LANGHAM COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Minutes of a Trustee Meeting
held on 22nd March 2018 at 7.45pm.
Alan Cadman (Chairman), Liz Winter (Secretary), Maureen Shouksmith (Treasurer), James Puxley, Denise Hobday, Marlena Lipski, Peter Dawson, Sue Armstrong.
Apologies for Absence
Bob Schofield, Andrew Craig, Jutta Brawn, Daphne Bettle, Melanie Everett, Mark Kleingeld.
Alan welcomed Peter Dawson to the meeting once again, representing the Parish Council.
Minutes of previous Trustee Meeting held 25th January 2018
Maureen Shouksmith proposed and Peter Dawson seconded that the Minutes be accepted as a true record. Carried unanimously. Alan signed the Minutes. Now that they had been approved, they would be posted on the Community Centre noticeboard. EW
Pre-School Boiler Lindseys have quoted nearly £300 to attempt to cure the problem by increasing the pressure in the system to keep the valve open in order to heat the whole Pre-School effectively. After some discussion about the approaching warmer weather, the amount already spent on trying to resolve the problem and the precarious financial position of the Pre-School, it was decided to postpone any more remedial work at this stage.
Rubbish Alan had opened an account with Colchester Skip Hire and our contact is Jane. The contract is for fortnightly emptying at a cost of £13.17 each time plus VAT, plus a £5 annual Duty of Care charge. It is an 1100 litre wheeled bin for “light general waste” which holds up to 80kg. Additional weight is charged at 13p/kilo. Extra loads can be emptied by arrangement. Sue will organise fixing of the bin to the building and liaise with Ray to ensure it does not compromise any CCTV cameras. She will ring Jane to find out which day the bin will be emptied, ensure it is lockable and confirm a start date after Easter. SA
Music Licence Alan had sent off our payment of £1044.36 but had received no invoice confirming its receipt as yet. There was to be an amalgamation of the PRS and PPL next year. A visit from the authority is expected to witness a live music event at the LCC.
WiFi Security Everyone using the main rooms is now being given the public wifi connection but the Pre-School needs to install some extra security. This is another expense which we do not feel able to incur while the Pre-School situation is so uncertain.
As well as dealing with the matters above, Alan has received the rates bills from Colchester Borough Council: Pre-School: £43 per month; LCC: £49 per month (both up £4 pm). Alan confirmed that we usually make one annual payment rather than direct debits.
Drains in School Road had been jetted over two days this week and several blockages cleared. Alan had spoken to the men and feels they may have cured the flooding, so we can at last consider resurfacing the car park areas, although he also pointed out that ProMac have ceased trading as a knock-on effect of Carillion’s demise.
Alan had been informed by CBC that spec for the planned disabled toilet should be available on 19th April to send out to tender.
Simon Gallup and Ian Hollands have presented a framed, annotated photograph of the airfield to the LCC. The photo was admired and would be hung in the Clubroom, where there were other plaques relating to the airfield. Liz would send our thanks. EW
Maureen reported that last night’s current account balance stood at £9,334. £2,500 had been transferred into the Saver account bringing that balance to £39,050.72, on which the interest rate has risen by 0.5%. There was an outstanding payment from Danshell but we had received nearly £10,000 net from their hires this financial year. Profit for the first eleven months is £11,140.31. Alan added that five years ago it was estimated that we would need funds of £50,000 to be viable now. He was pleased to see that we have very nearly achieved this total.
Maureen had received a reply from Barclays to her query about how the XLN direct debit had been set up without two signatures. They informed her it is a different kind of DD as it was set up via the internet. The Trustees are concerned that this is possible without confirmation from signatories.
Marketing Manager/Caretaker’s Report
Sue’s report had been circulated and showed she had once again had a very busy month, including dealing with rescheduling and cancellations because of the snow.
Crafty Ladies and Patchwork Pals both had new committees and Sue reminded hirers that any electrical equipment they keep at the hall must be PAT tested. The new healthcare providers, MSM, had hired on four days. Country and Western have suffered a drop in numbers and Clubbercise is having a maternity break. A lot of new enquiries have arisen, including a Japanese sword group.
The keys from the entrance keysafe had been lost and found, with profuse apologies from the person responsible. Sue is preparing a maintenance budget update and Cheryl has sorted out crockery which needs replacing. Thanks to Andrew Craig who has once again volunteered to man the last Car Club bar before the autumn on 19th April. The Toy Fair Café in April is covered, but Sue is asking for volunteers for the last one until October on 3rd June.
The annual electric test has been carried out and two emergency lights replaced as well as a repair to the light in the rubbish cupboard outside. A new phone for Cheryl has been purchased at £15 per month as her old one would no longer hold a charge. The ladies toilet seat has been cleaned and tightened up. The plastic seats constantly work loose. Sue will order kickboards for the doors. SA
The Trustees thanked Sue and Cheryl, who are both kept very busy as the building is so fully booked.
No-one was at the meeting to represent the Pre-School but a report had been sent which Liz referred to when updating the Trustees. Unfortunately, their efforts have not produced the financial improvement they would have hoped for and at present “cash flow indicates…sufficient funds to operate up to the end of July 2018”. With 21 children on roll, the Vice Chair has resigned. They interviewed two candidates this week for the manager’s position vacated by Mel.
A discussion ensued about whether the LCC was in a position to continue to subsidise the Pre-School. Maureen pointed out that quite a lot of the children came from out of the village and we are a charity set up to help parishioners of Langham. Because of the constant problems with heating over this winter, we have spent a lot more money than expected in attempts to fix things, most notably to Lindsey. There is still outstanding the cost of WiFi security and a further attempt to cure the heating quoted at nearly £300. Without receiving a realistic rent we shall continue to be out of pocket into another financial year.
If the Pre-School is unable to afford at least sufficient rent to cover our expenses (which we had grossly underestimated when the rent was reduced last March to £50 a month, being ignorant of how much the heating problems would impact this winter) then we would have to consider a termination of the lease. If they decide they cannot continue into the Autumn Term, they would need to give the LCC three months’ notice under the terms of the lease and this would need to be given in April. This coincides with the end of the year’s rent reduction which began in April 2017 and which the Trustees agreed to extend until the end of August, in the hope that the Pre-School would pick up by the end of the Summer Term, which is not looking particularly likely.
It was agreed that Liz would write to the Pre-School setting out our concerns and also contact Essex County Council to find out exactly what the conditions of the Sure Start grant were with regard to child-centred activity and hours. Neither Alan nor Liz W has a copy, although Alan remembers signing the contract with Liz Schofield at the hall with ECC reps before the building work began. EW
Any Other Business
1. Sue was planning to send out the new booking form for regular hirers to sign, ensuring that they realise their obligation to take good care of the property and to supervise children in the building at all times. This had partly arisen from the concern about children receiving tennis coaching being allowed into the building without the presence of an adult. Mark had contacted Liz by phone and e-mail, stressing that he had ensured the floor was swept after his hires. The front doors nearest the courts are left open to allow children access to the toilets when he hires the hall. However, the Trustees felt that no children should be in the building without an adult in attendance, as is the case for the Scouts and Beavers.
2. Peter Dawson reported that the far wooden gates to the field had been found unlocked and he had been unable to close the padlock, which had been left apparently closed. This is sometimes a ploy used by travellers, who cut the lock one day, leaving it looking untouched, to enable them to enter in convoy the next. A new padlock had immediately been purchased and fitted. The Trustees thanked Peter for keeping a close eye on this and other gates in the village.
3. Liz informed the meeting that Sue Armstrong’s pension contributions would increase from her April salary. The Government stipulated that the employer then pays a 2% contribution (currently 1%) and the employee 3% (currently 1%). This will rise again in April 2019. Liz passed Sue change of contribution details from NEST, the pension provider.
Date of next meeting
The next Finance Sub-Committee Meeting will be held on Monday 23rd April at 7.30 p.m. at Alan’s house.
(Peter Dawson is unable to attend Monday meetings but expects Martin Bottwood will once again attend.)
The AGM will be held in the Clubroom on Thursday 24th May at 7.30 p.m.
Liz Winter still requires confirmation from several organisations of the name of their representative for the year beginning 1st April 2018.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.35 p.m.