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Village Hall meeting - November 2012





Present: Donald Angus, Roger Bragg, Carolyn Cripps, Sue Dunn, Adrian Eddleston, Steven Oldfield, Trevor Roberts, Sarah Rose, Gill Winter.

In attendance: Neil Beresford (Treasurer), Phil Sturgess (Coordinator, Marketing Action Group)


  1. Apologies

       Barbara Lowesmith (Monitoring Officer).


  1. Minutes of the last Ordinary Meeting held on 23 August 2012 (previously circulated)



  1. Matters arising from the Minutes not on the agenda



  1. CIC Annual Report to the TMC

The annual report from the CIC had been previously circulated. This was noted and it was agreed to incorporate it into the Trust’s Annual Report.


The Committee also reconfirmed the existing five Directors of the CIC; and noted the success of the CIC in attracting external funds for its equipment, furniture and working capital.


  1. Financial report – Accounts for 2011/12

Neil Beresford had circulated the accounts and a financial report relating to the year ending 30 September 2012. As a result of our higher turnover and the Project Account being included in our formal accounts for the first time, we need to make more detailed reports to the Charity Commission. Although a full audit is not required, Dave Steen, who has examined the annual accounts for the Village Hall over many years, decided that it would be more appropriate to have someone else conduct the independent examination. This has been done now by our accountants, Dodd and Co.


The Committee:


  • approved the accounts and the accompanying report to be submitted to the Annual General Meeting on 28 November 2012 Action: Neil Beresford


  • authorised the Chairman and Vice Chairman to sign (as trustees) the “letter of representation” required by Dodd and Co (this was duly done at the meeting) Action: Neil Beresford to send this to Dodd and Co


  • authorised the officers to complete the Charity Commission Annual Return after the AGM. Action: Neil Beresford, Trevor Roberts


  • noted that in the year 2012/13 we will probably exceed the £500,000 turnover figure which will necessitate a full audit of our accounts; and


  • agreed that even if the turnover figure does not exceed this limit, it would be prudent to have such an audit conducted anyway


  • agreed that we should send an official letter from the Trust to Dave Steen thanking him for his lengthy period of assistance with the Village Hall accounts, with a £25 book token as a gesture of appreciation Action: Steven Oldfield





  1. Draft Annual Report for 2011/12

The draft Annual Report for 2011/12 was circulated prior to the meeting. This was approved by the Committee for submission to the Annual General Meeting on 28 November 2012. Hard copies will be available then for all TMC members. Action: Trevor Roberts


  1. Marketing Action Group

The Committee confirmed Phil Sturgess as the MAG coordinator and Jane Roberts as a member (in addition to the VHT Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, who are members ex officio). Other members will be confirmed in due course.


Phil Sturgess was welcomed to the VHT meeting. He reported that one meeting of the Action Group had been held, attended by himself and five other people. Discussion had covered the range of topics concerned, although focused quite a bit on the evolving website, since Helen O’Brien was there. He emphasised the priority of the Action Group is to ensure that the revitalised Hall is used as much as possible from Day 1. Priorities include:


  • developing good relations and keeping in touch with current users to make sure they come back; (this is in hand via himself, Steven Oldfield and Sylvia Tuer in particular)


  • getting a substantial discount for early users (already agreed by the VHT, details to be agreed later in this meeting)


  • taking forward actions to promote the commercial uses etc in accordance with the Business Plan


  • looking at the potential role of new social media in promoting the Village Hall


  • getting the new website up and running (this is largely in hand)  


The Committee noted this report. It was suggested that Phil arrange another meeting of people interested in marketing, with a focused agenda of topics for consideration and decision.  


  1. Arrangements for the AGM

The Committee agreed that

  • the AGM will follow a straightforward format of minutes;  reports by the Secretary and Treasurer on the previous year; a report by the Chairman on the future use of the Hall;  questions, Committee elections (we will arrange to have a Powerpoint projector available to assist the presentations)
  • the first AGM of the new Threlkeld Activities Association to be slotted in at the start of the meeting
  • wine and nibbles to be provided at VHT expense. Action: Trevor Roberts, Steven Oldfield


  1. Threlkeld Activities Association/VHT Community Services Action Group

The TAA has just been established to take forward the ideas and proposals generated by the Village Hall Community Services Action Group. The TMC:

  • noted the establishment of the TAA as an independent local organisation and agree to work in conjunction with it in pursuit of the Village Hall Trust aims
  • agreed to the arrangement whereby the TMC nominates a Committee member to the TAA Committee; and to nominate Trevor Roberts as its nominee
  • agreed to discontinue the existing Community Services Action Group, since its work has now been taken on board by the new Association; and thank those involved for their assistance. Action: Trevor Roberts


  1. Update on the revitalisation project and fundraising

A full update was provided on scheme progress and timescale; funding; our input on specifying details; and arrangements regarding the public toilets. Although we are behind schedule on going out to tender, largely because we ourselves have had a lot of input into the details, we should still be on site about the end of January.


Although the intention is to authorise the contract signature at a full Committee meeting, in case this is not possible for any reason, the Committee authorised the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to take the necessary action on behalf of the Trust. 


  1. Monitoring

In Barbara Lowesmith’s absence, a short written report on the initial results of the current survey was circulated. This was noted. Organisation of the survey is going well. A full report will be produced early in 2013.


  1. Proposed charging systems for the revitalised Hall

A detailed report on proposed charges had been produced in advance by the officers. Proposed charges to include electricity (currently separately charged); a differential rate for different times of the day; and a substantially different rate for local/community use and other uses. A parallel report on charges for supplementary uses had also been circulated. The two documents were considered together. A detailed discussion took place on the basis of these. It was agreed that:


  • the scheme needs to mesh simplicity with fairness and consistency


  • although the scheme does need to have a degree of discretion for the Bookings Secretary, this needs to be within some clear rules and guidelines for concessions, to avoid accusations of inconsistency, unfairness and favoritism


  • the general level of charges proposed for local users was about right, and was only slightly more than current levels


  • there was a confusing overlap in the proposals between charges for local private use and those for community use; this could be avoided by having two rather than three rates, the lower rate covering community use and local use of any sort (including private use),  the higher rate most other things


  • there need only be three rather than four “time zones”


  • some concessions may be needed for multiple or extensive uses


  • people will have to pay for all the time they use the Hall, including setting up and taking down time, which can sometimes be extensive


  • the proposed charges for overnight camping and for conferences/meetings etc by external bodies should be adopted subject to some finer detailed points, and can be modified as necessary in the light of experience


  • a concessionary rate of 50% would be applied to all bookings, in all categories, for any Hall use up to the end of March 2014; and this would also apply to the CIC license fee


  • various other matters relating to charges (eg possible extra charges for staging, deposits etc) can be considered later.


It was agreed that the Chairman would produce a schedule of charges reflecting this discussion, to be circulated to TMC members for final comments before ratification and publication in any advance publicity. Action: Trevor Roberts


Some matters related to the Supplementary Commercial Activities Business Plan were also agreed:


  • we continue with the Supplementary Commercial Uses Business Plan previously agreed, but regard its implementation a little more flexibly than originally envisaged, since we are less critically dependent on the income it is designed to provide


  • revised targets for the key uses will be:


  • overnight camping use: 32 nights per annum with an average of 20 people per night


  • children’s parties/private social events: rather than having the number of sessions we will aim to generate a specified level of income from these events, roughly £2000 per annum after a couple of years; with the Bookings Secretary encouraging and promoting this use as required to meet the financial target


  • conferences/meetings etc: as for children’s parties/private social events, with a financial target of £2250 per annum


  • marketing, promotion and publicity should follow the framework set out in the previously agreed Business Plan; in particular we should still employ a part time Bookings Secretary on the basis set out.



  1. Staffing of the Village Hall

The following measures regarding staffing were agreed:


  • Sylvia Tuer be retained on her full salary throughout the construction period; it is not clear exactly what she might do during this time, but there is bound to be something, and basically as a responsible employer we should be ensuring she does not be worse off as a result of the scheme going ahead


  • the part time Caretaker post (£100 per month) be continued after the revitalisation, but focusing on personal contact with Hall users while they are using the Hall (including “meeting and greeting”), cleaning and basic maintenance; this post to be filled by Sylvia Tuer


  • depending on how the workload develops, an additional part time post of Assistant Caretaker be created, with similar duties and responsibilities, so that we have someone in place to assist and deputise for Sylvia; financial provision for this post (at £50 per month) should be included with effect from the date the Hall reopens, although we will only make the appointment as and when it is seen to be necessary – the terms and conditions for this post will only be determined at the appropriate stage, and may well be on a casual basis with an hourly rate


  • we should recruit the new post of Bookings Secretary as envisaged in the Supplementary Commercial uses Business Plan, at the previously agreed salary of £250 per month, to start a couple of months before the hall reopens (it may be that we can use some of the money from the Big Lottery to subsidise this post initially); this will be a substantial part time post to be undertaken by someone with a range of relevant skills, working from home, handling marketing, bookings, room and key allocation (NB the security system proposed involves pre-programmed key cards giving users access specifically for the times and parts of the buildings they need), invoicing and collection of money


  • all the posts described should have clear job specifications, terms and conditions of service, established lines of accountability etc, to be developed and agreed over the next four months, and will be subject to a proper recruitment procedure; although all these posts will be filled by local people living in reasonably close proximity to the Hall


  • wages will be paid in a systematic manner via our accountants or equivalent, with PAYE and NI systems applied


  • all employees will be expected to undertake any necessary training related to their jobs, to Hall management and Hall policies.


The officers of the Trust were authorised to take the necessary steps to develop these measures and put it into practice in good time for the Hall reopening.



  1. Village Hall website

Helen O’Brien is developing the new website dedicated to the Village Hall and the Threlkeld Coffee Shop. It is planned to launch the website some time reasonably soon after the work has started, while the Hall is closed, so that progress on the scheme can be publicised and advance publicity generated. The Committee endorsed this approach.


  1. Photographic record

Ursula Poole, a village resident with a background in journalism and professional photography, has volunteered to produce a documentary photographic record of the revitalisation project, and has already started work on this. We will be able to produce an interesting exhibition based on this when the Hall reopens. The Committee expressed its appreciation to Ursula and  agreed to assist her project wherever it can. Action: Trevor Roberts





  1. Involvement of residents of Threlkeld Quarry, Burns and Birkett Mire in Trust and Hall management

The Quarry etc area is part of the “area of benefit” of Threlkeld Village Hall but outside Threlkeld Parish. Not many people from this area are involved in the various aspects of Hall and Trust management. The Committee gave thought to this issue (ie involvement in Hall and Trust management, not just encouraging residents of this area to attend activities in the Village Hall, which is also important).  The option of using the cooption arrangements was considered, but this is somewhat “chancy”, and is not necessarily an appropriate mechanism anyway. It was agreed unanimously that the most appropriate and effective way was to amend the governing document to incorporate an additional nominee on the TMC, to be put forward by St Johns etc Parish Council, but being a resident of our area of benefit within that Parish. The Chairman was authorised to explore this possibility informally with St John’s etc Parish Council and report back accordingly.  Action: Trevor Roberts


  1. Any other business

The Chairman referred to the invitation from the Big Lottery to attend its 18th Birthday Party celebration, in Manchester, on 29 November.


  1. Venue for future meetings

The main options available while the Village Hall is closed appear to be the Cricket Pavilion, for which a charge would be made; and the Blencathra Centre, which would probably be freely available. It was agreed that we would meet in the Cricket Pavilion, subject to availability.   


  1. Date of next meeting

The Annual General Meeting is on 28 November 2012, at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. The next previously scheduled meeting of the Committee is on 9 January 2013, at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.  Unless it proves necessary to arrange a meeting the previous week to sign a contract (this may be required, depending on timescales), this meeting will handle normal matters plus signing of the revitalisation scheme contract. We will as usual arrange for a short Special Meeting for five minutes in advance of the main meeting to handle co-options.


Future meeting dates will be agreed on 9 January 2013.

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