Board Meetings

Board Meeting 10 April 2008

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting on 10/04/08
Tony Usher, Davy Robb, Claire Belshaw, Robbie Mackenzie, Don Campbell,
Stephen Smith, Fergus Stewart, Marianne Hutchison, Colin MacDonald, Patricia Robertson
In Attendance: Mark Lazzeri, Adam Pellant
Also Present: Neil Gerrard, Andy Summers, George Morrison, Alex Dickson, Agnes Dickson,
Maureen Scott, Lesley Thomas, Gwen Richards, Lynn Parker
Apologies: Claire Ford
Previous Minutes: Proposed, Claire Belshaw, Seconded, Davy Robb
Matters Arising: Health and Happiness, Highland have approved the scheme for the walled garden. The first £6,000 is on the way. Fergus is in charge of the walled garden sub-group? Lesley Thomas kindly offered plants when the garden is ready. Thank you, Lesley!
Project Scotland is no longer operating, but is to look for funding for us to employ 2 young people.
Project Officer’s Report:
Joseph has written a piece for the newsletter.
Lodge redevelopment. Arts Council have received our application. The earliest we can expect a decision is early June.
Robertson Trust prefer revenue projects rather than capital, so we may get some from them_or not.
More applications for funding to be sent along with many already sent.
Second stage of Big Green Challenge has been reached. It is possible that we may get some funding from this.
There is still a considerable shortfall for the matched funding. If we do not get it all then we would need a bigger loan and we do not think we can service a bigger loan.
Representative of HIE/GCA met with us today to try to help with funding.
There is to be a meeting in Inverness, tomorrow, Friday, 11th April, between the current architect and Don Campbell and Tony Usher to discuss their system of operating and their increased costs.
Chainsaw and Log build courses. There has been such a good response that we may have to look at some way of allocating the places. The chainsaw courses may be late June.
P.O.’s Report continued.
There was a meeting on Tuesday to decide on the site for the multi-purpose log building. It is to be on the right of the Suileag path, past the trees and the deer larder. This was approved by all the Board.
Various policies are to be sent out to Directors for approval.
Development Manager’s Report:
Mark was to mention Health and Happiness and Project Scotland, but these have already been dealt with.
Walled garden sub-group: Lead, Claire Belshaw and Second, Don Campbell, but what about Fergus? Mark to check on this.
SNH still not wildly happy about our Estate Management Plan but after the meeting on Monday with Sue Agnew and Lesley Cranna, where various changes, additions and removals were agreed, they will sign off on the Plan once altered.
Also with SNH, costings for the deer cull. SNH have admitted that their system for working this out is not ideal. Mark is to write a report explaining the situation and hopefully they will take this on board and alter their calculations accordingly.
West Sutherland Deer Management Group. Our high numbers (worked out by SNH and the Deer Commission) are being complained about by neighbours. We may need to consider fencing some areas.
Scottish Rural Development Programme. The scheme opened again 07/04, but not for applications, yet. May be some money available for Land Management Activities.
Stalking. Out of 100 stags to sell, 70 have already been sold.
West Sutherland Fisheries Trust meeting at Scourie tomorrow (Friday). Mark to attend to discuss how we can improve our fishings.
Domain Name “New Year Scotland” has been purchased by Mark for the AF at £7.00 for 2 years, to help promote the Lodge. Great!!
Director’s Declarations. To be read, filled in and signed by all Directors as a matter of urgency.
Woodcock: History_Jan, 2007, Board asked to consider 2 days shooting. Agreed with 1 dissenting Director. June, 2007, Discussed again with same result except we decided not to actively advertise, but only to wait to be asked. Because of unrest in Community it was then decided to have a moratorium on woodcock shooting.
With Assynt Field Club, it was decided to carry out a sounding to find out whether or not members of AF were happy with the Board’s handling of the situation. Papers were sent out in December with the AGM papers.
15.4% against the Board’s handling of the woodcock shooting issue.
There followed much discussion for and against the issue. Requests were made to have objectors try to help with counts of woodcock and habitat improvement, but these were not accepted.
Proposals were put forward as follows: 1. Allow shooting and form a sub-group to organize, over-see and review the situation in 12 months. 2. Continue moratorium and review in 12 months.
1. had 6 votes and 2. had 3 votes. Proposal 1. was carried.
Newsletter: Almost ready for sending/emailing out. Patricia R. To continue working on email and post list.
AOB: The information from the non-executive training which Patricia did in Perth will be (and is now) in the office for everyone to look at, take away and study, etc. Questions will be asked!!! You may actually find that you enjoy at least some of it and you will definitely learn a lot about what our duties and responsibilities are!! ______________________
This meeting ended at approx. 9.00pm and there was then a short break before the start of the Private Finance meeting which started at 9.10pm.
Tony presented a budget summary and financial report. Monthly reports will be given so that we can see where we are going and hopefully, prevent falling into trouble.
The budget as shown leads to a projected shortfall of nearly £3,000. Savings still need to be made and any proposed expenditure should be discussed with Mark before going ahead with any actual spending. Directors are also asked to behave in a financially prudent manner.
It was agreed that we should go ahead with purchasing the notice boards.
Mark has said that audited accounts should be ready by July.
Many thanks from the Board to both Tony and Mark who have put in an incredible amount of time and effort to bring the accounts to the stage that they are now at.