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Village Hall Trust meeting - August 2012





Present: Sue Dunn, Adrian Eddleston, Steven Oldfield, Trevor Roberts, In attendance: Barbara Lowesmith (Monitoring Officer).

Comment was made on the unusually low attendance, including absence of several members without notification. The quorum for a meeting of the Committee is one third of the total membership, so the meeting was able to proceed.

  1. Apologies

Sarah Rose (illness), Gill Winter (travel delay). Neil Beresford (Treasurer).

  1. Minutes of the last Ordinary Meeting held on 11 July 2012 (previously circulated)

Were approved as a correct record

  1. Matters arising from the Minutes not on the agenda


  1. Matters arising from the meeting on 23 May 2012 (consideration deferred at the previous meeting)


  1. Financial reports

Neil Beresford had circulated 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 2011-7 August 2012. This indicated that we have £12,459 as unallocated funds in the Main and Deposit Accounts (compared with £10,404 on 1 October 2011); and £40,355 in the Project Account. The report also projected the end of year position on the Main Account, indicating that lower income from rents and teas than last year would reduce income; expenditure would be higher due to some new and one off £6,000 last year. The Project Account is entirely concerned with money relating to the revitalisation project, with income coming from grants and fundraising, expenditure largely on consultancy fees etc.

The Committee noted this report.

It was also agreed to authorise the Treasurer to make whatever arrangements he sees most appropriate regarding an independent assessment (audit) of the accounts. It seems unlikely to be necessary to pay an accountant to do this, there are other options available. Action: Neil Beresford

  1. Routine management and maintenance matters

No reports on this, but it does look as though the work done on the toilet roof has succeeded in keeping out the rain so far.

  1. Highlights scheme

The Committee endorsed the decision taken by the Officers and the Village Hall Support Group to discontinue Highlights schemes events in the light of the onerous and potentially risky financial arrangements; this changes the decision it made in May to attempt to continue with the scheme. It also agreed that the proposed Community Services Group be invited to arrange a similar programme directly. Action: Trevor Roberts.

  1. Update on the revitalisation project and fundraising

Trevor Roberts circulated updated reports on overall costs of the project and of new funding offers. New grants offered included £2500 from the Lake District Communities Fund, £5000 from the Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust and £10000 from the Cumbria CC Members Capital Fund. Overall after the amount applied for from the Big Lottery, we currently would have an estimated shortfall of about £87,000. He also reported on the details of discussions with The Charity Bank, previously circulated, which met all the criteria set by the Committee at its last meeting; the Charity Bank planned to finish consideration of our application in mid September.

He then reported the crucial news just received by telephone from the Big Lottery – the Grants Committee has not only agreed to our application for £329,000, but to ensure that the scheme goes ahead without delay and complications, it added another £98,000 to this so that we can avoid having to get a loan – so the total capital sum awarded is £428,143.This is of course fantastic news and means we can now proceed with total confidence, without the potentially tricky decisions we anticipated having to make at the tender stage.

The Grants Committee did not agree to another proposal put to them by our Assessor – that they should add on another £45,000 to cover the furniture, equipment and working capital needed by the Coffee Shop CIC (which it is hoped to get via another competitive bid to the Big Lottery Village SOS scheme). There was apparently some support for this idea, but the main grant programme cannot fund revenue/working capital. However, we the CIC can still apply to Village SOS, and also we can use money raised in support of the main scheme for the CIC, provided this is handled properly and is all above board.

The Committee noted all this with satisfaction while it drank some champagne, and also formally recorded its appreciation of the hard work of the Chairman in getting this success.

A formal letter of confirmation will be coming from the Big Lottery next week. Also the news is subject to a press embargo, so although there is no problem in people involved in the project being told the news, it must not be put in the press. (NB These minutes will not be put onto the community website until after the press embargo is lifted).

Various other points were:

  • in accordance with previous decisions, the Architects have already applied for Building Regulations approval and the Treasurer has paid the fee for this; and have just been instructed to take the scheme forward to the tender stage with a view to a start on site in January 2013 if possible
  • a special newsletter (essentially the same as Beneath Blencathra) about the project would be produced and circulated in early September – the costs of paper and photocopying of this were being met by the Field Studies Council (Blencathra Centre)
  • a newsletter should be sent out to the Support Group and a meeting arranged (5 September) to help generate the practical support needed, and also to help continue local fundraising, which is still needed
  • an exhibition of the scheme should be mounted over a weekend in October, for general public information
  • the planned website should now be developed and an a launch of this arranged sometime in mid Autumn; Helen O,Brien is producing this and will now be asked to register the name – the Committee authorised the limited costs involved in this

All this was noted and agreed by the Committee.

  1. Monitoring

Barbara Lowesmith reported on her plans to establish a monitoring framework. Initially we need to establish a firm information base so that we can assess progress and success of the scheme at a later date after completion of work and when things are in operation. To this end she is:

  • getting as accurate Census etc data as she can for the “area of benefit”, which incudes not just Threlkeld - Parish but also part of St John’s etc - the Quarry, Burns and Birkett Mire Action: Barbara Lowesmith
  • getting information back from current Hall users via simple questionnaires at general events and via format questionnaires to organisers (Steven Oldfield will assist with this) – we need to ensure that people understand the importance of this process, it is a bit of a chore filling in forms etc, but does need to be done Action: Barbara Lowesmith, Steven Oldfield
  • arranging a full household survey in October/November, similar in scale but not as detailed as the one conducted by Len Cockroft in 2008 – this will involve a lot of voluntary help as before Action: Barbara Lowesmith, Trevor Roberts

The Committee noted and agreed all these activities. It was also agreed that where possible we would seek information about what people would like to see the Hall used for. (This might be done via questionnaires in Beneath Blencathra).

  1. Arrangements for the Christmas Draw

It was decided not to discuss this in the absence of Roger Bragg and Carolyn Cripps. the Chairman agreed to discuss it with them after the meeting as decisions may need to be taken soon. Action: Trevor Roberts

  1. Proposed charging system in the revitalised Hall

It was decided to defer consideration of the previously circulated report until the next meeting.

  1. Marketing Action Group

The Committee agreed the following terms of reference for the Marketing Action Group.


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

  • in identifying markets locally and beyond for all aspects of Village Hall use and activities
  • to arrange and undertake publicity. promotion and related measures to encourage use of the Village Hall among appropriate markets
  • to advise the Village Hall Trust on steps it should take to organise its provision in such a way as to encourage use among markets generally and specifically
  • to promote awareness of the Village Hall generally, including in the media.

The Action Group is specifically authorised to identify and to promote Hall use by statutory bodies, charitable organisations, voluntary bodies, commercial organisations/providers and individuals. These may relate to:

  • the local community, both individuals and groups
  • sporting and keep fit related uses by all ages
  • supplementary commercial users including particularly overnight accommodation; private functions; children’s parties; and meetings/conferences etc
  • the Community Coffee Shop (working in conjunction with the Community Coffee Shop CIC).


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 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. (Although the Trust may make budgetary provision for its activities).


The Action Group shall consist of up to six 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.

The Committee also authorised the Officers to sort out membership as soon as possible and agree to any membership appointments in between Committee meetings.

  1. Any other business


  1. Next meeting

The next meeting 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. It is possible that some meetings may need to be arranged before then to authorise/approve arrangements.

Please note also the meeting of the Support Group now arranged for Wednesday 5 September 2012.

The meeting finished at 9.00pm. The Chairman thanked those who had attended.

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