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Board Meetings

Board Meeting May 2014

Minutes of Assynt Foundation board meeting 1st May 2014
Drumbeg Village Hall
Meeting Began 6pm

Present: Stewart Hill, Nigel Goldie, Brendan O’Hanrahan
In Attendance: Jane Tulloch, Sarah Corkish, Adam Pellant, Hughie Donaldson (of HIE), Wille Jack, Russell Robertson, Jim Payne.
1. Apologies: Andy Summers, Jeanette McCarthy, Helen Steven,
2. Declarations of Interest: None.
3. Minutes of last meeting: Proposed by Brendan, seconded by Nigel. Approved.
4. Actions and matters arising:
4.1 Memorial Tree: Action rolled over: Adam still to speak with Jane M.
4.2 Card Payments: Action: Sarah to re-send info to Jeanette to progress.
4.3 Water Charges: Sarah has passed on invoices to tenants.
4.4 Volunteer Day / Grounds Tidying: Volunteer days went ahead with logs removed and a proportion of them put in pole barn wall spaces to dry as fuel for lodge. School volunteers due to come in May, with supervision by John C and possibly others.
Action: Sarah to email John C.
4.5 Licences: Jeanette is applying for a full premises licence. Action: Brendan to pass on info regarding possible funding for personal licence training.
5. Financial Report:
13-14 monthly and total budget vs. actuals presented. Notes: Both income and expenditure above budget due to log building costs being above budget. More money was received from Assynt.Biz during the year than budgeted. Naked Acres income higher than budgeted. Other costs and income were increased by cash-neutral peatland restoration project. Property running costs down due to backdated Business Rates Relief tax refund on Lodge and office.
6. Away Day:
6.1 Actions table has been produced by Jane, resulting from the Away Day last week. This is to be presented at future board meetings along with similar table of actions from A9 report. Discussion of Away Day. Some issues Stewart / Nigel asked to be covered by it were not, or else only superficially. Limited time to cover everything in one day was an issue. Some topics arguably received more time than they warranted.
Hughie gave his opinions and circulated papers on national outcomes framework, crowdfunding etc. and HIE development plan document, to be completed along with Business Plan.
6.2 Project Manager: The main noteworthy outcome of the Away Day is the intention that a 6 month fixed term Project Manager be appointed by AF. HIE have a list of candidates for this post, which Stewart will look at on Monday. Action: Adam to check AF documents etc. to confirm if anything bars AF from selecting for this new post/contract without open advertising.
6.2 IT Review: Action: Stewart and Jeanette to pass on to consultants and rest of board a list of recommendations to be taken up from recent IT review.
7. Wind Farm Approach:
An approach has been made by a company proposing to build a wind farm east of Assynt, which would be partly visible from some Assynt mountains. They are seeking a favourable opinion from Assynt-based organisations at planning application stage bearing in mind the potential of financial support for Assynt organisations if the windfarm were built.
8. Housing Plots:
8.1 Brendan has submitted pre-planning advice forms with indicative layouts of four new house sites at Ledbeg, which would be associated with creation of four crofts, and two potential house sites on land at Tileathdoire on Drumrunie Estate, south of the Achiltibuie road and outwith the Special Area of Conservation. He has spoken to HC planner dealing with Drumrunie form, who will visit the site.
8.2 Brendan also mentioned a possible house site at Drumrunie corner near existing buildings, which may be possible despite being within the SAC.
9. Log Build:
9.1 Stewart met with Big Lottery Fund officer in Glasgow to discuss our request for additional funding. Still awaiting a decision. [Since approved. AP] BLF officer is awaiting input from Liz H of HIE. Action: Hughie to check with Liz.
9.2 Nigel presented report. Opening event went well with good attendance. Business plan was presented by Nigel, with initial suggestion of substantial profit before VAT. An application for £75,000 has been submitted to Creative Scotland’s Public Art Sited programme by Nigel.
9.3 Artist’s Bothy: A bothy is expected to be relocated to AF ground, by National Galleries Scotland, with support funding from Creative Scotland. An application for £75,000 has been submitted to Creative Scotland’s Public Art Sited programme by National Galleries relating to this. A decision needs to be made soon as to where to site this. The intention is to locate it close enough to Glencanisp for access to studio building etc. Cnocnaneach discussed for this. Action: Adam to circulate documents on trials bike permissions relating to that area.
9.4 Hughie mentioned report being carried out by Steve Westbrook looking at the financial impact of arts activities.
10. Tin Bothy:
10.1 Nigel reported that a request for interest in repair and rental of the Tin Bothy was put in Assynt News. No interest received. This was alongside an expression of interest by two people. They do not want to take it up, but may be interested again in the autumn.
Possible interest of John Venters was noted. Agreed to give John first priority, with terms to clarify later. [Brendan here declared slight interest, as John V is currently renting accommodation from him.]
Russell raised issues of landlord’s responsibilities, given the poor condition of the building.
10.3 Mention of large boat still being in front of the Tin Bothy. Also digger nearby. Action: Jeanette to make recommendations of how to progress their removal.
11. Woodland Grant Scheme:
Brendan reported. Drumrunie WGS area is to be inspected by Forestry Commission in next 10 days or so. There is a risk that they will seek to take money back from us if unhappy with the deer damage and our efforts to reduce this. John C and John V have been working hard in there. We think all red deer have been removed, but some sika and roe are thought to remain and can probably pass over/under fences despite fencing repair work having been done. Action: Brendan to progress with Gail of Forestry Commission. Stewart to put on next month’s agenda.
12. AOCB:
12.1 CALL update: Brendan gave update. New staff, Rich, Fiona and Elaine, are in post. Brendan and others met with Rich to go over various issues for the planned HLF projects.
Noted that socio-economic scope of HLF projects within Assynt is currently considered relatively low.
12.2 Forest Plan Scoping: Scoping Report has been amended in light of comments received from Gail of Forestry Commission. Brendan has been making amendments to the maps. Since the grant period was varied, we now have until end of 2014 to complete the Forest Plan.

13. Date of next meeting: 6pm Wednesday 11th June at Elphin School.

Meeting ended 8.30pm.