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Village Hall Trust meeting - May 2012





Present:Donald Angus, Sue Dunn, Adrian Eddleston, Steven Oldfield, Trevor Roberts, In attendance: Neil Beresford (Treasurer) and, for item 6 only, Moira Suringar (Highlights Coordinator)

1. Apologies

Roger Bragg (work), Carolyn Cripps (work), Sarah Rose (family), Gill Winter (family).

2. Minutes of the last Ordinary Meeting held on 8 February 2012 (previously circulated)

Were approved as a correct record

3. Matters arising from the Minutes not on the agenda

Village Hall Hallmark Standard

Although we seem to meet most of the standards required for level 1 of the ACRE Hallmark Standard, it was agreed that it would currently be a diversion to devote time to applying for this, and we will reconsider the matter once work on the revitalisation scheme is under way.

4. Financial reports

Neil Beresford presented a report on the financial position on both the Village Hall Main Account and the Village Hall Revitalisation Project account, covering the period 1 October 2011-15 May 2012. This indicated that we have £11,664 as unallocated funds in the Main and Deposit Accounts (compared with £10,404 on 1 October 2011); and £44,273 in the Project Account.

Lettings income in the period (£3,386) was about the same as last year, donations from the car park box ((£852) about £130 higher. Electricity costs were lower but water costs higher than last year - continuing water consumption seems to be higher than last year. Repairs and renewals have cost £1,632 so far compared with £2,368 last year – including electrical work £432, roof repairs £270 and painting £820.

Expenditure of £3,833 on revitalisation scheme fees etc from the Project Account has been covered by balancing income from the Big Lottery Development Grant. The Project Account also includes a grant of £5,000 paid already by the W O Street Foundation towards the revitalisation scheme. Net fundraising has contributed £1,900 to the account including £840 from the newly formed Support Group.

The Committee noted this report.

5. VAT

Neil Beresford reported that we applied for registration with effect from 1 March 2012, including the “option to tax” which allows us to reclaim VAT on the revitalisation scheme capital costs without having to repay any of this afterwards. Our accountant who has handled this assures us that the hold up in getting the confirmation of registration through from HMR and C is due to their workload, and that this will arrive soon. In the meantime we are organising our activities appropriately, charging VAT and keeping VAT accounts.

The Committee noted this report.

6. Highlights scheme

Mora Suringar, Highlights Coordinator for Threlkeld, attended for this item.

The Committee fully reviewed the Highlights scheme in May last year. It agreed to continue with it for another year, and review it again at this meeting.

During the year, three events have been run – Circus Bezercus (November 2011), Wild Child (March 2012), Monster Ceilidh (April 2012). Ticket income from the events was £318, £77 and £362 respectively. Wild Child was acknowledged to be a poor choice – the wrong event at the wrong time. Highlights now charge £180 plus 80% of ticket income beyond £180. As Highlights itself sets the ticket prices, this makes it considerably more difficult than previously to avoid a loss (these events have traditionally not been regarded as fundraisers, more as a service to the village, but have been expected to cover costs). Taken together, the three events made a net profit of £5, and we generated about another £180 in income from sale of refreshments and a bar.

The Committee discussed the delicate balance between avoiding a loss, quality/type of events (since Highlights does bring acts which otherwise would not be affordable) attracting a good audience of local people and others, the intangible benefits of being part of the Highlights scheme.

After discussion, the Committee resolved as follows:

  • subject to various provisos, Threlkeld should remain in the Highlights scheme,although events would have to be run under the auspices of the Threlkeld Village Hall Support Group, using the Hall and paying a charge for this out of net income
  • Moira should be asked to continue as Highlights Coordinator and to attend the Highlights meeting on 28 May, making the point if possible that the new charging basis is a major change from the previous arrangement and makes it much more difficult to run events on a reasonable financial basis
  • we will aim to have one event in mid Autumn 2012, and another in Spring 2013 in due course, accepting that anything in the Spring may have to be relocated (initially we will probably only have to select something for the Autumn); we should also lay down a marker as a venue for a Highlights exhibition in 2014 as an event in the revitalised Village Hall
  • the choice of event is crucial, as it must be of a nature to attract people from the village, which is admittedly difficult to predict – Moira should therefore get the Highlights brochure on 28 May, make a shortlist of what she thinks might fit the bill, and do a quick consultation with a few people to get reactions about what might go down well – dates are also critical here, relating to school holidays, weekends, avoiding other events including any fundraising events planned etc; if we do not get events we are confident ink, then we will reluctantly not be able to take part in the scheme
  • assuming we can get an event on a date of our preference, then Moira will work with the Support Group to ensure the event is widely publicised well in advance, tickets are sold proactively in advance, the event itself is well organised
  • we need to take any opportunity to make money in association with the event, especially from a bar, sales of our various goods etc. and anything else we can think of (although we decided some time ago not to run a raffle at Highlights events)
  • we will make as much “credibility mileage” out of our link to Highlights as we can.

Action: mainly Moira Suringar and Support Group

The Committee also thanked Moira on behalf of the village for her work on this programme, which is taking place against a tougher financial background than in the past.

7. Update on the revitalisation project and fundraising

Trevor Roberts gave a full report on the revitalisation project, funding and the Big Lottery application. Key points are as follows:

  • planning permission was obtained without any significant problems; and by the end of May the scheme will have been designed to RIBA Stage E, ie the point where a Building Regulations application can be made
  • the Big Lottery Development Grant of £22,820 is covering professional fees, surveys fees and statutory fees to the end of RIBA Stage E, which are the fees etc to which we are contractually committed; the BL has also agreed to regard the accountancy fee for VAT advice (about £800) in this category, which will mean the total fees will come to £24,232.10, leaving the VHT to pay £1412.10 from its Project Fund (this will be less if the VAT paid on early invoices can be reclaimed, which seems likely)
  • the recently re-estimated capital cost of the scheme beyond Stage E (including construction, fees, statutory fees, legal charges and a contingency element in accordance with BL specifications) is now £583,000; this compares with £547,550 previously, the increased costs being accounted for by higher professional fees, higher contingency provision, extra costs of drainage and electrical cable movement, some more expensive floors and fittings
  • the Big Lottery bid towards this will be increased from £315,000 to £340,000, which the BL has confirmed is within their “tolerance” between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the process; the application details are almost finalised, and the application will be submitted in the first week of June prior to the deadline of 14 June (the BL say they will make a decision within three months of the application)
  • assuming the BL grant is approved, which seems likely, the balance of funding required in total is £242,289, but money already raised or promised has covered all but about £90,000 of this – we still need to raise this amount from major funders, but it looks “do-able”
  • funding bids for more than this amount are still under consideration, but we have to still keep trying and apply to other organisations if we can; we need to have the full amount of funding offered or raised by September if we are to hit our target date of getting on site at the end of January 2013 and being up and running again in January 2014
  • we are in very preliminary discussion about a “last brick” loan of possibly £25,000 with Triodos Bank; the Charity Commission has just confirmed we are legally able to use the Hall as security for a loan and also we can do this without any special Charity Commission permission.

Overall things are progressing about as well as can be expected. The BL has been very supportive. There are some technical problems but these can be overcome. The main obstacle at the moment is raising the last £90,000 of money.

The report was noted by the Committee.

8. Big Lottery Reaching Communities (Buildings) application Stage

See previous item.

The Big Lottery application will now (subject to final cost details) be for £340,000 towards a total capital cost (post Stage E) of about £589,000, excluding VAT. Additionally the bid will still include £8000 towards revenue costs for promoting and launching the new Village Hall.

The documentation and plans for this application are almost finished. The Committee authorised the Chairman and Secretary to sign off and submit the application on behalf of the Trust.

Action: Trevor Roberts/Steven Oldfield

9. Training related to Child Protection Policy and Procedure

This item was deferred from the previous meeting. In August 2011 the Committee agreed a policy and procedure relating to Children and Vulnerable Adults, The policy/procedures refer to training being undertaken by Trustees. The Committee had obtained details of an online course (produced by Cumbria Local Children’s Safeguarding Committee) which outlines key aspects of the issue and how we can handle it. It was recommended that:

  • all Committee members undertake the online programme on a voluntary basis between now and the end of December 2012
  • a special follow up session with Caroline Beswick of Young Cumbria be arranged as part of the February 2013 meeting of the Committee
  • Sylvia be requested to do the online programme and attend the follow up session, but as an employee we should pay her an honorarium to be determined by the Secretary
  • all future Committee members will be expected to undertake the online course within the first three months.

Having looked at the course content and reflecting on the matter further, the Committee took the view that it was sufficient for Trustees and Sylvia to be aware of the procedures and the list of “do’s and don’ts” in the policy; and for the management of the Hall to ensure that users are aware of the policy and in appropriate cases have their own policy and properly trained/qualified staff (something now built into our procedures).

It was therefore decided

  • not to pursue the issue of training for the moment
  • reinforce awareness of the policy and procedures already adopted
  • review the policy and procedures at its next meeting.

10. Relations with the Community Interest Company/Conflicts of Interests

The Committee gave detailed consideration to a report on this matter, which referred to the advice issued by the Charity Commission, and also to the draft conflict of interest policy suggested by Voluntary Action Cumbria.

The Committee:

  • noted the report and confirmed that it had given through consideration to the matter. and
  • confirmed that all Committee members are aware of their responsibilities to avoid conflicts of interest as much as they can
  • recognised the special position of the “unconflicted” CIC Directors and Trustees/VHT Officers in dealing with commercial negotiations between the CIC and the VHT
  • require the CIC to provide the VHT Management Committee with an Annual Report on its activities in October of each year, this to be reported to the Trust AGM and incorporated into its own Annual Report
  • when the Community Coffee Shop starts to operate, require the CIC to provide a quarterly financial performance report to the VHT Management Committee so that it can exercise its responsibility as shareholder to oversee the CIC operation
  • adopted the following set of policies and procedures on conflicts of interest

1. Management Committee members and VHT Officers should be aware of the need to avoid any conflicts of interest between their role as a trustee of the Village Hall Trust and any other interest they may have, both personally and as members of other organisations which have any kind of relationship with the Village Hall Trust. In making decisions and in exercising judgments, they must put the interests of the Village Hall Trust first.

2. Conflicts of interest include the following:

  • where the Committee member/VHT Officer him/herself would benefit or lose significantly, either financially or otherwise, as a result of a decision of the Committee
  • where a close family member, close friend, close working colleague or direct employer would similarly benefit or lose
  • where an organisation within which the Committee member/VHT Officer has a managerial or significant interest stands to gain or lose significantly as a result of a decision of the Committee.

3. With the exception of any individual gifts or similar less than £10 in value, any gift, service or inducement relating to an activity or function of the Village Hall trust should be reported in writing to the Secretary, who will record this and report it to the next meeting of the Village Hall Trust Management Committee. Normally such gifts etc should be refused or where appropriate used in such a way as to benefit the Village Hall Trust.

4. Where a member of the Village Hall Trust Management Committee/VHT Officer has a personal interest in the outcome of any matter being considered by the Village Hall Trust Management Committee, he/she should declare this prior to the matter being discussed so that other members are aware of the situation; and where the member concerned feels that his/her colleagues would reasonably regard his/her judgment on the matter to be affected as a result of this interest, he/she should take no part in discussion or voting on the issue, and should leave the room while discussion is taking place.

5. Member/Officers should declare interests of this nature as soon as they become aware of them. If this is before the meeting, then the declaration should be in writing to the Secretary, who will then report the matter at the appropriate point. If he/she only becomes aware of the conflict of interest during the course of the meeting, he/she should declare it orally then, and take the appropriate action.

6. In every case, the minutes of the meeting will record declarations of conflicts of interest and actions taken as a result.

Action: all Committee members and officers

11. Village Hall Revitalisation Action Group/Village Hall Support Group

Earlier this year, the Trust Management Committee decided, following an exchange of emails, to relinquish its accountability link with the Village Hall Revitalisation Action Group. The Committee endorsed this decision to regard the Action Group as independent of the VHT, with effect from 1 March 2012.

The Committee noted that the Revitalisation Action Group has reconstituted itself as the Threlkeld Village hall Support Group with the following rules:

  1. The Threlkeld Village Hall Support Group is an informal unincorporated association, independent of the Threlkeld Village Hall Trust and Threlkeld Parish Council.
  2. Membership of the Support Group is open to anyone who supports its aims, whether or not they live in Threlkeld.
  3. The aims of the group are to provide support to Threlkeld Village Hall’s organisation, operation, use, activities, management, maintenance, revitalisation; and provide any other form of assistance reasonably requested by the Village Hall Trust. Support can be financial, voluntary assistance, general promotion of the Hall or otherwise. .
  4. The Group shall have a general meeting at least once per year.
  5. The Group shall elect a Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary at any general meeting.
  6. The three officers plus up to ten other people elected at any general meeting shall constitute a Committee of the Group.
  7. Financial management of the Group will be handled by the Treasurer.

It also noted that the Support Group has elected the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the VHT as its own officers; has limited its Committee to these three people for the time being; and that the new Support Group is now handling all fundraising activities in support of the Hall generally and the revitalisation project in particular.

12. Review of Village Hall Policies

Environment Policy This policy was adopted in 2008 and reviewed without changes in 2010. The Committee

  • adopted a slightly revised and updated version of this policy
  • resolved that, although no further immediate action is required on implementation of its provisions, in due course when appropriate we will review the proposed management and operation of the revitalised Hall in relation to this policy.

Equal Opportunities The policy was also adopted in 2008 and reviewed without changes in 2010. It was based on a “standard” policy from another organisation. The Committee

  • adopted a slightly revised and updated version of this policy;
  • endorsed a general statement outlining steps for putting things into practice which has been included in the Big Lottery bid
  • resolved that when appropriate we should review the proposed management and operation of the revitalised Hall in relation to this policy
  • agreed to ask a friend of Adrian’s to look at our policy and comment on it.Action: Adrian Eddleston.

Child and Vulnerable Adult Policy and ProceduresThis policy was adopted in August 2011. The Committee has already agreed to review this at its next meeting and in the meantime leave it unchanged.

Health and SafetyOur Health and Safety policy was adopted in 2008, and two key risk assessments – a general one and a fire safety one – were carried out at the time. In 2010, we postponed a review the policy, but did take steps to ensure that its provisions, especially in relation to fire safety, were being observed. The Committee considered the position carefully and

  • agreed to adopt a slightly updated policy statement
  • decided that at this particular juncture, it is reasonable to postpone any full review and risk assessment pending progress on the revitalisation scheme, since a new policy and set of risk assessments will be required in relation to the revitalised Hall and Coffee Shop operation (the Coffee Shop CIC will require parallel policies and procedures of its own)
  • agreed that should there be no significant progress on the revitalisation scheme by November 2012, then this policy and action on it should be looked at again then and decisions taken in the light of prevailing circumstances

Additionally the Committee agreed:

  • to display all policies and inform all hirers etc Action: Steven Oldfield
  • to review all policies and actions/arrangements relating to them in the revitalised Hall in due course once work on construction is under way
  • to review all policies in May each year as a matter of routine henceforward.

13. Routine management and maintenance matters

Roger Bragg’s information on the continuing problems with the flat roof were reported. It was agreed to authorise Roger to arrange for the necessary repairs to be carried out, with costs agreed with the Treasurer. Action: Roger Bragg

14. Any other business


15. Next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 15 August 2012 at 7.30pm.

The meeting after that is scheduled for Wednesday 14 November 2012. This is the meeting prior to the Village Hall AGM, which is scheduled for Wednesday 28 November 2012.

The meeting finished at 9.15pm, the Chairman thanked everyone for their contributions. .

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