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Village Hall Trust meeting - August 2011

THRELKELD VILLAGE HALL TRUST MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

ORDINARY MEETING, 31 AUGUST 2011 7.30PM

THRELKELD VILLAGE HALL

MINUTES

Present: Roger Bragg, Carolyn Cripps, Alison Critchlow, Sue Dunn,Adrian Eddleston, Trevor Roberts, Gill Winter

1. Apologies

Donald Angus (on holiday), Steven Oldfield (unmissable commitment)

2. Minutes of the previous Ordinary Meeting held on 11 May 2011(previously circulated)

These were accepted as a correct record

3. Matters arising from the Minutes not on the agenda

None

4. Big Lottery application

Key details of the Stage 2 application for the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund had been circulated, and all the details and documentation was available at the meeting. The full documentation with this bid includes:

  • the Application Form, completed as well as we are able within its confines, cross referenced to accompanying documentation
  • a note on how our organisation is structured and some details of the key people involved
  • an outline of how the project has evolved, which covers in detail the extensive level of community involvement
  • background and Business Plan for the Community Coffee Shop dimension of the project (the long term financial stability of the project is linked to this)
  • THE POSITIVE DIFFERENCE a detailed description of the project aims, implementation mechanisms and outcomes in relation to the Big Lottery key outcomes, including a timeframe for implementation
  • DETAILS OF THE VILLAGE HALL CAPITAL BUILDING PROJECT including plans, the planning/design stage reached, planning permission details etc, costs, fees and funding
  • a note on the environmental sustainability aspects of the revitalisation scheme
  • a copy of the most recent accounts signed by the Treasurer and the independent auditor
  • bank statements
  • copies of our last two Annual Reports.

The Committee reviewed this material and:

  • expressed its satisfaction with the contribution of the Action Groups and how the whole application had pulled together the different strands of the project
  • felt that actual implementation of the various “projects” will need to involve asking potential beneficiaries what they need rather than just providing things.

After discussion, it was agreed that:

  • the application could be signed by the Chairman and Secretary and sent on behalf of the Committee Action: Trevor Roberts
  • the Action Groups be thanked for their critical and timely contribution to this application

Action: Trevor Roberts

  • we await reaction from the Lottery before doing very much more, since so much hinges on it.

Trevor Roberts gave a brief outline of what he had done/intended to do regarding applications for the rest of the funding, a process which will continue. The Committee noted the situation.

5. Financial reports

Roger Bragg (Treasurer) reported on the basic financial situation. This indicated that income from bookings, from the car park and from teas continues to be strong, and expenditure has been much as anticipated, so by the end of the Hall financial year (30 September) we would again have a strong surplus of income over expenditure, and reserves will rise from about £16,000 to over £20,000. This report wasnoted.

The Treasurer mentioned that we had not received the £40 promised as recompense for the additional time spent by Sylvia Tuer because of the damage caused at the pre Christmas party. It was agreed that we had got through that incident in a better way than might have been expected and we would regard the matter as closed and not chase this money.

Trevor Roberts reported that the revitalisation fund money stood at about £26,000, split almost evenly between the Village Hall Trust’s Project Fund and the Parish Council’s Revitalisation Fund – both these accounts are restricted funds ie the money cannot be spent on anything other than the Hall revitalisation project. In addition we have about £4,000 promised towards our local fund when the project proceeds. This report was noted.

The contribution of the voluntary teas service to hall finances was especially appreciated. Although the team of volunteers had shrunk and there are clear problems in maintaining the service, there is still a good core of people handling it, and it is hoped to continue the service until any revitalisation work starts. It was agreed to send our thanks and appreciation to all involved via Pat Knifton (who is responsible for this project on behalf of the Committee) and offer any assistance needed to ensure the teas service continues next year. Action: Steven Oldfield

6. Level of reserves

At the previous meeting, the issue of the level of reserves on the ordinary account was raised, and it was suggested that some of this should be transferred to the Revitalisation Fund so as to ensure that our level of reserves does not exceed our annual income by too much (which could rule us out of the running for some grants). This would have the effect of taking the reserves out of the control of the Village Hall Trust, as the Revitalisation Fund is under the control of the Parish Council. However, an alternative option is to “designate” some of our reserves specifically for the revitalisation project. This means we keep control of the money, it stays in our bank account; and also we can “undesignate” the funds at any time if we so choose; but in the meantime regard our “free” reserves as not including these earmarked funds.

The Committee considered this in the light of the level of reserves and income predicted in the Treasurer’s report.

It was agreed

  • that we needed to have sufficient “free” reserves in hand to cover any immediate repair emergencies and also the possibility that income from car parking and the teas service would cease if we get the go ahead for building works – roughly £8000 should suffice
  • that in the light of this, the sum of £12,000 be designated within our funds as specifically for the Hall revitalisation scheme, and only be spent on this project, with the Trust’s accounts made up in such a way as to show this designation and reduce the amount of “free” reserves accordingly

Action: Roger Bragg.

This designation brings the funds available locally towards the scheme to over £40,000 – our applications indicate that we hope to be able to raise £50,000 in this way.

7. Action Groups

The Committee was asked to formalise the establishment of four “Action Groups” have been assisting with the Big Lottery bid. These Action Groups are extensions of the Trust Management Committee, acting with authority on its behalf in conformity with the Trust’s governing documents. The Committee agreed the terms of reference and composition of the four Groups as follows:

COMMUNITY SERVICES ACTION GROUP

Purpose/authority

The purpose of the Community Services Action Group is to exercise the authority of the Village Hall Trust

  • to encourage, stimulate and facilitate the provision in Threlkeld of all kinds of services and facilities otherwise not available locally
  • to promote use of such services and facilities by local people who will benefit from them
  • to “cooperate with other charities, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities, including exchange of information and advice with such organisations” to promote use of the Village Hall and use of funds generated by the Hall for benefit of people in Threlkeld generally.

Accountability

The Action Group is accountable to the Village Hall Trust Management Committee and shall report on its activities annually or otherwise as determined by the Trust Management Committee. It does not have any independent does not have independent power to incur expenditure. Any proposed expenditure must be sanctioned by the Trust Management Committee or the officers of the Trust in accordance with normal financial procedures.

Constitution

The Action Group shall consist of up to eight people, including a coordinator, plus the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, who are ex officio members. All members of the Action Group are appointed by/approved by the Trust Management Committee.

CHILDREN AND PARENTS ACTION GROUP

Purpose/authority

The purpose of the Children and Parents Action Group is to exercise the authority of the Village Hall Trust

  • to encourage, stimulate and facilitate the provision of services and facilities in Threlkeld for children up to the age of 14 and their parents, in particular services which use the Village Hall
  • to involve children and their parents into community life in ways which are of benefit to the community
  • to “cooperate with other charities, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities, including exchange of information and advice with such organisations”, to promote use of the Village Hall and use of funds generated by the Hall, for benefit of people in Threlkeld generally, children and their parents especially.

Accountability

The Action Group is accountable to the Village Hall Trust Management Committee and shall report on its activities annually or otherwise as determined by the Trust Management Committee. It does not have any independent does not have independent power to incur expenditure. Any proposed expenditure must be sanctioned by the Trust Management Committee or the officers of the Trust in accordance with normal financial procedures.

Constitution

The Action Group shall consist of up to eight people, including a coordinator, plus the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, who are ex officio members. All members of the Action Group are appointed by/approved by the Trust Management Committee. At least two thirds of the Action Group shall be parents of children aged 14 or under within the area of benefit.

YOUNG PEOPLE ACTION GROUP

Purpose/authority

The purpose of the Young People Action Group is to exercise the authority of the Village Hall Trust

  • to encourage, stimulate and facilitate the provision of services and facilities in Threlkeld for young people aged 12-19
  • to promote opportunities/use of opportunities by local young people
  • to involve young people into community life in ways which are of benefit to the community
  • to “cooperate with other charities, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities, including exchange of information and advice with such organisations”, to promote use of the Village Hall and use of funds generated by the Hall, for benefit of people in Threlkeld generally, young people aged 12-19 especially.

Accountability

The Action Group is accountable to the Village Hall Trust Management Committee and shall report on its activities annually or otherwise as determined by the Trust Management Committee. It does not have any independent does not have independent power to incur expenditure. Any proposed expenditure must be sanctioned by the Trust Management Committee or the officers of the Trust in accordance with normal financial procedures.

Constitution

The Action Group shall consist of up to eight people, including a coordinator, plus the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, who are ex officio members. All members of the Action Group are appointed by/approved by the Trust Management Committee. At least two members of the Action Group shall be people aged 12-19 resident in the area of benefit.

OLDER PEOPLE ACTION GROUP

Purpose/authority

The purpose of the Older People Action Group is to exercise the authority of the Village Hall Trust

  • to encourage, stimulate and facilitate the provision of services and facilities in Threlkeld for older people
  • to promote use of such services and facilities by older people
  • to help involve older people in community life in ways which are of benefit to the community
  • to cooperate with other charities, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities, including exchange of information and advice with such organisations, to promote use of the Village Hall and use of funds generated by the Hall, for benefit of people in Threlkeld generally, older people especially.

Accountability

The Action Group is accountable to the Village Hall Trust Management Committee and shall report on its activities annually or otherwise as determined by the Trust Management Committee. It does not have any independent does not have independent power to incur expenditure. Any proposed expenditure must be sanctioned by the Trust Management Committee or the officers of the Trust in accordance with normal financial procedures.

Constitution

The Action Group shall consist of up to eight people, including a coordinator, plus the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, who are ex officio members. All members of the Action Group are appointed by/approved by the Trust Management Committee. At least two thirds of the Action Group shall be older people resident in the area of benefit.

The Committee approved the membership of the Groups (other than the ex officio members) as follows:

Community Services

Nigel Matthews (Coordinator), Jo Alberti, Barbara Lowesmith

Children and Parents

Alison Critchlow (Coordinator), Celia Burbush, Sandra Hewitson, Annette Howe, Gill Winter

Young People

Neil Beresford (Coordinator), Lucy Bennett, Charlotte Bragg, Val Bragg, Rachael Kelly, Sarah Rose

Older People

Guy Duxbury (Coordinator), Pam Bowell, Muriel Slater, Sylvia Tuer, Marion Turner

The Committee also agreed to discontinue the two existing Action Groups - Social Activities Action Group and Children and Young Persons Action Group.

8. Accountants

The Committee considered the possible appointment of accountants and agreed that:

  • our current bookkeeping, accountancy and independent audit of our accounts is normal and satisfactory for an organisation with our turnover
  • if the revitalisation scheme goes ahead, we will need accountants at that stage; and also we currently still need some advice/support relating to VAT which we have so far not succeeded in getting on a voluntary basis
  • if we get through to the Stage 3 of the Lottery bid, or earlier if it seems necessary, we appoint a firm of accountants to be ready to become our “official” accountants at the appropriate stage, and in the meantime provide us with any financial advice needed
  • at whatever stage its seems necessary, the Chairman be authorised to approach three local firms with a brief, asking about terms, experience etc; and the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer be authorised to select an accountant on appropriate terms on the basis of this information.

Action: Trevor Roberts, Steven Oldfield, Roger Bragg

9. Financial policy and procedures

The Committee considered a draft set of financial procedures provided by Voluntary Action Cumbria. These relate closely to how things are done at present, with a reasonable level of practical flexibility. The Committee approved and adopted these procedures, which will be followed from now on. Action: Roger Bragg.

NB The Committee has previously agreed that the two signatures needed on cheques will be any two of Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary; this is what operates currently.

10. Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy

The Village Hall has not had a Child and Vulnerable Adult policy, considering it is not necessary because our job is just to manage the Hall, the issues of child protection etc are the responsibility of people that hire it/use it. However, official best practice advice attached clearly shows we need a policy appropriate to our circumstances. the Committee considered a draft of policy and procedures based on a version provided by ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England). The Committee approved and adopted the policy statement and basic procedures set out, and agreed that:

  • the policy statement would be displayed in the Hall Action: Steven Oldfield
  • all trustees would familiarise themselves with the procedures and list of “do’s and don’ts” Action: all Trustees
  • the policy, procedures and “do’s and don’ts” would be drawn to the attention of Sylvia Tuer, the only employee of the Trust Action: Steven Oldfield
  • the offer of the Blencathra Centre to act as back up if a case arises was welcomed, and the Blencathra Centre would fulfil the role of Children and Vulnerable Adults Officer on behalf of the Trust Action: Trevor Roberts
  • training on this issue would be arranged for all Trustees, staff and any other people who may be interested in taking part Action: Trevor Roberts
  • a hiring agreement would be drawn up incorporating the necessary references to child and vulnerable adult protection, and this will ensure that organisations hiring the Hall are aware of what it is like and how this might affect how they operate while in it Action: Trevor Roberts, Steven Oldfield, Roger Bragg
  • once the hiring agreement arrangements are in place, where an organisation wishing to hire the Hall indicates that they need and have the required policies/procedures and provide an assurance that they operate in accordance with these, then there should not normally be any necessity for us to be shown any documentation, although we reserve the right to ask to see it if we so choose; but if an organisation booking the Hall appears to require such a policy and does not have one, or says they need to have such a policy and does not have one, then we will not accept the booking.

11. Displays in the Small Meeting Room

The Committee noted that Stuart Cresswell is “on the case” regarding photographs of old Threlkeld, and has already obtained the consent of various people for material to be used. The Committee agreed that it is looking for photographs displayed in as high quality format as possible so they can be used in the revitalised Hall; and authorised the Treasurer to pay costs so long as he considers these reasonable.

12. Area of benefit

The Trusts’s governing document refers to the Trust’s “area of benefit” as being “the parish of Threlkeld and the surrounding neighbourhood”. It is important for various reasons to tie this down more precisely. The Committee agreed to define the “area of benefit” as the area used as the basis for the Threlkeld Study. This covers Threlkeld Civil Parish plus the quarry, Burns and some farms which are close to the Civil Parish Boundary.

13. Voluntary Action Cumbria (Action for Communities in Cumbria)

The Committee agreed to take out paid membership of Voluntary Action Cumbria (Action for Communities in Cumbria) at a cost of £25 annually.

NB We are also members already of Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service, but they do not charge a subscription.

14. Next meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Village Hall is on 19 October 2011 at 7.30pm. Three members of the Committee will be elected at the meeting, with the election governed by the new rules agreed previously.

The next meeting of the new Committee is scheduled for Wednesday 9 November 2011 at 7.30pm. This will be preceded by a very short special meeting to deal with cooptions.

Roger Bragg pointed out the difficulty faced in producing the accounts and getting them audited between the end of September and the date of the Annual Meeting. After discussion, it was agreed to keep to the date of the AGM this year, but reconsider arrangements for future years at the first meeting of the new Committee.

15. Any other business

None

The meeting finished at 8.55pm.

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