Minutes of the Ovingham Reading Room Committee Meeting held on

Monday 30th January 2017 at 7.30 pm

Present: Neville, Chris, Doreen, Louise, Hazel, Marion, Sally, Vera, Lorraine, Georgina, Nicola, Jill and Debbie

1. Apologies: Dean

2. Minutes of the last meeting held on November 28th 2016: these were agreed to be a true record.

3. Matters Arising:

a) Energise proposed new timings: It was agreed that Energise could change their sessions times to Monday 3.30 pm – 7.30 pm, except on the second Monday of the month (when the WI are booked in) when Energise would only have use of the hall from 3.30 pm – 6.30 pm, and would revert to their Sunday booking of 6.30 pm – 7.30 pm on the evening before. Their Wednesday booking is now I pm – 7.15 pm. The total number of hours is still 10 ¼.

It was agreed that we would review this arrangement after a year, as the monthly Sunday evening slot would make it hard for another group to make a weekly Sunday evening booking.


Mirrors: another fundraising event will take place in shortly, after which enough money should have been raised for one of the mirrors. Our offer to buy a second mirror still stands, and the mirror would be a Reading Room asset.

We asked Jill and Nicola to become members of the committee, and it was agreed that Nicola would be signed up as a Trustee, but that either or both were welcome to come to the meetings,

b) Safety report/actions: Dean wasn’t able to attend the meeting, but had sent a detailed progress and recommendation report for us to look at, as well as offers of jobs he was happy to do himself, and Chris was able to put us in the picture about certain aspects of it.

1. Disabled access: Ian Todd is too busy to pursue this; we agreed that we need permanent and probably relatively expensive arrangements; Neville and Chris will arrange to meet Richard Loughead and Paul Leonard for their advice, after which we will discuss and agree appropriate action to take.

2. Disabled toilet alarm outer reset button needs replacing (?)

3. Cleaner’s cupboard – lower child lock to be removed so that people have to use the top one. (Dean to do)

4. Kitchen cupboard trims need gluing (Dean to do)

5. Electrical socket covers need replacing (done)

6. Blind by fusebox in hall (Neville to ask Brian Weatherly)

7. Two thresholds need attention – main door loose, Main Hall to Blackett Room missing (?)

8. Fluorescent tubes: Blackett Room and storeroom lights very slow, cellar tube not working. Neither

store room nor cellar tubes have cages ( Neville to ask Paul Howard)

9. Fridge temperature should be checked regularly to ensure it’s set under 5 degrees.

10. Outside light (done)

11. Recycle bin: although we have asked users to recycle systematically, this isn’t happening satisfactorily enough for Melissa to separate the two types of waste, and the recycle bin has been removed. Even the outside bins are misused. We agreed to reinforce appropriate waste disposal by including it in the hire agreement.

c) Safeguarding: Neville had drawn up a draft policy which we commented on. He will send round a further, longer document to see if we feel ours is satisfactory. We agreed that one-off bookers were at less risk, but that we would include questions about DBS certification as part of the hire agreement, although we couldn’t actually ask for the evidence. Regular groups would be asked about their safeguarding policy. There is an online course costing £38, but Voices run half day courses which user group volunteers could be offered, as well as committee members. Neville would investigate the possibility of such a course being held in the Reading Room.

Georgina explained the safeguarding policy adopted by the church, which requires everyone in uniform

or official authoritative clothing be DBS certified.

Louise offered to be the Reading Room’s named Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult Representative to whom any complaint or concern would be passed; Louise would then pass the information to the appropriate contact(s) as given in the Voices literature.

We also agreed to remind all users to keep the front door bolted to avoid unwelcome intruders.

d) Storage shed: Neville said that a lot of preparation needed to be done outside, but we agreed to look further into as the stage units take a lot of room in the back room

e) Goose Fair: Dean had reopened the idea of using the White Swan for a Goose Fair event, but we had already mentioned in the Oracle and the Parish Magazine that we would be holding a small outdoor event on the top field.

f) Planner: we looked at this, and agreed that some monthly jobs/inspections should be built into our meetings. Chris is now a trained PAT tester, and would shadow the Stotts at some point to familiarise himself with procedures in the Reading Room.

4. Maintenance – see Dean’s Safety report.

Painting of the dado rail: to be rescheduled to Spring, preferably during the school holidays.

5. Chair’s report: nothing to add to safeguarding item.

6. Booking Secretary’s report: Chris explained that Debbie and Sally were taking over the bookings, and that once the January invoices were done between us we should be fully independent! There are minor email problems to iron out, but the communication system has been explained in the Oracle and the Parish Magazine. For the time being, Debbie will take bookings and Sally will meet hirers with the keys and show them the ropes.

Debbie went through a series of general emails received, but none needed to be followed up, although the Consortium of Village Halls is at risk of closure if no new volunteers come forward. Neville explained that if that occurs, the work can probably be taken over by Louise Curry, and this will increase her work for Community Action Northumberland, a job which is currently at risk.

Ovi-Fun have made a booking for the evening of March 11th, and asked for an extension until 12, although the bar will close at 11. We agreed that the building must still be cleared by 11.30pm.

7. Treasurer’s Report: our expenses in November and December were £2 290, and income £2 375, which leaves our total bank balance at £2 4724.83.

We discussed the merits of different types of paper towel dispensers, and Chris will investigate. He will also compare prices of toilet rolls (Costco versus our current supplier, Viking).

8. AOB:

a). Defibrillator: we discussed where this should be installed, and decided on the front of the building, to the left-hand side. We will need 4 responders with a key.

b). Ovingham Oracle: the committee offered £150 to help with printing costs, which was gratefully accepted.

c). Church representative: Georgina said that she would soon be standing down from this post, but hoped that a new rep would be appointed in the not too distant future.

d). Musical evenings: Dean suggested that the Reading Room host professional/visiting groups on a regular basis. The committee felt that it should be hirers who put on events like that, and that we would find it difficult to organise, sell tickets and cover costs.

e) Music system: Dean proposed that we reconsider buying an up-to-date sound/PA system, because some hirers decide to bring their own. Although we have plenty of money at the moment, we felt that this wasn’t a priority, although complaints have on occasion been made about the level of sound at film club, and people attending discos have also commented on the low level of sound. We hope that Dean will be present at a future meeting to discus it further.

9. Next meeting: Monday 27th February at 7.30

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