Phone: 01206 271127 or 07741 284132

Minutes of a Trustee Meeting
held on 22nd July 2021 at 7.30pm.

Alan Cadman (Chairman), Maureen Shouksmith (Treasurer), Paul Armstrong (Secretary), Martin Bottwood, Liz Winter, Sue Thorpe, Jutta Braun, Mark Kleingeld, Sally West, James Puxley.

Apologies for Absence
Liz Schofield, Bob Schofield, Charlotte Parker, Sue Armstrong.

Alan welcomed our two new Trustees: Sally West in person and Charlotte Parker in absentia.

Minutes of previous Trustee Meeting on 27th May 2021
Draft minutes of this meeting had been circulated previously. Liz Winter proposed and Mark Kleingeld seconded that they be accepted as a true record. All agreed. Alan signed a hard copy.

Matters Arising
All actions from the 27th March Trustee Meeting had been discharged as follows:
Catch-up signing of COVID era meeting minutes: Paul brought along hard copies of Trustee Meeting Minutes from 01.10.20, 19.11.20, 28.01.21 and 25.03.21 and Alan duly signed them at the end of this evening’s meeting.
Chasing hardcopies of Shop & Preschool Leases: Alan finally received these a few days before this meeting. Our solicitor apologised for the delay which was apparently a result of COVID homeworking restrictions.
Chasing Fish & Chips mobile vendor for new hire contract signature: Sue had now secured a formal signature, meaning that all our mobile vendors now have a signed new contract confirming their hire of LCC toilet facilities whilst they operate from the Car Park.
Removal of Andrew Craig from LCC bank mandate: Maureen had spent a long and frustrating day achieving this outcome. This reduces our number of signatories from 4 to 3, which is workable but not ideal. All agreed that we should pause for breath before potentially going in to battle to apply for a new fourth signatory in due course.

Chairman’s Report
Alan recently received hard copies of the 2021 Shop and Pre-School Leases, together with an apology from our Solicitor for the very long delay. They can now be circulated for review and signing by all signatories. Action PA

The initial roof and building survey was completed on 25th June as scheduled. This included testing of the steel roof girders which were sound and suitable for the planned new roof structure. Mark asked whether solar panels were included in the new plans. Alan confirmed yes and noted that up to 22 could be supported from a weight point of view. The use of solar panels, together with improved roof insulation, should both attract significant grants. Alan will be having several meetings with our architects over the next few weeks, with the aim of securing tenders by November, and renewing the roof next August. Martin asked what the likely funding shortfall would be after receipt of all grants. Alan expected that this would be in the range £24k - £30k, which would need to be funded from existing LCC reserves.

The news regarding Car Park safety improvements is less promising. Following a site visit from a professional car park surveyor, Alan received a report proposing £20k-£30k expenditure to bring the car park up to a standard that would allow the surveyor to ‘sign it off’ as meeting Public Car Park safety standards appropriate to our multiple user situation (LCC + Shop + PreSchool). Alan felt that the recommended upgrades were excessive in scope and cost, so he is currently attempting to engage another professional surveyor (based in Norfolk) in order to receive a second opinion which will hopefully be more affordable whilst still achieving risk assessment sign-off. Action AC

Our multiple user situation is clearly rather unusual, but there was some discussion about whether any other local villages might offer useful precedents in solving the current problem. Liz mentioned Stutton, and Martin mentioned Bentley, as possible villages of relevance to be investigated. Action PA

Liz also wondered whether the RCCE might be a source of further assistance, but Alan noted that this avenue had already been explored without success.

Alan reported that the Finance Committee had discussed and agreed 2% salary rises for Sue & Cheryl, following a salary freeze the year before. These rises are effective from 1st July.

Alan also noted completion of some recent urgent maintenance work in and around the car park: the drains were cleaned again following some flooding earlier in the year; the borders were tidied up ahead of the recent Hospice Event (using some of Alan’s contractors).

Treasurer’s Report
The P&L figures to end of June had been circulated by email shortly prior to the meeting today. Maureen reported today’s close of business account balances: £3,340.16 current account; £74,635.28 saver account. These balances are still remarkably healthy due to a number of government COVID grants, but they will be depleted next year due to the essential re-roofing project.

Maureen had met with Sue a couple of weeks ago to undertake the annual hiring rate review (effective 1st September). After a rate freeze at the last annual review, and after some comparative benchmarking by Sue, a 2% increase was suggested this time around, subject to further Trustee discussion about how best to allocate the £8k COVID Re-Start grant that we received recently. Maureen noted that (based on typical hiring rates pre-COVID) a 2% increase would yield about £1k extra income per annum.

Maureen noted that her recent involvement with the Parish Council led Village Facilities Survey had highlighted some appetite for additional classes or clubs at the hall. The new housing estates will also bring new people into the village, with the potential for further new community based activities at the hall. Maureen suggested that some of the COVID Re-Start grant might be used to help support some new clubs/groups to get started. This idea was received favourably by Trustees, so will be kept under consideration alongside possible “hardship” support to any existing clubs/groups that are struggling to re-start after recent COVID disruptions.

There was some discussion about when Coffee Mornings and Cinema Evenings might reasonably re-start (picked up again later in these minutes).

After a fairly wide-ranging discussion, a vote was held on the proposal to hold hiring rates unchanged from 1st September. This was passed unanimously.

Liz congratulated Maureen on her new P&L layout, which makes month by month trends easier to discern when reviewing the numbers. Liz noted the very high electricity spend in May, which was probably at least partly due to the unseasonably cold May this year.

Marketing Manager’s Report
In Sue’s absence, Paul read through Sue’s written report, which had also been emailed to Trustees shortly prior to the meeting. Regular weekly hirings look likely to pick up from September, although Sue Thorpe mentioned that Bridge Club had not yet reached a firm decision on their return. Maureen mentioned that there was some talk among some of the recently disbanded Patchwork Pals about a possible re-incarnation.

Sue has recently secured a significant new regular Sunday morning hire (2 hours weekly for a Church group).

The AV unit for the “beeping” fire shutter has been replaced at significant expense, as we had no other option really.

Sue’s suggestion that we apply to the current round of CIF funding with a view to securing some sort of assistive hearing system (perhaps Bluetooth based, rather than a traditional hearing loop) was well received with no counter-suggestions. Martin pointed out that hearing loops were already included in the LCC’s wishlist for potential S106 funding, but timescales for this are longer term, so it was felt sensible to proceed now and hopefully revise our S106 list later on. Paul agreed to lead on filling in the initial pre-application forms ahead of the 14th August deadline. Action PA

Considering the restart of Coffee Mornings, Sue had advised that it might be difficult to secure club hosts until October after more clubs have got going again. It was proposed and agreed that Langham Community Council should run an initial Coffee Morning in September to try to kick-start a return to more normal operations from October. Action LCC Trustees

Sue noted that several 100 Club numbers are currently available. It was agreed that an advert should be placed in the next issue of the Parish Newsletter. Action PA

Following the 19th July relaxation of COVID restrictions, no specific new guidance has been forthcoming from the RCCE. Sue’s strong recommendation is that responsibility for COVID measures should now be passed over to each individual hirer for them to implement as they see fit. As such, Sue would like to revert to our standard pre-COVID hiring terms and conditions, subject to approval from Trustees.

James supported Sue’s proposal, but suggested it would be helpful to continue to offer guidance on COVID-based room capacities for hirers who wished to take a precautionary approach. Liz agreed, but suggested that this might best be done verbally when Sue was handling initial hiring enquiries.

After a fairly wide-ranging discussion, a vote was held on the proposal to revert to our standard hiring terms & conditions with immediate effect. This was passed unanimously.

Any Other Business
Youth Strategy Group Grant Opportunity: Essex County Councillor Lewis Barber recently flagged this potential opportunity to Martin and it might be relevant for Langham Scouts or the new Langham Youth Karate Group. Paul to share further details of the scheme & eligibility with James and the Karate Group coordinator. Action PA

On behalf of the Shop, Charlotte had requested permission to site a memorial bench under the largest tree at the back of the LCC Car Park. All agreed that this was a lovely idea and gave approval to proceed.

Alan proposed that the LCC should register its land with the Land Registry. (Whilst we have original conveyancing documents, ownership has never been formally registered at the Land Registry). Registration is considered good practice. The registration fee is only £35 but there will also be Solicitor fees of up to ~£100 to process the paperwork. It was agreed by all that Alan should proceed with this. Action AC

Dates of next meetings
Next Finance Committee Meeting: Monday 16th August 2021, 7.30pm, Club Room LCC.
Next Trustee Meeting: Thursday 28th October 2021, 7.30pm, main hall LCC.

There being no further business, Alan thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 9.45pm.
How To Find Us
Langham Community Centre, School Rd, Langham, Colchester CO4 5PA
Get In Touch
07741 284132 Or 01206 271127
About Us
The Langham Community Centre was opened in June 1988 and has been serving local village residents and other commercial hirers ever since.

We are based at the heart of Langham Village, with easy access from the A12.
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