Reports, Minutes & papers

NYCE Committee Meeting Minutes 

7-30pm Tuesday 25th January 2022, Meeting Room, Subscription Rooms       


 Jonathan Duckworth (J D) Chair, Les Haines (LH) (Minutes), Fern Bratby (FB), Fred  Ashworth (FA)  Iain  

 McIvor (IM), Mark Peer (MP)   


 Pam Brown (PB), Tracy Shipp (TS), Deirdre Lister (DL), Andy Hammond (AH), Dave Parker (DP), Cliff Jordan (CJ), Simon Wade (SW) 

 Aimee Rose Bennett says that she does not wish to be the School of Larks nominee and asked for all correspondence to be addressed to their generic email address which will be picked up by other staff; their Trustee position therefore remains vacant.

JD welcomed attendees to his first meeting as Chair and thanked LH for his work in that role previously. He said he would like to get to know Trustees better, perhaps ‘over a coffee’, and will start arranging this.

  1. Minutes of Previous Meeting on 24th November 2021 (following AGM): 

These had been circulated by e-mail on 30th November; approved by Committee and signed by JD. 

Action: PB to add to website

  1. Matters arising:
  1. Item 4.3 under AOB – PB and Gavin Pond are asking for sponsorship of guitar-making in Workshops and had produced and circulated a supporting paper and budget for consideration. Those present thought that it would not be sensible to decide on this important topic in the absence of a bigger turn-out. 

      Action: Deferred until next meeting 


  1. Minutes of Annual General Meeting on 24th November 2021:
  1. These had been circulated by e-mail on 30th November; they were approved by committee and signed by JD.  Action: PB to add to website 
  2. Actions with Charity Commission – LH reported that in early December, shortly after the AGM, he had updated Trustees’ details online and submitted the Annual Accounts and Report including the fact that the Charity had received a Covid related grant of £10K. The Charity is up to date in its legal requirements. 


  1. Covid- 19 Related Issues:
  1. Update on current arrangements – committee noted the steady relaxation of Covid restrictions; one user has had to cancel her class for at least one week because of a Covid – positive result;
  2. Review of cleaning arrangements; performance by our cleaner is sometimes erratic; some satisfactory work is being done but it is inconsistent; the regime is a flexible 4 x 1 hour sessions per week.

      Action: Supervision by PB and FB to continue to explain the standards that are expected by 



  1. Finance:
  1. Our Treasurer, DL, had earlier today circulated by email up-to-date accounts; on account there is £57,927; 
  2. The annual Insurance renewal was arranged in early January by FB, with input by DP beforehand to assess the level of cover offered; renewal achieved at a competitive price of £1514.44 (paid). 
  3. Utilities: Gas, Electricity -  FB reported that we are on a fixed contract and not subject to big energy cost increases at this time; JD asked whether the contract could be fixed for a longer term into the future. 
  4. Waterplus – FB reported that no resolution had yet been provided and she was considering next steps with reference to the Ombudsman.


  1. Building Works:
  1. Update on actions taken for improvements to 4 windows in main hall, 1 window on upper staircase and the remaining 1 in the meeting room / coffee bar (FB, FB and LH):

Measurements and drawings done; provisional estimates from Barry Hunt @ £17,172 for the hall windows only; Brian Griffiths’ estimate is expected soon. 

Closer inspection had also revealed that the stone window surrounds have been scarred and blackened by condensation and the project team think that Jake Egerton should be asked to quote for remedial cleaning work before any new window installation. (NB. Jake did all our exterior stone cleaning & build)



Ventilation: since the last meeting FB has led on further research with input from FA, LH and now CJ. 

Earlier we had received EESI’s proposal for a heat recovery system with ducts and grilles at approx £8.6K; recently a site visit was arranged by Mitchells of Gloucester. Their proposal is based on a large 

air-conditioning unit being hoisted into the loft space via the rear doorway and the fitting of grilles in the coffee bar and hall with connecting ducting. 

   Mitchells have in the past few days indicated that the size of the unit required to come up to Covid standard for catering for sufficient air-flow for up to 90 persons in the hall may be too large to be accommodated in the loft without further structural alterations!  This setback has to be worked through.  

  Thus far the research has been quite time-consuming and complex and the project team are not yet in a position to give final recommendations.

Actions: FB, FA and LH to continue researching windows / ventilation solutions and bring final estimates to committee. 


  1. Update on plans to strengthen roof trusses/ beams, improve access and lighting in roof space: FB, FA and LH updated on this, viz. the steel plates are being manufactured by TR King & Co. (already paid for) and will require fitting from above and below the beams (which means a scaffold tower in the hall); Darren is still expected to create the hatch, fit ladder, and partial boarding soon; we are yet to instruct Jon Hammond to install some lighting and power points in the loft. The estimated total cost for this element (building and electrics) will be £2.5K    


  1. Grounds:
  1. Meeting considered what work is required to make safe the trees in the ‘green’ lane. LH had drawn

a plan of the site indicating the positions of two tall willows, a damson tree (covered in ivy) and three cherry trees. One cherry has previously been pollarded and does not require attention, one cherry grows from within the grounds of the new Tanners Piece development but its roots are a known trip hazard on the lane and the third cherry may require attention. 

  Committee heard from MP again that the willow growing close to the tennis court and nearest Tanners Piece is tall and extensive, drops much foliage onto the courts and has a partly decaying bough (result of storm damage 2017?); it is known to be a fast-growing specimen which has already been cut back just a few years ago. He added that the constant problem with debris from the tree impacts on decisions which the Tennis Club are currently wrestling with about which new surface finish they will soon invest in (point covered in greater detail in their report at Item 9. 1). 

         The other willow nearest to Park Road Crescent  is also tall and its highest branches severely 

      obscure a  street light. Some of this work can be more easily sanctioned but committee expressed 

      contradictory views about the merits of severely cutting back or even removing the willow growing 

      nearest the courts.

  A tree surgeon has already had an exploratory site visit with MP and Pete Cluer from the Tennis Club, with DP and LH in attendance but has not yet been asked for formal recommendations and prices for work.

Actions: i) LH to arrange another tree surgeon visit as soon as possible

(Note: this was done on 28th Jan by LH and DP and a response is expected within a week); 

ii) SDC will have to be informed about the cheery tree with the hazardous roots (also LH).     


  1. LH also brought to notice some difficulties which he had been dragged into before Christmas over parking and access on the hard surface lane from Bath Road; although matters were resolved at the time there is work to be done in tidying up the area and clarifying rights issues. 

  There is greater use being made of this lane by our neighbours in recent times and some limited development  of garages adjacent to it (with possibly more works to come). The surface is experiencing heavier wear and tear. Also there is periodic dumping of garden cuttings and branches on a pile in the green lane. 

   It is also fair to say that NYCE, in concentrating its efforts on the building itself, has paid limited attention to the condition of the lane. LH suggested a piece of work to review our relationships with neighbouring properties / deeds / easements / parking concessions. The outcome, if enquiries go well, would be some collective mutual effort to improve the overall quality of the green and hard surface parts of the lane and tidy up of the whole area; this also ties in with any authorised tree works. 

Action: Committee agreed this research was worthwhile. LH to work with DP to take this forward and to report back at interim stages and when complete.  

  1. Gardening tasks: work party completed on 5th January by DP and LH; others to be arranged soon.





  1. Fire Safety:
  1. Fire Equipment checks – all appear in order but no recent update from SW.
  2. New Fire Alarm Control-box lower ground floor; PB had previously reported that following an inspection and report by Stroud Alarms indicating  that a number of parts were defective the company had fitted a new box in late 2021 (paid). 
  3. Fire Safety Compliance – nothing further to report


  1. Updates from User Groups:
  1. Tennis Club - MP produced the following report for information: 

“ The Tennis Club currently has a healthy membership of just over 80 Senior members and 35 Juniors at various stages of membership. Joe, our coach also has approx 20 non-member juniors who attend his coaching sessions, plus 12 adults for his cardio sessions. 

  The junior sessions are well attended with maximum 8 per session. One of our junior boys has just been included in the County squad. We also hope to have junior matches at our courts after Easter on Saturdays.

  With the interest in competitive tennis we are looking to enter Ladies and Men’s senior C teams for the summer season.

  The other major decision for us is the re-surface of the courts. The club currently has just over £24K in it’s funds. Our income is approx £7,500 of which approx 35% (£2,600) goes in rent. Power supply for floodlighting, LTA affiliation fees £330 (inc. insurance) and court maintenance are the other main expenditure.

  £2K of our current funds is a grant awarded by Gloucestershire Community Support Fund to be used to support tennis activities for those who otherwise may not have access. This money is being spent on providing equipment and running heavily discounted courses. 

Our coach Joe has already approached several local primary schools to offer Easter and Summer Camp courses which will be free in some cases. To satisfy the criteria of the grant we are also offering supervised sessions for conditions such as dementia and anxiety. We have contacted the Nailsworth

Health Partnership (Marilyn Miles) and The Door project in Stroud. 2 individuals are already attending these sessions. 

  To re-surface the 2 main courts with tarmac will cost £26/ 27K with new posts etc. and would take approx 3 weeks to complete to allow for curing and painting. 

We are also looking at artificial grass as an alternative; this surface is now becoming popular with tennis clubs and would suit the demographics of the club. However it is more expensive – initially @ £33K. The manufacturers advise a 15 year lifetime; the surface is sand dressed and requires less maintenance, however it is really only suitable within a relatively debris-free environment. This is our preferred option at this time and we are arranging a visit to a club in Birmingham to try out this surface.

We are looking at several options to raise the extra funds including an increase in membership fees of 25%. We will also offer 3 year and 5 year memberships, slightly discounted, to hopefully generate the shortfall income. Whatever we do, the surface will not be liked by everyone and some will leave. 

  Whichever option we go for will result in our funds being virtually exhausted. Any assistance from a financial point of view would be welcome; one option I would ask you to consider is granting us a rent-free year; that option would allow us some operating funds up to the next rental payment due in April 2023”.

JD thanked MP for his comprehensive report; there followed a discussion about the re-surfacing and funding challenge; it was established that the Club’s AGM which has been postponed until February may reveal more about the likely funding result after their plea to members.

Action: No decision was made about offering any rent-free period at this time; JD will arrange a meeting with MP to consider options.                

  1. Phoenix Table-tennis, Circus Skills, Community Workshops – no written reports on this occasion  but it is clear that these user groups are currently very active with participants, classes and competitions. 


  1. Safeguarding:
  1. No safeguarding issues have been brought to attention since the last meeting;
  2. LH has approached TS suggesting they carry out a re-assessment of our Safeguarding Policy to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

      Action: Review to commence soon – LH and TS to report back to committee when concluded.


  1. Any Other Business:
  1. Business Plan 2020 / 23 Monitoring: LH said that he will produce the next 6-monthly report in April;



  1. LH had recently circulated to Trustees a comprehensive report on all the big and small improvements which had been delivered in the past 13 years of the renovation programme;
  2. IM informed the meeting that recently he had renewed the CCTV licence @ £99 and the GDPR licence @ £40. The CCTV system was working well;
  3. IM and MP separately brought to notice that some members of the School of Larks had recently played loud amplified music outside the building on The Village side and let off fireworks on the 3rd tennis court. 

All of this was done without authority and these lapses will be brought to the attention of SoL.    


  1. Date of Next Meeting:      

7.30pm Wednesday 9th March 2022; followed by 7.30pm Wednesday 11th May 2022


JD closed the meeting at 10.15pm and thanked everyone for attending.