Minutes of trustees’ meeting on 31 January 2018

In attendance: Antonia Gross/Chris Smith (Co-chairs), Linsey Macdonald (Secretary), Liz Day, Lucie Russell, Beth Barber, Derek Hoare, Andrew Oxley, Kate Sebag. Paul Shrubsall (volunteer) also attended as an observer.
1 Andrew was introduced as our new treasurer and was co-opted as a trustee under Article 27.2.

2 New building: Trustees had all considered and provided feedback on the original proposal for the classroom/education centre. General consensus is that this would be very positive for BPCG but that we may currently lack the resource to deliver it. Chris presented on the classroom/education centre project and a new proposed footprint adjoining and incorporating part of the upper greenhouse, with additional storage in a separate shed/hut near the gate. A discussion ensued in which the following considerations were raised:
(a) Need to consider potential funding and the business model before opting for a particular specification for the project.
(b) Need for storage space
(c) Possibility of incorporating an office
(d) Need for it to be a multi-functional space
(e) Whether we are now considering two sets of toilets (NB safeguarding issues) and two kitchens
(f) Competition for funding from Brixton Windmill’s new education centre
(g) Effect on UGH, particularly growing space and event space (and both GH are in urgent need of renovation).
(h) Open sheds are under-used and a re-think is needed on these
(i) Education requirements remain as per earlier survey. The kitchen specification in the earlier plan may need to be upgraded.
(j) New building obviously needs to be integrated into the 5 year plan, which should be ready for May meeting.
2. It was proposed and agreed that an action group should be set up to capture any new requirements and create a new specification, to put us in a position to approach experts for appropriate advice. The action group will report to the May trustee meeting. £6,000 has been reserved for the next phase of planning. The action group will meet for 5 sessions of 2 hours each and will consist of at least 5 people (trustees, volunteers and staff if they wish to be involved). Anyone interested to contact Chris.

3. Trustee skills audit – Beth had prepared a summary of the skills we have, the skills we need and the gaps. We have a broad spread of general skills. Key gaps are in local government links, fundraising including crowdfunding, sales development/new income streams. Options for filling these gaps include outsourcing on an ad hoc basis and/or recruitment of new trustees.

4. Trustee vacancies: We have 3 vacancies on the board. Chris proposed that the new trustees have defined roles (see proposal in the agenda) and a firm time commitment of 2 days a month, working with volunteers as necessary on projects. It was agreed that the Staffing Group will meet to develop role descriptions for 3 new trustee roles, with a view to new trustees being on board by July 2018. On the question of fundraising, Beth and Lucie cautioned against focussing too closely on local fundraising at the expense of larger national funders which are likely to be more lucrative. Kate pointed out that the staffing matrix may need to be revisited as well to ensure we have the right mix of skills/responsibilities overall.

5. Decision making policy – this was circulated in advance of the meeting and was approved.

6. Treasurer role – it was agreed that Andrew will be a bank signatory with Chris and Kate. Andrew said he wants a second pair of eyes on the bank account and he will bring bank statements to meetings. He will liaise with Rosie regarding the final handover of duties.

7. Staff reports were reviewed. It was agreed that the CG report can be shortened.

8. It was agreed that Cat’s contract should be extended to 31 August 2018.

9. Minutes of the November 2017 meeting were approved.

Dates of 2018 meetings:
14 March at Kate’s
16 May at UGH
18 July at UGH
12 September at UGH
AGM 30 September
14 November, venue TBC

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