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Assynt Foundation Meeting Minutes- May

Posted on 21 January, 2019 at 5:40

Minute of meeting of directors of Assynt Foundation held in the Art Studio on Monday 14th May 2018 at 4.30pm

This meeting was not open to the public

Present: Lewis Macaskill (Chair), Mandy Haggith, Claire Belshaw, Nigel Goldie,

In attendance: Gordon Robertson (CEO)  

Apologies: Alex Murray

Declarations of interest None

Minute of meeting held on 30th April 2018 approved by all

Matters arising

All matters arising had been dealt with or would come up later in the Agenda. Regular liaison with HIE was being maintained

The Native Woodland Woodland Planting proposals were progressing well and an updated Financial Projection was expected as soon as further site analysis had been completed.

Board members had received the Scott Moncrieff (SM) report commissioned by HIE on 1 May.

Meeting with Johnston Carmichael, Accountants, Inverness

LM, MH and NG had met with JC in Inverness on 10 May. This was a useful opportunity to explore the way forward following the departure of Adam Pellant who had previously undertaken day book-keeping matters.

The Board, in accepting that the assets of the Foundation have nearly doubled in value since acquisition in 2005, are focused on the primary objective of achieving regular annual income in order to achieve long-term sustainability. The Board has a clear vision to develop existing businesses, create efficiencies within the management structure, and to take forward plans for new enterprises that will be income generating. When successful, this will then lead to job creation, greater diversity and sound stewardship.

The Board have identified the need to secure working capital. To achieve this objective, the Foundation needs to present its financial case in a professional manner, backed by clear accounts that demonstrate our current status, the Foundation’s capital worth, and the levels of new income that are expected from future enterprises that will include Native Woodlands, Hydro Development and Tourism.

JC will look closely at the Foundation and its trading arm Assynt Biz to ensure all aspects of the business are compliant. JC will focus on

1. Improving the methods of financial control of the Foundation’s limited and seasonal income and expenditure.

2. Insuring AF fulfils its obligations as a Limited Company with charitable status.

3. Presenting the financial case that will demonstrate that AF can service the proposed working capital loan which will eventually lead to sustainability.

4. Work with existing Estate Office and Lodge staff to streamline procedures, create efficiencies and a new format for providing reports to the AF Board and members.

Meeting with HIE 21 May 2018

LM reported that he had been in regular contact with HIE regarding the Johnston Carmichael review and that HIE were fully supportive.

At the forthcoming monthly meeting, the Board representatives and staff will continue their discussions on where the two organisations can work together to develop the business. The restoration of the vacant Gardener’s Cottage is seen as a priority, as this will enable two rooms in the Lodge, currently being occupied by seasonal staff, to be turned into letting units.

The Board agreed that an updated Whole Estate Valuation should be undertaken. It is hoped that HIE will be able to assist, as this information will assist in security the working capital loan.

General CEO Report

It was reported that the Glencanisp Lodge B&B was effectively full to October. It was confirmed that seasonal staff did pay for their board and lodgings. The Diners were being very well received by visitors and locals and will be promoted further using the website and that of the Northcoast 500.

Walled Garden Restoration Manager. (Funded by the Climate Challenge Fund) Applications close tomorrow and there is a short list of 4 good candidates. The Project is focussed on the production of locally grown food and educating the wider population on the value of an ethical and healthy means of growing food. There will be a close involvement with the Primary School.

Adam Pellant. AP was leaving the AF to take up a part time post as a Development Officer for the Assynt Development Trust. His long and valuable association with AF will be marked at the AGM later in the year.

Data protection – The Company Secretary has given the office a proforma.

West Sutherland Deer Management Group South Sub Group Management Plan – Victor Clements has produced a first draft which is available for viewing on the Group’s website. GR will circulate copies to the Board.

AF Fishing – Permits will be sold at the Estate Office and through the Glencanisp Lodge B&B. Future arrangements which will lead to an increase in revenue to AF will be developed.

The meeting closed at 6 pm.

Dates for future open meetings will be displayed on the website and circulated to members.

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