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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.


Categories: AF Minutes