Minutes of Reading Room Committee Meeting

held on Monday 26th September 2011

Present: Jean Dougherty (Treasurer), Pat Stott (Acting Chair), Rev. Eric Lewis, Judy Campbell, Ada Blackburn, Hazel Fulton, George Fulton, Debbie Reed, Neville Gray, Georgina Harper, Jackie Scrowther (Minute Secretary), Richard Heslop, Malcolm Lowison, Vanessa Saunders, Doreen Jordan, Sally Dobson

Apologies: none received.


  1. Minutes of the August meeting, read by Debbie Henderson, were agreed except that the figures provided by the Treasurer were incorrectly recorded by the Minutes Secretary. Please disregard the August figures and refer to the latest figures in these minutes.


  1. Action List: See separate sheet for agreed actions. Hazel Fulton has asked for estimates to repaint and repair wood at the north facing end of the Reading Room. Neville explained the requirement for PAT testing of the Reading Room electrical equipment, equipment used by the various User Groups and that used by `one-off` visitors who might, for instance, give a power point presentation. He produced written guidelines (see addendum); Mike Stott is in charge of ensuring that equipment conforms to the regulations, and is the “Duty Holder”. Neville also mentioned the requirement to have “fixed wire testing” - this will be discussed again.


  1. Matters Arising:

  1. Drama Production Fees: Malcolm Lowerson asked if there could be an agreed fixed charge for Drama Productions. He suggested £150 per production. Although lost income during production week is now higher than this, the committee agreed to this sum but the amount would be reviewed at the October 2012 RR meeting.

ii) Location of Title Deeds: Neville has obtained a copy of the conveyance of the Reading Room from Mr Bigg dated 1913. No record of the building has yet been found at the Land Registry. Neville will continue in his attempts to solve this problem.

iii) Laurels: Doreen said that the local authority has agreed to cut back the laurels at the side of the Reading Room. Doreen described the history of this land and its maintenance. After the work is done, the Reading Room will be responsible for keeping the laurels under control. Doreen was thanked for her efforts which have saved the committee money and physical labour.

iv) Hazel Fulton has an estimate of £219-34 for replacing missing and broken slates in the south facing wall. It was agreed that we should accept this estimate.


  1. RR Maintenance:

  1. Heating Project: Hazel Fulton, Project Manager, said that user groups thought that setting the temperature at 20` made the rooms too hot. She has therefore set the temperature to 15’ and will review the situation at a later date. Hazel has provided written instructions for groups so that they can turn the temperatures up or down as they wish. This system will be monitored/reviewed.

  2. Cleaning: Jackie agreed to ask our cleaner to clean on Tuesdays and Thursdays (she presently cleans on Mondays and Thursdays. The hall is very busy on Tuesdays and the cleaner may not be able to find two hours in which to work which are convenient to the Reading Room and to her own circumstances. Page 1 of 4

iii) Storage of Marquees: the Staging needs to be moved to a central position, so that cupboard door can be fully opened. Paul Leonard has advised that the two marquees should be stored separately to ensure that the parts are not muddled. George and Paul will look into this problem.

  1. Social Events:

  1. Film Club. Louise is in charge of the film nights. Louise asked members to look at the “Film Club” website and to suggest titles for future showings.

  2. Ceilidh Oct 15th. Angels of the North will be playing and Judy Milne will `call`. Hazel Chalmers will be in charge. Jean will organise the soup and stotties (door HC, Bar JC, BB posters)

  3. Jazz Evening Oct 8th (Vieux Carre): Ada will organise the raffle, Richard will advertise this on Facebook, JD will be in overall charge. Judy will restock the bar. Jean and Jackie will make a buffet supper. Don Scrowther will run the bar. Louise will make a new bar price list.

  4. Quiz Sept 30th: Jean will order pie and peas, Ada will do the raffle, Pat will write questions, HC has already done the answer sheets. Judy will buy the prizes. It was confirmed that teams must not have more than 4 members.


6. Treasurer’s Report:

Balance in Lloyds Bank current account: £10754.28. (31/08/11). Northern Rock account: £4.87 (26/08/11). Total income for August £32337.14 (includes £27750.00 bank transfer); Total outgoings for August £21,969.99.

Jean said that she had received from Wellburn Care Home £30 donation because we loaned them some chairs and a £50 donation towards the new heating. Jean has promised that the village carol singers will visit Wellburn on 19th December. Eric said that they want to be included in village life.

Jean gave Jackie a memory stick containing the financial files. This will be exchanged next month with a different memory stick containing next month’s information.


7. Booking Secretary’s Report:

Hazel said that invoices for September = £872.

She said that a village resident wishes to hire the Reading Room to raise funds for his daughter who is disabled. He asked if there was a reduced fee for such events. After discussion, it was agreed that he should pay the usual £20 per hire.


8. Any Other Business

i) Hazel and George will dismantle the old electric fire and fireplace. Jackie agreed to take it to the recycle centre.

ii) Sandra Rusby sent her thanks to the committee, on behalf of the Craft Group, for all their hard work during the recent renovations.

iii) It was agreed that Hazel should add the following phrase to the invoices: “Payment must be received within two weeks of receipt of the invoice”.

iv)Hazel asked if she could buy some aluminium ladders for the R.R. (£90 from B & Q) because the old wooden ladders are very heavy: agreed.

v) Hazel said that the hall is booked for 7 or 8 weekends every year by a yoga teacher who locks the doors and who does not wish to be disturbed. The church keeps a key so that members of the congregation can use the RR toilets: Hazel will give Georgina the dates when the key should not be given out.

Page 2 of 4

vi) Judy said that we need white plates to match the rest of the new crockery. Ada will ask Peter Blackburn if he can obtain such plates. It was agreed that we would purchase plates if necessary.

vii) The problem of the wine storage was discussed – George will investigate various ideas: this will be discussed again at the October meeting.

viii) Jean wondered if the Community Chest would pay for the sanding and polishing of the main hall floor.

ix) Doreen made some suggestions about how to make the entrance more attractive – to be discussed again.

x) Vanessa agreed that after the renovations are completed, she would arrange an open evening and invite a reporter from the Hexham Courant.

xi) Neville said that if required, after the new PVC windows are installed, a wooden frame could be fixed to the stone lintels to enable the window grills to be replaced ( decision will be made at a later date).

xii) W. I. members will try to ensure that the fire alarm checks are made each month.

xiii) Jackie said she had guidelines for a `conditions of hire` document for use when equipment such as a marquee is hired out. Some members thought such a document was not necessary. No decision made.

xiv) Jackie is to train as a Hallmark 2 inspector. She asked members to consider applying for a Hallmark 2 award next year: it would help our general organisation and forward planning. Eric said that it would also help us to demonstrate our duty of care. This will be discussed again.


9. Date of next meeting: 31st October 2011 at 7-30pm in the Reading Room.


Addendum

Comments on PAT testing from Neville Gray


Conditions of Hire

  1. A practical approach is needed to ensure we don’t make regime too onerous for casual and small groups wishing to hire the hall.

  2. The proposal is to make a distinction between a business (and commercial hirer) and non business groups with a different Agreement for each.

  3. For a business group we should stipulate that “Any portable electrical equipment brought onto the premises must have a current PAT testing status as shown on the appropriate sticker affixed to the equipment. The Reading Room reserves the right to check such status.”

  4. For a non business group we should state that “ The Hirer shall ensure that any electrical appliances brought onto the premises and used therein shall be safe and in good working order and used in a safe manner for its intended purpose.”

  5. However we also need to consider the position where a non business group brings in equipment which it is intended shall be used by the general public. Question: Do we insist on PAT status in that scenario?


The PAT Testing Regime

The following recommendations are based on a comprehensive website http://www.pat-testing.info/


  1. There is a requirement to appoint a “responsible person” called the “Duty Holder”.

  2. The duty holder assesses the required frequency of testing which is based on the environment in which equipment is used, the type of equipment ie hand held or fixed, prior history of damage and the “Class” of equipment.

  3. The “risk” level can be on a points basis which is explained in the guide.

  4. One of the key requirements is the need to have records “to convince a court” should there be an accident or fatality arising from use of equipment covered by the regulations.

Page 3 of 4


  1. This means there should be a register of equipment kept up to date. The register should include : equipment type, deletions and additions, record of test dates, frequency of testing assigned to each item, risk score for each item.

  1. The PAT testing company should also supply a copy of their test results.

  2. The frequency of testing can be varied based on experience.

  3. All equipment must have a valid test label affixed.


Following from the above we need to ensure that instructions are issued that any equipment which is scrapped and any new equipment is notified to the duty holder. We also need to decide the frequency that the duty holder checks for any equipment which has crept in under the radar. Maybe a quarterly check to begin with would be appropriate.


Fixed Wiring Testing

In addition to testing of portable appliances there is also a requirement for fixed wiring installations to be regularly tested and an appropriate NICEIC Certificate to be issued. Whilst the base position is for a test every 5 years with intermediate visual checks there is a recommendation that buildings open to the public have annual checks. Question: Is such a regime in place?

Information is available on the web at http://www.fixedtesting.com/index.asp



Page 4 of 4

RRCM 26/09/11