Board Meeting October 2015
25/11/15Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation
6pm, 15th October 2015, at Glencanisp Studio
Present: Nigel Goldie (acting chair for this meeting), Jeanette McCarthy, Helen Simpson, Brendan O’Hanrahan, Vanessa Ling.
In attendance: Ken Hamilton, Adam Pellant, Ian Evans, Agnes Dickson.
Apologies: Stewart Hill, Helen Steven, Jane Tulloch.
1. Declarations of interest – none.
2. New director – It was formally agreed to co-opt Vanessa Ling as a director of Assynt Foundation, and to appoint her as a director of Assynt.Biz. Vanessa was welcomed.
3. Minutes of last meeting – Proposed Brendan, seconded Jeanette. Minutes adopted.
4. Actions and matters arising
Payment procedures – Ken met with staff and will circulate recommendations. Action: Ken.
Leaflets – Not yet ordered. Action: Adam/Jane
Website – Pictures to be sourced from recent local weddings. Thanks to Rachel and Sam and others for offers of their use. Action: Jeanette.
Noticeboard – Agreed to enquire about moving noticeboard to wall next to community council board or to village hall.
RBS loan offer – Two options offered, but holding off as Ledbeg House sale expected soon.
Woodcock - General feeling that there is a board majority against woodcock shooting, that it wouldn’t generate a substantial enough income to justify it, and that it may be detrimental to more worthwhile ecotourism ventures. As such agreed not to pursue at present.
AGM – Postponed until the new year to tie in with consultation on business plan proposals etc. Action: Adam highlight postponement to members by email.
5. Finance report
Ken reported. Draft annual accounts for 14/15: 80k income – down on previous year as more grants in 13/14, mainly log building. 137k expenditure – down on last year. 56k deficit. Depreciation cost associated with lodge plant and fittings accounts for a large proportion of this.
Annual accounts were approved by the board. Following their independent financial examination they will be presented to members for approval at the AGM.
Profit & Loss for 6 months to end of September 15: 43k income, down on same period last year. No naked acres this year, but additional grant in from HIE (17k so far). Expenditure – wages down due to staff reduction.
6. Executive Officer
100% funding for one year only has been offered by HIE for a new Executive Officer post. Draft job description / person spec has been circulated by Stewart.
General feeling of need for this post by board. Likely to be a 1 year fixed term post with possibility of extension if sufficient funding sourced. Accepted that it could be hard to recruit a suitable person especially given the short term of the contract. Agreed important that work developing new projects needs to be separated from more routine day-to-day work, to ensure enough time spent at developing income streams. Agreed to consider jobshare. Discussion of possibility of approaching HIE regarding a lower salary for a longer period.
Agreed a re-drafted job spec and advert to be put together. Action: Nigel, Jeanette, Stewart, and poss. others to manage advertising process etc.
Suggested Community Land Scotland be consulted for advice. Action: Brendan contact.
7. Business Plan
HIE will fund work by Amanda Bryan on Business Plan. Amanda aims to engage with community as part of plan preparation. She will contact directors in next ten days or so. A developed draft plan is to be put together by xmas to be presented to members and community for consultation at AGM and conference event, maybe third week of January.
All agreed sale of house sites to local people and sites for local business enterprise units would be included in options to consider for Business Plan.
8. CALLP Agreement
The CALLP agreement can now be revisited with a view to signing. A noted new CALLP development is the Woodland Trust’s intention to become a project partner, with financial ability to aid cashflow for projects between costs and grant receipts. They are specifically interested in woodland expansion, and aim to employ / line manage the woodland staff post directly.
General discussion. Main burden for AF is project management time for AF-led projects.
Concern was expressed about a recent fundraising advert by Scottish Wildlife Trust using an image of Suilven. It was agreed to sign the Partnership Agreement but to take up the issue of the SWT Suilven fundraising advert at the highest level in advance of signing. Action: Stewart to be asked to write to CEO of Scottish Wildlife Trust.
9. Administrative matters
Ledbeg House – Sale is progressing. Solicitor states that AF own the bridge, despite not owning the solum of the river beneath it.
Estate Agent sought to increase fees to cover cost of additional work in sorting out titles. Action: Jeanette to ask for reduction due to their long delay in advertising property.
Wildlife Viewing Opportunities – Eagle viewing opportunities are planned this winter, following Andy Summers’ work with Pete Cairns.
Grazing Leases – Brendan is to meet with the Carrs re Drumrunie grazing lease options next week. Action: Brendan.
Jeanette will contact Curleys re Ledbeg grazing lease renewal. Action: Jeanette.
Forest Plan – Brendan met with Forestry Commission and SNH to discuss Forest Plan. For the Glencanisp planting area, Elaine has been working on detail of the proposal and has recommended reduced planting area to the east. Brendan recommends accepting this but potentially aiming for more planting to the south around Bad na h-Achlaise and near Cnocnaneach. Overall a likely reduction in area though. Action: Brendan to progress, including work on completion of text and maps of full Forest Plan document.
Mountain Bothies Association – Vanessa reported. MBA say they would be unlikely to want to take on Cnocnaneach House as a potential bothy conversion as not remote enough. However they would still be interested in rebuilding Tubeg House as a Bothy.
Reforesting Scotland Gathering – The directors who attended reported the success of this recent weekend event based at Glencanisp Lodge.
Date of next meeting: 4pm on 19th November, Glencanisp Studio.
Meeting finished 8pm.