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Village Hall Trust meeting – November 2010


Present: Donald Angus, Roger Bragg, Carolyn Cripps, Alison Critchlow, Sue Dunn, Steven Oldfield, Trevor Roberts, Gillian Winter

1. Apologies None

2. Minutes of the previous Ordinary Meeting held on 11 August 2010 (previously circulated) These were accepted as a correct record

3. Matters arising from the Minutes not on the agenda None

4. Election of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer The following were elected: Chairman: Trevor Roberts Vice Chairman: Gillian Winter Secretary: Steven Oldfield Treasurer: Roger Bragg

5. Issuing of copies of the Governing documents, Charity Accounts, Annual Report All members of the Committee should already have a copy of the governing document (but everyone agreed to check and contact Trevor Roberts if they cannot find it) Action: all members A copy of the audited accounts will be circulated to all members shortly. Action: Trevor Roberts/Roger Bragg The Annual Report will be finalised shortly and circulated to all members. Copies of all documents will be supplied to Adrian Eddleston if he agrees to be coopted. Action: mainly Trevor Roberts

6. Financial report The Treasurer summarised the financial position of the main Trust accounts. In 2009/10 we had income of about £13000, expenditure of about £8000, a surplus on the year of about £5000. The balance carried forward amounted to about £5000. Although the income figure included grants for various purposes, in accordance with Trust policy an equivalent amount had been transferred into the Revitalisation Fund, so the £5000 surplus was essentially generated by normal activities. Lettings had increased very significantly in the year, income from the teas and from the car park remained healthy, and expenditure was under tight control. This is a very good financial outcome on the year. The Chairman summarised roughly the position on the Revitalisation Fund (money held by the Parish Council) and the Project Account (money held by the Trust for the revitalisation project).


Money in the Revitalisation Fund     £15000  
Money in the Project Account     15000 (this includes a grant of £15000 just paid by the Lake District National Park)
Money due to the Project Account        
Grants from Cumbria CC £2500      
Refund of Building Regs Application Fee 750   3250  
Total funds available     33250  
Fees due to architects etc £25000      
Payments to architects etc due   £15700    
Grant claimable from LDNPA towards fees   10000    
Net amount due to architects to come from local funds     5750  
Amount remaining in local funds     £27500  

The architects have been very flexible in curtailing the detailed work to which we had committed, thus saving us money; and also the Building Regs fee is repayable less an administrative fee of £30. The two LDNPA grants are both claimable against the fees even though the job has not proceeded, thus preserving our hard earned local cash. So overall the timely support of the LDNPA and to a lesser extent the County Council has been critical in preserving our financial position at this significant juncture. The Committee noted all this information.

7. VAT advice and registration The Chairman reported that despite several follow ups he still had not managed to establish proper contact with the specialist with Armstrong Watson nominated to give us fee advice under the Cumbria Pro Help scheme – he proposed to continue to try to secure advice via this scheme. In the meantime he and the Treasurer suggested deferring VAT registration to avoid the complications this would involve, even through this might mean not being able to reclaim the VAT payable on fees etc (we can only reclaim on invoices received within 6 months prior to a registration). This would be reconsidered in the light of progress on the revitalisation project and any specialist advice received. There was discussion as to how much of a hassle would be involved in operating VAT and the general implications of VAT registration. The Committee noted the position and authorised the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to continue to monitor the position and make decisions as seems appropriate.

8. Review of fees and charges On the Treasurer’s recommendation, the Committee agreed fees etc as follows to take effect from 1 December 2010: £4.75 per hour for the Main Hall £4.25 per hour for the Meeting Room £8.50 per hour for both rooms together Electricity: 20p per unit (as at present) Camping: £5.00 per person per night (as at present). The Treasurer has discretion to offer reductions on these charges for multiple bookings etc. Other aspects of the way we charge fees remain unaltered (they were comprehensively reviewed by the Committee previously). Action: Roger Bragg

9. Caretaker’s wages It was agreed to increase the wage paid to Sylvia Tuer to £90 per month with effect from 1 December 2010, slightly more in percentage terms than the equivalent increase in charges, in recognition of her valuable work. Action: Roger Bragg

10. Routine management and maintenance matters A round up on the programme of improvements agreed at the previous meeting: ♦a clean up of the outside of the front of the Hall, with repainting of the bottom part to a reasonable standard – the problems of obtaining quotes etc for this were reported by Donald Angus, and the possibility of doing a full repair/repainting job mentioned (since the bulk of the frontage would be unaffected by the revitalisation); since we would not be doing this in the winter, it was agreed to defer consideration until gthe next meeting, and in the meantime consider options Action: Donald Angus/Trevor Roberts ♦repair and repainting of the front door – this is in hand, organised by Roger Bragg, to be done by Matthew Airey ♦a five yearly electrical safety check (as soon as this is absolutely necessary, with a reasonable price being negotiated) – this has been or will shortly be completed, organised by Roger Bragg, done by Leon Crosfield (NB it is a condition of our insurance policy) ♦new light fitting – done ♦lock for the Store Room - this will be added to work by Matthew Airey Action: Roger Bragg Roger Bragg reported on the work done on the two sections of defective roof. A good temporary repair has been put in place over the toilets and seems to be working; he is getting a quote for a reasonably full scale job on the rest of the flat roof which is now past its useful life. The Committee thanked Roger for his work on this and authorised him to carry on and commission whatever work he deems justified.Action: Roger Bragg

11. Progress on the revitalisation scheme and funding bids The Chairman reported on the comments made at the recent Annual Meeting of the Village Hall, and the undertaking given there that the Committee would review seriously our approach to the scheme and its funding. It was anyway an appropriate point to undertake a review, since the context in which we are operating has changed significantly. Funding update ♦The Communitybuilders package under discussion had been withdrawn in circumstances described to the Committee members in various emails. We had nevertheless learned some valuable lessons during the process of consideration, and the work involved (especially as regards the Coffee Shop Business Plan) will be of value in future bids. ♦The RDPE offer of a grant of £80,300 had been dependent on the funding from Communitybuilders has been formally withdrawn. This was inevitable – we are lucky they supported us this far, and have made some very positive comments on our project. It is possible that we may be able to approach th RDPE for funding if we make progress with other possible funders. ♦Some details of the anticipated Big Lottery Reaching Communities programme for community buildings have been announced. If we have a scheme which costs in total £750,000 or less, we should be eligible to apply. However the amount of money will be limited and subject toa lot of competition – it should however be possible to think about a grant of £200,000 from this source, maybe a little more, but it will need to be matched by funding from elsewhere of course. ♦The Garfield Weston Foundation have agreed to consider us for a 2small grant” when we are further advanced with our fundraising, an offer which remains open until October 2012. We had asked them for £150,000 towards our existing scheme. This is a significant breakthrough, since most applications are turned down at an initial stage (we have applied to them previously without success). ♦We have been offered a grant which amounts to £10,800 towards the cost of energy efficiency measures in the scheme under the Landfill Tax Grant scheme, subject to conditions including that a start must be made by October 2011. This grant was made on the basis of the existing scheme but could without difficulty be transferred to a revised scheme provided the same type of works are included (which is likely). It may also be possible to draw on this grant if we can carry out energy efficiency works in isolation from implementing a full scheme (something to be considered). ♦The LDNPA has already just paid across a grant of £15000 from its Investing in Communities Fund; and has agreed to pay across a further £10000 from its Sustainable Development Fund. These grants were given tothe project generally but the LDNPA has agreed they can be used to pay the fees to which we are currently committed. ♦Cumbria County Council has given us grants from two sources amounting to £2500 towards the costs of fees and surveys undertaken. ♦We still have one outstanding application, for £20000 towards the scheme overall, from the Hadfield Trust – a decision expected this month. Options for progress The Committee considered the options for progress. These included: ♦sticking with the existing approved scheme, despite the apparent impatience of some people who wanted to see “progress”, waiting for a change in the funding context, which it was accepted might be some years away; although the difficulties here are obvious, the counter argument is that we might be missing a once in a generation opportunity to do something ambitious for Threlkeld in the long term ♦devising a scaled back scheme, with only a single storey, so as to significantly reduce costs and produce a scheme for which funding in a reasonable timescale might be realistically available; much depends here on cost estimates in relation to the general funding context, and it would be essential to preserve the basic parameters of a “major revitalisation incorporating the existing main structure and a commercially operated coffee shop” ♦abandoning the current approach altogether, and attempting to revitalise the Village Hall much as it is, possibly via incremental improvements – this “turning back the clock” would be a radical step, and could cause a lot of problems since we have been given a good deal of money already on the basis of the proposed major scheme. After discussion, it was agreed we would explore the second option and adopt it depending on the outcome of consideration of a scheme proposed, costs and feasibility. Although some people had reservations on some aspects, this approach was supported by all members of the Committee. It was further agreed that if we pursue this approach, we will need to actively engage the village community in its support if we are to stand any chance of attracting external funds. Possible scaled back scheme In the light of a possible change of tack, the Chairman had contacted the architects to discuss options for a single storey design at a significantly lower cost. The architects had submitted a sketch layout which demonstrated that this was possible, incorporating new toilets, new kitchen and a coffee shop in a new extension at the rear; an additional meeting room inside the current main entrance, use of the existing entrance. The scheme attempted to make maximum use of the existing structure to minimise cost. The sketch layout was considered by the Committee and found deficient in a number of respects compared with our requirements – toilets too small, without showers (now regarded as more important than previously); awkward access to toilets; kitchen too small and awkward; no separate servery for the coffee shop; and a much less attractive, convenient and accessible entrance area. It was agreed to ask the architect to draw up a scheme very similar to the ground floor layout of the existing approved scheme, including the same entrance area, with some minor modifications; and to get this properly costed. It was agreed that we could manage without the additional meeting room at least initially. It was understood that the retention of the entrance arrangements as in the existing approved scheme would entail additional building costs, but this seemed likely to be worthwhile. Action: Trevor Roberts It was noted that a planning application would be necessary for any modified scheme, but that this would be handled as previously by the Parish Council to reduce the fee required. Provided the scheme is to the same footprint and has the same access arrangements, planning permission should not be a problem. There would be fees for a redesign but these have been partly incorporated into invoices already accounted for, and should generally not be too extensive since mostly what was used previously for the planning application can be used again. Next steps As much as possible will be reported to the Action Group on 24 November 2010. Once the architect has produced a sketch scheme to our requirements and the Quantity Surveyor has costed this, we will have a better idea of the realism of the provisional revised approach. Assuming it is adopted, then funding applications will be commenced on the new basis immediately; the planning application will be submitted as soon as possible; and the community will be informed and involved, initially via the Action Group, subsequently via the newsletter and an exhibition of any revised scheme.

12. Updates on other activities Youth Club – this regrettably seems to have folded, at least temporarily Whist Drives – Carolyn Cripps reported that she might organise some winter whist drives depending on feedback at the Christmas Whist Drive (3 December) Action: Carolyn Cripps Highlights – Gill Winter reported that the event planned for 13 November (a comedian) had been cancelled by Highlights due to a confusion about bookings on their part; the next performance is Whapweasel on Wednesday 1 December, not a ceilidh, but we have been asked to leave an area free for dancing (this should be a great evening as they are a well known band and have received BBC folk awards in the past); tickets for the rescheduled Christmas event, John Kirkpatrick on 17 December, are selling well; and that she has just started the process of bidding for events in 2011 Glasgow shopping trip – Carolyn Cripps reported that she had sold all but two of the places on the Glasgow trip Christmas Draw – thanks to Roger Bragg for organising this as usual (the White Horse prize has again been wiped out by floods)

13. Agreeing to dates of future meetings of the Trust Management Committee The following dates were agreed: Wednesday 2 February 2011 Wednesday 11 May 2011 Wednesday 10 August 2011 Wednesday 9 November 2011 (this will be the new Committee following the Annual Meeting planned for Wednesday 19 October 2011).

14. Any other business None The meeting ended at 9.40pm

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