Reports, Minutes & papers

Minutes of the NYCE Committee Meeting on Wednesday 20th January 2021

at 7.30pm conducted by Zoom conferencing


Les Haines (LH) Chair; Deirdre Lister (DL) Treasurer; Tracy Shipp(TS) Minutes; Fern Bratby (FB); 

Pam Brown (PB); Iain McIvor (IM);  Jonathan Duckworth (J D); Fred Ashworth (F A) Iain McIvor(IM); 

Dave Parker (DPa); Also in attendance: Alice Watson (AW )


 Simon Wade (SW) (work), Andy Hammond (AH) (bereavement), Mark Peer (MP) (work) and

 Derek Pitt (DPi): 

LH welcomed all attendees to the first meeting of 2021 and thanked IM for making the Zoom conferencing arrangements. He also reported the sad news that Andy’s wife, Carole, had passed away at the end of December. Messages of condolence have been sent to the family on behalf of the committee.

                1     Notes of Previous (Zoom) Committee Meeting following AGM on 25th November 2020: 

These were agreed and will be signed as a true copy by Chair. 

  1. Matters arising: 


2020 Annual General Meeting – Actions:

  1. Minutes were approved and will be signed as a true copy by Chair;
  2. Online reporting to the Charity Commission was undertaken by LH on the 9th December 2020 - accounts and charity governance; as Income and Expenditure were less than £25k, there were no additional requirements.
  3. Covid- 19 Related Issues:
  4. Update during latest lockdown restrictions/current usage: 

PB reported that Ruskin Mill is using the hall on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Cotswold Chine for 4 days, Marie is cleaning Monday, Wednesday and Friday. No other user groups are on site.

  1. Future bookings;

PB reported that there had been enquiries from Nailsworth Festival and some 1-1 teaching but the latter had fallen through.

  1. Finance:
  1. Financial position (DL)

DL reported that there was at present £46, 198 in the bank and she had circulated the accounts earlier; there was not much movement in the account as the £10k grant had been spent last year;

  1. Online banking had been organised and PB and TS had access to this but had not used it yet;
  2. Annual insurance premium and payment; the insurer’s proposal  had been scrutinised  by FB, LH and DPa , found to be satisfactory and the annual premium has now been paid; it totalled £1457.76
  3. Latest news on utilities (FB) 

FB reported that the water bill was still being investigated; as previously reported the bills are no longer managed by Severn Trent and she now had to prove who we are and provide proof of our charity /business rate status;  the account was on hold but DL had paid this recently. Smart meters are now installed although there was a problem with the Gas meter which is still being estimated. (FB action to continue to investigate). LH thanked FB for all her additional work on this subject caused totally by the incompetence and inadequate systems of the utility companies in question.

  1. Building Works / Grounds:
  1. Refurbishment of front room on ground floor – final update on project (PB)

PB reported that this was almost finished apart from some skirting boards;  slabs were going into the fireplace;  she had also noticed some salt deposits on the plaster. Action: PB to call the building contractor / plasterers to check this out soonest. (Site visit on 25th January and remedial action promised)

  1. Proposals received from School of Larks (Circus Skills) for installation of additional rigging – action taken to date, site investigations and decision on next steps. 

      FB, FA, LH acting as a sub-committee on behalf of NYCE have since the previous committee meeting been   

     in  protracted discussions through numerous emails and a site visit with Alice and Aimee of School of    

     Larks   who first presented the proposals for additional rigging at the end of November;  they have agreed    

     to  investigations of the integrity of the roof structure in consequence of the existing use of rigging  

     attached to the ceiling supporting beams, not only to check for any wear and tear but to find out how and 

     whether any additional rigging could be supported and the best structural solution; the existing rigging 

     work was carried out by competent riggers selected by SoL and included extreme load testing at the time 

     and it has been in frequent use since, apart from during the lockdowns;  

     There has been no independent survey of the roof trusses and beams since the whole building was  

     professionally surveyed in April 2008 (which led to the renovation programme) and NYCE has a  

     responsibility, anyway, in checking for any damp and rot in the roof space even if no additional rigging  

     was to be added; the whole of the loft was insulated with deep insulating material in 2012 supported by a 

     grant from Gloucestershire Environment Trust; 

     A chartered structural surveyor, Steve Johnson, who was engaged on 8 January, has done a preliminary  

     inspection of that part of the roof space which could be reached safely (without crawling boards) and has 

     made some provisional written recommendations. His invoice for £90 has now been paid by NYCE;

     Matters were progressed at a Zoom meeting on 18 January, which later led to i) FB booking Frampton 

     Consultants to do a damp / rot survey in early April when any bugs (if present) will be out of hibernation 

     and active again and ii) Alice finding a rigging surveyor prepared to do comprehensive tests and 

     measurements of the roof structure at a cost of £2100 (inc VAT); 

     In the current uncertain economic climate SoL are unsure about their long-term commitment to the 

     Subscription Rooms although they would like to think that their relationship will continue well into the 

     future; Trustees recognise the mutual benefits that this partnership brings to the life of the building; 

     The sub-committee is also researching whether to engage with Building Control at SDC to check whether 

     the work already carried out amounts to a ‘change of use’ or not;

      Some Trustees were of the view that some financial support could be offered by NYCE if requested for 

      the  rigging / structural investigations;  

Actions: Sub-committee to continue dialogue with SoL and to confer with DL, as treasurer, about the financial position. They will also check the SDC position. No decisions will be made before full committee d

  1. Maintenance of rearmost wall of building and ideas for improvement of equipment storage capability 

This will be re-pointed but work will be delayed until the spring and better weather for any works to be carried out. No action yet planned on additional storage. Action: FB to keep us informed of progress.

  1. Working parties – gardening tasks completed 17th November and 15th December  by LH, FB and DPa; cuttings taken to recycling centre. 

Action: Since the meeting LH and DPa have pencilled in 15th February for another session.

  1. Updates from User Groups:
  1. Tennis Club 

The Tennis club remains closed at present due to Covid -19; the Club is in constant contact with members;

  1. Phoenix Table-tennis 

The Table Tennis club remains closed at present due to Covid-19

  1. Circus Skills 

Circus skills remains closed at present due to Covid-19 

  1. Community Workshops

See Item 4.1 above

  1. Safeguarding:

There were no safeguarding issues at this time.


  1. Health & Safety / Fire Equipment Update:

LH reported that all fire equipment was checked on 15th December 2020 and was compliant. A further inspection will be done before the end of this month.

  1. Actions regarding parcel of land adjacent to the rear lane which is owned by NYCE:

LH explained that local residents (Mr & Mrs..............................) had put in an adverse possession claim to the Land Registry for a small parcel of land adjoining the Subscription Rooms lane. The original claim was dated 28th August 2019 and did not come to NYCE’s attention until late 27th November (after last meeting). LH has investigated but could find no evidence from maps and documents seen that it belongs to us; there is though a possibility that at some time in the future an application for building development may follow; if such an application included use of the lane for construction and then general access purposes once built it would have an impact on the charity and Trustees may wish to raise objections then; LH read out a letter which he had drafted on behalf of the Trustees to say that they reserved the right to raise objections if considered appropriate to do so and that Mr and Mrs ..........may wish to discuss the issue with the Trustees at any time.  Action:  LH to send the letter as drafted (Note: sent by Royal Mail 25th January). 

  1. Any Other Business:
  1. Defibrillator – still on hold because of Covid-19 , user groups still owe for their share of the cost on this.
  2. Basketball net   -  SW has asked outside the meeting if anyone is able to help with suggestions with funding; JD suggested a scheme run by Stroud District Council which may be applicable. Applications close on 29th January 2021.  It was suggested that this might be useful for other user groups as well. Action: LH to follow up with SW
  3. Company downsizing- furniture:  IM mentioned that in the next few months he will be involved with a company who are downsizing and may have some spare furniture to dispose of; he wondered if the committee would be interested in anything from this downsize. The committee agreed that anything to modernise the ‘café’ area would be welcome. 

Action: IM to keep us informed and take photos of any furniture.

  1. Maintenance -PB said that she had used the Ruskin Mill maintenance team recently when a toilet had become blocked (after use by their students) and that they are very good at coming to put right any problems caused by students there.
  2. Schedule of meetings for 2021:    

The following dates were agreed as suitable dates for this year’s meetings:-

Next meeting - 7.30pm Wednesday 17th March; whether Zoom or actual to be confirmed

7.30pm Wednesday 12th May

7.30pm Wednesday 7th July

7.30pm Wednesday 8th September

7.30pm Wednesday 24th November AGM; Committee meeting to follow for any urgent business    

        Approval of Minutes

        Signed ........... T L Haines

        Position .......... Chair of Trustees


         Date................. 17th March 2021









        NYCE/TS-24th Jan2021