FORGAN ARTS CENTRE
Annual General Meeting Minutes
Sunday 24th June 2018
Caishlan Sweeney (Chair), Kirsty Martin (Secretary), Lynsey Smiles (acting Treasurer),
Clare Coleman, Christina Alt
Alana Peden, Renee Hepburn, Suzan Hutchison, Frances Watt, Moira Mackie, Stuart Mackie, Carol Scullion, Penny Halliwell, Cat Jones, Fran Sauberlich, Mark Phillips, Ronald Brown, Beatrice Burns, Flo Kinnear, Joanna Johnston, Jennifer McIntosh, Gillian Cameron, Ann McFadyen, Ruth MacBeth, Delia Abel, Mairi Sloan, Laura Ammann, Susan Gibson, Irene Coulthard, Wynne Carter, Marjory Sprunt, Eric Sprunt, Janet Foulkes, Elizabeth Berry
Cllr Tim Brett, Elaine Newton, Deborah Chapman, Mark McGreehan, Gail Davidson, Johanne Phillips
Val Fraser, Norma Ross, Sarah Draper, Kate Martin, Sheena Watson, Cllr Jonny Tepp
1. Opening Remarks
a. The meeting was opened just after 7pm with Caishlan Sweeney as Chair and Kirsty Martin taking minutes. With 33 members present, the meeting was quorate and remained quorate throughout. The Chair thanked everybody for coming and welcomed all to the 2018 AGM.
2. Minutes of the 2017 AGM
a. K. Martin asked if all in attendance had seen the Minutes.
b. A small number of members had not seen them. It was explained that they were made available to all members through a Mailchimp newsletter as well as a hard copy being up in the Centre. In order for everyone to see them next year:
i. Put on FAC website
ii. Hard copy in FAC
iii. Members can request that they are posted
iv. Attached to email / newsletter
c. Minutes were proposed by L. Smiles and seconded by K. Martin.
3. Matters Arising
a. No matters were arising from the Minutes.
4. Chair’s Report
a. Welcome to this Annual General Meeting for Forgan Arts Centre.
This year, like many, has been busy and demanding but I would like to take this time to look forward before looking back.
b. As many of you know, the committee have been working hard to secure the lease of this building. We are now enjoying good communications with St Fort Estate and their solicitors but as these discussions are part of ongoing negotiations we are unable to give you any further information at this point, I hope you understand this on behalf of both the committee and St Fort Estate. As soon as we have more concrete information we will be in touch with all our members and supporters.
d. I am delighted to highlight the exciting developments we have seen across the workshops and activities during the year and I would like to thank Alana for her tireless work and efforts to bring these opportunities to us all and for her work throughout the year. I would also like to thank Liz Kerr who makes sure we have a clean, secure and working building.
e. This year we have also taken on a new Freelance Marketing Officer, Andrea Habeshaw, who has working closely with Alana to help us grow our profile and increase awareness and participation, so I would like to welcome Andrea. It is important that we continue to raise awareness and encourage engagement with Forgan Arts Centre, and even more so as we move forward in our negotiations to secure the lease.
f. It has been my pleasure once again this year to witness the sometimes enormous efforts of the voluntary committee and I would like to extent my sincere thanks and acknowledgment to the hard work that you do all year round.
g. As always, we would encourage and welcome anyone to join the committee and help to secure Forgan’s future, so if anyone would like to get involved please let us know.
h. We continue to do well financially, and Lynsey is going to tell us more about shortly during her report.
i. I would also like to thank the many supporters of our Centre, including Fife Voluntary Action, Fife Council, Tim Brett, Sheena Watson and Paul Eyles.
j. Finally, I would like to thank all of you, our members, and tutors, for your continued support and loyalty.
Caishlan Sweeney, Chair
5. Treasurer’s Report
a. Firstly may I thank Caishlan on behalf of the committee and the wider members for all of your hard work over the last two years as Chair. I am very glad that you are continuing with the committee and I am looking forward to building upon the work already started.
b. With that in mind it is time to move on to the big news of the year. Forgan Arts Centre has reached a very significant crossroads in its’ life, brought upon by circumstances outwith our control. As part of our move away from Fife Council we needed to discover who owned the building that we use in order to allow us to apply for capital funding to help us repair and improve it. It was discovered by the legal team at Fife Council that the building is owned by St Fort Estate, who we made contact with at the end of last year. After several friendly meetings with the family they instructed a lawyer to take over proceedings. It became clear that the family were not amenable to the idea of allowing us to continue to inhabit the building with similar terms to those we had with the Council, nor were they prepared to let us have a long lease which would be required before any capital funds could be applied for. The terms that were offered included a five year lease and incrementally climbing rent of a not inconsiderable amount as well as having full responsibility for the repair and upkeep of the building, fixtures and fittings. Despite Forgan doing well and managing to at least break even over recent years, we do not currently make enough money to make this a feasible option. We met with Cllr Brett and representatives from Fife Council where we discussed the options open to us. We looked at the possibility of moving to another building and also at the option to buy. When it became clear that we were not going to be able to comply to St Fort’s terms, we went back to them to ask whether purchasing the building would be an option and this is the path that we are currently pursuing. The building is valued at £150,000, however we do not know how much the Estate would want for it. There are funds available that could help us with the purchase however a lot of work is required before we could even apply. This includes rewriting our Constitution to bring it in line with the funding requirements alongside fundraising the rest of the monies required.
c. Forgan Arts Centre has stood proudly for over forty years, providing a space for learning, creativity, friendship and a sense of belonging. The community that exists here is multi-generational, made up of families and individuals who all add to the glorious work that is produced here by the bucket load, and often by the kiln load. Alana has, over the last two years, steered the Centre to its busiest and most rewarding chapter, bringing Forgan Arts from being a good Arts Centre to being an excellent one. But she hasn’t achieved that alone. Our management committee works hard year round and our members are wonderful at giving back, whether it’s making products for our Christmas Fayre, manning the teapots and cake table at Open Gardens or standing around in the cold helping fire raku pots at Open Days, our community of tutors and students work together to ensure our continued success. It is this that shores up my confidence in this ambition to become self sufficient and sustaining. There is a long road ahead of us and a lot of work to be done but if we can pull together working towards our common goal then I know we can achieve anything we set our minds to. With that in mind I need to ask each and every one of you to have a think about what you can do to support us through this time. You might have legal expertise that could help us in rewriting our Constitution, you might know of a fund that we can apply for or contacts we should be making. And of course, we still need the tea making, stall filling, raku firing teams to help us run the Centre effectively throughout. It might be as simple as checking that the class you attend has tidied up after themselves. Every little bit of support will make a difference. But most of all, I’m asking you to trust us, to do the very best we can for Forgan Arts Centre, a place that we are passionate about, a place we love from the bottom of our creative hearts.
Lynsey Smiles (acting Treasurer)
d. Discussion followed covering the following points:
i. As long as FAC remains a place of education, can we not continue as we are?
ii. Right of Occupation – S. Mackie suggests asking Fife Council because FAC has been here for 40 years. We may have rights ‘by prescription’...(Prescription is the process of acquiring rights and in particular obtaining a good title to land as a result of the passage of time).
iii. C. Scullion offers to look into historical Minutes of Forgan School, before it became FAC, to see if anything comes to light.
iv. A vote followed to allow amendment of the Constitution. 28 votes in favour.
v. R. Hepburn suggests to contact Peter Regent, a local resident who may know something about the beginnings of FAC.
6. Financial Report
The Financial Report is attached as Appendix 1.
7. Centre Co-ordinator’s Report
a. We have listened to feedback from our members and staff and:
i. Created an even wider range of classes at variable times throughout the week and terms.
ii. Provided more weekend workshops for those who work or look after children during the week, with new arts and crafts disciplines to work people’s imaginations and skills.
iii. Created new areas for tutors to store their materials, and invested in some new materials and equipment.
iv. We have a second kiln up and running with plans for a larger kiln to be put in place for those wanting to experiment working with larger items.
v. Provided a new locked post box in the hall for payments, bookings or messages when the office is closed.
b. We have faced many challenges this year including heating issues as the snow fell, flooding as the snow melted and then we were hit with a spot of plumbing to do! Thankfully all of this is now in the past and did not cause too much disturbance.
c. We are ever grateful for the Recurring Grant that we receive from Fife Council, and especially with the current situation, their on-going advisory support. They have been in contact all the way through the buildings ownership issues and we cannot thank them enough.
d. Our 4 term year has allowed the Centre to open it’s doors year round and we have a created a very popular kids club which now runs for a whopping 8 weeks of the year throughout school holidays when the Centre is not in use. This provides art and craft and ceramic skills and fun to children where it is now lacking in schools due to funding cuts. This has opened us to new people making use of the Centre who previously had not attended, and their friends.
e. There are many new classes and workshops being added to our timetable each term, and this past year has been no different. We have seen students become assistants and even tutors after many years of attending classes, which is a great achievement for both them and for the Centre itself. We have some exciting new tutors added to the bill too, with fabulous new classes on offer, who are well known in the arts and who exhibit across the UK and even overseas. We are very proud of our programme at Forgan and hope that our members are too.
f. We continue to work with the local schools on community projects where we can, recently working with the Brownies creating a Snail Trail for the Newport Festival and Newport in Bloom creating a ceramic star for every person who lost his life in the RAF from this area during the First World War. These will be displayed at Tay Road Bridge and at the Rail Bridge. We have been working with Assisted Learning adults from all over Fife, teaching them new skills and generally having an absolute blast. We have also been working with Fife-based community groups providing activities, projects and skills development.
g. We have secured funding for a small project that promotes an anti-tobacco message to the young. This is going to be done by creating positive messages through ceramics. You can read more about this free project in our brochure. If you know any 14-24 year olds who might be interested and would like some free ceramics classes, then please let them know. Also, can I ask that members take away some brochures and help share these around friends and neighbours.
h. Open Gardens and Open Studios this year were just tremendous and the turn out was wonderful. We had all sorts of activities and we really wowed newcomers. Open Gardens has raised the percentage of the fundraising donated to Forgan Arts Centre to 60%, so this is just fantastic news!
i. Investment in a Raku kiln has created much excitement, with people coming from all over Fife, following our smoke signals. Yet another reason for people to visit Forgan with this unique offering! We even had a Raku fundraiser and there were over 50 people queued up to take a peek!
j. We have repainted the floors and cleared out cupboards and moved furniture and there’s so much still to do! If anyone ever has time to volunteer, please do let us know as we are always short of manpower! As I said last year, keeping on top of a Centre that is open all year round, weekends and holidays, is a lot of work, so please bear with us while we try to get things just right. We are always grateful for any help, be it to water plants, bake cakes, distribute brochures, serve tea at our events, give a demo or a talk, or to provide us with your wisdom and advice! Feel free to pop by the office or drop us an email if that’s easier. Anyone thinking about joining the Committee should contact our Secretary Kirsty, or can pass information on via the office.
k. Our time is really strained right now as we sort through the situation with the building, and while we are without a Marketing Coordinator or a Cleaner/Caretaker. We have a card here for people that would like to wish Liz Kerr the best and we will be starting a collection to buy her a gift. In the meantime, the Committee and myself are trying to pick up as many extra tasks as we can manage and ask our students to be vigilant in tidying their mess during class behind them. The corridor will be cleared again once the Kids Club is over and the shelving unit has been shifted to a new home.
l. Last year we went digital! Recreating all our files digitally allowed us to have a proper look at how Forgan is doing, giving us a way to track our performance and spot what we can improve, and where we might have a chance to grow, which we have! We still aim to further develop our digital resources in the future to relieve admin time and enable us to offer a more streamlined service to our members. Our new Committee member Carol Scullion has been in conversation with St Andrews University regarding the creation of a project that will tie together all of the files we use to create a more time efficient and workable frame.
m. This brings us swiftly on to GDPR. Due to data protection we have unfortunately had to close the office to students when I am not in the office. The Xerox machine has been moved into the hall for now. Our data policy can be found on our website, but in basic terms, we do not share your details with anyone what so ever, even your tutors.
n. Thank you all again for your continuous support and advice. The positive feedback that we receive from you all, and the fabulous work coming out of the classes really lights us up.
Alana Peden, Centre Coordinator
7. Election of Committee Members
a. Biographies of 5 proposed committee members were read out:
i. Gail Davidson
I am fairly new to becoming involved with Forgan Arts Centre. I was invited to join the committee and I am yet to find out how my skills might help the centre. I contacted the centre when trying to find a fun venue for an end of term party for Wormit Primary 7. I found that there are very few places that can cater for a large party of children and Forgan Arts Centre has lots of good things to offer for this type of gathering! If Forgan Arts Centre is thinking of doing more of this perhaps I can help to promote this sort of thing? In my late teenage years, my family bought a hotel. We all worked our weekends and holidays there, so I suppose this is where my enthusiasm for event management, hosting and catering for large gatherings began. Perhaps those skills will come in handy too?
ii. Christina Alt
Christina Alt came to Fife five years ago and is a lecturer in English at St Andrews. She started taking pottery classes at Forgan in 2016 and was immediately hooked. She finds the processes of making pottery simultaneously absorbing, challenging, and relaxing. In addition to discovering a love of pottery at Forgan, she discovered a great community of fellow enthusiasts, and it is this sense of community that prompted her to want to join the FAC committee.
iii. Carol Scullion
I am a recent middle-aged arrival in Monifieth. After nearly 20 years of running my science and technology business consultancy, I have bowed to the reality that the work is no longer out there and wound up my company late last year. So having been forced into early semi-retirement – I remain optimistic that I will still be asked to do the odd wee job now and again - I returned to Zumba, badminton and I also started upholstery classes with Jacki at Forgan to maintain some semblance of activity and brain function. I really enjoy the classes and the people I have met and it is a lovely place to come to and escape! A lot of my work has focussed on writing and evaluation funding proposals for businesses and academic/industrial collaborations and delivering sales, marketing, events and business development support, I thought my experience might be of use to the Centre. It also might be fun to meet more interesting people and get more involved with the Centre so seeing the request for committee members has come at a timely moment.
iv. Kate Martin
My work experience (before I retired in 2014) was Community Education in Aberdeenshire and the Highlands (16 yrs) including 2 years as Community Arts Coordinator for the Highlands & Islands, then teaching community work at Dundee Uni for 20 years. Although it’s a long time since I was directly involved in community work, my job in the Highlands was mainly working with people to set up legal structures for organisations & sourcing funding. Forgan is such a brilliant organisation, it deserves all support it can get& I would be pleased to help in some way if I can.
v. Deborah Chapman
Deborah’s main education is in the Arts but she also has experience in her professional and personal life which has driven her passion surrounding mental health issues. Over the last 3 years she has taken training courses in Mental Health First Aid and other classes relating to various mental health conditions and care. Through the art of puppetry she has facilitated workshops relating to these themes where she combines and provides this art form as expression by giving a voice to all ages.
b. The votes were as follows: All five were proposed by C. Sweeney and seconded by L. Smiles, with unanimous votes to join the Committee. With this result, K. Martin welcomed them onto the Committee.
c. With C. Sweeney standing down as chair, we would like to vote L. Smiles into this role. Proposed by K. Martin; seconded by C. Coleman. Also votes for K. Martin to continue as Secretary. Unanimous votes were cast in favour.
d. Treasurer role is empty, but we have someone interested (David Gill). Once he has met the Committee this week and should he decide to take on the role, he will be co-opted on until a formal vote can be taken at a member’s meeting.
e. Committee members who left this year: Anna Beedham, Calum Laird, Elizabeth Price, Emma Ryland (co-opted), Theresa Gill (co-opted). The Committee now consists of the following 9 members, with 6 vacancies:
Lynsey Smiles (Chair)Gail Davidson
Kirsty Martin (Secretary)Carol Scullion
Empty (Treasurer)Kate Martin
Clare ColemanDeborah Chapman
Caishlan SweeneyChristina Alt
K. Martin thanked all the committee for putting themselves forward to carry out these roles.
8. Any Other Business
a. Question relating to GDPR and next of kin contact details.
b. A new policy is suggested for tutors, in case of emergency. Suggestion to add this on to existing membership form.
c. Question raised about PVG. We are in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups system managed by Disclosure Scotland and when appropriate, the Centre requires tutors to apply to join the scheme.
The Chair declared the meeting closed at 8pm.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FORGAN ARTS CENTRE
Following on from the Forgan Future Fest, we will be hosting our AGM at 8pm. Please make a cup of tea, grab a biccy and join us!
FORGAN ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING