Minutes of the Finance Committee of the Council held at 6pm in the Mayorís Parlour, Town Hall, Abergavenny on Wednesday 3 September 2014.

Present: Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse (Chair)

Cllrs C Woodhouse, M Hickman, R Harris, Mrs M Powell, P Wadsworth and Ms S Dodd.

In attendance: The Town Clerk and Mrs P Lawrence and colleague for the first item.

1. There were no apologies.

2. Declarations of interest were received from Cllr Hickman concerning the Wales Fair Trade Fair item. He left the room when this was discussed.

3. The following grant applications were considered:

a) Acorn Centre Kitchen Project.

Mrs Lawrence was invited to speak to members about this project as there had been concerns when it was originally raised. The Centre is primarily funded for Flying Start and provides courses on gardening, healthy eating etc for young families. It is aimed at low income families who often rely on the micro-wave for meals.

A new kitchen has been built from funds collected by Mrs Lawrence and they now need utensils etc for the courses they intend to run. The courses are open to Abergavenny people and referrals from other agencies. They aim to start in October this year. They need £3700 for running costs.

In response to members questions it was established that the Flying Start funding is in its first year of three, MCC are not funding it directly, although the facilities are in a Council owned building, and clients can come not just from Abergavenny. Mrs Lawrence was advised to consider asking surrounding Community Councils for funding as well. She was also asked if she was aware of the three other kitchens in the locality and urged to talk to ACE, the Youth Centre and the Leisure Centre about their projects. 

Members thanked the two ladies for attending and they left at this point.

After discussion it was agreed to recommend a grant of £1500 for equipment which could be released on receipt of evidence that they have confirmed insurance cover via MCC`s insurance.

b) Wales Fair Trade Fair

A grant request was received from this organisation. It was agreed that Audited Accounts besought before considering the request.

c) Abergavenny Food Festival

A grant request for the cost of banners for the winter Food Festival was considered. Members were aware that they had invited this bid at an earlier meeting. After due discussion it was agreed to recommend that a grant of £900 be made.

4. Street Lighting changes

This had been referred here as it was the first opportunity for members to consider it despite the fact that it was already being implemented. It was agreed that Councillors be recommended to make their County Councillors aware of any concerns expressed within their wards, so that they can be investigated.

5. Audit 2014.

Members received the Internal Audit Report, The External Auditorís letter and a draft letter of appointment for the Internal Auditor for next year.

Within the Internal Audit Report was reference to the sum of money invested in Gateway Credit Union. It was agreed that when next yearís annual report is seen we should review our investment with a view to possibly withdrawing some or all of it.

Satisfaction was expressed with the audit letter and internal report. The draft letter of appointment was approved as it will comply with the new Audit Regime due to be introduced next year.

The formal return for the External Auditor will be put to Council for Approval next week.

6. Grants Guidance form.

Members had requested that they have an opportunity to review this document.

It was agreed to amend it so that we do not fund 100% of any project and the maximum grant be reduced from £5000 to £2500. Also there would be a stipulation in future that all projects would be asked for a written report on the project at the end of it. These amendments would not necessarily apply to specific named projects which are given support each year.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6:55pm.

Summary of recommendations:

1. That a grant of £1500 be made to the Acorn Kitchen Project for equipment subject to proof of insurance cover.

2. Audited Accounts be requested from Wales Fair Trade Fair.

3. A grant of £900 be made to the Winter Food Festival for banners.

4. Any Street Lighting concerns be referred to the relevant County Councillor.

5. The Audit reports be received and the Mayor be requested to sign the return at the Council Meeting.

6. The draft letter of appointment for the internal auditor for next year be approved as it complies with the format needed for the new Audit Regime.

7. The Grants Guidance form be revised as agreed