40 People packed into the Silai centre on Friday night for ACORN Eastons first AGM.

It was a fun and inspiring evening with great speeches from members about all we have achieved over the last six months and what we hope to do in the future. We also achieved some serious business that sets us up for the year ahead.

Business first… Imogen Robins was re-elected Chair and will head the local group for 2015. Imogen has been active ever since we launched in May (when she was elected interim Chair) and her passion and enthusiasm for ACORN has been a massive asset to the local group in Easton. We're in safe hands moving forward!

Mat Alborough was elected Co-Chair and like Imogen is continuing a role that he was elected into as a temporary position back in May. Mat has been excellent at helping our meetings run smoothly, even keeping speeches by Adam – winner of ACORN Easton's “Most Gobby” – to the correct time! ;)

Maria Midlane was elected as the new Branch Secretary. Maria joined ACORN after seeing us on BBC Points West and then attending our public meeting with local letting agents. Maria has been invaluable to our campaigns - planning actions, leading the chants and raising funds - and we’re excited to have her take an even more prominent role moving forward.

As well as electing officers we also voted on a priority neighbourhood campaign here in Easton: Calm that traffic down! So if you’re sick of speeding cars, poorly designed road systems and Bristol City Council ignoring requests to take action, please get in touch.

Our campaign for a fairer rental market was also re-endorsed and is now city wide, fighting for the Bristol Ethical Lettings Charter! Join the tenants movement here.

Along side all the business last Friday was about celebration and inspiration and we did both with style. How could it not be inspiring?

In just six months we have:

  • Involved 130 donor members, 2000 registered supporters and 17 Street Reps in our neighbourhood
  • Ran a successful traffic campaign, pressurising the council and winning changes to traffic flow, reduction of dangerous driving, enforcement measures etc.
  • Won recognition by organisations such as Sustrans to lend our support to their campaigns
  • Won official support for our private renters campaign for a Bristol Ethical Lettings Charter from Labour and Green politicians, local MP Stephen Williams and a number of third sector organisations including Shelter, Talking Money, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Ashley Community Housing, Knightstone Housing Association and more.
  • Successfully negotiated with landlords and letting agents on behalf of private tenants resulting in thousands of pounds of repairs done, rent refunded and reduced
  • And our Members have been active; putting questions to Bristol City Council and the Mayor on tenants’ issues, as well as organising and running demonstrations and accountability meetings, seeing over 200 people take our demands straight to the letting agents.

And with such amazing people involved how could the party afterwards not be fun?

Members stayed at the Silai centre after the meeting; eating, drinking, chatting and no doubt plotting future activities. It was great to see so many people getting to know each other and bonding over the shared values of a powerful community voice. Special thanks goes out to Jacqui Lewis for providing us with the food.

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