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Board Meetings

Board Meeting November 2012

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting
8 November 2012
Glencanisp Lodge, Lochinver

Present: Helen Steven (Chair), Fergus Stewart, Clive Sheppard, Andy Summers,
In attendance: Jane Tulloch, Adam Pellant, Sarah Corkish

1. Apologies: Patricia Roberston, Stephen Smith

2. Declarations of interest: Clive Sheppard re: walled garden.

3. Minutes of last meeting: Andy proposed, Fergus seconded. Minutes adopted.

4. Action on matters arising:
• CALL: Andy attended a recent partnership funding application meeting at Coigach, which he felt gave a good inside track on the process. As a result he would like to re-visit the Foundation’s chosen projects, perhaps add in some new ideas and have community input.
Action: Andy to make some proposals to AF.
Action: Jane to mention partnership fund in Newsletter. Andy to send details.
• Newsletter: Will be sent out next week. [Was sent out.]
• Insurance: Full estate insurance needs to be addressed by somebody with the time to focus on the matter, following recent review.
Action: Helen to approach Stewart Hill.
• Walled Garden: Proposal to lease the walled garden as a business venture was reviewed and decision taken in favour of the proposal, on a formally leased financial agreement basis. AF are glad to have the garden back in use.
• HIE: Had offered assistance with governance issues, which have now been dealt with in-house. However, they also offered help and guidance in croft creation, which we would be glad to take up.
Action: Helen to write to HIE outlining help required.

5. Financial Report
Adam presented financial update.
6. Staff Report
Log Building Project: BLF extension granted to end Sept 13. Meeting with the contractor occurred on Friday 2nd November, with Clive, Fergus and Adam, looking at drawings produced by contractor.

SRDP Deer Management Proposal: now being assessed. [Has since been approved.]
Forest Plan & WGS contract closure: SRDP Forest Plan contract has been varied to give us a grant entitlement of £5,737. This along with £5,000 already received from FCS should cover the full cost of ongoing Forest Plan production work.
WGS final amount should be decided by FCS soon. (Roughly either 12k or 8k.)

Hydro: Site visit to Maldie went ahead on morning of Thur 11th October (Helen, Stewart Hill and myself along with CES representatives).
Meeting on 24th Oct with LEADER etc in Inverness went well – we expect LEADER to confirm soon that grant is approved for spend on development officer post and EIA costs carried out in stages, so that main landscape etc concerns of SNH can be addressed early in proceedings (on basis that if project looks unlikely to get through planning as a result of those issues, LEADER will not be obliged to fund further EIA work addressing other matters).
We meanwhile need to complete an estimated loan drawdown projection for EST/CES.

Some preliminary work could begin now towards recruitment of staff post and tendering for staged EIA production.

Valuation for potential sale of Ledbeg House: Valuation required ASAP.

ERDF: govt grant audit carried out on 23/24 October. Some procurement docs and info now being sought from our design team.

Use of lodge for commercial gain and 20% community discount: A local request has come through for a booking which will be used to run a course for the commercial gain of the business involved. A policy had been put in place some time ago whereby this scenario would not benefit from the 20% community discount, but having already quoted the discount to the person involved, it was decided to offer a 10% reduction instead.

Subgroup Reports

Lodge Subgroup: New pricing structure ratified by board. Proposed Sunday changeover discussed and decision taken to have flexible changeover days. There is real enthusiasm for the current projects being developed, and members of the community who wish to run a course in the lodge are welcome to submit ideas.

Biz Report: Recent meeting with LEADER was very successful in that they have agreed to consider funding the EIA for the larger hydro site. This will take the form of a stepped funding by prioritising the requirements of the EIA and releasing funds for each phase so that in their words “the spending of public money is protected.” This decision is now being considered by the LEADER board and we should receive an answer in the near future.

7. Ledbeg House
HIE have enquired as to progress with decisions on Ledbeg House. AF responded that we wish to take up a valuation for the house and garden and byre with right of access and their previously offered free crofting advice.

8. Log Building Project
Discussion took place.
Action: Fergus and Clive to word letter to contractor.

9. Business Plan
Adam has outlined figures for a three year business plan. See appendix.

10: AOCB: Adam and Andy attended an opportunities mapping day with the CALL partners for the CALL Mapping Project, in the lodge last week.
AGM: Will be held on 14 February 2013. Venue to be confirmed. [Lochinver Village hall since decided.]
Date of next meeting: TBC.