Board Meetings

Board Meeting 10th December 2009

Minute of meeting of Directors of Assynt Foundation held in the office at Glencanisp on Thursday 10th December 2009
Present: Don Campbell, Patricia Robertson, Alastair MacAskill, Davy Robb, Fergus Stewart, Agnes Dickson, Helen Steven, Mandy Haggith, Jackie Yates, Tony Usher.
In Attendance: Mark Lazzeri (DM), Adam Pellant (PO), George Farlow.

1. Apologies: None.
2. Positions of Office:
2.1 Chairman: Don proposed by Alastair, seconded by Patricia. All agreed. (Don chaired meeting thereon.)
2.2 Vice-Chair: Patricia proposed by Don, seconded by Davy. All agreed.
3. Possible Co-options of directors: (taken now as required in advance of 2.3)
3.1 Re-co-option of Tony Usher, proposed by Agnes, seconded by Helen. All agreed.
3.2 It was noted that the board had a great need for expertise in stalking and land management. Stephen Smith was considered for co-option in order to fulfil this need with his high level of expertise in these fields. Co-option of Stephen Smith, proposed by Patricia, seconded by Fergus. All agreed.
3.3 There remains one available space for co-option, along with the one space for the appointment of a director as a representative of a specific organisation. Don asked the board to consider any gaps in expertise or representation, and any individuals that might fulfil any such gaps.
Positions of Office continued:
2.3 Treasurer: Tony proposed by Agnes, seconded by Helen. All agreed.
4. Minutes of 8th October 2009:
Following two agreed proposals for changes of wording, minutes proposed by Davy, seconded by Alastair.
 5. Matters arising
Elphin School: Alastair had arranged for Lochinver Joinery Service to inspect the building and advise on costs to Elphin community. Following a second community meeting, with Clive Sheppard and Stevan Lockhart attending, Elphin community members have decided to attempt to lease the building directly from Highland Council, probably establishing a community interest company to take this forward. George Farlow has passed on their intentions to the properties dept. of Highland Council. Action: Assynt Foundation to contact HC to relinquish interest in AF leasing the building.
Walled Garden: We had begun providing a New Deal placement organised by SCVO, for a local stone-dyking expert. He advised us that a section of the perimeter wall was cracked and bowing out, with a risk of it falling. Due to the danger of this, it was agreed to take down the section of wall and rebuild it. After taking much of the section down, the individual had to stop work, for the time being at least, due to a serious back problem. Some temporary fencing has been put up, but regrettably deer got into the garden before this and caused damage to plants. Agreed to try to source some more robust fencing to keep deer out.
Ledmore Forest: George Farlow asked about the possibility of holding another ballot, if the forestry commission were willing. The board stated that any further effort to reopen a NFLS application for Ledmore Forest should be pursued through the community council.
Living Landscapes Project: Is awaiting responses from other groups.
Energy Saving Trust: Loan has been approved.
Log Building Pictures: Fergus to send round.
6. Sub-Groups: Discussions to continue by email to decide on lead and supporting directors for sub-groups.
7. Induction for new directors: Mark has sent various documents to new directors, two to be signed and returned. Don explained procedure for conflicts of interests in board meetings, and outlined line management of staff. Action: Director training to be arranged.
8.                   Redevelopment Project
8.1 Windows are now in. Most drainage is completed. Joinery and plumbing work is ongoing. 2 unbudgeted expenses: replacement of rotten beam and removal of unused water tanks.
8.2 Winter bat survey has been carried out. No evidence of winter use.
8.3 Concern over condition of road.
9. Registration of interests
The board agreed that if there is any cost involved in the registration of interest in community purchase of any area or item, then we cannot go ahead with that registration. Existing interests in areas of land registered 5 years ago, but not purchased, have now expired.
The board agreed to attempt to register interest in the Church of Scotland Glebe. No search fees should be required as boundaries and ownership are known. The board also agreed to progress registration of interest in three other areas for which previous registered interest has expired (Black Point grazings, part of the Inverkirkaig/Strathan grazings, and an area between Glencanisp Estate and the River Inver) so long as no cost is involved.
Action: Adam to circulate forms for supporting registration of interest in the Glebe and the other three areas.
10. Development Manager’s Report
10.1 Four computers have been given to AF by wife of contract stalker. Two are already installed and in use by office staff. The board recorded their thanks.
10.2 Water Supply: The borehole pump is due a service. Agreed to go ahead with this alongside lodge works.
10.3 Possible training course: HIE are interested in funding a training course in sustainable buildings. Board agreed AF investigate organising / hosting this, dependent on extra hours being available from PT staff to work on this.
10.4 AF can be paid in exchange for Mark providing training services. Board agreed in principle to this.
10.5 A visit is planned to a hydro-dynamic screw energy scheme in Scotland, around January, to be organised by Community Energy Scotland.
10.6 Stalking: Going well. SNH are in agreement that some short term tracking damage now, is acceptable given the long term benefits to habitats from reduced deer numbers.
10.7 South Side of Loch Assynt: We have checked with EB Scotland that the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund grant is still available to be claimed.
10.8 Insurance of vehicles: We now have a named driver only policy, so any directors needing to use AF vehicles for AF business would need adding to the policy in advance.
11.                Finance 
Tony asked Adam to circulate spreadsheets to all directors. Action: Adam. Thanks recorded to Russell for donating Argo.
12.    Project Officer’s Report
All covered above. Nothing to add.
13. Estate Plan
Mandy outlined the format and nature of the Estate Plan, as a living document, to be reviewed annually. Mandy agreed to organise the review process.
14.      Newsletter
Sharon is progressing. Action: Pat to write article on housing. Fergus to write arts article.
Agnes suggested regular non-newsletter reports.
15.                AOCB
15.1 Fergus: Outlined proposal from Glasgow School of Art for Design Innovation project. Action: Adam to circulate emails.
15.2 Davy: Raised issue of lights being left on at Lodge. This was confirmed to be for health and safety reasons.
15.3 Assynt Landscape Partnership: Mention was made of this proposed partnership.
15.4 Housing: Patricia asked that directors encourage local people to send responses to the recent proposals for affordable housing as presented by Rural Design.
15.5 Australian poet Kathy Kituai has secured funding for a project in Assynt.
15.6 Alastair raised with George Farlow recent discussions concerning community land ownership slipping off the political agenda.
Meeting closed 10.00pm.
Next meeting Thursday 14th January.