MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF THE GAIRLOCH & DISTRICT HERITAGE COMPANY LTD
07 Oct 2019
Roy Macintyre; Karen Buchanan; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Nevis Hulme; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Susan Maclean.
Dugald Macpherson; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Katie Pilcher.
Susan Maclean, our recently-appointed Front of House Supervisor, was welcomed to the meeting.
1. Conflicts of Interest
No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.
2. Minutes of the Board meeting of 2 September & Matters Arising
The minutes were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Alice and seconded by Nevis.
i) The survey of Board members to see if afternoon meetings would be preferable to evening meetings was inconclusive. So we will meet on a Monday evening in November, and then see if 4pm on a Tuesday suits everyone for the winter months.
ii) Stuart Caddell, Depute Head of Gairloch High School, is very pleased to be invited to join the Board as a co-opted member and he will endeavour to recruit an interested student to attend also.
3. Treasurer’s Report
Dugald sent a written report on aspects of income and trading July-September 2019. The bank account continues to show a healthy credit and we are paying all bills promptly. Our income from admissions and retail sales in the first three months is already greater than for all of 2018, though our costs will also be higher. We must continue to monitor the electricity usage carefully and try to reduce this. The Board agreed that the payment from LEADER which is imminent would be used to pay back a significant part of our loan from AHF, at Dugald’s discretion. Several grant payments remain outstanding.
4. Curator’s Report
Karen reported that:
i) The formal launch of Museums and Heritage Highland, held here on 19 September, was very successful and those attending were very impressed with what we now offer.
ii) There may be funding potential from:
- MGS, who have new funding streams, with a business slant, which may be relevant for our café fit out;
- the SSE Sustainable Development Fund which is now open for applications. Pauline will investigate if they will accept another application from us, this time for the desired external landscaping and interpretation;
- Highland Council’s allocation for coastal communities from the now-devolved Crown Estate Scotland income, (criteria unknown as yet);
- grants for the 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters project (unknown commitment and opportunities).
5. Review of 2018-2019 Action Plan
No comments or amendments had been received following the circulation of the review of the previous Action Plan and associated commentary, so it was ratified by the Board as it stands. Pauline has made progress with revising the structure and adding the details for the 1 July 2019-31 March 2020 Action Plan and will endeavour to obtain the information still outstanding to be able to circulate a draft for feedback before the next Board meeting.
6. L&I Officer’s Report
Katie had circulated her Report covering: Events, outreach and activities (Schools, House of Memories, Life on a Croft with the Skills and Learning Group, Walks from the Museum, Activities in the Store, Winter events, Events handover); Farewell and thank you!
Matter arising: As we would very much like to keep the pub quizzes going through the winter, Susan will co-ordinate arranging the programme of dates and venues.
Volunteers are planning a tea-party, date to be finalised, to say goodbye to Katie, whose contribution to the project has been invaluable – over and beyond all we might have hoped for.
7. New Museum project: updates and way forward
i) Various snagging issues have now been resolved, though not all. Recent heavy rain has shown that there can be a problem with water run-off into a neighbouring property.
ii) David Campbell visited the Museum on 28 August and produced a report on possible improvements to the issues raised with respect to the lighting and sound installations. Purchases deemed necessary, once these proposals were reviewed by the Interpretation Team at their meeting on 9 October, were authorised by the Board.
iii) Our HLF project officer and project manager have decided that the final report to HLF should be completed by 30 November. Pauline will do her best, though this is a month earlier than expected and she does not yet have all the information and evaluations required.
9. Commercial and retail operations
i) A number of possible funders who might contribute towards the café fit-out have been identified. However, until the ‘final account’ issues for the building are resolved, it is difficult to know what we can afford. Undertaking just part of the work is not recommended as funders will not permit retrospective financial support. We recognise that it is not economic, nor does it look good, to have the space remaining empty, so suggestions were made as to how the café space might be used in the short-term. COG will consider these further.
ii) The EPOS system now seems to be working to meet our needs, and the volunteers on reception duty are becoming more familiar with its functioning.
iii) Susan will pursue the practical implications of offering Gift Vouchers as part of our retail offer.
iv) It had been decided that the Museum will open 10-5 during October, 6 days a week. Further thought will be given to the days and hours of opening during the winter. It would seem that we have sufficient reception desk volunteers willing to continue ongoing.
v) We continue to have new people offering their time, mainly coming through word-of-mouth from our existing volunteers. Susan will co-ordinate the volunteer rota in future.
vi) Susan is researching the scope of pre-booked group visits. She will prepare some ‘packages’ at different levels, including the option for (volunteer-led) guided tours.
vii) West Highland College has settled into their tenancy and practical issues are being dealt with as they arise. WHC’s Board met in the premises here recently and were pleased with the arrangements.
viii) We await an update from Graham & Sibbald on a possible tenant for the second retail unit. In the meantime, we need to identify ways of ensuring we have some income from the space. Expressions of interest in ‘pop-up’ shops between now and Christmas are being promoted.
ix) Nevis continues to work on updating our Health and Safety policy. Progress depends on input from others.
x) COG will consider further schemes to encourage donations. Inviting legacy commitments was suggested. Pauline still has the information and paperwork about this which Rosalyn had prepared, though no commitments had been forthcoming.
xi) The issue of the Museum’s membership scheme was raised. Pauline expressed her concern that no-one had yet spoken to her about the implications (administrative efficiency and financial costs) of the proposed changes, even though she has been responsible for membership for 11 years and Gift Aid submissions for 8.
10. Any Other Business
i) It was agreed that the Museum would not hold a volunteer lunch this November as staff and volunteers have already had the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the Museum and be thanked for their efforts at the reception on 8 July as well as being congratulated by Princess Anne at the official opening on 9 July.
ii) It was decided not to make copies of John English’s film for sale in the shop.
iii) It was proposed that the 2020 AGM should take place between 30 March and 6 April. Karen will consider who might best be invited to be the speaker.
11. Date of next meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for 18 November 2019 at 7.15pm
There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.15 pm.
LEARNING & INTERPRETATION OFFICER'S REPORT 07.10.19
Events, Outreach and Activities
Tour for Teachers – Held my event for local teachers last Friday. Teachers from Bualnaluib and Poolewe School came along, other teachers are coming in to speak to me when I am back later this week. Had some excellent feedback from those who attended and lots of discussion between them about where a display might fit in with their topics. Everyone was very impressed with what we have on offer.
Self-led visits to the Museum – We have had 6 visits from Gairloch School since we opened which is far more than we have had since I first started in post. I hope this continues.
Loan Boxes - I am in the process of putting all our loan boxes in the same format, in a more organised format. Bualnaluib currently have our Life in World War II box.
House of Memories
Our launch event last week was well attended and had a great response. The general feedback was that users struggled to use the iPad without even looking at the app. We hoped to get a High School student involved in setting up the iPads and updating the app as needed, it would be great if we could encourage them to lead one-to-one training sessions or visit places/groups hoping to borrow the iPads and 'introduce' them to it. Based on the feedback, I am creating a manual to help those borrowing the iPads use the app but also to use the iPad.
Life on a Croft Exhibition with the Adult Skills and Learning Group
Posters for this are in the process of being printed. We had some issues getting them sent off to be printed by Scottish Civic Trust. I've spoken to Sarah about the event I wanted to hold for the group and as I won't be here when they arrive she will lead with this. I would be grateful if the Board (exhibition group/Karen) could make a suggestion as to where these posters could be displayed for a time.
Walks from the Museum
Jeremy and Dorothy held 2 walks from September. We all think that this type of event will be more popular during the tourist season/when the weather is better. Having said that, we had a dozen people turn up in total. Jeremy is keen to lead walks along the Achtercairn Trail and Dorothy is keen to help train other volunteers to lead the On Foot in Gairloch walks and deliver slide events should the weather be terrible.
Activities in the Store
Our behind the scenes drawing sessions finished at the end of September and all the sessions were generally well attended. I hope this happens again in the future but if it does, I would advise that we ensure people pay in advance or for the full block of workshops. I can't access the EPOS system from my personal laptop info on how much money we gained from this series can be found on there.
We will be holding our store 'unveiling' event this Friday.
Sadly, I haven't been able to spend a great deal of time focusing on organising our winter schedule. However, Karen has had expressions of interest from folk interested to deliver talks/activities for us and I have been in touch with a number of people who I have been working with who are excited to speak for us. I am keen that our winter schedule has more on offer than just talks to try and maximise the types of people we engage. Pauline has very kindly agreed to lead a free tour of the Museum and I am speaking to Gordon (Badachro Distillery) about holding a gin tasting to tie in with this. I will chase this up when I am back in Gairloch.
Susan has expressed an interest to take over the coordination side of the events, school visits (Pauline is happy to lead school workshops) and facility loans after I've finished. We will be doing a handover later this week. Our Museum Stewards and Tour Guides are happy with help with supervising self-led events.
Anything to Add
Sadly, this is my last Board meeting (and I'm not there) but I just want to thank the Board for the opportunities they have given me. It has certainly been a challenge but one I have enjoyed (for the most part) greatly. It has been a pleasure to work with each and every one of you. It is truly incredible that a small group have been able to accomplish what has been achieved and the fact we are regularly being given feedback about how we're the best museum visitors have been to, shows that all the hard work is paying off. I wish you all the best of luck and hope for the continued success of Gairloch Museum.
Katie Pilcher (Learning & Interpretation Officer)