MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF THE
GAIRLOCH & DISTRICT HERITAGE COMPANY LTD
20 May 2019 7.15 pm.
Roy Macintyre; Karen Buchanan; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Nevis Hulme; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Katie Pilcher.
1. Conflicts of Interest
Board members updated/confirmed their register of interests.
No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.
2. Minutes of the Board meetings 15 April & 23 April 2019 & Matters Arising
The minutes of the single agenda Board meeting of 15 April were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Irene, and seconded by Allan.
The minutes of the Board meeting of 23 April were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Willie and seconded by Liz.
i) The revised Exhibitions Policy is now on the website.
ii) A letter has been sent to support Gairloch Area Development Company Ltd’s plans to redevelop the toilets and provide other amenities in the car park next to the beach/Golf Course.
3. Treasurer’s Report
In Dugald’s absence, Roy reported that the immediate cash flow was satisfactory – all outstanding bills have been paid, though there are many more to come!
4. Curator’s Report
Karen reported that, although exceptionally busy, all essential matters were being dealt with and unexpected issues were being resolved as they arise.
The Board agreed with her request to dispose of an old reel-to-reel tape: Obj. No. 1310.4.
5. L&I Officer’s Report
Katie reported that the new printer had been ordered. She had compiled a list of equipment and furnishings needed for the Education Room, in consultation with West Highland College, and based on the experience of her activities with a range of groups. This had satisfied the requirements of the grant offer from the Baxter Foundation and their funding had now been received. The ‘life on a croft’ sessions with the Skills and Learning Group are going extremely well.
6. Museum development: updates & way forward
i) Roy updated the meeting about the remaining work which needs to be completed with respect to the building. ‘Snagging’ issues are being addressed. The tarmacadam is now down and the grounds are looking smart. An offer has been made to provide turf for the front bank, and Hugh will negotiate how this is progressed. It was suggested that we approach the ‘pocket orchard’ group and offer growing space. Jeremy requested that the builders be reminded to clear the access to the hillside path. The signage designs are almost finalised and erection is being organised. Fittings have been ordered for the kitchen, though the provision of services is still to be fully quantified and priced. It is hoped that the essential electricity supply will soon be installed, at long last. If all proceeds as now agreed, the old meter will be disabled and the new one commissioned on 31 May. We also hope that building control will then undertake their inspections very promptly to be able to provide the completion certificate.
Hugh reported that telephone lines and ‘exchange only’ broadband were now installed. We are informed that high speed/fibre broadband is not available at the site, which is unsatisfactory to all and a matter which we will ask HIE to pursue with Openreach. He will test the systems on Wednesday 22nd. We hope to be able to transfer our existing phone number. Alex Gray has been very helpful in advising on internal networks. Hugh will also check the position and layout of the reception desk. West Highland College staff are requesting some changes to the lighting in their areas, which he will also follow up.
ii) There has been progress on a number of grant payments: most of the VDLF and one-third of the RCGF award have now been received. Mia will be asked to focus on getting the outstanding monies paid as a matter of urgency, and also to begin the funding drawdown from LEADER. Both the Wolfson and the Baxter Foundations have recently paid their grants in full. Three payments have now been received from the Ravensdale Trust. HLF have informed us that we are now at the 90% limit and they will not pay the final 10% of their grant until ‘final’ project completion paperwork, including all reports, has been submitted to their satisfaction. We hope that we can negotiate that the ‘final’ payment of the building-related aspects of their grant be claimed by end August, but be given time properly to evaluate the implementation of the Activity Plan over a reasonable period (perhaps the end of October). Pauline will prepare the case and discuss it with Mia before submission to HLF.
iii) Campbell & Co. and their various exhibition contractors are now on site and making progress with installation of cases, panel backings and mount-making. Almost everything that is going on display, except for very large items, has now been moved over. Peter Macdonald is ready to dismantle the old croft house and some new volunteers are enjoying thatching the new one with heather. However, Karen is very concerned about the amount of residue dust coming from the floor, even after dry and wet cleaning. Hugh will check out with LDN that the environment is as dust-proof as it should be.
iv) Notes from the meetings of the Commercial Operations Group (COG) held on 24 April and 13 May have been circulated. Since those meetings, the prospective tenant for the café has withdrawn her expression of interest. Discussion took place as to how we might manage this difficult situation in the short term to ensure that some facility is available when we open.
There was also discussion about the proposed opening hours, in the light of the availability of staffing cover, be it volunteer or paid employee, and the café situation. It was agreed that, for this first summer season, the Museum would be open Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday from 10-6 and on Thursdays from 10-8. We will review the days and hours of opening in the light of experience after three months. It is hoped that Board members will be willing and able to offer support with opening and closing of the premises. A rota will be drafted from those who are volunteering to help with reception and other duties and we will be advertising for a cleaner.
Bruce Tait Associates have had two further expressions of interest for the post of business manager and are taking these further. In the meantime, Lorna Cruikshank is now working for us on a short-term, part-time secondment from Highlife Highland, until at least the end of July, to set up the essential business operations. Both Marcus and Irene have been investigating EPOS systems which will be compatible with our accountants’ processes. Lorna will confirm a leasing contract once Dugald has been consulted. She will also organise training for all those who will be using the system, both for day-to-day administration and for the financial operations.
It was agreed that the Group entry rate will be £4.50 per person. It was thought that it will not be necessary to issue ‘tickets’ as such, but that the entry leaflet could be date stamped, and membership encouraged for those who would like to come more than once, as we would hope.
Jim has registered the new domain name of www.gairlochmuseum.org and associated email addresses will be set up. The old and new web and email addresses will run in tandem for about a year.
v) Notes from the Exhibitions Planning Group meeting of 8 May had been circulated and the preparation for future exhibitions is going well, with the programme for the next two years being finalised.
vi) Final details for the organisation of the official openings are in hand. There will be a ‘preview opening’ on Monday 8 July, to which our community donors and funders are invited, and the ‘royal opening’ (now public) on the morning of 9 July. There will then be ‘free entry’ for the rest of the day. Karen will circulate arrangements and protocols in the near future.
7. Any Other Business
i) The Board endorsed Pauline’s recommendation that review of the 2018-2019 Forward Plan be postponed, owing to the later-than-expected opening of the new Museum. The 2019-2020 Forward Plan will be drafted as soon as is realistic. The broader ‘Development Plan’ requires a complete re-write in the context of our new heritage and business operation (in good time for the next Accreditation which is due in 2020).
ii) Willie offered to undertake a final grass cut and strim at the current premises, to leave all neat and tidy.
8. Date of next meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for 17 June 2019. We hope to meet in the new premises.
There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.00 pm.