Phone: 01206 271127 or 07741 284132

Minutes of a Trustee Meeting
held on 28th January 2021 at 7.30pm.

Alan Cadman (Chairman), Maureen Shouksmith (Treasurer), Paul Armstrong (Secretary), Andrew Craig, Liz Winter, Bob Schofield, Liz Schofield, Sue Thorpe, James Puxley, Mark Kleingeld, Sue Armstrong

Apologies for Absence
Peter Dawson, Maria Bukovenczki, Jutta Brawn

Minutes of previous Trustee Meeting on 19th November 2020
Draft minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated previously. Liz Schofield proposed and Andrew Craig seconded that they be accepted as a true record. All agreed. Alan will sign the Minutes once COVID restrictions are over.

Matters Arising
Flooring renewal in the rear lobby/kitchen/bar/entrance areas is all now complete and paid for, and looks very smart. Sue will post some photos on social media as and when we get close to a proper re-opening.

Security upgrades following the recent spate of petty vandalisms are yet to be completed, due to delivery delays with new cameras/cages/lighting. Chris & Terry will complete the work between them once the requisite deliveries are received. Action SA
The lengthy new T&Cs clauses of the LCC insurance renewal were circulated to the finance sub-committee for review. They’ve been read carefully by several Trustees and there don’t appear to be any significant new exclusions or onerous new conditions to be complied with.

Cheryl’s actual hours in January left her only about £40 short of the previously agreed average-salary protection level through to end of January. A £40 top-up is in hand. Sue’s hours are now reducing as the lockdown lengthens. Sue is comfortable with this, and was thanked for her flexibility. It was agreed by all that Cheryl’s average-salary protection should now be extended until the end of April 2021 – this decision being made easier by the significant CBC COVID grant funding which is coming through to the LCC.

Paul had spoken to a member of the Anglian Water development team, who had assured him that whilst the work underneath our car park had been necessary as part of the installation of a new mains water connection (almost certainly for Langham Oaks), it would not impact our supply or metering at all. Our latest water bill show us in credit, as expected with the much reduced hall usage.

Chairman’s Report
Alan reported that after much delay from our insurers, he had finally secured a £2,600 cash settlement of our latest claim for the vandalism last year.

The new five year lease contracts for the Shop and Pre-School are apparently on their way in the post, but not with Alan yet. There was discussion about whether soft copies should be forwarded to the Shop and Pre-School for review in the interim, but this wouldn’t negate the need for the actual hard copies to be read carefully and signed when they arrive. Action AC

We had a lengthy discussion about the substantial number of COVID relief grant payments that had been received in to LCC current account. Andrew expressed the worry, felt by others too, that there was a degree of uncertainty around the various payments that had been received from CBC. Alan and Maureen shared their understanding of two categories of grant payments being made since December 2020: one a general grant of £667 per fortnight during the period of closure of the hall; the other a grant of £2166 per week of closure, based on the licensed premises status of the hall. Alan has queried with CBC whether we are entitled to this second form of grant (which we did not apply for ourselves, and which would most obviously apply to pubs). He has been assured (but only verbally, not in writing) that the entitlement is correct.

Despite these verbal assurances from CBC, it was agreed that we needed to clearly “virtually ringfence” these licensed premises grant payments within our accounts, with the strong expectation that some or all of these monies will need to be repaid to CBC when they finally realise that they have made a mistake in allocating us these funds.

Maureen was asked to try and assemble a detailed “schedule” of all COVID grant payments received, so that we can distinguish clearly between the various categories of grant payments received throughout the pandemic. (This will not be easy, since all grant payments currently seem to use a shared CBC payee reference!) Action MS

Treasurer’s Report
Maureen had circulated her report in advance of the meeting. The only questions raised were those already covered above regarding the surprisingly large grant receipts since December 2020.

As of today, the current a/c balance is £6562.17 and the saver a/c balance is £70,134.00.

Maureen will be attending a deferred Treasurer’s training course on 18th Feb. This will now be hosted online by the RCCE.

Marketing Manager’s Report
Sue had circulated her report in advance of the meeting. Sue reported that she had just received, today, some further short-term bookings from Cygnet, but their bookings generally are running at a pretty low level at the moment.

Liz asked James whether there was any news regarding the Scouts being able to resume any meetings. On a scale running Red/Amber/Yellow/Green, they are still at Amber, which puts onerous restrictions on activities and numbers. When Scouts do re-start, these restrictions may initially make hall hire uneconomic for the reduced numbers allowed.

Response to extended new 2021 Lockdown
Sue summarised the ‘tickover’ activities that are being undertaken to make sure that the hall remains in good condition: moderate use of the heating to protect against frozen pipes, periodic flushing of the toilets, and daily checks for issues undertaken by Cheryl.

Cheryl’s average salary will be now be protected until end of April, as discussed earlier in the meeting. It was also agreed by all that Mike’s cleaning contract should be continued for now, to support the Cygnet hires and keep the hall in general good condition.

Proposal for soundproofing upgrade to main hall
Maureen had suggested that consideration be given to implementing the soundproofing upgrades to the hall during the current lockdown closure, to avoid the disruption that such work would cause once we get back to normal operation (potentially 3-4 days of work using a cherry-picker).
On discussion it was felt that the costs were perhaps too high to justify with the current extended uncertainties about when we might get back to a normal hiring regime. There was some uncertainty about what these costs actually were (recollections of past quotes ranged from £4k to £8k). It was agreed that we should at least review and seek refreshed versions of the past quotes, so that the matter can be reviewed further over the coming weeks.
Action SA

Proposal for enhanced new Car Park signage
Sue shared a photo of the current signage close to the car-park entrance, and a mock-up of a proposed larger replacement sign with additional explanatory information about opening hours and who can use the car park. Cheryl has on occasion taken a little ‘flak’ from car owners being asked to remove their cars; a more prominent sign might be of some help in this regard. The cost for the new sign would be around £75. It was agreed to proceed with this. Action SA

Proposal for LCC response to Williamson Housing Questionnaire
A draft response had been prepared and circulated prior to this meeting, building on a number of individual Trustee inputs received by email and further informal discussions between some of the finance sub-committee. Liz S suggested some further strengthening of the proposed submission, to emphasise that the Community Centre, Shop, Pre-School and Recreation Ground represent the heart of this rural village, and need to be respected and protected by the proposed Williamson development. It was agreed that this response should be submitted by the Secretary, making clear that it was a response on behalf of all the LCC Trustees.
Action PA

Any Other Business

Recent Flooding
Following heavy rain about 10 days ago, the car park had become badly flooded, with the drain backed up with clear water. On the same day, a small leak had been observed in the ‘chairs & tables’ cupboard of the main hall. Both situations resolved themselves pretty quickly, but Sue asked all Trustees to please be alert and report back to her if they spot any new flooding in the car park. Action ALL

Maureen updated the meeting on the situation regarding potential Caravan rallies. The prospective organisers of a large ~50 caravan rally have now made alternative plans. Two much smaller rallies (Easter 2021 and August 2021) are still currently scheduled to proceed.
The situation with regards to provision of a new Elsan disposal facility by the Parish Council is still unclear, although a £5k allowance for this has been carried forward from their 2020/21 budget into the new 2021/22 budget.

Dates of next meetings
Next Finance Committee Meeting: Monday 15th February 2021, 7.30pm, Zoom
Next Trustee Meeting: Thursday 25th March 2021, 7.30pm, Zoom

There being no further business, Alan thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 9.40pm
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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