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Board Meetings

Board Meeting February 2016

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation
11th February 2016, Glencanisp Lodge, Lochinver

1. Present/In Attendance /Apologies
Present: Nigel Goldie (Acting Chairman), Brendan O’Hanrahan, Jeanette McCarthy, Stewart Hill (on Skype)
In attendance: Ken Hamilton, Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant, John Venters
Apologies: Vanessa Ling, Helen Steven, Helen Simpson
2. Declarations of Interest: None.
Gordon Robertson, the newly appointed Executive Officer was welcomed to his first meeting.
3. Minutes of Last meeting:
4. The Minutes were approved. Proposed by Brendan and seconded by Jeanette.
5. Actions and Matters Arising
Nigel and Brendan will brief Gordon on past CALL meetings, involvement of both parties in decision making, and Meeting proposed for the 21st March.
6. Financial Report
Change of Bank Signatories
Ken presented his financial report.
Information Leaflet celebrating 10 years of Community ownership.
The £200 donation for printing the leaflet had been received. Adam will forward the draft document to Gordon, having checked on the permissions required to reproduce the OS boundary plan. The final draft will be circulated before sending for printing.

Website. Richard Pease is analysing the Foundation’s existing website, consulting with all departments and making improvements wherever possible. In the long-term, a more versatile site should be purchased, but for financial reasons, the Foundation will make the best of what we have for the time being.

Lodge bookings metrics. Gordon and Adam will review the existing document and consider whether improvements can be made to the presentation of data. Action. GR/AP

Brendan and Nigel will update Gordon on CALL prior to the next meeting on the 21st March. Action. BOH/NG

Christmas Greeting cards. Thought will be given to how best to convey Seasons Greetings next Christmas. Richard will look into this, considering traditional and e-cards.

Monthly Finance. Profit and Loss
Income was down on same period previous year due to the lack of naked acres income this year.
Expenditure. The cost of wages was lower than same period previous year, but general expenses were higher as these currently include some self-employed wages.
Ledbeg Council Tax. The situation following the sale of Ledbeg House will be checked with Highland Council. Confirmation that the apportionment of charges had been agreed with the new owners and HC. Action AP
Car Park on Drive. A small income is received from visitor donations. Further thought will be given to the message currently on display, to increase returns.

Cash Flow
Sale proceeds from Ledbeg arrived in January.
The amount of CARES Loan related to our refunded grid connection deposit has been repaid.
It’s expected there will be a credit balance of £25-26,000 at the end of the financial year.

7. Business Plan: Nigel stressed that a date should to be set for the Board to review all aspects of the Draft Business Plan, with special emphasis on the financial projections. The Plan shows a deficit over the 5 year period. Stewart stated that a brief simple text linked to the financial sheets was required. It was agreed to call a special Business Plan Meeting for Thursday March 3rd in order to review the document in detail. Gordon will discuss the Plan with all staff members and come to the meeting armed with their comments. Ken stressed that the current figures were too ambitious and that realistic figures must be used. Nigel and Stewart will prepare the Agenda. Reference to the Foundation’s position with regard to the de Minimis state aid limit will be made. Gordon gave an update on the recent Grant Application to the Climate Challenge Fund. This was for the restoration of the Walled Garden and included the provision of two polytunnels, raised beds, irrigation, equipment and all abilities paths. The Foundation will know the outcome of this application in mid-March.

8. The date for the AGM was agreed as the 20th April at 7.30. Further thought will be given for encouraging attendance.

9. Any Other Business

Brendan reported that he will shortly be receiving final comments on the proposed Forest Plan, and that the Foundation’s grant claim for this will be submitted thereafter.

A Land Use Group, comprising Brendan, Nigel, Vanessa and Gordon will look carefully at the policies surrounding Glencanisp Lodge and will make proposals for zoning areas as part of a co-ordinated and strategic long-term plan for this important area. Action. BOH/GR/NG/VL

Brendan will shortly be meeting with Bill Ritchie and Mandy Haggith to further discussions on woodland crofts, traditional crofts and finding a way forward for the Foundation on this subject.

Brendan will also be contacting Elaine MacAskill (CALL) to ensure that the Foundation is involved in ongoing discussions relating to the Woodland Trust.

Bird Hides and Wildlife Photography. John and Gordon are meeting Peter Cairns (Northshots Photo Tours) and Andy Summers (Highland Council Ranger) on the 22nd February to progress plans for the forthcoming season. Action. GR/JV

Social Media. Vanessa, Brendan, Richard (RP) and Rebecca (RM) all attended the Social Media training day in Lochinver. A very useful event, and it was agreed that a policy for the Foundation will be developed shortly. Action. VL/BOH/RP/GR/RM

List of future meeting dates was distributed in order to assist in forward planning.

14. Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Assynt Foundation will be held on Thursday 10th March 2016.