Assynt Foundation

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September 2016 Minutes

Posted on 25 January, 2017 at 5:15

Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 6pm 15th September 2016, Glencanisp Office

1. Present – Nigel Goldie (Chair), Stewart Hill, Mandy Haggith (via Skype), Brendan O’ Hanrahan.

Attending – Gordon Robertson, Alex Dickson.

Apologies – Vanessa Ling, Jeanette McCarthy, Helen Simpson, Ken Hamilton.

2. There were no Minutes of the last meeting, as it had been postponed.

3. Presentation by Boyd Alexander. CALLP

The Chair welcomed Boyd Alexander (BA) to the meeting.

BA thanked the Chairman and the Board members for the opportunity to discuss the CALL project and to exchange ideas on the way forward. BA was engaged with meeting all members in order to seek feedback.

The general feedback had been positive but efforts were being made to provide succinct and clear messages relating to the CALL objectives.

Most Consultees were happy with the vision, but BA was keen to seek views on the general impression of CALL, its future needs, vision and its structure.

BOH raised the following points that, in his opinion, needed addressing.

1. He felt that ‘Community Development’ should be highlighted as a unique objective.

2. Job creation: This element appears to have been left behind.

3. The nature of the landscape: There is a strong focus on native woodland. CALL should include wider areas such as marine/peat land/and mountain habitats. Specific species should also be highlighted.

4. Could more be done to develop and demonstrate a closer partnership with the crofting community?

AD commented that the community had seen a lot of money coming into the area, but that this was still not keeping the younger generation in the area. Jobs and affordable houses were required.

Discussion ensued on the possible creation of a Community Development Company. All agreed that if such a company were to be created that it would be beneficial for CALL to be invited to be part of the set-up.

NG stressed the importance of the ongoing collaborative approach, working together on footpaths, cycle routes, and joint ventures, all of which CALL are currently engaged with.

MH stated that it was important for CALL to recognise the huge economic contribution that artists, crofters and other local residents made to the area. This is a significant element within the current plan and one with the potential to grow.

BA highlighted Historic Assynt’s involvement, particularly through archaeology, and confirmed CALL’s desire to be part of all aspects of Community Development.

BA went through a number of the headings on the refocused CALL plan for the future. Further updates will be circulated.

5. Financial Report

The notes on the Finances, along with the schedules had been examined during the Assynt Biz meeting, earlier in the evening. In general, the accounts were looking better than the predicted budget, but careful control will continue to be exercised.

The income for the Foundation had significantly increased on the previous year due to increased grant income. Costs were being closely monitored.

The Honesty Shop continued to prove popular. The Chair requested up to date figures for stalking. These would be provided and circulated. Action. AP

There were still a number of ‘unknowns’ associated with the B&B enterprise. Laundry and staffing costs were being refined, and the occupancy during the winter months remained uncertain. There was a general feeling that this enterprise should contribute a substantial amount of income to the Foundation, once all the rooms were en suite, repairs and remedial works were complete and staffing levels finalised. There were still a number of weeks pre-booked under the ‘old regime’ and these will be honoured, despite the disruption they will cause to the B&B business and resident staff who will have to move out.

The B&B enterprise opens up opportunities for events linked to the Artist’s studio and other specialist visits. It will be possible to accommodate stalking clients who have previously found accommodation ‘off the estate’. Full costed budgets will be prepared as a priority. Action GR/AP

5. Governance

NG spoke to his paper that had previously been circulated in August. There was currently a shortage of board members, and as part of the attempt to reach a wider audience, NG will set out the key responsibilities of being a board member and also the varying types of expertise required. Options for co-option will be set out. The Articles will be revisited as potential applicants are limited by the postcode restrictions. During the recruitment process, applicants will be asked to highlight their past experience on the Application Form. An AF sub group will then carefully assess the applicants before reporting in confidence to the Board. If suitable candidates are approved, they will then be co-opted on to the Board until full election at the next AGM. It was agreed to move this item forward. Action NG.

Annualised Agenda.

The principle of an annualised agenda was accepted by all, whilst accepting that many of the topics could still be looked at on a monthly basis when required. Setting out such an agenda, gave a clear focus and an opportunity to look at items in depth in a planned manner.

It was accepted that a degree of slippage had occurred (for example with the Membership and Crofting Reviews). SH pointed out that the Business Plan should ideally be reviewed in October, rather than June. MH suggested that individual Directors should be allocated to specific disciplines. The Chair and GR will meet to refine this document and re-circulate to Board members for final approval. Action NG/GR

6. Executive Officer’s Monthly Report.

GR went through his written report.

MH asked for a list of all staff, their Job Titles, their Job Descriptions and details of their Contracts. Action GR

7. Proposal for Friends of Assynt Foundation

The proposal by MH was adopted by the Board. 

AP to check the Articles of Association and position relating to Associate Members. Action AP

8. Review of progress on the Creation of new Crofts

MH reported that 27 expressions of interest had been received, 15 of which had come from local residents. The recommendation was to create three new Townships at,

• Cnocnaneach and Druim Suardalain

• Ledbeg

• Tileathdoire


The initial thoughts had been to create 5 new crofts in each location. BOH reported that following discussions with SNH, it may only be possible to let 3 crofts at Tileathdoire. His preference, having spoken to the Elphin Community, was for the creation of smaller units. Suggested mapped areas would be provided shortly.


It was agreed that the dilapidated old croft building at Cnocnaneach would be excluded from the letting process in the first instance.

There was a proposal at the end of the meeting to organise a meeting at Glencanisp to discuss more deeply our process for creating new crofts, including taking advice from some experts with experience of croft establishment, and holding a public session to get feedback from the Community on the proposal so far. Saturday 3rd December was proposed as a possible date for this. MH offered to take this matter forward. Action MH

In order that the Board should be in a position to decide how to move forward in the best interests of the AF, it was agreed that BOH should produce maps of all the potential land available for croft creation, so that the true scale of what was available is clear.

As soon as this was done, the Crofting Sub Committee would meet again in order to put their recommendations to the Board. Action BOH

9. Discussion of Administration of Glencanisp Lodge during weddings and large events, and staff being present to ensure no damage.

10. Glebe land. Possible acquisition.

Pressure is continuing to be exerted on the Church of Scotland officials, in order to finalise discussions. The sale of the Glebe land to the AF has been approved by the Edinburgh Trustees of the COS, but requires the final approval of the local Church Officials. Indications that funds will be made available from the Scottish Land Fund have been received.

11. AOB

AD commented on the much improved AF Website, but asked that the more recent pictures of weddings, taken by professional photographers, should be added to the site. In future, he also recommended having a video of the Lodge and its facilities added to the site. This will be done when the internal improvements are complete.



Categories: AF Minutes