Steinmeyer Legacy Interim Committee
Meeting at 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Dundurn Hall, Comrie Parish Church
- Attending – Introductions
Murray Lauchlan welcomed new members to the Interim Committee
Attending: Murray Lauchlan; Joan Carmichael; John King; Leigh Doy; Mairi Philp; Joyce Carnegie; Lorna Ramsay; Hugh Rose; Neill Aitken; Alistair Hamilton; Jenny Tod; Lynne Douglas; John Cottrell; Agnes Drysdale; Jane Reid; Stephanie Cameron; Ken Heiser; Colin Sears; Andrew Reid
Apologies: Gordon McCartney; Phil Tipping; Judy McDowall; Lynn Duke; George Lees.
- Minutes of Interim Committee Meeting 29.3.17
The minutes of the meeting were approved without amendment.
An article in the Strathearn Herald had very helpfully featured the Comrie survey.
STV – Louise Cowie
Louise Cowie of STV had been in contact for a progress update. Information had been provided to her about the continuing work of the Committee, particularly on the survey, and that the survey results would become public in due course.
Die Welle – Dominic Hinde
Dominic Hinde, a freelance journalist based in Edinburgh, had arranged a two-day visit to Comrie with a camera operator from Germany to film material on Heinrich Steinmeyer, Cultybraggan Camp and Comrie for Die Welle, which produces documentary material from around the world for a magazine programme on German TV, and also for worldwide distribution. A small group had been gathered together at very short notice, posing as the committee for filming purposes. The film crew had been very pleased about the interviews with Joan Carmichael, Laura Hustwayte, George Carson, Ken Heiser and Murray Lauchlan. There had been significant amounts of work in setting up this visit. Dominic Hinde had agreed to pursue the possibility of a payment to add to the legacy fund from Die Welle.
The Interim Committee considered the survey report, which had been put together by Andrew Reid. He explained that 8 members of the Interim Committee had come together to analyse the completed survey forms. The group had used a format for analysis, with headings for main themes of development (such as care and support), and subheadings for detailed proposals within these overall themes. The headings and subheadings had all come from an analysis of the comments made in the legacy public meeting and group discussions at the Silver Circle. The analysis group had noted any other proposals, which did not fit this format, and the final analysis in the survey report included headings/subheadings for all of the additional proposals made in the actual survey.
Nearly half (48%) of the 281 people responding to the survey were over 70 years of age, and nearly three quarters (74%) were over 60. Of the rest, 48 respondents (17%) were in their 50s, and 15 (5%) were under 50. Within the overall number, 62% were from women, and 36% men. A small number did not give their age or gender. When survey forms indicated that they were being submitted on behalf of a couple, they were included twice in the count.
Seventeen people had expressed an interest in joining the Legacy Committee, and 55 people (20% of all respondents) had offered to help with the work in other ways. All of those wanting to join the Legacy Committee had been invited to join the Interim Committee.
Most of the people (71%) completing the survey had made more than one proposal for spending the legacy funds, with a large number (43%) making three or more proposals. Information was made available both about the number of people supporting developments under the main headings, and the number of proposals put forward under these headings.
A relatively small number of people, who submitted survey forms, expressed a view about the approach which should be adopted in deciding how to use the legacy fund. Amongst these, the largest number (37 people – 13% of all responders) made proposals involving capital expenditures, including building purchase, construction and renovation. Twenty people (7%) said that part or all of the legacy should be invested, with the annual interest then available as grants. Ten people (4%) said that the legacy fund should be spent on improvements which would be sustainable and the same number made reference to the establishment of a Legacy Trust, with nine people supporting that proposal.
From the 281 people completing the survey, 138 people, nearly half (49%) of all respondents, made proposals to spend legacy funds on support and care services of various kinds, and 134 people (48%) proposed funding for improving transport and mobility within the village and beyond. More than a third of all respondents (100 people – 35%) wanted money spent on existing public facilities in the village and the creation of social places, where older people could meet. There was some support from smaller numbers of people to improve the village environment (63 people – 22%) in various ways (extra benches, bus shelters, etc), and provide for extra leisure activities (40 people – 14%). Nineteen people (7%) mentioned commemorating Heinrich Steinmeyer in some way.
A range of other ideas only came from a relatively small number of people, and each of them from 5% or less of those completing surveys. So, there was only a small number of people proposing setting up a system to give grants to groups, giving money or goods to all older people in the village, or to provide Christmas parties or hampers.
Andrew Reid indicated that this survey analysis clearly suggested that older people in Comrie and the surrounding area want to see the legacy funding spent under certain general headings: support and care, transport and mobility, social places and village venues. There is also some support for improving the village environment and leisure facilities.
The survey analysis included details of what people had proposed under these general headings. Amongst those proposing some kind of support and care development, there were proposals of the improvements to care services, care of support and respite, advice services, First Response and provision of various kinds of therapy and equipment. The proposals under Mobility included transport around the village, development of the Coco Bus service, and bus trips away from village.
The analysis report provides a full list of all the various proposals made under the different general headings and indicates how many times each item on the detailed list was mentioned by one of the 281 people submitting a survey.
John King said that the survey was very clear about people’s views on what should be the top five areas of legacy spending.
Agnes Drysdale said it would be important for the final Legacy Group to establish some principles to work to, and have some standard policies. She felt it was important to plan for future generations and therefore project sustainability might be one of the principles to be followed. She also suggested that proposals be split into funding that would normally have a very short-term impact, and project funding that would have a long-term impact.
Lorna Ramsay said that one way of keeping projects sustainable would be through older people making some payment for using project services.
Murray Lauchlan felt that the term legacy implied expenditure over a very long period of time, which suggested investing the funds and using the interest payments received to make annual grants, with the process of fund applications and financial allocations through the Legacy Group taking place every year over a three-month period. However, this would need discussion as there were other views supporting potentially significant expenditure over the next few years.
Andrew Reid said that the long-term investment and grant giving had only been supported by a relatively small number of people completing the survey forms, and that the views expressed were overwhelmingly in favour of spending on village improvements of various kinds. A Legacy fund contribution now to renovating the Rural Hall would create a facility that would be available for many years to come and this would be sustainable development. He also felt that whatever approach the Committee wanted to recommend should be decided by those attending a public meeting.
Alistair Hamilton said that it was vital to deal with the basics and have a decision made between funding sustainable projects set up in the near future or making grants over many years.
Neill Aitken indicated that Comrie is the only village within this part of the region which does not have a Common Good Fund, and that the legacy fund should be used to establish such a fund, on the basis of investment and annual interest income to the fund.
Joan Carmichael asked how such Common Good Funds were financed. It was suggested that the annual income to the Braco fund came from payments related to a wind-farm in that area. Joan Carmichael wanted every Comrie village organisation to be given £1,000 from the Steinmeyer legacy fund. Joan also wanted a respite bed facility to be created at Dalginross House, and an advisory service to be provided for older people in the village.
It was pointed out that Leigh Doy already provides an advice service in the village, funded by Abbeyfield, and that the Citizens Advice Bureau already provides advice in Crieff, and could be requested to set up a service in Comrie.
Leigh Doy talked about her advice work in the village – 12 hours per week – and that she assists older people to access services and income benefits by giving them information and helping them complete application forms.
Hugh Rose wanted to see some development, financed through the legacy fund, which would promote a good relationship between Comrie/Scotland and Germany. He also felt that a distinction should be made between short-term and long-term funding. In addition, he suggested that it was important to carry out some work to establish a costing for particular proposals.
Stephanie Cameron suggested that other agencies, such as the NHS and PKC Social Work could help address some of the support and care proposals related to their own services. Agnes Drysdale wanted the Citizens Advice Bureau to be included in discussions about advice services.
Murray Lauchlan said it was important to keep to the results of the survey in relation to work on proposals. He said it would be good to draw on any funding or resources available from other sources, including grant funding to projects being provided with some legacy funds. He suggested setting up a meeting with NHS and Social Work staff to find out how their services relate to the survey proposals, whether they are ready to meet certain needs identified in survey proposals, and explore what they might contribute to meeting those proposals. He also asked Stephanie Cameron and Leigh Doy to consider what other agencies should be approached to discuss, and potentially support, the implementation of any other survey proposals.
Andrew Reid said that he would circulate all Interim Committee members about the top five areas of development, identified by people completing the survey, and ask people to respond if they are willing to join a group considering the necessity, feasibility, practicality and cost of all the proposals in that overall area. These subgroups would also meet and talk with organisations, including village groups, whose work linked with the particular proposals.
Publication of Survey Report
The question was raised about the Survey Report being made public through the Comrie Facebook page, the Comrie Community Website, the CDT website and CDT Facebook page. An overwhelming majority of Interim Committee members present voted to make the Survey Report publicly available.
- Legacy Trust
Neill Aitken said that an Executive Committee should be established in place of the Interim Committee, which was too large. Lorna Ramsay said that continuous reference to public meetings was impractical. Murray Lauchlan responded that the Interim Committee had worked on the basis of being very open to membership by people with ideas to contribute, and that the time for organisational arrangements to change would be later, when the direction being taken was clearer.
- Legacy Group Establishment/Elections
It was suggested that the formal Legacy Group should be established at a public meeting, with terms of reference established, with principles and overall policy direction agreed, and with the election of Legacy Group members.
- Next Steps
The next steps were identified as arranging five subgroups to carry out work on the five general issues most supported in the survey responses. The subgroups would be tasked with talking to relevant village and other organisations to clarify the need for developments, their broad costs, and what other sources of support and funding might be available alongside or instead of the legacy funds.
- Arrangements for Next Meeting
The next meeting will be set up when reports from the subgroups are available.