Assynt Foundation

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Minutes of 12 February 2018

Posted on 6 March, 2018 at 11:20

Minute of meeting of board of Assynt Foundation held on Monday 12th February 2018 at 10.00am in the Art Studio

Present:  Claire Belshaw (VC) Mandy Haggith (VC) Lewis Macaskill, Nigel Goldie, Brendan O' Hanrahan (Chair) arrived about 10.20

In attendance: Gordon Robertson

Claire chaired the meeting until Brendan's arrival.

Apologies: Adam Pellant

Declarations of interest: none

Chairperson role - There was some discussion around the role of chairperson.

Hydro - Gordon reported he would have an update on the revised tenders for the Hydro feasibility studies by the end of this week.

Gordon then left the meeting and there followed a board-only section.

Chairperson role - Brendan agreed to step back from being the Chair. It was hoped that he would agree to remain on the board.  Brendan left at 11.20.

Mandy proposed Lewis to be the new Chair, with the support of Claire and Nigel.  Lewis agreed.

Lodge - Sam and Rachael will be back on 24th Feb and Lewis will meet with them.

HIE - Lewis will speak with Roy Kirk and arrange a meeting with the board.

Meeting closed.

Minutes of December 2017

Posted on 28 February, 2018 at 8:15

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting, 20th December 2017

Meeting began 4.30pm.

Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan (by skype), Nigel Goldie, Claire Belshaw (co-chaired, as present in person), Lewis MacAskill.

Attending: Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant.

1. Apologies: Mandy Haggith.

2. Declarations of interest: none.

3. Minutes of 29th November meeting: not approved at this meeting as only very recently circulated.

4. Finances: 

HIE will meet in mid-January to decide on third year of Exec Officer grant. They may keep the same grant rate as in year 2, which would be better than budgeted.

5. Lodge: GR updated on lease plans.  

6. Glebe: Snow had prevented previous meeting with Liz Howard of HIE and Ronnie MacRae of HSCHT. BOH has contacted Ronnie to reschedule this. SLF Development Grant is expected to be available through Liz.

7. Hutting: GR reported – he has discussed issues with Bernard Planterose. Sewage may be a hurdle. SEPA objections/requirements re sewage could kill a proposal. Power supply, if needed, would also be an issue.

8. Woods: BOH updated – he has sent maps etc to Andrew Campbell of WTS, and will discuss various issues with him tomorrow, including viability of carbon trading income.

9. Hydro: GR reported - We expect to get an initial report on Drumrunie scheme by mid January.

10. AOB:

AGM: Agreed not to send notice out this side of new year.

Accounts: The accounts to the 31st March 2017 were approved by the board.

Meeting closed.

Minutes of November 2017

Posted on 28 February, 2018 at 8:05

Minutes of Assynt Foundation Board Meeting, 29th November 2017

Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Nigel Goldie, Claire Belshaw. (Unable to contact Mandy by skype.)

Attending: Gordon Robertson, John Venters, Adam Pellant (from mid- item 4 onwards).

1. Apologies: Lewis MacAskill.

2. Declarations of interest: none.

3. Minutes of 25th October meeting: approved.

4. Matters Arising:

Artist in Residence CALLP Project – Creative Scotland Application was submitted by Nigel on behalf of AF, for £16k towards the project’s costs. An updated Equal Opportunities Policy will be considered in due course.

Glebe – Nigel noted that Assynt Community Association / Development Company has an interest in what happens with the Glebe. (AP arrived.) Agreed to keep them in the loop.

Meeting with HIE and HSCHT representatives set for 7th December.

Noted that any General Meeting to put updated Glebe plans to the members and the wider community would need to happen soon (mid/late January?) if at the same General Meeting which will be required to gain members’ resolution for taking on additional loan.

Drumrunie housing plot - Action: BOH to report back in January.

Person of Significant Control matter – SJ reported that the matter of HIE being formally stated as a ‘person of significant control’ due to their authority required for AF expenditure items above 1k had been raised with HIE, whose lawyers argued that HIE are a kind of body excluded from needing to be mentioned, even if they have significant control. So matter resolved and HIE de-listed in that regard.

Grazing lease – The disappointment of the Ledbeg grazing tenants was noted, following the board’s decision not to grant them a ten year lease for the time being, in place of the current annual 50 week leases.

6. EO Report:

Lodge update – xmas dinner bookings looking good with some B&B bookings as well.  

Woodland creation – Elaine thinks applications for two woodland schemes could be submitted in 2018.

Hutting – ongoing investigation, with good signs of ability to generate substantial annual income from site leasing.

CCF – walled garden development application was submitted.

CALLP wildlife viewing hide – agreed not to progress this project.

7. Governance:

New Directors – Yet to meet up with one possible AB director. Possible other directors yet to progress.

Rotation of directors – BOH and NG need to retire by rotation and cannot be re-elected at next AGM. BOH stated his willingness to be co-opted onto the board after the AGM and to continue as chair if the board wish.

M&As – SJ advised that we don’t need to ask OSCR before changing M&As so long as the Objects of AF aren’t being changed. Action: SJ to give specific recommendations for any M&A changes.

8. AOCB: None.

Date of next meeting: Wednesday 20th December.

Meeting closed.

Minutes of October 2017

Posted on 28 February, 2018 at 8:00

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 4.00pm Wednesday 25th October 2017

1. Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Lewis MacAskill, Claire Belshaw, – Quorate.

In attendance: Gordon Robertson, John Venters.

Apologies: Nigel Goldie, Mandy Haggith, Alex Murray, Mandy Haggith.

2. Declarations of Interest


3. Minutes of the meeting held on 20th September 2017

The Minutes of the meeting held on the 20th September were not available or approved at the meeting but were subsequently approved by those attending (via e-mail).

4. Actions and Matters Arising.

The Action Points and Matters Arising were carried over, and are noted at the end of these Minutes.

5. Financial Report.

The circulated reports were noted. 

GR reported on the recent meeting with HIE who continue to support AF as it seeks to develop businesses that will lead to full sustainability without the need for grant aid. GR is working with Elaine MacAskill (CALLP/Woodland Trust) to ‘fast track’ the most deliverable parts of the whole scheme in order to demonstrate expected levels of capital.

6. Glencanisp Lodge Update.

The management of the Lodge continues to receive plaudits and the opportunities for guests and local residents to have dinner at the Lodge has been well received. There have already been 70 bookings for pre- Christmas meals.

The issue of opening the Lodge during the first quarter of 2018 has still not been resolved, but will be based on financial viability.

7. Executive Officer’s Monthly Report

• Hydro Schemes

A written update had been circulated. The current proposals will be considered in greater detail at the forthcoming Land Use Sub Committee meeting. It was noted that the Drumrunie proposal had received approval from Local Energy Scotland for Green Highland Renewables to carry out the Feasibility Study.

• Native Woodland

Elaine MacAskill would shortly be circulating her initial thoughts on the first potential site for planning on the Foundation’s land. This will include draft budgets and be available for the Land Use Sub Committee’s meeting in November.

• Glebe Purchase of Land from COS

Still awaiting a date from HIE and the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust. Their representatives (Liz Howard (HIE) and Ronnie MacRae (HSCHT) are striving to arrange a combined visit.

• Hutting

This proposal appears to have a good prospect of financial backing from Funders, and has the potential to generate a regular annual income for the foundation. Potential siting and scale will be discussed in detail at the Land Use Sub Committee Meeting.

• Stalking Report

JV confirmed that it is proposed to shoot 60 stags next year over Glencanisp and Drumrunie whilst still leaving a few carcasses out on the hill for nature conservation reasons.

BOH and GR had attended Community Land Scotland’s meeting in Ullapool to consider and discuss a wider approach to Deer Management on Community Land. Minutes will be circulated on receipt. CB stressed the importance for AF to have a clear vision with regard to our deer management for the long term future. AF should take the lead and set out a policy demonstrating where AF wants to see the deer population in 100 years’ time, linking this species with the environment, stalking, venison and public interest. All present supported this aim and this will be incorporated into the Deer Management Plan required by SNH

• Sporting Rates

GR confirmed that he had been in contact with the Assessor’s Office and that 100% Mandatory Charitable Relief is expected to be received by AF

• Climate Challenge Fund Application for Walled Garden Restoration

AP had put in a considerable amount of work for this extensive application. The deadline for the submission will be met.


Discussions continue with CALLP staff to assist with and benefit from their established programme. This includes path improvement, training courses, venison marketing potential, appointment of Crofting Officer and more.

• Long Leases 

10 year lease, commencing in November 2017, on track for the Drumrunie grazing tenancy. Details of the land area for the Ledbeg tenancy are to be agreed by the Land Use Sub Committee.

8. Potential House Site. Drumrunie

GR will speak to the Planning Officer and SNH regarding this proposal, before discussions are more publicly launched.

9. Future Event Opportunities at Glencanisp

• North Lights Easter Challenge runing event

All on track. Organisers liaising with Sam and Rachael and will be linking with community members to develop the programme. A suggested programme will be received shortly and circulated for Board approval.

• Classic Car Rally

Sam and Rachael in discussions with the organisers of a Charity Car Rally, commencing and finishing in Dornoch next May during a single day. The aim is for the 60 participants to meet and have lunch in the Pole Barn next May with catering provided by S&R. Opportunities to promote the Lodge, Artists Studio, Kiln and more to high net worth participants.

• Festivals/Music Events

All agreed that AF should aim to develop a future ‘Programme of Events’ throughout the year. To be discussed and actioned at the next AF Board meeting.

• Edie

The Film is being acclaimed as it ‘does the rounds’ of the Film Festivals. It has been to Edinburgh, but will be shown in Berlin, Inverness and Aberdeen within the next month. It is still planned to be launched in the Spring of 2018 and the Producer, Mark Stothert, of Infinity Productions will liaise closely with AF when the Screen Machine comes to Lochinver in order to gain maximum PR and Community benefit.

10. Governance

Simon Jeffreys (Company Secretary) will write to HIE confirming the details of the perceived need for HIE to be the PSC (Person Exercising Significant Control). This relates to the Annual Confirmation Statement that SJ is undertaking of behalf of AF and this matter had been included in previous returns by the past Company Secretary (MacLeod and MacCallum). This is a procedural matter, and GR will contact HIE beforehand to advise them that SJ will be in touch.

11. AOCB

BOH attended the new Land Commissioners ‘Meet and Greet’

Request for details on historic deer numbers and cull records.

12. The date of the next meeting was agreed as Thursday 23rd November 2017

Minutes of September 2017 Meeting

Posted on 14 December, 2017 at 11:10

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, Thursday  20th September 2017

1. Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Nigel Goldie (from mid- item 2.1), Claire Belshaw,– Quorate.

In attendance: Simon Jeffreys (Company Secretary), Gordon Robertson, John Venters, Adam Pellant, Boyd Alexander (until item 3), Alex Dickson (from item 2.3 onwards).

Apologies: Alex Murray, Lewis MacAskill, Mandy Haggith.

2.0 CALLP update

Boyd Alexander, CALLP staff, gave an update on CALLP landscape partnership projects. AF projects are Druim Suardalain woodland creation (managed by Woodland Trust Scotland), Glencanisp Nature Trail, the Suilven path (managed by John Muir Trust), and also on the list, an AF-led project proposed to create a wildlife viewing hide overlooking Loch Druim Suardalain, to be discussed.

2.1 Wildlife Hide project – Budget is around 30k, of which 60% would come from HLF. The other 40% match funding would need to be found by AF. [NG arrived. Quorate meeting from then on.] Noted that no direct income could be made from the hide except from donations, given state aid / HLF grant rules. Boyd said that a different project could possibly replace it if it had comparable outcomes (such as increased visitor numbers, educational benefits, ecotourism benefits). Agreed to postpone the Wildlife Hide project for the time being, and to discuss it as an agenda item at the next land use subgroup meeting.

2.2 Nature Trail Gates – BOH raised issue of gates where woodland exclosure fence crosses the Nature Trail, asking Boyd about possibility of improving them as not very walker-friendly/inviting. Noted that WTS may need consulting as part of the woodland creation project. [Alex Dickson arrived.]

2.3 Other woodland potential – There are problems with the proposed woodland creation on Eisg Brachaidh due to existing grazing agreement on the area, which may prevent the project going ahead. As such there may be potential for other woodland creation elsewhere to be added to the package of HLF CALLP projects.

2.4 Community Benefit – BOH asked about general community outcomes, given the shrinking of CALL outwith the CALLP landscape partnership programme from loss of CALL staff post. Boyd mentioned a public meeting in Achiltibuie on 22 November where communication plan would be discussed and feedback would be sought on future vision etc.

2.5 Artist in Residence project – NG reported. We could provide studio day use free of charge for artists in residence, and provide project management time (which NG offered to provide on AF’s behalf), as in-kind contributions to the project. Creative Scotland application is to be made by NG on behalf of AF.  AOC (archaeology organisation) might contribute to project costs for artistic interpretation of the Broch project. Action: Nigel to apply to Creative Scotland.

3. Declarations of Interest: None. (But interest declared later by BOH for item 8.)

4. Minutes of 18th August 2017: proposed CB, seconded BOH; approved.

5. Actions & Matters Arising –

Business Plan Review – GR suggested some particular areas should be focused on as part of the update. Action: GR to produce report concentrating on these areas in due course.

Hydro – Ongoing. Action: GR to send report prior to first subgroup meeting (meeting date TBC).

Arts Bothy – NG had heard back from Bothy Project representative. They have resubmitted or are about to resubmit planning application for arts bothy at Glencanisp. Some talk of possibly changing location. NG will keep us informed.

Glebe – Liz Howard of Scottish Land Fund, and Ronnie MacRae of Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust are to meet soon regarding potential housing development on Glebe. Agreed AF keep in touch with Assynt Community Association about Glebe proposals. (NG reported that ACA are in process of changing their constitution in order to formally become a community development trust.) Agreed to arrange a public meeting, hopefully in early November, regarding the Glebe purchase and plans for it. Action: GR/AP to organise, advertise and produce info on initial proposals.

Walled Garden CCF application – final deadline is late October.


7. Lodge Update – GR reported.

8. Grazing Leases – (BOH declared an interest about the Ledbeg grazing lease as a close friend of the current tenants.) GR made recommendations.

BOH asked that consideration at Ledbeg be given to possible conflict with crofts/woods creation, and suggested input from MH be obtained before a decision on that area.

Agreed to 10 year lease of the ~13 ha currently being leased at Tileathdoire. Action: GR contact the tenants and organise. Agreed to have further discussion about Ledbeg leasing at next board meeting, aiming to reach a decision at that meeting.

9. Land Use Subgroup – Report from subgroup’s last meeting had been circulated by GR. Discussion of group’s terms of reference, given that all AF business is land related in some way. We hope for wood creation report/maps from Elaine relatively soon. She is back in Assynt next week. 

10. EO Report

GR and BOH attended HSCHT meeting.

Hutting – Bernard Planterose is to visit to discuss hut creation.

GR is to meet JMT’s new chief executive officer. GR has met with Robin Vestey who is very supportive.

11. Governance – AB directors reported that AB governance is now in a relatively sound position, with addition of Lewis MacAskill bringing much additional business experience and professionalism. Noted that extra AB directors will be good to have, and that having a different chair from AF soon is very important.

Simon reported that he had filed AF’s annual return stating HIE as being a ‘person with significant control’, as had been stated the previous year through our previous company secretary (on the basis of AF requiring HIE’s permission for any capital spend over 1k). Simon will also register this separately with Companies House, as is required.

Simon also suggested that some changes could be proposed to AF’s and AB’s M&As in future. In AF’s case his suggestions would be to tidy up the technical issue of the space for one ‘appointed director’ on top of the 12 spaces for elected/co-opted director, and possibly to make changes to give more focus to our objectives; in AB’s case he suggests they could be made more specific to AB’s role as a subsidiary company with a single owner. Any changes to AF’s M&As would be by members at an AGM, but changes to AB’s M&As could be made by AF directors, on behalf of AF as sole owner/shareholder of AB.

12. AGM – Agreed to aim for last week of November. Action: AP check with KH and auditor regarding getting annual accounts completed and audited in time for AGM.

13. AOB

Bequests – AD raised issue of bequests. Agreed it was worth putting something on website welcoming bequests alongside general donations. Action: SJ to write some text for this with legally suitable wording. There was also some discussion of gift aid, for which we are not currently registered.

Edie – Screen Machine will be showing Edie in Lochinver. AD will advise AF as soon as he has confirmation.

Meeting closed.


Minutes of August 2017 Meeting

Posted on 21 September, 2017 at 5:15

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 2pm Thursday 18th August 2017

1. Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Nigel Goldie, Claire Belshaw, Lewis MacAskill, Mandy Haggith – Quorate.

In attendance: Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant.

Apologies: Alex Murray, Ken Hamilton.

2. Declarations of Interest: None.

3. Minutes of 20th July 2017: proposed MH seconded LM; approved.

4. Actions & Matters Arising –

4.1 Business Plan

GR will produce a Business Plan review report soon, prior to Business Plan updating process. Action GR.

HIE have requested a 3 year cashflow as an update to the end of the Business Plan period. Action AP/GR.

CALLP etc – Boyd will be invited to September meeting. Action GR.

4.2 Woodland Creation & Land Use Subgroup – GR gave verbal update. A subgroup meeting was held at which Elaine gave info. The CEO of WTS, Becky Speight, has also visited the site with members of the SWT and CALLP teams. They were all enthusiastic about the Foundation's plans for further native woodland planting under the higher-rate grant scheme and may be willing to fund future schemes up front to remove need for loan funding. The Foundation/AB would receive all profits on receipt of grant payments.

We hope for an interim report from Elaine for the next subgroup meeting at 4pm on 25th August.

4.3 Hydro – GR updated. 3 companies looking at Feith an Leothaid scheme. The extra time that these firms have taken for initial appraisals is because of the need for more detailed discussions on grid options. The standard method of paying SSE to upgrade the existing wires would require a payment in excess of £6 million. The aim of all three companies is to try and use the electricity locally through a micro-grid and to utilise government incentives for community benefit. This would dramatically reduce costs and produce a viable scheme. As soon as figures are to hand they will be circulated.

Agreed to ask LES for a timescale for choice and appointment of contractor for producing Feasibility Study exploring smaller grid connected hydro scheme/s. Action GR.

Agreed to establish Hydro subgroup, to contain MH, CB, BOH, LM, and GR & AP as staff.

4.4 Arts Bothy – NG/others to report to board.

5. AOB

5.1 Glebe – GR updated. Still a hold-up with HIE who, as our account manager, need to approve our access to the funds for preparing our Business case for acquisition. Action: GR to stress the need for a response.

5.2 Walled Garden – CCF Development Grant application submitted. Action: GR/AP to complete Expression of Interest for main CCF grant. MH offered to help.

5.3 Gardener’s Cottage – Action: GR to ascertain costs for a full survey with recommendations and costings for remedial work. GR to seek approval from HIE for funding to commission survey work.

5.4 New AB directors – Agreed that new AB directors be sought.

5.5 Meetings – Agreed to continue with monthly meetings for the time being, and to meet on 3rd Wednesday of every month from September onwards.

6. Next Meeting: Wednesday 20th September.

Minutes of July 2017 Meeting

Posted on 21 September, 2017 at 4:55

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 4.30pm Thursday 20th July 2017

1. Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Nigel Goldie, Lewis MacAskill, Mandy Haggith, Alex Murray – Quorate.

In attendance: Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant.

Apologies: Claire Belshaw, Ken Hamilton.

2. Declarations of Interest: None.

3. Minutes of 15th June 2017: approved, with one amendment.

4. Actions & Matters Arising

Woodland Creation – GR updated. Peat too deep to be allowed to plant in some areas around Ledbeg, but lots of other ground expected to be suitable and Forestry Commission Scotland very supportive of wide plans for planting. We may receive initial maps/report from Elaine by around September. Land/woods/croft working group met immediately before this meeting.

Business Plan – Business Plan has been circulated. Discussion of review/update process. Meeting to be held as part of updating process, date to be confirmed. Action: GR offered to produce short report on main changes before that meeting.

Studio management etc. – NG reported he has met with Boyd of CALLP and discussed integrating studio use alongside CALLP projects. Arts Bothy project, to build a residential artist’s bothy at Glencanisp, which previous stalled from lack of funding, may still happen at some point. Ongoing. Action: GR/AP to invite Boyd to attend September AF meeting.

Governance Meeting – Meeting to cover issues including AF / ABiz independence and relationship, and use of working groups, agreed to be held on 17th August, in advance of board meeting.

5. Lodge Update – AB working group are examining finer detail of Lodge Business finances.

6. EO Report – See written report.

RBS mentoring service – has now been taken on.

Hydro – One of the companies interested in developing the large Feith an Leothaid scheme, have requested an exclusivity agreement, based upon which they would be willing to undertake feasibility / development work, including commissioning an updated grid connection cost assessment by SSE, on an understanding that they would have an option either to develop the scheme as a joint venture with AF/AB or undertake the project management for AF/AB if funding can be sourced by AF/AB. Agreed not to offer an exclusivity agreement at the present time. Action: GR speak to company and report back.

For the planned feasibility/development work for smaller scheme/s able to be connected to the national grid, 3 companies have tendered and we await a selection decision from LES, who will select the preferred tender independently of AF/AB. The Grant available for the Feasibility Studies is £15k, and this includes obtaining a CAR Licence from SEPA, Planning Permission and a Grid Connection offer from SSE.

7. AOB

New AB director – Agreed to appoint Lewis MacAskill as new AB director.

8. Next Meeting: 4.30pm, Thursday 17th August.



Minutes of June 2017 Meeting

Posted on 15 August, 2017 at 8:10

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 6pm Thursday 15th June 2017

1. Present: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Nigel Goldie, Helen Simpson, Mandy Haggith, Claire Belshaw, Alex Murray (as a director from item 6) – Quorate.

In attendance: Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant.

Apologies: Lewis MacAskill, Ken Hamilton.

2. Declarations of Interest: None.

3. Minutes of 22nd May 2017: approved.

4. Actions & Matters Arising –

Woodland Creation – Action: GR to circulate update.

AGM actions – all done.

Glebe – Action: GR/AP to begin business plan for purchase/management of Glebe, and to circulate report on timetable of key actions, likely costs etc.

Wider AF Business Plan – Discussion on updating of Business Plan. Action: AP to circulate key documents including old Business Plan to new directors.

Studio upkeep & management – to be put on next AB agenda. Action: NG to update on wider matters including ongoing possibility of arts bothy. Action: HS to report to Jorine who had raised issue of studio management.

5. Appointment of office-bearers – Agreed BOH to continue as chair, MH and CB to be vice-chairs.

6. Co-option of Alex Murray – Agreed to co-opt AM as director with immediate effect.

7. Finances – GR reported. KH’s P&Ls and cashflow were examined.

8. CALL update – Action: MH to pass on ideas for events etc to tie in with the completion of the Suilven path next year. Action: GR/AP to invite Boyd Alexander to report to a future board meeting.

9. Woodland Creation – Agreed to extend crofting working group into wider land use working group, in order to ensure croft creation and woodland creation progress complementary with each other. Action: (MH) Terms of reference for working group to be written up and group to meet before next board meeting.

10. AGM matters arising – any further matters arising to be put on next meeting’s agenda / discussed by email.

11. EO Report – See written report.

Walled Garden – Climate Challenge Fund has reopened. Agreed staff time be put to CCF Application for Walled Garden development. Action: GR/AP progress towards an application and look into possible CCF funding to assist in working up the proposal for the application.

12. Governance – Suggested that an extra board meeting be held soon to tackle issues including board development, new directors for AB and relationship of AF & AB. [Action: all directors consider dates]

Agreed to keep meetings to Thursdays and to have draft minutes circulated within 1 week.

13. AOB

Xmas Lights Appeal – Agreed to donate to Lochinver xmas lights fund.

14. Next Meeting: 6pm Thursday 20th July.


Minutes of May 2017 meeting

Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 6:05

Minutes of Meeting of Assynt Foundation Board of Directors

5.30pm Thursday 22nd May 2017, Glencanisp Arts Studio

Present: Nigel Goldie (Chair to item 3, present until 4), Helen Simpson, Brendan O’Hanrahan (chair from item 4), Mandy Haggith, David Slator (co-opted from item 2) – Quorate throughout.

In Attendance: Gordon Robertson, Adam Pellant (from item 4), Jorine van Delft (from item 4).

Apologies: None.

No declarations of interest.

Before standard agenda items:

1. Resignations of Directors – The recent resignations of Stewart Hill and Jeanette McCarthy from both Assynt Foundation and Assynt.Biz were noted. It was noted that in the case of Assynt Foundation, this left the number of directors at 4, and that given the minimum of 5 directors stated in AF’s constitution, the only AF business that could be conducted was to appoint new directors.


2. Co-option of Directors – David Slator and Claire Belshaw have both expressed willingness to become co-opted directors of AF. It was agreed to co-opt both on an immediate basis. Co-option will last until the coming AGM, but any co-opted directors may be re-co-opted at the AGM or by the board thereafter.


3. Role of Chairperson – Nigel Goldie notified the board of his decision to step down as chairperson of Assynt Foundation (and of Assynt.Biz). He expressed willingness to continue to serve as a director of both companies. Nigel was thanked for his tireless work as chairperson of both companies, helping to make significant progress for both.


Nigel Goldie then left the meeting.


Those present appointed Brendan as interim chairperson of Assynt Foundation. Brendan agreed, at least up to and including the AGM. (For information to AF, Brendan also confirmed his willingness to be interim chair of Assynt.Biz.)


There then followed standard agenda items:

4. The Minutes of 20th April2017 - to be approved by email, given that no director currently present today was present at that meeting.


5. Matters arising:


CALLP launch – Poster circulated. Noted importance of this event given key AF projects.


Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme – Lewis MacAskill progressed, but thought more appropriate for other local group/s.


September Away Day – Date tbc. Gordon noted an independent chair for this meeting may be possible if considered sensible.

6. Financial Report – Noted that reports were circulated by Ken in advance.


7. Lodge Management & Partnership Agreement – in progress through Assynt.Biz. Agreement to be finalised.


8. New Directors – Noted that new directors of Assynt.Biz would be appointed by Assynt Foundation as sole shareholder of Assynt.Biz.


9. Communications – Agreed that any written communication about changes in directors and chairperson, in eg. Assynt News, would be put by Brendan to the Board before submission.


10. Croft Creation – It was agreed not to make any decision. Current position is that general views of AF members and community members will be sought at the AGM, although no formal resolutions are proposed on the matter at that AGM.


Agreed that sufficient time and effort need to be devoted to items required for general financial sustainability, including the lodge, hydro and woodland creation for profit.


11. Proposed Woodland Development – Agreed that woodland development and croft creation be planned simultaneously so as to be mutually compatible/beneficial. Mandy asked to be copied into woodland-related communications. Action: Gordon to send update to all directors on progress to date.


12. AGM – Action: Adam to check requirements for retirals etc given recent changes of directors.


EO Report:


Glebe – Valued at £75k. Resolution for board to organise purchase, subject to community support and feasibility, is to be considered at AGM. Wider community also to be consulted.

Action: Gordon/Adam/others to begin compiling business plan for purchase and management of Glebe; also to confirm SLF grant would not constitute state aid.


13. AOCB:


Walled Garden – Ursina given 1 year’s use in exchange for some veg supply to lodge.


14. Glencanisp Studio – Discussion of possible improvements for user groups. Action: Assynt.Biz to be asked to consider and act on this.


Meeting ended 8pm. Next meeting: 15th June

Minutes of April 2017 Meeting

Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 6:00

Minutes of Meeting of Assynt Foundation Board of Directors

6.15pm, Thursday 20th April 2017, Glencanisp Arts Studio

Present: Nigel Goldie (Chair), Jeanette McCarthy, Stewart Hill – Quorate.

In Attendance: Gordon Robertson, John Venters, Ken Hamilton, Lewis MacAskill

Apologies: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Mandy Haggith, Helen Simpson.

No declarations of interest.

1. The Minutes of the Board meeting held on the 16th March 2017 were approved, following the insertion of a previously circulated additional comment relating to the Board’s away day.

2. Matters Arising: All matters that required further discussion will come up under the Agenda.


3. Financial Report. KH referred to the Draft accounts.  SH asked for clarity on how grants were handled within the accounts and KH undertook to circulate all the relevant information. 

4. Glencanisp Lodge: Sam and Rachael Kelly Hawkins were now in place and had made an immediate impact. Most of April had been previously let for weekly lets, so the B&B enterprise would not really start until the beginning of May. The advance bookings looked very encouraging.

5. CALLP Update: The work to improve the Suilven path had commenced. Notices were in place to advise visitors. Helicopters will be operating on the 1st and 2nd May to transport rocks to the site. A Blog and photographic record were both underway, to enable the public to be kept updated and to record the work. The Glencanisp Footpath work still required a deer gate, two benches and a Notice Board. GR was liaising with CALLP as it was proposed by the latter to have a CALLP Scheme launch on Saturday 3rd of June. This would be based at Glencanisp and details will be circulated as soon as they are to hand. Circulate details. Action GR


6. AGM: The date had not been finalised but was now likely to be in June and held in the Village Hall. NG will discuss date with AP on his return from leave and this will be agreed and advertised in the normal way. NG stated that the Agenda was still to be agreed. The issue of Crofting, the possible purchase of the Glebe Land and reports on Native Woodland Creation, Hydro development and the operation of the Lodge will all be presented. Furthermore there may need to be resolutions on the ability of AF to let land for grazing for periods in excess of 5 years. It was agreed that the detailed Agenda will be decided at the next Board Meeting.


7. Executive Officer’s Report:


GR reported that nearly 2000 hectares of potential Native Woodland Planting were being evaluated. This involved land running from near Ledmore junction all the way towards Lochinver. The planting may assist with general deer management. Close liaison with FCS, SNH, Historic Assynt and neighbours will take place. Elaine MacAskill has been permitted by the Woodland Trust for Scotland to deliver the Scheme for AF. Progress is being made over securing financial backing and there will be a further opportunity to sell the Carbon Credits to enhance the returns to AF.


The work on Hydro development continues. The firms tendering for the Feasibility Studies have been delving into issues relating to SSE and connectivity. This will continue to be of high priority.


GR will be attending a Seminar on Hutting next week and will report back on the potential. Much work relating to leases, hut styles, planning, and administration has already been undertaken and this will stand AF in good stead if it is decided to move matters on.


8. Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme (LCITP)


This was a Government initiative for Communities to explore imaginative ideas for Low Carbon energy solutions. It was generally felt that this grant may be more suited to the Assynt Community Development group.


Lewis MacAskill (LM) suggested that he might speak to SSE to find out more and which organisation would be best suited to apply. Action GR/LM


9. Crofts.


NG introduced the subject of the Creation of new Crofts on land owned by AF. Expectations had been raised and clarity was required on the way forward. The uncertainty that currently pervaded should not continue, and he felt that whilst this venture was unlikely to proceed in the near future, the door had not been closed. It would be prudent for the Board to await the results of the Government’s Crofting Review and to also proceed with the Native Woodland Grant Application as this could transform the fortunes of AF as a whole. These two matters were related closely to each other and justified proper appraisal.


SH agreed confirming his view that the timing was not right to proceed.


Clarity is required and the matter will be fully discussed when MH is present at the next Board Meeting.


10. The Assynt Foundation. Wider Community Development


NG stated that he felt that it was important for AF to be represented on the Board of The Assynt Community Association. This will enable AF, as the biggest Community Landowner, to promote many issues such as tourism, the arts, camping, and events and to ensure that AF’s vision is clearly understood. It is Important for AF to be engaged. SH stressed his view that AF should always use its assets for the socio-economic benefit of the Community.


11. Board Development. Away day September


NG agreed to circulate Board members with a proposed date in September for an away day. This will be held in the Lodge and HIE will be asked whether they will support this event financially.


Action NG (date for Away Day) GR Check availability of Lodge


Meeting closed at 8.15pm. Date of next meeting TBC.