Phone: 01206 271127 or 07741 284132

Minutes of a Trustee Meeting
held on 27th May 2021 at 7.30pm.

Alan Cadman (Chairman), Maureen Shouksmith (Treasurer), Paul Armstrong (Secretary), Andrew Craig, Liz Winter, Sue Thorpe, Jutta Braun, Sue Armstrong

Apologies for Absence
James Puxley, Martin Bottwood, Liz Schofield, Bob Schofield, Mark Kleingeld, Sallie West, Denise Hobday

Minutes of previous Trustee Meeting on 25th March 2021
Draft minutes of this meeting had been circulated previously. Andrew Craig proposed and Liz Winter seconded that they be accepted as a true record. All agreed. Paul will print out and Alan will then sign the full backlog of approved ‘COVID era’ Minutes at our next meeting. Action PA/AC

Matters Arising
All actions from the 25th March Trustee Meeting had been discharged. Paul liaised with Maria and a new Pre-School rep (Sallie West) has now been appointed; Maureen processed all invoice payments ahead of the year-end; Sue has continued to liaise with the scaffolding training company about a potential large regular hire – they are still interested but things have moved a little slower than hoped; Sue has established an ongoing dialogue with all local hirers to keep her appraised of their likely plans to get re-started.

Andrew Craig noted with frustration that FJG solicitors had been very slow and done no useful work at all so far in updating the Pre-School and Shop Leases. Alan agreed and indicated that he would now be chasing them urgently. Action AC

Chairman’s Report
Alan outlined the discussions he has had so far with Hoggarth & Cooke regarding a full roof survey and subsequent preparation of tender documentation to replace the entire building roof. (Hoggarth & Cooke had done an excellent job previously supporting the build of the Pre-School and Shop). They normally operate on a “percentage of tender value” basis but Alan had explained that this was not appropriate for us. Their proposed project fee is £5.7k excluding VAT. The outline schedule is for tender returns by Nov 21, leading straight on into grant applications, with the actual build work completed over 6-8 weeks commencing mid July 2022.

4 different likely grant funding sources should enable us to secure grants covering 80% of the anticipated total project cost of £120k - £150k. Liz suggested that Rob Clark might possibly offer his help, as he has kindly done in the past, with some of the grant application processes.

The replacement roof needs to meet much tougher current construction standards, with much thicker insulation. It should incorporate solar panels on the outside, and probably soundproofing panels on the inside, whilst re-using the relatively new automated velux-style roof windows from the current roof.

Jutta wondered whether now might be the time to consider lowering the roof because the hall is no longer used for sports such as badminton. Sue pointed out that the high roof and good ventilation would continue to be a very attractive customer feature in our post-COVID world.

Delivery timescales would be an important adjudication factor so as to minimise hiring downtime by scheduling as much of the work as possible during the summer holiday period. The ideal time for initial scaffolding erection will probably be around 24th July 2022.

Turning to the planned car park survey, this had had to be delayed after Alan broke his shoulder just ahead of the planned survey date. Alan now hopes to re-schedule the survey with the assessor, Jonathan, within the next 2-3 weeks. Much of the risk assessment has already been completed using Google Earth photography. A major part of the face-to-face meeting will be to consider the details of the proposed marking of pedestrian walkways. Andrew enquired as to the insurance status of outdoor fairs/markets/vendors etc. Sue indicated that revised hire terms now included use of a toilet in the main hall, which solved the problem. All vendors had now signed new contracts with the exception of the Fish & Chip van. Sue was meeting him on site tomorrow to secure this final outstanding contract signature. Action SA

Andrew wondered whether there was a limit to how long our insurance company would continue to cover public use of the car park, pending delivery of the required security improvements? Alan assured Andrew that he had kept our insurers appraised of the ongoing dialogue with the car park assessor, so that they are aware that things are being progressed.

Treasurer’s Report
Maureen circulated copies of the end of April simple P&L figures at the meeting.
The very latest bank balances as of today were £3598.72 current a/c; £76134.85 savings a/c.
Maureen confirmed that a COVID Re-Start grant of £8k had been paid into our account on 5th May.

Maureen outlined that the initial thinking of the finance committee was to use this money specifically to support and help all local clubs as they attempt to get back towards normal operations. She asked Trustees for their thoughts on this idea. Andrew questioned whether it was wise to allocate all of this large sum directly to support local clubs, particularly noting that the hall was likely to incur its own increased costs for some time as a result of ongoing COVID security measures. Sue Thorpe pointed out that the need for emergency club support might vary dramatically between different clubs according to their individual situations. Liz W suggested the idea of a hardship fund so as to target help where it was most needed (and perhaps the LCC should ask to see club balance sheets as part of the “qualification” criteria). It was agreed that the Finance Committee should take away these ideas for further consideration before finalising any proposed funding allocation scheme.

Maureen noted her intention to revise the monthly P&L statements to make month-by-month comparisons easier to view. She also intended to re-jig the layout to make the heating cost breakdown easier to track. May’s figures so far are looking a little bit better than April.

Liz asked whether the annual music license fee would be waived in view of the COVID lockdown. Maureen indicated that billing was done retrospectively, so she would expect a zero-usage fee to apply to the next billing cycle. Sue reminded everyone that some music practice sessions (but not performances) had been able to continue despite COVID, so this might influence the required fee?

Marketing Manager’s Report
Sue provided a verbal update report this month. The gradual easing of lockdown measures has created great complexity for different sorts of hires, necessitating lengthy correspondence in many cases. Almost all hirers are interested in the main hall rather than the club room, to maximise ventilation etc.

Several potential hirers are currently vying for the Tuesday evening slot and Sue is endeavouring to confirm a regular hirer from September.

Bridge are returning to Monday evening hires from September and Pilates starts on Thursday mornings after June half-term.

Scouts are currently hiring toilets only, but expect to return fully from September.

Colchester Choir booked on Tuesdays until July, but a sudden government rules change forced them to cancel. The Boxted Silver Band are currently hiring, with appropriate covers and spacing, but they haven’t made a permanent decision yet on their future home.

All the quinquennial tests were completed on time. The 3 new LED wall lights give a nice warm white light, so the remaining wall lights will also now be switched over to match. Final completion of the agreed external lighting updates has been delayed by the poor May weather.

Trustee Vote on proposal to engage surveyor for roof replacement project
Proposed Sue Thorpe, seconded Jutta Braun. All agreed. Alan should now proceed to engage Hoggarth & Cooke as outlined in his report this evening.

Trustee Vote on proposed usage of COVID Re-Start grant
After discussion this evening it was agreed that a vote should be deferred whilst the suggestions made this evening be considered further by the Finance Committee.

Trustee Vote on proposal to engage George Pearce to audit our 2020/21 accounts
All agreed that George should be engaged once again this year.

Any Other Business
Andrew reminded Maureen that he was still on the bank mandate, and would now need to be removed. He noted that it may prove most time-efficient to aim for a simultaneous removal and new addition to the mandate. Action MS

Alan reported to the meeting about the recent Ofsted inspection at the Pre-School. The good news is that the proposed rating has improved to a “Good”. The bad news is that the inspection led to identification of an administrative failing regarding updating of the Pre-School registration number following their conversion to a charitable CIO. The consequences of this are potentially serious but as yet unclear. (Post meeting note from secretary: from discussions with Maria it would appear that the error was made by Ofsted, not by the Pre-School, but is nonetheless proving difficult to sort out because of poor inter-departmental communications within Ofsted!).

Dates of next meetings
Next Finance Committee Meeting: Monday 14th June 2021, 7.30pm, Zoom
Next Trustee Meeting: Thursday 22nd July 2021, 7.30pm, main hall LCC.

There being no further business, Alan thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 9.05pm.
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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