased to report that all service positions are now filled.

At the last assembly, the question of PI activity during alcohol awareness week was raised. We have since formed a PI committee and have been meeting regularly to discuss projects.

After discussion, we decided that the KM Media adverts would not be the best use of our budget this year. It was decided that advertising on Facebook would be a better idea, as it is much greater value for money. We also have far more control over its content, is much easier for us to customise and will be more interactive. We are working hard on its content, and it is looking extremely promising.

I have contacted both my local radio station and BBC radio Kent in an attempt to get some air time for a telephone interview / talk relating to alcohol awareness week with no reply. I will continue to email / phone them in the hope that I get a response.

If you are interested in helping at any of these events, or if you have any other questions, you or your group would like answered please do not hesitate to contact me.

Matt A Telephone: 07596115802 Email: mattaitken1@hotmail.co.uk

Regional Representatives

We have not had a Regional Meeting since the last Intergroup Meeting - therefore nothing to report.

Fiona G

Secretary's Report

There is not a lot to report, I am aware that some of you have been having difficulties logging in to complete the survey that was circulated. Emails that were sent to the email address were returned as failed to deliver and those that managed to leave a voicemail when calling have not had calls returned. I have contacted the author of the email that I forwarded on to everyone to make them aware of the issues. As yet, I have not received a resolution.

Phil S