Minutes of the Finance Committee of the Council held on Wednesday 5th April 2017 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.
Present: Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse (Chair)
Cllrs C Woodhouse, J Prosser, Mrs M Powell, M Hickman, T Thomas, D Edwards, R Harris & S Dodd.
In attendance: Jacqueline Humphries Town Clerk, Norma Watkins ACE, Marian Pearce ACT.
- Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs D Simcock.
- Declarations of interest were made by Councillor Harris & Councillor Edwards declared an interest which was personal but not prejudicial
- A presentation was given by Norma Watkins from ACE regarding the services they currently provide to the public. Over 4200 people in Abergavenny used their services last year, the services they offer cover many aspects including advice, befriending, working with the disabled, tenancy support, CAB and foodbank vouchers to name just a few. It is a much needed service for the people of Abergavenny particularly those from the low income bracket. ACE only has enough core funding at present to run until May 2017 they will then have to close the doors. Monmouthshire County Council ownes the building they currently use and they have just 1 paid staff member on minimum wage working 22 hours a week.
All councillors stated they though that ACE did a lot of good for the people of Abergavenny particularly for the most deprived and it would be a great shame to see the centre shut. Funding had been applied for though People & Places but this can take up to 4 months to come through. Suggestion were made regarding a possible partnership between ACE & ACT moving forward and the possibly of applying for funding together.
A presentation was then given by Marian Pearce from ACT – ACT is currently financially sound, over £50,000 went through their books last year and they are able to sustain themselves at present. ACT looking at building a better relationship between the two agencies (ACT & ACE) to be able to make a greater difference to the people on the ground and to their everyday lives. They currently run a successful meal project, though transport around the town is a great problem to them. It is essential that a way is found for people to access both centres; there is a need to lose the political divide, share the needs of the people, support each other and help with possible joint funding.
The chair thanks both for their presentations and Norma Watkins and Marian Pearce left the meeting.
Councillors thought both services are very important for Abergavenny and felt if they could work together more in the future then advice and further consultation can take place between them and best practice shared. The possibly of providing some funding to help ACE through this difficult stage was proposed and all councillors agreed this would be a good short term solution. Tom James from MCC is currently looking at the transport situation and now Claire Marchant from Social Services will be part of the North Monmouthshire Liaison Committee they may be more on-hand advice available. If an ACE business plan, to include lease details could be provided it may help and the possibility of a merger between the two organisations may be a good thing.
Councillor Thomas proposed that the Council give ACE £2000 with a memorandum of understanding that the council see a signed commitment for both agencies to work together in the future and produce a business plan going forward. This was seconded by Councillor S Woodhouse and passed by committee.
Councillor Prosser asked the clerk to look into the legalities of providing on-going funding for ACE through the council and report back to council.
Councillors S Woodhouse, J Prosser and M Powell left the meeting; Councillor C Woodhouse took over as Chair
- Grant applications were considered from:-
- Abergavenny & District Tourist Association – the matter was discussed along with details of the help they had provided the TIC with last year, Councillors asked could Mary Davies please provide a set of audited accounts. C Woodhouse proposed to award the £3000 grant this was seconded by S Dodd then passed by all.
- Black Mountain Jazz – Councillors questioned the popularity of the event and its worth to the town, it was felt that the event did bring a lot of business in particularly to the guest houses and hotels and the event is getting bigger every year. C Woodhouse proposed to award £1500 this was seconded by S Dodd and passed by committee.
- The financial report for month 11 was adjourned until the next full council meeting.
The meeting closed at 6:45pm
Summary of recommendations:
- ACE to be given a £2000 grant must provide an ongoing business plan and a memorandum of understanding that they will work more closely with ACT in the future to share best practice.
- Clerk to investigate and provide feedback on the legal description of giving revenue for on-going costs to an organisation.
- Mary Davies to be asked to provide audited accounts for Abergavenny & District Tourist Association.