Welcome to our new website!
This new website is one of the main ways in which SCBF will communicate with the Strathnairn community from now on. The usual application forms can be downloaded via the dropdown menus above. Also available is information on our founding documents, legal agreements with developers, board meeting dates, summarised minutes, our end of year accounts and other documents. There is also documentation on our development strategy and policies, although this area of the website is still under development. We shall be adding further documents over the next few months and as necessary. There is a section, which is also still under development, of useful links for community residents. A section of the website is reserved for use by directors and the Company Secretary. This is so that applications under consideration can be disseminated to directors without having to rely on email. There is also a news feed, which will be updated regularly. The most recent post, currently this one, displays on our homepage. We hope you enjoy using our new website, but should you find that part of the site is not working properly for you, or if you have any suggestions for improvement, please let us know.
SCBF Milestones for 2015/6
Over the last 12 months, SCBF has carried out activities that include the following :- Following a tendering process, appointed Brewin Dolphin to improve the management of SCBF’s investments. Began a year long trial during which the grant structure was modified from funding a wide range of specialised grants to funding an energy grant paid to each qualifying household. SCBF also negotiated with OSCR and the developers for permission to distribute the energy grant. Taken a more proactive role to negotiate with community groups over their applications rather than merely making a decision. Increased efforts to encourage community groups to realise large scale projects for funding. Created this website to represent SCBF online. Documents, minutes and application forms are shown. There is also a facility for online form submission and a new Facebook page. Awarded Strathnairn Summer Activities, the sum of £1409 to help with costs for running the week long summer school session at Farr Hall. Approved an application from the Farr Baby and Toddler Group for a total of £81500 for re-equipping the play park at Farr. Supported the Community Planning Group’s application to install 4 public access automated defibrillators for a total of £6800. Granted a sum of £8350 to the Strathnairn Community Newsletter to cover their costs for 1 year. Approved an application from the Strathnairn Music Initiative for a sum of £15440 to cover the costs for two terms of music classes from September 2016. Authorised an application from the Strathnairn Farmers Association Vintage Rally and Display for the sum of £3429 for 2016. Provided funds to the total of £16496, to Farr primary school and nursery for extracurricular activities during the 2015 school year. Awarded Daviot Primary school £7200, for extracurricular activities during the 2015 school year. Granted the Fearnag Growers £7800 towards assets for the community garden at Farr Estates. Awarded the Strathnairn Seniors Lunch Club a sum of £2500. Funded Care in Strathnairn a total of £9600 in 2016. Consented to an application from Strathnairn Community Access & Transport Association (SCATA) £11971 towards a new 9 seat bus with wheelchair access. Reimbursed ongoing travel costs to SCATA for those who qualify for free transport. Approved the sum of £7000 to provide access for local groups to use Farr Hall for free. Provided £3000 to Strathnairn Hall to provide free access for local groups. A description of SCBF’s activities over a longer period can be viewed here.
SCBF AGM Notice
The SCBF AGM 2016 will be held on :- Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 7.30pm at Farr Hall. All members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting and raise comments. An agenda will be posted nearer the time of the AGM in the Agendas section of this website. The minutes of last year’s AGM will also be available. If you require any further information please contact us.
Farr Play Park Re-opens
Farr Play Park reopened on 3rd October 2016, after having been closed for approximately 2 months, while it was equipped with new features, and a shelter. The application for funding, valued at £81 500.00, to SCBF, is thought to be the largest single sum yet awarded by SCBF. In October 2014, the Highland Council (THC) approached the community, pointing out that much of the equipment in the play park was at the end of its design life. Although THC had maintained the equipment in the park for a number of years, it was under no obligation to fund the replacement of the equipment. Accordingly, the Farr Baby and Toddler Group (FBTG), working with THC, prepared a new design for the play park with feedback from parents, and the children of Farr Primary, Daviot Primary, and Drummond Schools. The equipment and installation services were to be paid for by the Strathnairn community, but ordered via THC’s Framework Agreement, with construction supervised by THC and the FBTG. In November 2015, the FBTG approached the SCBF for full funding, pointing out that drawing on other funding external to the community, would reduce funds for play park equipment elsewhere. Full funding was awarded in January 2016. SCBF congratulates the Farr Baby and Toddlers Group and the Highland Council for their fine efforts, which are already being enjoyed by a large number of children after school. There will be an official opening of the new play park on 28th October 2016 at 10am. Does your community group have a project that requires funding? Even if it is in the early stages, come and talk to us!
Grants Awarded To Farr And Daviot Primary Schools
SCBF is pleased to announce that applications to support Farr and Daviot Primary Schools with their non-statutory fund-raising have been successful. The applications help our rural schools achieve a broad programme of non-statutory activities for the schools’ children. The SCBF funding will make a substantial contribution to ensure that the children are not disadvantaged due to transport costs or lower levels of funding. The funding helps to provide a healthy mid-morning snack for the children. Farr School will be able to maintain the level of drama tuition. At Daviot School, funding will also be used to increase the level of personalisation and choice in the school curriculum. The Board agreed that all primary age pupils should be funded to the same amount of £325.00 for each pupil at the two schools. Thus with a roll call of 58, Farr School has been awarded a sum of £18 850.00. Daviot School, with a roll call of 20, has been awarded a sum of £ 6 500.00. Images of Daviot School © Copyright Dave Fergusson and Farr School © Copyright Jennifer Jones. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Give Something Back To Your Community By Becoming A SCBF Director
The Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) was set up in 2004 as a charity and limited company with funds from the Farr Wind Farm, and received further funds from the Dunmaglass Wind Farm. The key objective of the SCBF is “the promotion, for the benefit of the public, of urban or rural regeneration in areas of social and economic deprivation and in particular in the Strathnairn Community Council area as established in the Memorandum of Association. SCBF is seeking to recruit a number of new Directors to assist with the engagement of the local community and with the management of the funds for the benefit of all Strathnairn residents. SCBF is valued at approximately £1.5million and is managed by a Board of 10 – 12 Directors assisted by a Company Secretary. It receives approximately £165,000 a year from the wind farm developers and income from investments. Director Duties and responsibilities include: Attendance at Board Meetings (normally 12 per year) Ensuring correct management and investment of monies within the Fund Review of grant applications to ensure compliance with SCBF policies, Articles and Memorandum of Association, legal agreements and charitable objectives* Reviewing operational procedures and policies as appropriate Directors serve a term of 3 years with a possibility of an additional year. If you are over 18 and interested in becoming a Director please contact our Company Secretary, (details below) for further information or for an application form. You may also download an application form. Applications from candidates with a financial or legal background would be particularly welcome.
2016 Energy Grant Strategy Feedback
SCBF wrote to residents in January outlining a revised grants strategy which it was piloting in 2016 whilst it solicited feedback from the community. The response to the letter has been overwhelming. This post shows the results of the received feedback graphically, with data that was correct as of 13th October 2016. The total number of households that had responded by this date was 364. SCBF would like to thank the community for taking the time to offer feedback and for offering many constructive comments. There is still time to apply for the 2016 Energy Grant if you have not yet done so. Any further feedback would be welcome. You can download the application form, or by contacting us. SCBF must consider before the end of this year whether to continue with the piloted revised grants strategy for 2017. SCBF will announce whether the strategy is to be continued at its AGM at 7.30pm on 14th December 2016 to which all members of the Strathnairn community are invited.
Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) was set up in 2004 to receive and distribute community benefit payments from the developer of the Farr Windfarm, Npower UK (now known as RWE Innogy UK). Following advice from The Highland Council (THC) and Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Strathnairn Community Council (SNCC) decided to set up an incorporated body to administer the community benefit payments. SCBF was established as a company, limited by guarantee, with the SNCC as its sole member, and with charitable status. The key purpose of SCBF is to manage the funds, and to use the funds to support the objective of “The promotion, for the benefit of the public, of urban or rural regeneration in areas of social and economic depravation and in particular in the Strathnairn Community Council area ..” During SCBF’s AGM in December 2015, it was announced that SCBF would be carrying out a review of its structure, its Memorandum of Association, and its legal status to ensure, that after over a decade of operations, it remained fit for purpose. As part of this process, SCBF have appointed Foundation Scotland to review all aspects of the governance and grant-making activity of SCBF, and to make recommendations for the future operation of SCBF. Foundation Scotland will undertake this work for a projected cost of £7350.00. Foundation Scotland is an independent registered charity which distributes funds to charities and community organisations from predominantly private clients but also public sector bodies. Established in 1996, it currently works with over 250 individuals, companies and communities, enabling them to distribute funds effectively and efficiently to charities and voluntary organisations every year. In the area of community benefit funding, Foundation Scotland is currently delivering and/or developing over 40 community funds across Scotland and working with over 100 communities. Clients include a wide range of energy developers, communities and commercial asset managers. The review will be conducted via a combination of desktop research, local survey work, and face-to-face interviews with community benefit fund directors, representatives of local community groups and other key local stakeholders with a final report being delivered to SCBF. Paul Robinson, an SCBF Director commented: “We are delighted to be able to benefit from the expertise which Foundation Scotland has gained so as to ensure that what we are doing continues to be for the maximum possible benefit of the Strathnairn community.” Rachel Searle-Mbullu, the Head of Community Investment for Foundation Scotland added: “Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund has been delivering benefits to its local communities for over a decade now. We are pleased to be able to assist them in ensuring that the fund and its distribution is fit for purpose for many years to come.”
2016 Chair’s Report at AGM
2016 has been a year of change for the Board, positive change. It has been a year of hard work and positive engagement with the community. The grant structure has been slimmed down and there has been a broader and fairer distribution of grants throughout the community with emphasis away from individuals towards community based groups. The energy grant to every home in Strathnairn was well received and the feedback received on our new plans was overwhelmingly in favour. It has been decided to keep this grant and increase it this year by £20. New initiatives have been encouraged, such as the Strathnairn Music Initiative, and it is to be hoped that other groups will come forward with innovative schemes and ideas. This year when the board has received grant applications which did not quite meet our criteria attempts were made to liaise with the group and work together to try and facilitate and thanks must be due to directors who have given of their free time for this. Farr Hall and Strathnairn Hall are now funded so that Strathnairn-based groups can have free use without having to apply year on year for funding. There are plans afoot for both halls to be upgraded starting shortly with Farr Hall whose plans are well under way. I am sure most people have now seen the refurbished Play Park in Farr which has been well received and is being widely used. It was a joy to be at the opening in October when the children ran through the ribbon and rushed immediately to play. 2016 has been a record year for funding and we hope to continue positively engaging with the community in future. The board now has its own website and our thanks are due to Paul and Scott who worked so hard to get this up and running. It is very well done and easy to access information. We have had a very busy year and a lot of hard work and long meetings and thanks are due to all the directors who have given tirelessly of their time and talents, but we must thank a few people in particular. Some directors are standing down at this meeting and the board owes a debt of gratitude to Mike Fitzgerald for his wise and able handling of the Chair and the legacy of change and innovation he has left. Thanks are also due to Trevor Colbourne, vice chair, who had hoped to be here tonight but is detained by family circumstances and has sent a note which will be placed on the website. We are also losing Norma Duncan who will be greatly missed for her wise and thoughtful approach to every decision. We are pleased to have with us Mrs Christine Macpherson, who has applied to join us. The board has decided due to the lack of applications to keep the process open and hope that some people may be persuaded to join us next year. This year we have made some return on our investment. Thanks are also due to our Company Secretaries, Hayley, who left in the summer and David whose patience and tolerance knows no bounds. Sadly we are also losing David and have decided to obtain the services of Foundation Scotland who are experts in the field of Wind farm Benefit funding and this will hopefully give us a sense of continuity. The board remains committed to liaising with the community and bringing forward more exciting projects in the future.
Company Secretary’s Report 2016
I am pleased to submit my first and last Company Secretary’s report covering financial year 2015/16. The Company’s Financial Statements were approved by the Board on the 26th October 2016 and have been independently checked and examined by Mackenzie Kerr Ltd in accordance with the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006. There was no need for a full audit this year as the turnover was below the required figure. The Balance Sheet on page 6 of the Accounts shows that the Company is in good Financial Health with total Assets of £1.486m (after deducting all outstanding Liabilities). Current Assets are also showing a healthy balance of £232k. On the trading side the Board had two main objectives for the financial year. The first was to increase the amount generated from its investments, and to that end the gross amount of investment income was in excess of £100k. The net income after deduction of Investment Management fees was £95,306, which is an increase of £79k over that achieved in 2014/15. The overall return on the opening asset value was 6.4% with the return generated by Brewin Dolphin an excellent 8.32%. Throughout the year, we continued to realise assets and transfer them to Brewin Dolphin, all funds were finally in their hands by November of this year. The second financial objective was to increase the value of grants awarded and an increase of 44% was achieved in 2015/16, with total grants distributed amounting to £188,185. This of course follows a significant increase last year of 39%, so the trend is certainly heading in the right direction. As explained at last year’s AGM there was a significant receipt of wind farm income right at the end of the financial year, that receipt represented an early boost to the Revenue Account. The ongoing payments received in this financial year amounted to £95,783. So, in conclusion I can say that the Company is in good financial health and achieved both financial objectives for 2015/16. David Robertson Company Secretary December 2016
AGM Statement By Trevor Colbourne
The following statement was to have been read out at the AGM, on the behalf of Mr. Trevor Colbourne, who could not attend. Due to time restrictions it could not be read out and it was agreed that with Trevor’s permission it would be published here. Good evening everyone. I regret that due to the recent death of my father and my mother’s serious illness, that I am unable to attend my final AGM as a Director of the benefit fund. It has been an honour and a privilege during my extended 4 year term to serve the Strathnairn Community. During those years I have been lucky to work with many fellow directors, generously giving up their own time voluntarily, with the sole aim of improving our community ,and supporting its members through fair distribution of our funds. Quite often our discussions were relatively straightforward, but on many occasions our decisions came after rigorous stimulating debate, beginning with divided opinions but ultimately resulting in good effective decision making. To that extent I would firstly like to record my thanks to the respective Chairs during my term of office: Doug, Mike and Isobel, all of whom allowed free discussion as part of a fair democratic process. They were firm when they needed to be, but importantly proceedings were always conducted in good humour. Secondly I would also like to thank the 3 secretaries who diligently supported us with their organisational skills : Carol, Hayley and David. All had the unenviable task of summarising my often lengthy deliberations. Finally I would like to thank my wife Heather, for her unflinching support and patience. I am sure the board will continue to prosper. I offer my best wishes to existing Directors but particularly to those newly elected whose responsibility it will be to build on those positive changes that SCBF has made in its most recent years.
Energy Grant 2017
SCBF is pleased to announce that the 2017 Energy Grant is now available. Application forms will be sent out together with the February edition of the Strathnairn Community Newsletter. However, application forms can also be downloaded from this webpage where you can also apply online.
Verified Accounts For 2015/2016
SCBF’s verified accounts for 2015/2016 have been published. They may be downloaded from our website.
Community Input Into Foundation Scotland Review
The draft Strathnairn Community Council minutes for their meeting, held on the 20th March 2017, under Item 9, contained the following statement : – “PC noted that Foundation Scotland is speaking to community organisations, but members of the public present at the meeting would also like greater involvement for residents in the process.” SCBF’s response is as follows : – “Foundation Scotland has been commissioned to carry out a review of the SCBF. As part of that review, Foundation Scotland has approached a number of community organisations to provide input into that process. Residents have had an input into the same process. Foundation Scotland has had access to anonymised data from the Community Survey carried out in 2014, and anonymised comments submitted by households in response to the Energy Grant trial during 2016. The latter comprises between 70 – 80 responses.“
March 2017 summary minutes available
The summary minutes of the Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund meeting held in March 2017 are available for downloading.
The Way Ahead
Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) is pleased to announce that a review of the Fund, by Foundation Scotland, has now been completed, and a report is being published online. The report has been endorsed by SCBF. On the 20th June 2017, the report will be made available for the Strathnairn community. Background In August 2016, SCBF commissioned Foundation Scotland to carry out a review of the Fund. The Board felt that, after 13 years of operation, the time was right to consider whether SCBF remains fit for purpose. The review was to consider, amongst other things, an examination of its governance, operating arrangements and overall approach to distributing funds. The review was also to make recommendations to improve SCBF, and to enable SCBF to make more effective use of the funds that it has. Report To Be Available To Community Foundation Scotland have prepared a report detailing their findings. This report is being published for the community to inform residents about the options for the future direction of SCBF. The Next Step SCBF is committed to implementing the recommendations in the report, where it is possible to do so. A community consultation will be held in July 2017. It will help guide SCBF and SNCC in fulfilling recommendations of the report concerned with governance, structure and strategy. More details are given in the foreword of the report. Location Your copy of the report can be downloaded from the documents section of this website.
Grant Award To Strathnairn Music Initiative
We are pleased to announce that the Strathnairn Music Initiative (SMI) has been awarded the sum of £17,080.00 for the 2017/18 school year. SMI began providing music lessons for the Strathnairn community during 2016/2017. By the end of the year, SMI was providing lessons to 58 community members. Lessons were given after school on Tuesday afternoons at Farr Primary School. A singing group also began at Farr Hall on Thursday evenings. SCBF congratulates SMI for their efforts and looks forward to seeing what SMI can achieve over the coming year.
Governance, structure and strategy
Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) are publishing the first in a series of community consultations to establish the Strathnairn community’s preferences for SCBF’s future governance, structure and strategy. Guided by feedback from this community consultation, SCBF proposes to implement changes to SCBF’s constitution in December 2017. The consultation is being published together with the August 2017 copy of Strathnairn news and may also be downloaded from the documents section of this website. The consultation will remain open until the 15th September 2017. Residents are encouraged to respond to the consultation so as to ensure they have their say in how the SCBF is run in the future.
Ever considered becoming a board member of Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund? SCBF is recruiting a number of new Trustees and Directors to assist with the engagement of the local community and with the management of the funds for the benefit of all Strathnairn residents. Managed by a Board of up to 12 members assisted by a Secretary SCBF currently receives around £158,000 a year from wind farm developers before income from investments. Board Member Duties and responsibilities include: Attendance at Board Meetings (normally monthly) Ensuring correct management and investment of monies within the Fund Reviewing grant applications to ensure compliance with its governing documents and the developer agreements Reviewing operational procedures and policies as appropriate Board Members serve a term of 3 years with a possibility of an additional year. If you are over 18 and interested in becoming a Board Member applications can be downloaded together with further information from the documents section of this website. Applications must be received by Friday 3rd November 2017 and, if successful, new Board Members will be appointed at the AGM on Wednesday 13th December 2017.
Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund AGM 2017
Thanks to all who attended our recent AGM despite the cold and icy weather. The chair’s report can be found below together with links to other documents from the evening at the foot of the page. “2017 has been a very busy and productive year for the BOARD. 394 awards were granted totalling £337,914.00. More details of these will be supplied in the company Secretary’s report. In January we contracted with Foundation Scotland to provide our Secretariat. This has proved to be a very successful working relationship and ensures continuity of service. We have been very fortunate that Carol has been able to provide us with sterling service, often above and beyond the call of duty and the board are very grateful for her wise counsel and efficient handling of our affairs. I personally, find her proactive help and advice and unstinting support invaluable. The Board also commissioned Foundation Scotland to undergo a complete fund review, the results of which were published on our website, As a result of this, we carried out a Community consultation which produced 67 responses, none of which disagreed with the proposals suggested. The board hopes to begin work on Governance and Strategy in January with the main priorities being to widen the move to a democratically elected board, and we will be working closely with Foundation Scotland and others who have expertise in this field to facilitate this as soon as is practicably possible. The Freepost address has been made more available and is now being used for grant applications, by the Community Newsletter and the SNCC. Some of you may have noticed that the Fund logo has been updated to reflect a more modern approach. An interim Large Community Project Funding Strategy was adopted. The Board continue to support the Community Newsletter, SCATA, Care in Strathnairn, Funding of Halls for community groups, Fearnag Growers, the Music Initiative, Local schools and the Vintage Tractor Rally. Board Members have attended various meetings such as meeting with SSE regarding reporting requirements. SSE Community Funds Networking event, Meeting with members of Farr Hall committee to discuss the way ahead, and Data Protection Training. Thanks must go firstly to the Developers who provide our funding. To Scott MacDonald who has been a hard working and wise vice chair. To Paul Robinson who worked tirelessly during his time as a board director and whose efforts and counsel are sorely missed. Paul resigned in August as he and the family have temporarily relocated to Holland. To Mike Fitzgerald who did a lot of work to close down one of our Current Accounts. To all the board members who give of their time and talents. It has been a challenging and sometimes difficult year and the meetings have sometimes been long and weary, but they are always conducted with good grace and courtesy and there is a continuing sense of purpose and unity amongst us. I would like, personally and on behalf of the board to thank Mr James Murray, chair of the SNCC for his support throughout a somewhat difficult time. He has been willing to liaise with us on more than one occasion and has always been fair and frank in his dealings with us. The Board Welcomes Nick Boyle who joined us in July and has proved a valuable member and looks forward to working with him and Trevor Slade who joins us tonight. We look forward to a busy time ahead when we hope to oversee some radical changes to the boards Governance and develop new Strategies to take us into the future. I am sorry I cannot be with you tonight. My thanks go to Scott for stepping in. Finally I wish you all a very happy xmas and a good new year.” Documents from the evening can be downloaded from the documents section of this website or by clicking directly on the following links: Agenda Chair’s report Secretary’s report Special Resolutions Verified Accounts