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Board Meetings

Board Meeting 11th October 07

Minute of meeting of Assynt Foundation held at Glencanisp Lodge on Thursday 11th October 2007 at 7.00pm

Present: Claire Belshaw (Chair), Robbie Mackenzie, Agnes Dickson, Don Campbell, Patricia Robertson, Ted Matheson, Marianne Hutchison.

In attendance: Bill Ritchie (Assynt.Biz chair), Mark Lazzeri (Development Manager), Adam Pellant (Project/Marketing Officer), Alec Dickson, Lesley Thomas, Mandy Haggith, James Dunnett (Trainee Stalker).

1. Apologies: Patricia Filmer-Sankey, Davy Robb, Claire Ford.

2. Minute of meeting 13th September 2007: Proposed Don Campbell; seconded Claire Belshaw.

3. Matters arising
3.1 Newsletter: Nearly ready to send to printers. To add: Information on kayak availability.
3.2 Notice board: We are waiting for confirmation of permission for us to have a notice board outside a shop in Lochinver. Action: Adam to progress.
3.3 Finance: Draft 06/07 accounts have been produced. Bank statements etc. are still with our Accountant so a financial statement for September is not yet available. This will be produced as soon as possible. Action: Mark.
3.4 Sport for All: We are to apply to Sport for All, part of the Big Lottery Fund, for the cost of 6 ‘Taz’ dinghies and sails, launching trolleys, trailer, and a boathouse.

4.0 Development Manager’s report
Items to add to report:
4.1 Housing: The Highland Small Communities Housing Trust have been sent additional completed housing questionnaires following on from their Lochinver surgery which had been poorly attended. Thanks to Dorothy, Niall, Dorothea and others for helping distribute and collect these.
4.2 Renewables: Ullapool meeting attended by Mark and Alec. Marine renewables, including off-shore wind turbines, would appear still to be relatively far away from commercial viability.
4.3 Stalking:
We are approaching the end of the stag season and expect to meet oue Section 7 Agreement cull figures. Discussion is ongoing with SNH, concerning payments for meeting cull targets and the amount we had been expecting to receive for taking an additional number of stags and hinds off Drumrunie.
4.4 Drumrunie:
An inspection of the WGS site at Drumrunie was carried out, with a representative of SNH. FCS representative was unable to attend. CCWT members were invited but no-one could make it. Many wood ants nests within the exclosures have expired. This may be caused by the increase in vegetation height due to lack of grazing.
4.5 Land management:
Mick Blunt has been investigating funding through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, for experimental use of livestock on the south side of Loch Assynt.
Rural Development Programme: Meetings will be held around December in Inverness, which we should attend to discuss how the RDP will operate as a source of funding.
Livestock: A meeting has been held with a local crofter and representatives from North-West Highland Cattle Producers and the Scottish Agricultural College. All were in agreement that cattle would be beneficial for land management and woodland regeneration. A feasibility phase will be needed. There may be funding available for this under the RDP. Action: Mark to explore feasibility study funding and to follow up Highland Livestock Compensatory Allowances.
4.6 Woodcock: A constructive meeting was held with the Assynt Field Club. A note of the meeting was sent to the field club. Following comments, a second draft has been produced. At the meeting, a suggestion was made to have woodcock shooting given a special item on the AGM agenda, for AF members to decide, and to have a moratorium on woodcock shooting until the AGM. The field club offered to help, financially or physically, with distribution of papers in support of each position, in advance of the AGM.
Directors agreed, with one vote against, to hold a moratorium on shooting woodcock from now until the AGM. Action: Mark to produce a written statement with the background to the Board’s current position to permit limited woodcock shooting.
4.7 Elphin School: Further info has been requested by Highland Council / Scottish ministers and has been provided.
4.8 Inveruplan: The owner’s agent has acknowledged receipt of our proposals and put them to the trustees of the Glencanisp & Drumrunie Deer Forest Trust. Factors thought by us relevant to valuation have been sent to the District Valuer’s office as invited. We await the valuation. Highland Council are ready to instigate a community ballot to ascertain whether the community is in favour of purchasing Inveruplan. Mark has produced a paper to accompany ballot papers. Resident of house at Inveruplan has contacted AF office for information which we have provided as best as we were able. Action: Mark to ensure the triggering of ballot on receipt of valuation.

4.9 Conferences and Courses: An Ignite 3-day course is being run in Ullapool next week, for those planning on setting up bio-fuel supply chains. Another is being held in Fort William in December.
4.10 Walled Garden: Action: Mark to talk with current tenant.
4.11 Project Scotland: Possibility for employment for 2 or 3 local young people with difficulties entering job market. Action: Don / Mark / Adam, to fill in form to join Project Scotland.
4.12 Communications: Agreed to progress the idea of DM holding surgeries. Action: Mark / Agnes.

5.0 Estate Plan
Mandy Haggith and Bill Ritchie presented the latest version of the Management Plan. Suggestions and comments, including from SNH, have been included. Directors then volunteered to lead on each action in the plan. The plan is to be put to SNH on Tuesday 16th October, following comments from directors by Monday 15th. Then after SNH, it will be put to the community for feedback.

6.0 Project Officer’s Report
6.1 Housing Seminar: AF have been invited to provide a speaker at a seminar on affordable and sustainable rural housing, being held in Glencoe on Thursday 8th November.
6.2 Update on trainees: James has now been with us some 6 weeks and being of great help. We still have a vacancy for a second trainee/National Certificate student wishing to get experience of a deer stalking estate. Thanks to Mark and Robbie for all their work with the trainees. Action: Mark to continue to liaise with John Waters at N Highland College.

7.0 Finance
A small number of large invoices are outstanding at month end. The largest of these is for the architect’s fees for work and drawings up to and including planning permission. Action: Adam to investigate whether HIE are to fund the architect’s payment in advance of the lodge redevelopment bid.

8.0 AGM
8.1 We are to have our accounts audited by a different company from last year. Action: Mark to check whether we need audited accounts at the AGM, and so whether we need an EGM beforehand to make the new company our official auditors.
8.2 Agreed to hold AGM on Thursday 6th December. Village Hall to be booked provisionally. Papers for AGM to be sent out by 15th November. Nomination papers to be out 7 days before AGM. Action Adam/Mark to book hall and organise papers.
[8.3 A suggestion was made that a simplified readable one page summary of accounts could be produced. Agreed that this would be a good idea subject to time and resources. Action: Mark to investigate and make recommendation to the Board.
9.0 AOCB
9.1 Open Day: There is to be an open day at the lodge on 10th November. Action: Agnes to progress.
9.2 Marianne is taking forward plans for activities days for young people.
9.3 Next meeting of board of directors set for 8th November.

Meeting closed 9.30pm