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Comrie Development Trust - September E-Bulletin 
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COMRIE DEVELOPMENT TRUST
NEWS UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2016
2016 - Year of Challenges and Changes
Comrie Development Trust Board and staff have been experiencing a year of challenges to the basic operations of the Trust related to financial shortfalls. At the same time the Board have been trying work to deliver more of the huge potential that community owned Cultybraggan Camp still has to benefit Comrie. In January, TV’s Antiques Road trip featured the camp. It feels like CDT has been on a bit of a rollercoaster drive since then.
The greatest part of the development work has focused on the proposed Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering (CHSC) development, now involving 214 community shareholders, including 139 from the Comrie area.  The CHSC Management Committee, elected by the first annual shareholders meeting in February, has been working hard alongside CDT on plans for the project, with the final application for its major funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund submitted at the end of August. The funding bid was made far more complex and uncertain by the very substantial increase in project costs brought about by the results of the market study and resulting shift from bunkhouse proposals to quality family accommodation. The outcome of this funding bid will not be known until the end of November.
 
The foundations for business development have already been laid, the camp has 21 local businesses involving 45 employees, including: – food industries, craft businesses, gardening, furniture making and other local trades. The repairing lease scheme continues to deliver great development opportunities to small businesses, looking for a base to produce and promote products and services and for community uses.
 
The full range of what have become the normal activities at Cultybraggan Camp have continued across the year through the monthly Heritage Tours, Orchard events, the community allotments, producing another good crop, Comrie in Colour (with the Awards Ceremony in Aberdeen on 14th September), the Brownies, Outdoor Playgroup, and many others. The Camp has huge potential for a full events programme, and so far, this year has hosted a series of events, including the annual Strathearn Marathon, the Scottish Vintage Motorcycle Rally, the Gordon Highlanders Re-Enactment Group, Car boot sales and two visits by Lanarkshire Paranormal, and a CDT Fun Day. Hands on History education sessions have continued for school groups.  Coming up is Doors Open Day Weekend, with free heritage tours from 11 am with the last tour starting at 3 pm. Additional huts will be open for viewing, as well as Military vehicles and displays.
Upcoming events
Doors Open Day Weekend                                    24th and 25th September
Orchard work day                                                     2nd October
Last Heritage Guided Tours day of 2016             2nd October
Apple Day – produce, picking and pressing        9th October
 
Cultybraggan Heritage Self-Catering.
CDT Finances
                                                                                                         
The CDT is asset rich, but cash poor.  It has net assets of £600,000, but a projected annual deficit of £40,000 for 5 years, at which time there is a projected surplus from the Heritage Self Catering project.  The £300,000 bank loan, used to purchase the site, has now been fully paid off, and there has been significant investment in Camp improvements, creating an even more valuable asset.
 
CDT Board actions already taken this year to deal with the serious budget problems include: staff reductions; village office closure; Camp office, with reduced opening hours; admin savings; Camp maintenance reductions; energy cost renegotiation; action on debtors; and loan rescheduling. CDT has also made numerous grant applications to major funders, smaller regional funders and military charities for financial assistance to fill the 5-year revenue gap and the capital shortfall for the self-catering project. The loss of admin support before April this year has already resulted in poorer communications with members and a lack of updating information through bulletins, Quair updates, publication of board minutes, and news on the CDT website.
 
Through its membership of the Development Trusts Association for Scotland (DTAS), CDT arranged a meeting in August with major funders, who might be able to offer support and financial assistance. The meeting was chaired by Iain Cooke of DTAS, and attended by a series of organisations the CDT Board had already been in discussions with over the year: The Scottish Government (Regeneration Unit); Perth & Kinross Council Business Development And Investment Team; PKC Conservation; PKC LEADER Programme; The Big Lottery; Scottish Enterprise/Business Gateway; The Climate Challenge Fund; Visit Scotland; The Energy Savings Trust; The Heritage Lottery Fund; Historic Environment Scotland; and The Architectural Heritage Fund. At the meeting, DTAS said that they had considered what actions had already been taken and that CDT had already done everything they would have recommended a community organisation to do.
 
Currently, the Trust’s main areas of yearly expenditure – £103,000 – for site maintenance, security and energy costs, are essential and cannot be further reduced. The CDT Board is clear that the route to sustainable finances for the Trust is through increased income – from visitors coming for the Camp’s heritage or events, from increased hut rentals to small businesses or community organisations, and from the self-catering development, which is projected to take Trust budgets into credit from year four after opening.  At this point, and for the next three years, the Trust needs to find sources of grant funding to finance staffing for our basic functions, to help plan and deliver developments, to appoint the consulting engineers it has identified to map out service improvements, and then to fund the programme of delivering these basic services – electricity, fresh water and sewerage connections, broadband – currently lacking in 75% of the camp’s huts.
 
The need to remain in credit with a balanced budget this financial year against cash flow problems means that without additional income in the immediate future, the board will have to make the two remaining part-time staff redundant.
 
CDT is not therefore about to become insolvent – it holds land, properties and other assets at the Camp and hill ground, but day-to-day working would be much more limited; any big development would be extremely difficult, and reliance on volunteers become even greater than now.
 
Change Proposals in the CDT Board
 
The CDT Board is concerned that the work in CDT is heavily balanced towards Cultybraggan Camp rather than village developments, and would like to see that change. However, the Camp is the main asset owned by Trust members, and regularly used by a large number of local people for leisure and employment.
Purpose of changes
 
The CDT Board believes that the best way to secure community benefit for the village is to continue work on Cultybraggan Camp development, and to deliver the ambitions agreed at the 2015 AGM, which would enhance facilities and employment opportunities at the camp and for village improvements. For this to happen, it needs a means of bringing the various Camp groups together with village interests to discuss and decide the best ways forward, and to increase the numbers and capacity of the Board to take on the various tasks involved. So, major changes are proposed in Board Membership.
 
CDT Board – Proposed Membership
Constituency Number of Reps.
   
General membership - Village/Area representatives 5
Tenants – Commercial 2
Tenants – Repairing Lease 2
Hut users – Community 1
Site property owners 2
Allotments Association 1
Orchard group 1
Comrie in Colour 1
Heritage Group 2
Events/Sports Group 1
Hillground/Woodland Group 1
Environment Group 1
Children/Young People 1
   
Total 21
Possible additional co-options 4
CDT Board Membership
 
It is proposed that, in future, 5 Board Members should be elected by the AGM in the same way as before, but that the remaining 16 members of the Board should be elected by interest groups supporting the aims of CDT. So, for example, the Allotments Association and the site property owners in the Commercial Quadrant would each elect their own representative on the CDT Board. The new Board would then elect its own Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Company Secretary.
 
Aims and Objectives
 
This new arrangement would still leave the Board responsible and accountable to the full CDT membership, and the fundamental aims and objectives of CDT would remain as before unless changed by CDT members at an AGM.
Volunteer recruitment

The successful introduction of these proposals would rely, both on some people, already active in CDT groups, being prepared to join and work on the Board, but also on additional volunteers coming forward to join CDT Working Groups (Events/Sports, Hill Ground/Woodland, Environment).
The current activities and development of the Trust need staff, but also depend on the work of many willing local volunteers. CDT also currently needs additional voluntary support with its office and administrative work, and to support communications with its members across the Comrie area and its associate members across the country. If you can offer any support, please phone 01764 670769 or email cdt@comriedevelopmenttrust.org.uk or sign up through the CDT website online volunteer booking page  http://comriedevelopmenttrust.org.uk/reception-desk-volunteer
Plans for Change, and Timeline for Decisions by CDT Members
 
Phased Programme
 
Following the resolutions passed at the last CDT AGM, The CDT Board has mapped out a programme of development for the next 10 years with a series of projects in two phases of development:
 
Phase 1:  Delivery of a 10 hut self-catering project; Heritage Activity Programme; Small Business Development (food, arts and crafts); Heritage Tour and Education promotion; Events programme;
Site infrastructure – water, electricity, sewerage, IT connectivity, consultancy and improvement;
Hill ground planting and path construction; delivery of CDT’s Environmental strategy including resource efficiency, enhancing biodiversity and increased use of renewables.
 
Phase 2: – Creation of Guard Block Museum and conversion of 3 x A listed huts (education suite, children’s interactive suite, interactive exhibition); Renovation of Officer’s Mess as cafe/shop; Provision of traffic management and parking. Expansion of commercial enterprises, business and on site retail. Development of Hill Land by the Camp with native woodland recreational pathways, picnic and activity areas.  Ongoing delivery and development of CDT’s Environmental strategy.
 
Decision-Making by CDT Members
 
Camp Users Meeting Monday 17th October
   
CDT Members – Special General Meeting (updates, questions/answers) Tuesday 25th October
SGM votes on how groups will be represented on the board  
   
Board member votes by different groups November
   
CDT Annual General Meeting Tuesday 6th December
CDT Board elects Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary Week of 12th December
 
Company Ltd by guarantee – Reg. in Scotland - Reg No SC305425 -Charity reg. no SC038596  Registered office – Hut 3, Cultybraggan Camp, Comrie, Perthshire, PH6 2AB
Phone: 01764 670769 
email:;  cdt@comriedevelopmenttrust.org.uk
Copyright © 2016 Comrie Development Trust, All rights reserved.


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