Minutes from board meeting – 14th April 2021



These minutes have been redacted for reasons of confidentiality

Date of meeting: Zoom meeting Wednesday 14th April 2021 6pm

Present: Angela Blackshaw, Pat Bray, Fiona Eccleston, Neil Hickson, Donald McQueen, Pam Moore, Phil Moore, Chris Roberts, Andy Sheridan, Katy Sneyd, Mark Tebbutt.

Apologies: Allison McGuiness, Nicky Bailey

Chair: Pat Bray (interim)

Minutes: Andy Sheridan

Declarations of interest: None

Referenceto agendaMinuteAction
1Minutes of the hand over meeting 08/04/2021:Minutes accepted.Matters arising:There were no matters arising.PB
2Katy Sneyd Intro:KS introduced herself to the incoming board and outlined the role of Wigan Council.
3Roles on the Board:FE suggested board discuss roles of board members via email; e.g. share interests, capacity and experience etc. Potential for sharing of roles, or cycling the chair as an interim.KS suggested completion of skills audit would help in consolidation. Members will complete this.MT Suggested NH chair for interim period. NH happy as interim.AllAll
4Timelines and plan for reopening Straw Bale:CR reported on Zoom meeting between CR, NH and Straw Bale Staff (13/04):Open discussion confirming the board’s plan to reopen. Straw Bale staff team keen to open again.Planning meeting arranged for next week (WC 19/04/21), ready for review at next board meeting (21/04/21). Current law states the earliest we can open is 17th May 21.Suggested initial days of opening: Fri – Sun or Thu – Sun (i.e. days of most trade), leaving Mon – Wed for hiring out of venue for other uses.FE offered to attend Straw Bale meeting next week to offer support re. financial basis.KS advised fine to hire out Straw bale on room hire agreement from individuals or groups. Only need to negotiate changes to lease if a business is renting the premises as a base of operations.KS questioned would reopening fit with longterm strategic plan. FE suggested the short term goal to reopen to help begin generating income again, while the production of strategic plan will continue, defining the long term future of the café and farm as a whole.NH reported questions arising during the SB meeting (13/04):Will opening the SB on week days (Thu, Fri) cause problems for care farm re. Covid H&S? Would it impact on timeline of reopening? PB suggested discussion with KH. CR advised meeting arranged with Kelly on Mon 19/04.Suggestion to open café before the shop, to minimise outgoings on stock initially.Some staff voiced concerns about potential for dramatic policy changes introduced by future incoming boards, after putting effort into getting café up and running again.Liaison with grower re. produce for café.CRFE
5Strategic Review:FE presented overview of the Strategic Review:Currently being drafted, has been circulated between board members.It’s a working document and FE happy to receive suggestions and feedback on the various elements of the document.Long term plan of action and guide for the board re. decision making, keeping in line with ethos aims and objectives of the Farm, informing allocation of resources etc.To be conducted in consultation with all farm stakeholders while analysing the wider social, political and environmental context (internal/external analysis.). To be followed by SWOT analysis.Financial models will be formed by NB and FE in support of the Strategic Plan. Also, day-to-day financial processes to be further developed and updated.Governance review – investigate potential for one or more key roles for day-to-day operational decision making around farm; what would be the structure, the delegated authority, budgeting responsibilities etc.Formation of 3 or 5 year plan and then detailing actionable steps toward achieving this.Two-way communication and transparency between the board and the wider farm was emphasized. Communicate the plan in stages with staff and members, giving people an opportunity to feed back.FE’s presentation was well received by the board and KS, and all are grateful for the work she has put into this process so far. KS said this is exactly what the council needed to see from the Farm.NH noted that BH had previously set up an online poll and asked would this data be available. Details to be passed on to FE.NH also highlighted the online suggestions form he had previously set up. So far no real up take on this so, however this is something we can promote.KS highlighted the Community Recovery Fund – grant scheme (up to £500) for community groups to help with recovery from pandemic – circulated details via email during meeting.Governance Review as presented by DM at handover meeting:KS advised initially the deadlines were March, but extended as a lot had been going on. However, these documents need to be prioritised now, suggesting end of May as a deadline/signing off. KS emphasised that these documents need to be actively implemented by the farm, and not left forgotten on a shelf.FE requested deadline of end of Sept 21 for business plan, however KS advised that the presentation offered by FE earlier put us in a good position with the council that things are being addressed properly and thoroughly.DM advised much of the governance review has been completed or up to final draft stage and needs to be looked at by current board and ratified.  Trustee Induction Pack and Processes have been reviewed and need to be ratified by full board, and suggested the board look over this and complete during next meeting. All parts highlighted in red need further input. Code of conduct also at final draft stage and needs ratifying.PBAllAllAll
Any Other Business:Mis-sold Energy Claim:Further to the email that PB had previously circulated to the board, PB discussed a potential claim against a utilities broker and energy supplier. The board agreed to proceed with a pre-action investigation by a solicitor to assess the feasibility and any risks of taking this matter further. The outcome of this process is to be discussed at a later date.Bee Hives:A member would like to house his bee hives at Greenslate. The board agree to this.United Utilities water sampling and legionella report for the bore hole water supply:DM has been liaising with UU on this. These tests have been completed and the reports received and sent to section managers KH and RJ.Water sampling tests are conducted twice yearly, so UU will need another contact at the farm for future appointments.Resignation:Following notification of intention at the last meeting, PB confirmed his resignation from the board, with this being his final meeting on the current board.DM highlighted several articles from the GCF governing documents which he felt will be of particular benefit during the ongoing development of the farm. DM announced his resignation from the board with immediate effect, due to personal reasons, and wished the board well in the ongoing recovery of the project.KS thanked PB and DM for all the time they have volunteered on the board.Farmer’s Market:NH suggested we look into the return of the farmer’s market.Missing Minutes – 3rd Aug to 15th Dec:NH has been updating website with all the minutes, however has pointed out that there are several sets of minutes missing between 03/08/20 and 15/08/20. PB said he will try to find all minutes from this period, some of which were from the previous 2019 – 2020 board. He will contact DF to enquire about this.Microsoft Teams:PB agreed to continue uploading relevant documents to Microsoft Teams, and will discuss with CH about granting access for the incoming board to the Board section of the platform.Next Meeting:Next meeting agreed for 21/04/2021 at 6pm, following the planning meeting between CR and the Straw Bale staff.PBAllAllPBPB
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