Scotland: committee meeting minutes December 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Committee for Scotland held virtually on 2 December 2020 at 9.30am.

Members:      

  • Ray Macfarlane (Chair)  
  • Sam Anderson
  • Liz Davidson 
  • Gillian Findlay  
  • Stuart Housden 
  • Alice Mayne 
  • Beltus Ojong Etchu 
  • Martyn Wade 

Committee Business

1. Welcomes and apologies

Oral

The Chair welcomed everyone to the third meeting of the financial year for the Committee for Scotland noting that this meeting was again being held virtually due to the Government restrictions in relation to the pandemic. 

The Chair extended a warm welcome to:

  • René Olivieri, Interim Chair of of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National    Heritage Memorial Fund 
  • Eilish McGuinness, and Isabel Hunt, Executive Directors; representatives of the  Executive

The Chair invited Rene Olivieri to give his views on the impact of the Covid19 pandemic and the longer term issues he sees facing the heritage sector.

2.Minutes from the last meeting held on 9 September 2020 and matter arising

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Committee agreed the minutes and signed as an accurate record of the meeting.

3. Declarations of interest

Oral

  • Alice Mayne declared an interest in the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre (item 10).  Trees for Life is the applicant and Alice Mayne was on the Board until the summer of 2019. This represents a conflict of interest and it was agreed that Alice would absent herself from the room for the discussion and decision.  
  • Alice Mayne noted an interest in Braemar’s Community Castle (item 9). In her previous role with the Cairngorms National Park Authority she worked closely with the Braemar team on their application for Leader funding.  As Alice Mayne left that role in 2016 this was for noting and not a conflict of interest and she remained for both the discussion and decision.
  • Ray Macfarlane noted an interest in Celebrating Scotland’s Art: The Scottish National Gallery Project (item 14) as she was previously Trustee and Deputy Chair of National Galleries Scotland.  As her term of office finished in 2014 this is for noting and does not represent a conflict of interest so she will remain for both the discussion and decision.

4. Chair's report

Oral

The Chair noted the following:

  • Sam Anderson; Gillian Findlay and Beltus Ojong Etchu were thanked for their continuing work with staff members on the Race & Heritage Steering Group which had been established to direct the Scotland Race & Heritage: A Series of Curated Perspectives sessions.
  • Gillian Findlay; Stuart Housden and Liz Davidson were thanked for attending the Round 2 virtual visits for the cases due for decision at this meeting.
  • It was noted that The Burrell Redevelopment project was approved at the Board of Trustees and Ray highlighted the positive support from the Scottish Government through partnership funding.
  • Two projects supported by the Fund were included in the Museum of the Year Awards.  Ray extended her congratulations to both Aberdeen Art Gallery and Gairloch Museum for their achievement.

5. Corporate update

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Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director of Business Delivery provided an update on corporate activity.  Key points noted were as follows:  

  • Eilish offered her thanks to the Scotland team for their assistance with the Fund’s range of funding programmes across the UK and their flexible and agile approach to the ever changing external environment. 
  • The National Lottery Grants for Heritage is now opening in phases.  The first phase will see applications for grants from £3,000 to £100,000 accepted. The second phase, beginning 8 February 2021 will resume applications for grants from £100,000 to £5million.
  • The Fund continues to focus on the delivery of the various Government Recovery Funding Packages which are being administered in other areas of the UK including DCMS Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage; DCMS Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund; Defra Green Recovery Challenge Fund; and the Welsh and Northern Irish culture recovery.
  • The Fund has undertaken a refresh of our corporate strategy where the Board agreed to have greater emphasis on the outcome of equalities and inclusion.   A wider review of the corporate strategy will be undertaken during 2021.

6. Country Director’s Report

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The paper was presented by Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland highlighted the following key areas. 

  • The Board of Trustees in November considered options for the delivery of the Place campaign.  A range of different strands of work are to be developed, including a Place Framework which will be embedded into future funding.   This was welcomed by the members.
  • A written corporate response was submitted to the Scottish Government’s Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26. 

7. Country Budget Overview

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This paper was presented by Riona McMorrow Head of Investment and noted the following.

  • The team continue to monitor all projects currently in delivery against the impacts of the current climate.

SF4 Delivery second round applications for discussion and decision 

8. Redevelopment of Strathnaver Museum as a heritage hub for north west Sutherland; OL-19-00065 

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Grantee: Strathnaver Museum

Request: Award Grant of £650,000 (30%)

Project: The project will restore the B-listed former church that houses Strathnaver Museum as a heritage hub for rural North West Sutherland.

Decision: Award a grant of £650,000 (30%)

9. Braemar's Community Castle: Raising the Standard; HG-18-00685

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Grantee: Braemar Community Ltd 

Request: Award Grant of £555,900 (33%)

Project:  A 4 year project to conserve and repair A-listed  Braemar Castle. The project will redevelop the castle to provide facilities to create a visitor attraction and improve the grounds to provide increased accessibility and enhance the visitor experience. 

Decision: Award a grant of £555,900 (33%)

10. Dundreggan Rewilding Centre; OL-19-02332 

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Grantee: Trees for Life

Request:  Award Grant of £702,300 (24%)

Project: A three year project to establish ‘The Rewilding Centre’ on the Dundreggan Estate, located near Invermoriston.  The project will establish the first educational hub specifically focused on rewilding and tree conservation in the UK.

Decision: Award a grant of £702,300 (24%).

11. Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Tower: Restoration for the Community; HG-18-03532

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Grantee: Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust  

Request: Award Grant of £102,200 (25%)

Project: To project will carry out urgent repairs to Kirkcaldy Auld Kirk tower and deliver a programme of associated activities to ensure that the building is weather tight and fit for purpose.

12. Prioritisation and feedback to grantees

Oral

Grant Increase applications for discussion and decision

13. David Livingstone's Birthplace; HG-14-08991 

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Applicant: The Scottish National Memorial to David Livingstone Trust

Request: Award grant increase of £1,500,000 to make a total grant of £6,280,900

Previous grant awards:

  • David Livingstone’s Birthplace Round 2, March 2017: The Board of Trustees awarded a grant of £4,112,900 (68%)
  • David Livingstons Birthplace Grant Increase November 2019: The Committee for Scotland awarded a grant increase of £668,000 making a total grant award of £4,780,900

Reason for grant increase:  The Trust is managing exceptional challenges delivering a complex capital project during a pandemic, as well as responding interpretatively to significant cultural shifts around race and heritage.

Decision: Award a grant increase of £1,500,000 to make a total grant of £6,280,900.

14. Celebrating Scotland’s Art: The Scottish National Gallery Project; HG-14-06969 

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Applicant: National Galleries Scotland

Request: Award grant increase of £975,000 to make a total grant of £5,915,000

Previous grant awards:

  • The Board of Trustees awarded a grant of £4,940,000 in May 2016
  • In June 2017 the Board of Trustees awarded a change to the approved purposes of the above award.

Reason for grant increase:  Increased costs relate mainly to unforeseen challenges presented by the historical site during construction works.

Decision: Award a grant increase of £975,000 to make a total grant of £5,915,000.

15. Any other business

None other business was noted.

The next meeting will be held on 10 March 2021.