Published On: 6 July 2023

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Charity Trustees held on Tuesday 13th December 2022 at 7pm in Creich Community Hall, Fionnphort

Trustees Present were Mrs Linda Cameron (chair), Mrs Eleanor Wagstaff (clerk), Mrs Rhona Lindsay (treasurer), Mr John Cameron, Mr John Noddings and Mr John Wagstaff. Rev Jenny Earl attended.

Apologies were received from Mrs Gill Morley and Dr Andrew Todd.

Approval of Minutes The minutes of the meeting of Thursday 18th August 2022 were approved as an accurate record – proposed by Rhona, seconded by John C.

Membership The death of Mrs Rachel Rutherford was noted with sadness. The names of new members were read out by the clerk and unanimously approved by the Board. The total number of full members is now 75, with 31 associate members.

Scottish Land Fund (SLF) application Linda reported to the Board that the application for Stage 1 funding had been successful – SLF has offered St Ernan’s by the Loch (SEL) a development grant of £23,790. This comprises two separate amounts – £2,400 for a valuation and building condition survey, and £21,390 for a feasibility study and business plan. The valuation will be carried out by Morham and Brotchie of Oban. An SLF funding officer, Lorna MacDonald, will contact SEL shortly with information about how the grant will be paid and monitored. Philip Coghill will continue to be an adviser.
Describing the application process, Eleanor reported that, initially, four firms had responded positively to the Tender Brief. However, two pulled out shortly afterwards, leaving Dualchas and AGL. The Dualchas bid was attractively produced and thorough, but also complex and ambitious – it would involve four separate companies, and would cost a total of £36,198. As the maximum that can be applied for at SLF Stage 1 is £30,000, it was felt that this presented too great a challenge/risk to SEL. AGL quoted a more reasonable cost of £21,390, and the application (which was finalised by Linda and Eleanor) was based on their bid.
It was unanimously agreed that SEL should accept the SLF grant offer, thus continuing to Stage 2 funding. Eleanor will contact Sandy Lees at AGL, notifying him that his company is the preferred bidder. She will also acknowledge Dualchas’ contribution and thank them for their time and interest. She is awaiting a communication from Philip Coghill.

Rural and Island Communities Ideas into Action Fund Linda reported that SEL has received a grant of £4,900 from Rural and Island Communities. This is to be used as follows: contribution to the cost of hiring a professional advisor – £4,000; hire of hall – £150; advertising and publicity – £250; and costs towards future fund-raising – £500. The money for an advisor may be useful if a structural survey of the St Ernan’s building is required, though Sandy Lees will be able to guide us on this.
Linda and Eleanor both attended a Zoom meeting, hosted by Inspiring Scotland who will be administering the grant and monitoring progress.
Linda and Eleanor were thanked for their work, both on the Rural and Islands and the SLF applications.

Church of Scotland update Jenny reported that she had been in touch with Brian Waller at 121, George Street, and had asked him for a letter of authority stating that SEL will be the preferred bidder when St Ernan’s is sold. He had promised to act on this at once, but so far, nothing has been received. Jenny will contact him again at the end of the week.
She confirmed that any negotiations over the price of St Ernan’s will be between the local

Kirk Session and SEL, with no other Church of Scotland involvement. However, if no agreement can be reached, the General Trustees’ solicitors can be consulted again.
Following the last meeting of the Kirk Session and Congregational Board, a pew is to be removed from St Ernan’s and stored.
Although there will soon be no resident minister in the parish, the Manse will not be sold, as it provides a source of income.

Treasurer’s Report Rhona has received two donations of £2,000 from a guest staying at Achaban Guest House, plus a further £10 from the same person – Eleanor will write a letter of thanks to the donor on behalf of the Board. Two other donations of £100 each have also been received from Achaban guests.
The FiCS money has not yet been paid in – Jenny agreed to follow this up with Iain Johnston. The conribution from Presbytery is also awaited.
It was agreed that Eleanor should write to Gill Morley, Church of Scotland treasurer, asking if the money held for St Ernan’s might be paid over before the end of December, which is the end of SEL’s financial year.
It was provisionally agreed that the AGM should be held in February 2023, preferably during the week 13th to 19th. Eleanor will draft a Trustees’ Report for the Board’s approval. Rhona will ask Martin Caldwell and Fiona MacLean if either of them is willing to examine the accounts. The AGM will provide an opportunity for members to become more involved.
Rhona stressed the need for Board members to provide receipts for all expenses. Inspiring Scotland also require receipts as part of their monitoring process.

Fund-raising The Torchlight Procession will be held on Sunday 18th December, leaving Fionnphort at 6.30pm. There wll be carol-singing, outdoors if the weather permits or otherwise in the church. Linda is to serve chilli and other spicy food. John N generously offered to donate red wine and John W will mull it. There will be no fixed charge, but people will be asked to make a donation.
Jenny brought the new fund-raising merchandise – key-rings, cards and coasters.

AOCB Eleanor reported that some small changes require to be made to the Board’s governing document before an application for SLF Stage 2 funding can go ahead – in particular, membership must be open to all. The Board approved the changes in principle.

Closing There being no further business, Linda thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting.