CNSF 2017 AGM Report Published on 30th November 2017

Please select the following link to download the CNSF 2017 AGM Report. CNSF(2017)AGM006-P001

Chairperson's Report

This year we find ourselves at a significant milestone for the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund as 2017 is now half way through the Fund’s lifetime plan.  At this noteworthy stage, the Fund has committed a total of £1,673,669 towards one hundred and thirty community projects with a total value estimated to be in excess of £7M.  This is a substantial amount of inward investment for this area and we continue to be heartened that, as a result of the good level of interest and community development activity across the area, we have been able to maintain our spend at a level that is on target with the Fund’s lifetime plan.

Since our last AGM, the Fund has held four assessment meetings and has considered twenty four applications awarding a total of £170,869 to fifteen worthy community projects.

We have continued to see a reasonable level of enquiries and applications coming forward however this year has seen a decrease in comparison to the previous two years which were particularly high.  We have promoted the Fund at a number of community events and funding fayres throughout the year and continue to encourage enterprising applicants to come forward with their plans.

Our Coordinator also attended the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Stakeholder Summit in Cumbria along with other local stakeholders to highlight our achievements and investment of the NDA funding we receive.  At the summit, the Caithness & North Sutherland representatives presented a joined up approach towards ensuring a sustainable future for the Dounreay travel to work area and a lot of interest was shown towards the wide range of successful socio-economic initiatives being delivered throughout our area.

In addition to the quarterly assessment meetings, the Board held its annual review meeting in February and found our criteria and application processes to be working well in order to meet the Fund’s aims and objectives.  The recorded feedback from applicants was also reviewed and continues to be extremely positive.

The Board also reviewed the current administrative workload which had increased over the years and felt it was inevitable that the level of capacity would increase over the Fund’s lifetime plan.  In March this year, we advertised for a part-time administrative assistant and we were delighted to welcome Lynn McIntosh as our new administrative assistant.

Following the local elections In June, the Highland Council appointed Cllr Nicola Sinclair and Cllr Donnie Mackay as CNSF Council Directors.  The Fund’s Nominations Committee also carried out an open recruitment process in September to fill the scheduled appointed director board vacancies.  Graeme McDonald and Gillian Coghill were the successful candidates to be nominated as appointed directors at our 2017 AGM.

Finding myself at this half way point in the Fund’s projected lifetime plan, looking back at the hard work that went in to setting up the Fund and the commitment given by all concerned, it is very pleasing to see the impressive range of inspiring community projects that the Fund has been able to support.   I am sure as I retire as the last of the original Board members, the Board will continue to ensure best investment over the remainder of the programme.  I would like to again take this opportunity to encourage community groups to continue coming forward with exciting proposals that deliver an essential contribution to the sustainable future of Caithness & North Sutherland. This will assist the Board in its efforts to ensure that the Fund continues to be invested well.

Finally, I would like to thank my fellow Board members and advisors, past and present, for all the support and wise counsel they have given me.  Also to our Coordinator David Shearer who, as the face of the Fund in the community, has been such an excellent ambassador for us.  Lastly and perhaps most importantly to me personally, thank you to the friends I have made and for the knowledge I have gained while being part of this programme.

Frances Gunn

October 2017