Board Meetings

Board Meeting 13 March 2008

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board of Directors Meeting
Thursday, 13th March, 2008
Don Campbell (Chair), Robbie MacKenzie, Claire Belshaw, Marianne Hutchison, Fergus Stewart, Davy Robb, Colin MacDonald
In Attendance: Mark Lazzeri, Adam Pellant, Ellen Moxley, Helen Steven
Apologies: Patricia Robertson, Stephen Smith, Tony Usher, Claire Ford, Sharon Bartram, Brenda Gibson
Approval of Minutes of 21st February 2008: Proposed Davy Robb, Seconded Don Campbell.
Woodcock: To be discussed in April, but time to discuss the issue will be limited due to other lengthy discussions required on finance. All opinions received will be copied up and circulated to the board (with full anonymity) sufficiently in advance of the April meeting.
Notice Boards: We await a financial update before deciding if we can afford this.
Walled Garden: We have received expressions of interest in part-involvement in activities in the walled garden from 4 local people besides the main tenant. The Health and Happiness proposal is completed. The potential £10,000 that may be available from this can include revenue costs.
Agreed to form new subgroup to handle Walled Garden. Claire Belshaw will chair this subgroup.
Renewables: There has been a meeting of AEDA (Assynt Economic Development Association) to discuss how community renewable energy investigations are to be progressed, and to decide the questions to be asked to the representative of HICEC who is to attend their next meeting on 18th March. HICEC will not fund a study of all possible options, it is thought.
Lodge Redevelopment Funding: The individual who produced out Energy Audit Report in December 2006 has visited in advance of making changes to this document to reflect our broadened plans. We can potentially borrow five times the annual financial savings predicted associated with various energy saving measures. This would be as an interest-free loan repayable within four years.
SNH: Our main contact has been away on leave and is not yet back. They are currently not happy to fund the Estate Management Plan. Hopefully some changes, particular adding details to make our aims ‘smart’er (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound), will change this.
Meeting with SNH regarding deer cull costings is to be rescheduled.
SRDP (Scottish Rural Development Programme): A draft list of regional priorities has been published. Application process will have two stages, first being a Statement of Intent, second being detailed. Statements of Intent can be accepted by them from 7th April. We will need to go through the options of what we wish to apply for.
South Side of Loch Assynt Regeneration / Landfill Tax Grant: Our application for Landfill Tax grant for regeneration project, including use of pigs, has now been officially approved. Part of our grant from JMT is to be used as matched funding towards the total project cost of £10,000.
Director Training: Pat Robertson is away on a two day director training course. It is intended that we hold director training here in Assynt, but in the meantime skills/information obtained by Pat from this course will be of use.
Project Scotland: (Scheme whereby individuals with difficulties making it hard for them to enter employment would be paid for work provided by the Foundation on the estate.) The Shirley Project in Dingwall, which was to be used for mentoring of individuals, no longer exists. Project Scotland are trying to put in place other means of mentoring.
Profile Raising offer: The Foundation has been approached with an offer of inclusion in the Scottish section of a commemorative book to be produced to mark the 200th anniversary of Big Ben. There was a cost for inclusion in this book. Agreed that we cannot afford it.
Finance: No update due to lack of February bank statements. A £10,000 cheque from Assynt Biz was needed for the most recent wages payments. A potential £8,000 shortfall of income versus expenditure has been forecast for the next financial year (ending March 09). For the current financial year we are in a trading deficit, this deficit being paid out of existing reserves.
Assynt Biz are expected to be happy to change the method of payment so as to have an automatic system for transferring reserves in the Biz account to the Foundation account.
Agreed to permit Mark to approach a group of potential private investors regarding a possible grant towards renovation/decoration costs in the lodge.
Lodge Redevelopment Funding: We still have a shortfall of £385,796. A meeting has been held with a representative of a major arts funder. The deadline for grant application to this funder is thought to be in early April for a decision in early June. Various other funders are being approached.
Log Buildings: A second meeting has been held with representatives of CCWT regarding log construction and chainsaw courses. Funding is being sought for the chainsaw courses. Log builder Henry Fosbrooke has visited to select trees for log buildings. We have many people interested in places on the log building course and chainsaw course. Both are to be advertised in the Assynt News. In the event of higher demand than supply, allocation of places will need to be done by a fair, objective and transparent method.
Agreed that Mark become line manager of all staff other than himself. Claire will line-manage Mark. Functional management will be by Robbie for stalkers and by Don for other staff.
Agreed any action that requires spending to go through Mark first.
To ask Joseph to write article on becoming trainee stalker.
Meeting closed 9:15 pm