Oldhamstocks Community Association Annual General Meeting 2016 – held in the Village Hall on Wednesday 23rd November 2016 at 7.30pm.

Present: Neil Richerby (Chair), Sharon Simpson, Gordon Simpson, Janice Hanvidge, John Hanvidge, Dougie McCreath, Lorna Bairden, Nathan Simpson, Lauryn Simpson, Alex Ainslie, Lizanne Longmuir, Chris Bruce, Barbara Richerby and Alison Mells.

Apologies: Kaleena Hanvidge and Mary Legge.

Welcome: Neil Richerby welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for all their efforts during the year.

Minutes of the previous AGM had been circulated following that meeting, and were approved this evening: proposed by Gordon Simpson and seconded by Sharon Simpson.

Treasurer's Report: Gordon Simpson circulated copies of the accounts to 30/9/16. He made comment on various items such as a rise in income from Hall hire, and also from fundraising events. Significant costs included sums for structural reports and electricity repairs. Heat and light costs seem high in this year but on the new, cheaper tarriff, they should average out at around £1000 per year – the fluctuation is a temporary occurrence, and is the result of the process of changing supplier. The accounts show a deficit of £2433.18 over the year, and the closing balance is £13524.92 in the bank and £56 cash in hand. A copy of the accounts will be posted on the Hall noticeboard along with these Minutes. The Chairman thanked Gordon for his work as Treasurer.

Chairman's Report: Neil Richerby gave the following report:

At this point in the proceedings it is customary for the Chair of the Committee to give his reflections on the year that has just gone by. Here goes!

We have had a very full and productive year of meetings, and many of them were quite lengthy to allow all committee members their full say. Meetings have been well-attended, discussions lively and we feel we've been moving forward with enthusiasm.   It was very encouraging that the members elected to the Community Association's committee spanned all ages – and it's been especially good to have the younger villagers represented in view of the far-reaching effects of any new hall development which will benefit them (and their off-spring?!) more than the older members! Sadly for us, however, two of our younger members are now away at university, but we have appreciated their input. I am happy to say that we are all still cheerfully working together, and I would be glad to see us all round the table for the next year – if we are re-elected of course! At the same time, I want to emphasise that new members are always welcome – please do consider joining the committee tonight, as there will be lots of work to do in the year ahead.

Yes, the main subject of our business has been the Village Hall. Our existing hall is over 60 years old. Before coming to Oldhamstocks it was in use in other locations, first as an army hut, and then as a Scout hut.  A recent report by local architect Richard Amos clearly described the poor state of the building. It indicated that refurbishment would not be cost-effective and that the result of any work undertaken would only last perhaps 15-20 years. It was evident that something had to be done, however, and in line with the procedure suggested at the 2015 AGM, we researched the options and then, to gauge opinion and measure the levels of support for the options, we carried out a survey around the community, by delivering a questionnaire through every door in the parish. When we looked through the responses, we found that nobody supported the option of doing nothing, and 78% of replies were in favour of a new building.

So the committee now has a clear mandate to get on and provide a new building.

The next step was to approach architects. Various firms, suggested by members of the committee, were approached and of these, six expressed an interest in the work and were given a set of criteria for their consideration. These criteria were based on suggestions and comments collected from meetings with the whole community, brought together in one document by the committee. From the initial responses we arrived at a short-list of two firms who were then invited to discuss their proposals face to face with us, in more detail. We were particularly taken by the experienced approach and imaginative presentation and proposal of Simpson & Brown, and have chosen to take matters further with them. We feel confident that this Practice would be good to work with, and, more importantly, that they have the expertise and personnel to deal with issues like Building Control and Planning Permission, budgeting requirements, submissions to Listed Building and grant-giving authorities. They can provide the professional expertise required to help us manage the budget throughout the project, and are very keen to see our village gain a building we can all be proud of and enjoy using.

A meeting with the Dunglass Estate Factor has also very recently taken place – those attending were encouraged by the positive atmosphere and we are in the process of discussing what land might be available to us for a new hall with a slightly re-configured footprint, a hall which will meet today's standards as well as tomorrow's requirements.

Funding any new hall should not be a problem. Our village is to receive sizeable amounts of income from the wind farms in our locality, and we also intend to approach other grant-giving bodies for additional support. An application has already been submitted to the Community Council for an initial grant from Crystal Rig Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund so that design consultation work can get started. 

In due course there will be a Presentation Day when the whole community will be able to see what ideas we have for a new hall design,  and everyone will have a chance to offer opinions on how we proceeed before any plans are finalised and submitted for Planning approval. The village hall is an important focal point in our community and we are keen to arrive at the best solution!

The hall has continued to be regularly and well-used, and during the year there were several social functions for the community, including a curry night, an Italian night, lots of karaoke, and a story-telling coffee-morning event – many thanks to all who were involved in these, and that's not just committee members! They were really good occasions for getting together.

Many thanks are also due to Janice Hanvidge for keeping all the hall bookings in order, to Janice Lennon for cleaning, and to John Hanvidge and Gordon Simpson for dealing with day-to-day maintenance as well as organising electrical repairs and the fire risk assessment with associated tasks.

Our finances are in good order – thanks to Gordon Simpson who looks after this side of things – and the good news is that they will soon be augmented by annual grants from the Hoprigshiels Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund and the Ferneylea Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.

The committee is keen to keep up the momentum and to continue to serve the community as best it can.

Election of Committee Members:

Alex Ainslie intimated his wish to stand down from the committee, and Alison Mells agreed to join the committee: proposed by Lizanne and seconded by Janice.

Those committee members present (Sharon, Gordon, Janice, John, Neil, Barbara, Dougie, Lorna, Nathan, Lauryn and Lizanne all agreed to continue as members.

Barbara will contact those absent this evening (Donna, David, Jacquie, Angus, Mary and Kaleena) to ask if they are happy to continue as members. We agreed that, in order to maintain a committee of twelve plus additional co-opted members, these six (if willing to remain) and Chris would be the co-opted members.

Election of Office-bearers:

Chair: Neil – proposed by Dougie,seconded by Gordon

Treasurer: Gordon – proposed by Neil, seconded by Dougie

Secretary: Barbara – proposed by Janice, seconded by Sharon

A O B:

Phonebox: Chris said that the Community Council must give a response by 28th November to BT's proposal to discontinue maintenance of the village phonebox. In the year to 26/8/16 six calls have been made from the box. Our options are

a) to do nothing and the phonbox will go;

b) adopt it for £1, and assume responsibility – i.e. it becomes our property and we are liable for maintenance and any insurance, should that be necessary;

c) ask the Council to make an objection to BT's proposal on our behalf (one reason being that walkers/cyclists may have need to make calls due to poor mobile signal in the area).

Alison noted that when she had posted on Facebook about the idea of adopting the phonebox and using it for some other purpose (eg a book exchange or information point), there had been a strong response in favour of this option.

As there was a general feeling tonight that adoption was an attractive option, Sharon volunteered to investigate what expense is involved by asking other communities who have gone down this route, and we agreed that if expense was judged not to be inordinate, she would contact Lilian at the Community Council and inform her of our choice so that she can take the matter forward.

Christmas decorations: we are grateful to Lizanne for offering her spare indoor tree and decorations as last year, and Sharon agreed to co-ordinate decoration of the Hall in time for the children's Christmas party on 18th December, calling on other members for assistance.  Dougie agreed to find an outside tree and Janice and John will look for the outdoor tree lights.

Spott is holding a Games Night on 3rd December at 7 in their Village Hall – all are welcome.

It was suggested that Social events should be a standing item on meeting agendas.

Date of next AGM: to be advised.

Date of next meeting: to be fixed shortly by Neil once we have heard back from the Dunglass Land Agent.

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