Community Feedback

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM AGM ON 23RD AUGUST 2017

What are LCTS plans for the coming year?

LCT will be looking to engage with the development company and work with the community on new projects being applied for. It is hoped that with the establishment of the development company there will be more applications from the community.

 LCT will also be working with EDF to ensure the agreed changes are implemented and the Corriemoillie funds passed to LCT

 

What is happening about the GDCE Rebate Scheme?

John Fenwick of GDCE explained that GDCE had required clarification from LCT regarding the recent award as GDCE saw it as one application with different streams of work.  LCT regarded it as separate applications.  GDCE has now met with the LCT Board and can now progress with the rebate scheme. GDCE would like to meet with the Development Company to ascertain the best way to ensure uptake by all members of the community.  During the discussion it was noted that flyers are a good method of communication and John Fenwick stated that a number of communication mediums would be used.  It is hoped that the grant will start to be paid out by the end of the year.

 

Is it just one director who meets with the community groups to discuss applications?

When LCT has met with the Broadband group and GDCE it has been the whole Board who have attended the meetings.  At the meeting with GDCE John Bedwell attended as a member of GDCE and did not participate in the discussion that followed during the Board meeting

 

There is a need to review the conflict of interest regulations

The conflict of interest is clearly stated in the Articles of Association.  Alpin Stewart, LCT Solicitor, explained that it is OSCR and Charity law that states the requirement of conflict of interest and whilst it is difficult, as within a small community there will always be a conflict, it has to be adhered to.  It was clarified that an interested party may take part in an information meeting or discussion but they cannot participate in a grant making and award discussion.  A suggestion was made that there should be a meeting with all applicants before an award making meeting but Alpin Stewart advised that in most cases a meeting would not be required.  Alpin further explained that the idea behind OSCR’s regulations is to ensure that all decisions are seen to be made in a way that is clear and there can be no accusation at a later date.  It was agreed that where there were complex applications there should be more pre meetings and not a simple reliance on the application form.

 

Under the new banding structure projects over £100,000 may require additional expert help.  Should the Board set guidelines for this?

It was generally agreed that the Board should seek additional expert help required.  The review of applications is time consuming for directors and this may alleviate this.  However, directors have the local knowledge which can aid the review of applications.  

 

Improved Community Engagement

LCT has spent considerable time trying to engage with the community and whilst the first 2 community meetings were well attended there were only 7 members at the last meeting.  A suggestion was then made that whilst LCT had made improvements in its communication some members would like to see more, though there were no ideas as to how this could be achieved.  It was suggested that to encourage the community to become members of LCT there needs to be more grants that are awarded and have a visible benefit to the community now, such as the Energy rebate.

 Members’ input is important to LCT and the directors would like to encourage more members to participate in our general meetings.  Queries may also be raised with the Company Secretary at any time

Ed Tarr explained, in his role as the Chair of the Development Company, the first priority of the Development Company is to improve communication with the whole community and to set up communication channels.

NOTES FROM THE COMMUNITY MEETING HELD ON 13th JUNE 2017

 

Present:               7 LCT members

LCT Board:           Sharon Wright (Chair)    Jean Bailey                          John Bedwell        Karen Grant                       David Raeburn                  Jeanette Fenwick           Carol Smith (LCT Company Secretary)

Members and non-members were invited to the meeting to share their comments and suggestions on LCT.  SW welcomed all of the attendees and provided the update of activities since the last meeting as follows:

 

Update since last meeting on 6 February 2017

 Approved Grants

The following grants have been awarded since the last community meeting:

 

  1. Garve & district Energy Group

Rebate Scheme      £44,650   This is open to all households in the GDCC area and is £250  per household towards energy costs

 Household Energy     £7,400  This is open to all households towards the cost of energy efficiency measures within the home

 New local Energy       £8,436  To review the options.  However if these schemes are not Assessment  viable LCT will not fund further studies  

 Woodfuel business     £4,070           A decision has been postponed on this.  If you are interested                                                                       please contact the GDCE              

These initiatives have been supported as they were high within the community needs survey

 

  1. GDCC Ceilidh    £745           A community ceilidh in August

 

  1. Garve & District Broadband group

Satellite     £22,500 Installation or reimubursement of satellite      broadband to 42 houses. This is a one year solution

 Wireless  £10,200 For 3 surveys to be conducted for wireless broadband

 These initiatives have been supported as they were the highest priority on the community needs survey.  Although some of Garve has been upgraded to fibre broadband this is not across all of the community and the satellite and wireless broadband solutions offer an option for better broadband

 

  1. GDCC Set up costs for Development Company £250      

This was for the administration costs of establishing the development company.  LCT will remain separate from the development company

  

REJECTED GRANTS

The following grants were rejected:

  1.  Glenwyvis Distillery  £9,235   To establish a visitor centre in Dingwall.  Rejected as it is outwith and of no benefit to the GDCC area

 

  1. Strathconon Primary School £3,000   For trips and extra curricular activities.  Rejected as no children from the GDCC area  attend the school

 

 UPDATE ON CORRIEMOILLEIE WINDFARM FUNDS

Foundation Scotland has completed a review of Lochluichart Community Trust on behalf of EDF.  At a meeting on 17th May all parties had the opportunity to review and comment on the recommendations, following which a summary report has now been created.  EDF’s preferred route for funding is to channel it though LCT but there needs to be some changes to enable this as detailed below:

 

  1. Legal and Governance
  • LCT was established following the signing of the Community Benefit Agreement by LLP, Eneco and Highland council.
  • This agreement has some clauses which need to be altered including the ability to pay to individuals and the 4% administration cost cap.
  • EDF has been in contact with all parties and are currently seeking further legal advice on this. All parties are demonstrating willingness to change the agreement as necessary. 
  • The Articles of Association may also need to be altered

 

  1. Adminstration

Many of the recommendations by FS have been implemented including the following:

  • Review of the scoring matrix and banding
  • Project feedback monitoring form
  • Awards to be prioritised according to feedback from the community needs survey. The scoring process has been amended to reflect this
  • Support to be provided to applicants during the application process
  • Acceptance / rejection letters to be sent by Company Secretary
  • Distinguish between different levels of awards. This is achieved by the percentage required being larger for larger projects
  • Promotion of LCT through community website, social media etc

The following are to be actioned:

  • Director review programme including an induction programme, a Board code of conduct and a skills matrix of all directors
  • Multi year grants
  • To discuss with GDCC the potential for formal representation of LCT at CC meetings
  • Development and strategy day for the Board, to be run every 3 years

 

The following recommendations were rejected:

  • 20% of funds to be earmarked for projects outwith the area
  • FS to review the grant funding applications and make recommendations to the Board. It was felt that the community is better served with local directors reviewing and awarding the grants
  • Provide latest award reports to GDCC following each award making round. It was felt that LCT and GDCC should remain as 2 distinct organisations and the information is available on the community website if required
  • The template grant funding application provided by FS was rejected as it was felt that this was a large cumbersome document and moved away from the requirements that had previously been raised by members for simplicity.
  • Discontinue the process of a scoring matrix for the review of grant funding applications
  • Seek a minimum for impact figure from applicants. This was rejected as it was felt that this would put off applicants or applicants would assume that they would only get this figure
  • Director’s assessment of an application will not be considered if they can’t attend.
  • Paying grants electronically. This is not necessary due to the limited amounts of payment

The meeting was then opened to attendees

 

  1. Would LCT be spending less money on surveys with the establishment of the development company

A concern was raised that there has been money spent on feasibility surveys which have not produced a positive result.  Whilst it was agreed by LCT and other members present that there has been funds spent these have been necessary as many community groups would not be able to fund it themselves and expert advice is required.  It is also envisaged that once the development company is established it will be able to obtain other options of funding.  However, LCT is aware of the concern and has made it a condition of a recent grant that if the feasibility study does not produce a positive result no further funding for feasibility studies will be made available.

 

  1. A level of caution needs to be adopted with ongoing changes (ie to application) and members should be consulted

A concern was raised that if processes are continually changed this could alter the decision regarding the funding of an application.  A suggestion was made that these decisions should be put to members but it was generally agreed that the LCT directors are elected by the members to make decisions.

JGB also commented that whilst it would be good to gain greater community involvement there is a general level of apathy in the community demonstrated in the numbers that have put themselves forward as members of the development company.  LCT now has a facebook page, website and community meetings but cannot force members of the community to engage.  It is hoped that with the establishment of the development company a full time development officer will be recruited and they will be able to engage with the community and turn ideas into action

 

  1. There should be more community involvement with decision making in relation to EDF funds

SW explained that EDF have held a number of community consultation meetings and commissioned FS to review LCT processes and as part of this have interviewed past and present directors and applicants.  SW explained that following the draft publication of a 47 page report a meeting was held on 17th May between EDF, Foundation Scotland and LCT to discuss the initial findings of the FS review of LCT.  There were a number of recommendations (as detailed above) that LCT rejected, in line with previous comments and suggestions from LCT members (ie – FS recommended 20% of the funds should be ringfenced for projects outwith the LCT area.  This was rejected by LCT as members had stated at previous community meetings that the funds should remain within the area.)  Following the meeting a summary document has been produced by FS and this will now be published to all members of the GDCC area.  The summary document has been made available to members at the earliest possible opportunity following the detailed and comprehensive review involving EDF, FS and the LCT directors.  Members are welcome to comment on the document or to seek clarification via the LCT Company Secretary.

 

  1. Larger scale project applicants would benefit from meeting with directors to discuss the application and not have the application reviewed just on the application form

LCT has already engaged with some groups (ie Broadband group) but will enable scope for conversations outside the application form with large value applications.  It was also suggested that an exec summary of key points should be provided for large scale projects and this will be checked as part of the pre application check conducted by the Company Secretary.

Following the public meeting, the board has received a request for a meeting with GDCE to clarify elements of their original application and discuss the delivery and impact of the project as a whole going forward.  The date is being arranged

 

  1. Have the £5,000 funds from Green Highland Renewables for the Luyb Hydro been claimed

This has not been claimed but will be chased up

 

  1. LCT and the development company

It was suggested that, as there have been so few applications to be a member of the development company, there may be some confusion as to whether residents are able to be members of the development company and LCT.  CS offered to send out the development company information and application form to LCT members.  It was also suggested that GDCC may need to create a flyer to explain the role of the development company.

There was also a discussion as to the interaction between LCT, the development company and the wider community.  It was recommended that there should be representatives from all of the community groups as part of the development company.

The meeting was followed by a brief informal update from the Broadband Working Group.

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NOTES FROM THE COMMUNITY MEETING HELD ON 6th FEBRUARY

 

Present:               14 LCT members

LCT Board:           Sharon Wright                   Jean Bailey                          John Bedwell

Karen Grant                       David Raeburn                  Jeanette Fenwick

Carol Smith (LCT Company Secretary)

Apologies:           Jennifer Haslam

 

Members and non-members were invited to the meeting to share their comments and suggestions on LCT.  Invitations had been sent to all members by either email or post and posters had been placed up at Garve Hall, Post Office and Achnasheen in order that non- members were also aware of the meeting.  Information was also placed on the LCT website and facebook page.

Sharon Wright introduced all of the directors, welcomed everybody and thanked them for coming.

The attendees were informed of the key updates since the last community meeting being:

 

  1. Draft minutes of the Board meeting are posted on the website “Minutes” page, and emailed or posted to all members. Final minutes are available on the website

 

  1. The facebook page is being used to update members with information and grant requests. This is also being used by members to communicate with LCT.  To become a facebook member you just need to send a request and provided you are a member of LCT it will be accepted

 

  1. A summary of the grant funding applications are posted on the website “Outstanding and Previous Applications” page and also on the facebook page previous to the grant funding application. Please note that LCT will not comment on grant awards previous to the Board reviewing them and making a grant award

 

  1. The revised scoring matrix, which was presented to members at the AGM in July 2016 has been used by the Board for 2 rounds of applications, being September and December 2016. This is currently under further review by the directors.  Please note that the final grant award decision remains with the directors, as stated in the Grant Funding Application Guidance notes

 

  1. The frequency of application has been changed to quarterly with application deadlines being 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. Notification of the submission deadlines is on the website

 

  1. The LCT Company Secretary has provided support to applicants to ensure all the correct information is obtained to support the application. The most recent example of this is the support given to Strathgarve Parent Council.

 

  1. As part of the process for the allocation of the fund from EDF for the Corriemoillie Windfarm, LCT has met with Foundation Scotland who is conducting a review on behalf of EDF. It is anticipated that the report will be available and presented to the community in March 2017

 

  1. Project feedback is requested from successful applicants 6 months after their award and this is posted on the website

 

  1. Clarification has been sought from Alpin Stewart of George Street Law as to the definition of an initiative. Under section 1.2 and 1.3 of the Highland Council agreement it stated that the objective of LCT is to provide financial support for groups or initiatives that are of benefit to the Garve Area.

 

  1. Applications will not be reviewed until all necessary supporting paperwork is received by the Company Secretary. The application must be received by the Company Secretary at the closing dates.  This will be reviewed to ensure completeness before being sent to directors review within 7 days of the closing date for applications.  Directors will then review the application and respond with any questions or clarification within 7 days.  The Company Secretary will contact the applicants with the outstanding requirements.  The award decision will not be made by the Directors until all information and clarification has been satisfactorily received.   The board will review the application at the board meeting following this.

There was agreement from the attendees present that the Board had covered the points that had been previously raised and implemented actions.

The meeting was then opened to attendees

 

  1. Initiatives

Having been provided with clarification from Alpin Stewart regarding the definition of an initiative CS also explained that whilst an individual could raise an initiative on behalf of the community the recommendation is that there was a formal group for the initiative.  It was also reiterated that the Company Secretary is able to help potential applicants with the application process.

 

  1. Has the LCT Board has been in discussion with GDCC regarding the establishment of a development company?

SW explained that LCT had provided funds for the community needs survey but the Board felt it was more appropriate to stand back from the process and that LCT needs to be seen as a separate entity with separate membership.

Whilst acknowledging the independence of LCT, there was a further discussion amongst the attendees regarding the setting up of the development company.

 

  1. What percentage is required on the scoring matrix to obtain funding for a project?

The percentage required depends on the value of the project.  However, the % required is currently under review

 

  1. How did Dingwall academy get funding for the Rock Challenge?

Funding was provided as it fulfilled the criteria required by LCT.  At the time of the application LCT confirmed with Dingwall academy that there are children from the GDCC area who are involved with the project.

 

  1. Has the criteria changed and applicants do not now need to be constituted?

All previous applicants have been constituted but as clarification had now been sought from Alpin Stewart this does not need to be the case, though it is still advisable

 

  1. Is it advisable for the EDF funds to go to LCT?

This is being reviewed independently by Foundation Scotland on behalf of EDF.  The Articles of Association may need to be altered to reflect 2 funding streams and this is not an unusual practice

 

  1. Will a development company have to meet the same criteria as any other applicant?

The development company will have to meet the same criteria but will be able to spearhead projects on behalf of the community.  For example the development company could operate an energy saving initiative and receive the funds for this from LCT and redistribute it to the community.  The development company will face the same restrictions on projects as other applicants.

 

  1. Education and training grants

Sue Tarr explained that she is part of the steering group that has been established by EDF with representatives from each of the CC areas.

 

  1. Why do Eneco wish to remove an appointed director?

Eneco are considering this as they feel that LCT is operating in the manner expected of it as per the Community agreement.

The meeting was followed by a presentation by the Broadband Working Group.

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LCT RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNITY MEETING HELD ON 14TH SEPTEMBER

The directors discussed the comments from the community meeting at the LCT Board meeting on Monday 3rd October.  The directors were pleased with the openness of discussion and the willingness to share ideas

The key points raised are noted below with responses from the Board:

 

  1. Has the Board discussed changes in the Articles?

CS Note:  There are 2 governing documents.  The Articles determine how LCT operates legally a company.  The Community Benefit Agreement governs the operations and grant funding of LCT

The LCT Board can, and has, made changes to the Articles.  The latest changes were amendments to the number of member directors and an amendment to the director terms and retirement process.  This was as voted on and agreed by the members at the AGM in July 2016

 

  1. Applications process – It was felt that grants were paid outwith the HC Agreement

The LCT Board has this year amended the application scoring process and adopted a more detailed matrix to allow for improved review of grant funding applications, as presented to members at the AGM.  The current directors are unable to comment on previous application awards but would welcome any comments and suggestions for the current process

 

  1. Applications to be made available prior to the Board decision to allow for member comments.

The LCT Board understands the comments made by members regarding applications being made available.  Following discussion it was agreed that a summary of grant applications and sums requested would be made available on the website prior to grant award.

 

The Board did not feel it appropriate for the full application to be made available to members as the new scoring matrix enables objective decision making.  The directors are voted to the role by the members and as such are empowered to make decisions regarding grant funding applications.

 

  1. Frequency of applications and awards – the public meeting could be used for grant applicants to present their application. It is currently proposed to have 3 community meetings per year being in January / May and September

LCT will be amending its grant awards to quarterly being 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. 

 

The Board did not feel it appropriate to request applicants to present at the public meetings as it was felt that this might be onerous for some applicants and prevent applications being sent to LCT

 

  1. LCT could publish a summary of the grants pre award

LCT will publish a summary of the grant applications and funding requested previous to the Board reviewing the applications.

 

  1. Members to be emailed/posted minutes of meetings to prevent misinformation

Final minutes will be emailed/posted to all members following their sign off

 

  1. Will the community be consulted on whether they want EDF to give the funds to LCT?

Foundation Scotland held workshops on behalf of EDF to achieve community feedback and this was distributed to all participants.  The feedback will also be posted to the LCT website.

 

LCT are meeting with EDF and Foundation Scotland to discuss further the potential funding from the Corriemoille wind farm

 

  1. Will LCT help applicants to be aware of other external funding

LCT is able to offer help to applicants for LCT grant funding through the Company Secretary. 

 

Unfortunately LCT does not have the knowledge or experience to aid applicants of other external funding bodies.  However this support may be provided by SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations).

 

  1. LCT should consider favourably setting up a development company

LCT appreciates members’ comments and has previously sought legal advice as to the process for setting up a development company.  However, the directors are waiting for the results of the GDCC community survey and are currently unable to comment regarding the establishment of a development company. 

 

  1. Would it be possible to employ a development officer and how would this be funded. It could be a shared resource with other community funds

As with point 9 above LCT is waiting for the results of the GDCC community survey and is currently unable to comment

 

  1. Is there any feedback to see if a project has been completed and how the funds were spent? Could this be put on the website

LCT received feedback from all successful grant applicants and a summary of this will be posted on the website.

 

  1. Would it be possible to put a suggestion box within the local community

It was felt that a suggestion box would be difficult to administer but comments can be made to the Company Secretary by post, email or facebook