Board Meetings

Board Meeting 21st February 08

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, 21st February, 2008

Present:- Don Campbell (Chair), Davy Robb, Patricia Robertson, Robbie MacKenzie, Claire Belshaw, Claire Ford, Colin MacDonald, Tony Usher
In Attendance:- Mark Lazzeri, Adam Pellant
Apologies:-Stephen Smith

Minutes of Private Meeting 24th January, 2008 Proposed Davy Robb, Seconded Claire Belshaw
SUB-GROUPS Not everything is covered by one or other of the sub-groups. Do we need more or do we stay with the ones we have and other things come direct to the Board? Not every decision needs to go to a full Board. We need to know what the sub-groups are responsible for and how they are to be run. Do the sub-groups need a budget for purchases small enough to be authorised by them, without referring to the Board? Lodge Redevelopment is a special case and needs to be gone over in a different way.

RUNNING OF BOARD MEETINGS Anything needing to go before the Board needs to be put out by email to Directors on the Friday before the meeting at the latest (except emergency situations) or it may not be possible to consider the item at that meeting and it may have to be held over until the following month’s meeting.

Minutes of Public Meeting 24th January,2008 Proposed Claire Belshaw, Seconded Claire Ford
Claire Belshaw pointed out that the £1100 has to come out of JMT existing grant and is not extra funding. The minutes have been altered accordingly.

Due to pressure of work and different priorities, it has not been possible for the returns on this subject to be looked at thus far. It will be on the agenda for April.
Estate Management Plan Going into print very soon.
HICEC Grant has been approved.
Notice Boards Item for next month.
Responsibilities of Directors/Conflict of Interests Don and Mark to form something we can all read and sign and draw up list of interests.
Director Training To be arranged. Mark and Don. Possibly also Davy.
Deer Cull The season is now finished. Drumrunie - 106 hinds and calves (out of 100 were taken. Glencanisp - 87 hinds and calves. No legal requirement for Glencanisp, but model suggests approx. 120.
Lodge Handyman Two people have expressed an interest. This to be sorted out by Mark.
Walled Garden Christian Goskirk and Ellie Wolf (of 'Health and Happiness') have visited regarding all abilities use of an area of the garden. Don is to make out a proposal. Approx. £10 to 15 thousand available for capital and revenue expenditure. Beechgrove Garden has also been approached and is keen to look at the proposal for next year.
Sheep at Ledbeg They do belong to a local individual, and he is to remove them.
Management Plan A good and productive public meeting was held in Lochinver Village Hall on 13th February.

Inveruplan Community right to buy has now elapsed for Inveruplan only. If it comes on the open market, then we can still go ahead and try to purchase it. A main problem is the bridge replacement. Someone from Highland Council is to look at it to advise us as a cost of £400,000 for a bridge suitable for adoption by HC is totally prohibitive.
Surveys have now been done. Thanks to the Assynt Community Council for paying for the cost of this survey work. No estimate obtained yet of the cost of the required renovations. Main house to be let as affordable housing. Possible conversion of steading for holiday lets. Because of Grade C listing, it may be possible to get an Empty Rural Property grant of 50%. We would possibly then have to get a mortgage for remainder. This would need to be covered by the rent. Grant would not cover steading conversion. Patricia to progress grant application etc.
Memberships Junior Membership (already exists) and Honorary (to be created) Memberships should receive a certificate. Agreed. Directors Alastair MacAskill is Chair and Ed von Gohren is Treasurer. Maureen Scott has been approached and is to join the Board and is also to act as advocate for Dorothea if necessary.
Arts Sub-group As Marianne is unable to chair this group, it was decided that Fergus Stewart, who is very keen to take this forward, will be co-opted onto the Board of AF and he will become chair of the Arts Sub-group. When he is away, he is contactable by email, so there should not be a problem.
South Side of Loch Assynt Landfill Tax forms have been sent in. Nothing heard back as yet. Mark to follow up.
Lodge Rent There are 3 rates over High and Low seasons. Commercial is highest, with Local much less, for individuals private functions and Social being for local businesses, etc being in the middle.
It was agreed that while we want to support local people starting up businesses, etc., that we have to be practical about this and that we are not in a position financially, ourselves, to be offering any more than we are at present. Therefore, prior to the redevelopment of the Lodge, we shall offer local businesses the Social rate and look at the issue again after the redevelopment. Locals and local businesses should be encouraged to try to use low season rather than high as we really need to use Commercial rates as much as possible.

Congratulations and thanks to Adam and Davy for the work and time they put in to getting this grant. £100,000
Arts Funding Adam to carry on with application for funding for Lodge redevelopment and multi-purpose space from an Arts Funder.
Energy Savings Trust May be up to £100,000 available, interest free, but has to be paid back over 4 years.
Aga Service carried out.

By printing the newsletters ourselves we can save about £1000 a year. It was also agreed that we should go through the membership list and get as many email addresses as possible and to persuade people to get their copies of the newsletter by email or from the website, so as to post out as few as possible. This would also save money and time. Patricia to sort this out.

Tony and Mark have spent many hours working on these. Tony went through the budgets and explained that some hard decisions have to be made if we are not to be very over budget in the near future. Tony recommended that one stalker be let go and that the other stalker and the two trainees wages be reduced.
If the stalker who is laid off is not available for the start of the stalking season in July, then alternatives would have to be sought. Trainees may be ready to take stalkers out. The college could be contacted for recently qualified stalkers. We could use people who have been used in the past on a casual basis.
Directors agreed with Tony’s proposals with great sadness and extreme reluctance. We do have to make ends meet and run things in a businesslike manner to have a better future.

Need to get reports out for meetings in good time (Friday before meeting at latest) for people to consider them. If not, the item may not be discussed.
Directors need to do more to help Mark and Adam. What and how?

Next meeting 13th March,2008 at 7pm.
Items for agenda and reports to be in (or circulated) by 7th March