Newsletter 8, 10 January 2019.
This is the 8th in our series of newsletters designed to keep our members up to date with the work being carried out by Rhynie Charitable Trust and to address any issues or queries raised by our members.
The 2018 AGM was held on Sunday 16 September 2018 but this was unfortunately attended by only a few members although sufficient for a quorum. It has been pointed out that a number of members had forgotten that the meeting was scheduled and, although we had given the statutory 21 days notice, we had perhaps been remiss in not posting further advertising closer to the date. We apologise for this and take on board the need to advertise more in future.
We have also been asked by a number of members about what the Trust is presently doing, so we are taking this opportunity to tell you about various projects we are working on and update with current progress.
Mike has now been serving as Chair and Debbi remains a Director. Colin Mumford has taken over responsibility for the membership. We were joined for a while by Annika Lothe who has an interest in organising events and activities but she has unfortunately been unable to continue due to other commitments..
Averil is continuing as Treasurer and Mike undertakes some of the Secretary duties. We would welcome anyone who may be interested in assisting the Board with some or all of the Secretary duties. Please contact Mike for more information.
Colin Neesom continues to organise and run the 100 Club and other events, besides serving as announcer for the Gala. George Beverly is working on projects to provide storage space at No.14 and path improvements for Tap O Noth. He also gives us the benefit of his wide local knowledge and experience.
The club currently has 79 members and still has vacancies. The prize fund is now 60% of the subscriptions divided between 5 prizes each month (£100, £50. £25, £15 & £10) and the remainder is retained by RCT for community purposes. We would welcome any members who are not currently in the 100 Club and who would like to join. Please contact Colin Neesom (861004).
The Club has handed out a prize fund for 2018 of £4640 and contributed £1695 to RCT. A full list of past winners can be seen on our website.
Congregational Church project
This project has, unfortunately, ground to a halt. A valuation of the property was obtained but this did not progress into a formal offer. Sadly the negotiations broke down, largely due to differences of opinion within the Masons, and the decision was made to terminate the project. This is a disappointment as we have spent some time on it and the condition of the building can only continue to deteriorate.
With regard to community activities we can note that the Mothers and Toddlers group has been meeting regularly in No.14. We provided some financial assistance to the group initially towards the cost of the venue and we can offer similar help to other groups wishing to start up in the village. To assist this we have secured some funding to allow us to increase the storage space at No.14 with a storage shed behind the building which we are in process of installing.
Community Education Hall
Further to the contact by Hazel MacLaren of Aberdeenshire Council a meeting was eventually held and the question of a Community Asset Transfer for the Educational Hall was discussed. This was not an open meeting but just to gain some insight into the intentions of the Council.
The Council would welcome any interest in the building but it seems that it would most likely be made available with a rental agreement. The Education Department, who are the owners, would like to keep the possibility of future use for school purposes should the school roll increase, and possibly to maintain use of the building to some extent. Any transfer of the building would also not include the playground area which would be retained for school use. All this would make the building somewhat unattractive for our particular purposes; a rental agreement would probably restrict our ability to raise funding for any redevelopment and the lack of surrounding space restrict access to the site. We have therefore decided not to proceed with this option for community space.
Wheedlemont Turbine Fund
Following the meetings with Huntly & District Development Trust a request was made for volunteers to sit on a panel to adjudicate applications for funding and manage the funds. Paul Robinson & Annette Brookes Rooney from Rhynie and Sue Cross & Tanya Reynolds from Lumsden now compose the panel chaired by Mike Davies. It was agreed that the money would be handled through the RCT bank account with the money restricted to the Fund.
The agreement document between RCT and HDDT has finally been agreed and a meeting set to complete the signing. We have now been waiting since April for the documentation to be finalised and understand the delay is due to the developers not yet having approved the agreement between themselves and HDDT.
The money for the first year, up to September 2017, has been paid by the developers to HDDT and rests in their bank account. It cannot be transferred to RCT until the agreements are signed. The value for 2017 is c£9600 which is significantly higher than expected and this will become available to qualifying projects in Rhynie and Auchindore & Kearns parishes.
Applications for funding from this Fund will be invited shortly. Notices will be placed locally and advertising in the local press.
Paths project update
We are working with other communities in a project known as 'The Kingdom of the Picts' Trail to provide a walking and cycling route linking six communities from Gartly in Strathbogie to Corgarff in Strathdon. Funding has been awarded to facilitate this development and a steering group from the communities has been formed.
A route for Trail has been drafted running from Gartly through the Clashindarroch Forest to the ski trails at Black Middens, over The Buck then across the south side of the Cabrach into Glen Buchat, along the Ladder Hills and then down to Corgarff.
This route is currently being discussed and negotiated with the various estates owners to gain their support. This is being assisted by Outdoor Access Trust Scotland (previously Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust) who have approached landowners on our behalf. This has so far proved problematic with no agreement being reached. The steering group is still seeking to discuss the issues with the estates but in the meantime will be looking at tracks to link communities to the route.
Work on a logo for the project has also been commenced involving pupils at the primary schools in each of the villages along the route. Workshops in the schools have been led by Anne Murray, a local artist, to produce images which can be incorporated into a logo to be displayed on waymark posts along the route.
We are also continuing to try to raise funding for the upgrading and repair of the path to Tap O Noth from the car park to the first deer gate. We have applied for funds from TONCC to enable this work and hope to start shortly.
Rhynie Chert SSSI
We have recently been contacted by Scottish Natural Heritage, who manage the SSSI, to invite RCT to assist with ideas to improve the use of the site. It is presently let for grazing which can continue, and the lower section has been planted with trees, which are becoming over crowded.
Our thoughts so far would be to open up the planted area with paths similar to Moss Woods and to look at a path up the hill to join with the higher path up Tap O Noth. This would obviously require discussion and negotiation with landowners but is used annually for the Tap O Noth hill race and would allow walkers to ascend the hill from the village without using the road.
If anyone has any ideas for this site or would like to help with any development, please contact us.
Finally, we would like to extend an invitation to any persons who wish to help with the work of the Trust. If you would like to serve on the Board or assist in any other way we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact any of the Board members below.
Newsletters and other member communications will be distributed by email or post depending on the information provided by individual members. Please note, if you do not receive an emailed copy we do not have your email address. We would appreciate any members who have so far not provided an email address to do so, if possible, since this is our preferred communication medium as it is cheaper and quicker.
If you have not received our previous newsletters and would like to see copies of these or if you would like to check that we have your correct email address, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Mike Davies, Chair mike(at)rhyniecharitabletrust(dot)co(dot)uk 01464 861535
Debbi Beeson, Director debbi(at)rhynie(dot)vispa(dot)com 01464 861387
Averil Stewart, Secretary AverilStewart(at)BTInternet(dot)com 01464 861636
Colin Neesom, Director colinneesom(at)gmail(dot)com 01464 861004
Colin Mumford, Director colin(dot)jwmumford(at)gmail(dot)com 01464 861080
George Beverly, Director george(at)bgbeverlyjoiners(dot)co(dot)uk 01464 861207