Minutes from board meeting – Monday 13th July 2020

Date of meeting: Monday 13th July 2020 (Zoom meeting)

Present: Dave Fairhurst, Joe Taylor, Jane Fairhurst, Paul Corkill, Ian Bowyer, Pat Bray, Jonathan Roby, Alan Kehoe

Also present: Liz Ramsden, Wigan Council

Apologies: None

Absent: Danny Halliday

Chair: Joe Taylor

Minutes: Dave Fairhurst

Declarations of interest: None

Referenceto agendaMinuteAction
1Minutes of meeting of 6 July 2020JT proposed, IB seconded. Agreed
2Matters arising:DF wrote to Mark H. Yet to receive proper reply.JT replied to metal detectorist

3Farm management issues:Animals, bees:Agreed to review apiary management policy for next spring, including whether we should be looking for a honey crop as part of the bees’ contribution to the farm.Pigs:Agreed to keep the 4 pigs for education and contribution to soil improvement and not send them to slaughter.Box scheme review;AK had not received any info regarding till receipts, but website sales down to £425.  Estimated loss of about £800 this week.  Original break-even point was £180 per week. Agreed to write to xx repeating request for advice on how scheme could become viable. Agreed scheme should be closed on 24th July if a clear plan to make the service financially viable is not agreed.  Also agreed xx to be informed that xx to go back on furlough end of this week and all transactions to be through Mandy, ie no card transactions.Plans for café reopening:Liz Ramsden confirmed can only be opened when WMBC have approved our risk assessments.  Process has been through Wigan’s management team and advice on process and forms should arrive within the next day.May need separate risk assessments agreed for different parts of the farm.Straw Bale Building:Electric safety certification now complete.  JF to photograph gutters and video fire door closing and intumescent strip.  Building Control Completion Certificate is nearly achieved.

4Financial Issues:Treasurer’s Report:First draft of 2018/19 accounts due from accountants today.Business Rates demand:The Straw Bale Building has been given a rateable value of £9500 per annum by the District Valuer.  Following this the farm has received a business rates demand of nearly £12,000 dating back to September 2017. Business Rates should have been applied for when the building was completed in 2017, hence the backdated bill now. 2020, rates have already been discounted to zero by the council.  AK to contact Liz Ramsden with summary bill to request advice regarding application for backdated discounts.Forever Manchester Grant:PB still in negotiation with Forever Manchester regarding use of £1500 grant to support growing activity.  No success so far but he will ask about support on basis of supplying produce to food bank at The Brick etc.Landworkers’ Alliance:RJ reported bid proceeding to the next stage in assessment.

5Petition re: General MeetingThe Board agreed a letter to petitioners informing them that we would put the petition on the agenda for the AGM, when it is held and explaining our concerns that the petition, as drafted would cause the farm to close if the motion was approved.  DF to send letter on behalf of the board without delay.

7A.O.B.Co-option to the Board:In the light of the vacancies arising on the board DF proposed that PB be formally co-opted onto the board until the next AGM under rule 68 of the farm’s rules.  Agreed unanimously.Access to payment card:AK stated his concerns regarding access to a payment card.  He had raised this issue by email some weeks earlier but it had not been considered by the board. DF apologised for his error in not putting it on the agenda earlier, and agreed with AK regarding his concerns.  It was agreed that the bank should be advised asap regarding changes to authorised signatories and all café payments should be through Mandy.  xx to be advised accordingly.Liaison with Wigan CouncilLiz Ramsden advised that Wigan will put a team together to offer us a peer review.  Offer accepted unanimously. Board to consider which areas we wish to prioritise.
8Date and time of next meeting:20th July 2020, time tba.
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