Archive for the ‘Committee’ Category

Committee Minutes – October 2020

16th November 2020

Present: Stella Hervey Birrell, Maureen Burns, Ruth Campbell, Liz Clark, George Cunningham, Mike Davenport, Lorna Dixon, Jeff Kemp, Julia Graves, Isabella Hesler, Irene Holligan, Mary Johnston, Graham Leake, Neil McGowan, Roy Moller, Jackie Muller, Jane Patmore (Convener), Philippa Ramsden, Katherine Ritchie, Jock Stein, Diana Stevens, Sheila Thacker, Brenda Thomson

Apologies:  Billy Graham

Convener’s Report:

Following positive feedback we had agreed to reappoint Margaret Skea as CWF. Unfortunately, this was overtaken by Covid19 and our inability to have group meetings in the usual way. We have postponed the appointment of a CWF in the meantime. Winter workshops were cancelled and we were unsuccessful in our bid for Scottish Book Trust funding to take one on line.

Over the past months some groups have continued to meet virtually, or to share work by email among members. However, for some members this is challenging. Coronavirus, and the restrictions it imposes, raises 3 points for consideration:

  • How do we maximise our use of technology and share our expertise, so as many people as possible can participate in a virtual way?
  • How can we best continue to include members who find technology challenging?
  • Can we use this time as an opportunity to publicise what we do and extend our membership to others in our communities who might benefit?

We also continue to research funding opportunities, and have recently had optimistic news about the co-op community fund.

The Constitution has been updated to reflect that we no longer get support through the Library Service, and the Committee is also exploring how to become a SCIO.

The Convener thanked office holders and the CWF for their support during this challenging year.

Treasurer and Membership Secretary’s Report:

Current balance is £7,575. Tyne & Esk Writers has been nominated as one of three charities to be eligible for Co-op Local Community Fund in the year Oct 20 to Oct 21.

At 31/3/20 there were 78 members, but for this year only 45 membership forms had been received. The subscription fee has been waived because of Covid19, but forms are still required – they can be found on the website, though payment still has to be made to the Treasurer rather than through the website. Group reps. are asked to ensure that everyone returns a form, although those who continue to pay by standing order can assume their membership will be counted. The Committee will consider the process for completing membership forms and paying subscriptions for future years.

The accounts had been agreed by the Committee as Trustees, but were shown to those present by screen share. In answer to questions, Diana said that our insurance does give some indemnity cover, but that a move to being a SCIO would improve this, and that while the Committee could consider changing banks to an interest-bearing account, interest rates were low and several banks had ceased offering this for Charities.

Reappointment of Office-bearers:

Convener: Jane Patmore – proposed Jock Stein, seconded Graham Leitch

Vice-convener: Neil McGowan, proposed Brenda Thomson, seconded Maureen Burns

Treasurer: Diana Stevens, proposed Brenda Thomson, seconded Liz Clark.

Scrivens:  George Cunningham was reappointed.

Port Seton Motion:  Jackie Muller, shared the experiences of the Port Seton Group. She shared how Zoom and other platforms had proved extremely helpful, and that during the period when lockdown was relaxed a blended approach had worked well. She referenced the 2014 members’ survey which had underlined the importance of social connection. It was proposed that Tyne and Esk should facilitate the use of Zoom by having a paid for account, accessible to all groups. The Committee agreed to look at this. The Committee also agreed that minutes, accounts and constitution would be available on the website.

To be considered by the Committee:

1  Membership Forms and possible Payment on line through the website

2  Changing banks for an interest-bearing account.

3  Proposal from the Port Seton Group for a central Zoom account.

The Committee and Convener were warmly thanked, and the meeting closed about 8.20pm.


The AGM was followed by the annual Writer of the Year Award, with 2020 judge Claire Askew.

Committee Minutes – October 2019

16th November 2020

Present: 21 members, Tom Murray (Writer of the Year judge) and Margaret Skea (Creative Writing Fellow)

Apologies: G. Leake, R. Davison, L. Dixon and H. Faoilean.

Welcome and appointment of Minute Secretary: (Brenda Thomson)

Previous Minutes: Taken as read.

Convener’s Report:

Thanks to the generosity of a member who wishes to remain anonymous, Tyne and Esk Writers is in a position to continue with a Creative Writing Fellow. The monies to pay for this are being spread over a 2 year period, with a reduction in hours per week from 17 to 10. Margaret Skea, a well-published writer, started this month as the Creative Writing Fellow. Margaret was welcomed.

Three Winter Writers’ Workshops took place. Russell Jones served as our Creative Writing Fellow  last year and  he was thanked for his work with us.

A new Festival went into its second year at Newbattle Abbey. Tyne and Esk was represented by Rebecca McKinney, whom we thank for her work on this.

Emma Patmore took over from Tim Mackenzie as our webmaster. They were both thanked.

As Rod Kelly was unable to continue as treasurer, Roy Moller took over the post for a short time. As he is unable to continue as treasurer, Diana Stevens has taken on the role. (The accounts were available for inspection. They have already been approved by the Committee.)

A desk and PA system were made by Graeme Leake some time ago. The desk is currently in Graeme Leake’s home and the PA system is stored in Jock Stein’s garage.

David Purdie, a long-standing member of Tyne and Esk Writers, died recently.

Thanks were given to Hannah Faoilean, one of our members, and to Jackie Stevens at Library Services for their support in running the Writer of the Year competition.

After being the Convener for two years Jock Stein stood down from the post. He is to be succeeded by Jane Patmore. Jock was thanked for all of his work by Brenda Thomson and by Jane Patmore.

Vice Convener’s Report:

Two of the winter workshops were well attended. The third workshop, which had to be postponed earlier, was less well attended.

A bid is being made to the Scottish Book Trust this year.

Fundraising will continue.


Treasurer’s Report:

£11 470 is the current balance in our account. There are 56 paid-up members.

Scriven’s Report: While blander in presentation, it is fit for purpose. George Cunningham will continue in post.

Appointment of Office-Bearers:

Convener  – Jane Patmore (proposed by Jock Stein and seconded by Stella Birrell)

Vice Convener –  Neil McGowan (proposed by Jock Stein and seconded by Julia Graves)

Treasurer – Diana Stevens (proposed by Jock Stein and seconded by Jane Patmore)

The meeting closed with an invitation for refreshments prior to the Writer of the Year competition’s awards ceremony.

(Brenda Thomson)



Committee Minutes – October 2018

16th November 2020

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting for the year April 2017 – March 2018, held in the Dalkeith Arts Centre, 2 White Hart Street, Dalkeith EH22 1AE on Monday 1st October 2018.

Welcome:  Twenty-two members were present and welcomed by the Convener Jock Stein.

Apologies:  Rod Kelly, Graham Leake, Roy Moller, Eric Platten, Diana Steven, Sheila Thatcher.

Convener’s Report:  Thanks to funding by the Seedbed Trust, Tyne and Esk has been able to keep the services of a Creative Writing Fellow. Russell Jones will take up this post on 18 October.  The dynamic of Tyne and Esk Writers lies in the groups and it remains essential that they recruit more members with personal contacts remaining a very good method.  Two Winter Writers’ Workshops were held during the year with financial assistance from the Scottish Book Trust and it is hoped that this funding may also be available next year (2019). Rod Kelly, our new treasurer prepared the accounts which had now been approved by the Management Committee, acting as Tyne and Esk Trustees for the year to April 2018. Copies were tabled for members’ perusal.  In conclusion the Convener noted the retirement from the Management Committee of former Convener Brenda Thomson and Eric Platten, the representative from Penicuik, who were thanked for their contribution over the years, along with former Webmaster Tim Mackenzie. Mr Platten will be succeeded by Hannah Faoilean as the representative for Penicuik.

Vice Convener’s Report:  The need for constant fundraising was emphasised as there was a need to raise money for usual expenses such as insurance as well as funding the Creative Writing Fellow and WOTY.  The use of Amazon Smile when purchasing personal goods, ensures a small percent is paid to Tyne and Esk as a registered charity.  Similar benefits from other stores such as Tesco and M&S are being examined.  The need for new members was highlighted as this too increased the income for Tyne and Esk. A revised members’ survey seeking information and some personal and demographic details is underway and this information enables an accurate profile can be used to support applications for grants.  The Vice Convener emphasised that it would be extremely helpful if members could also add a short note on what they personally get from Tyne and Esk membership.

Appointment of office bearers:  Jock Stein was appointed unopposed as Convener for the coming year and likewise Jane Patmore was elected Vice Convener. In absentia Dr Rod Kelly was returned as Treasurer and Roy Moller as the Membership Secretary.

Appointment of Creative Writing Fellow:  Russell Jones, who had undertaken one of the two Writers’ Winter Workshops has been appointed Creative Writing Fellow. He will take up post on 12 October 2018. Catherine Simpson, who has retired as the CWF was thanked for her generous contribution of time to the groups and to individual members.

Scrivens:  George Cunningham remains as the current Editor.  The aim is to produce another issue at the end of October.  To this end members should send him contributions by mid-October  Prose should be limited to 750 words and poetry to a maximum of 36 lines.  Please type contributions in 12-point Times New Roman and double space.

Website:  We welcome Emma Patmore as the new Webmaster, and any group representatives who want to update information should do this now.

Growing the Business – new ideas:  Members present acknowledge the need to increase Tyne and Esk membership.  Ideas floated included a new publicity leaflet and the need for media expose in the local press.  However, it was acknowledged that word of mouth is still the best recruitment method.

Close:  There being no other competent business, the meeting closed at 7.30 pm followed by the Writer of the Year Awards, 2018.

Committee Minutes – September 2017

16th September 2017

Minute of Tyne and Esk Writers Committee, 11th September 2017

The Committee met informally after the AGM in Dalkeith Arts Centre, and resolved:
1 To make available up to £1,500 to add to the grants offered by the Musselburgh and Haddington Common Good Funds, in order to appoint a Creative writing Fellow for three months or equivalent.
2 That Jock Stein would invite Marjorie Lofti-Gill to take up this post, if she was willing.
3 That we take up Roy Moller’s offer to do a short video of groups which would cost virtually nothing and be useful for publicity.
4 That Yvonne Dalziel be co-opted onto the Committee.

Committee Meeting – August 2017

30th August 2017

Minutes of Committee Meeting held in the Star Room, John Gray Centre, Haddington, EH41 3PJ
2.30 p.m. Monday 28th August, 2017

1. Present: George Cunningham (Convener) in the Chair, Jock Stein (Vice Convener and Poetry Group) Brenda Thomson (Dunbar), Diana Stevens (Treasurer), Billy Graham (Haddington), Lorna Dixon (North Berwick), Sheila Thacker (Penicuik), Graham Leake (Dalkeith), Jane Patmore (Musselburgh), Ron Thomas (Treasurer elect)
Apologies : Annabel Cavaroli (Midlothian Libraries), Trina Gavan (East Lothian Libraries), Eric Platten (Penicuik).

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting: accepted, proposed by Brenda, seconded by Jock.

3. Matters arising from Minutes not covered below – none.

4. Fund Raising (George leading discussion)
• Our last attempt at fund raising failed, in spite of a very good submission prepared by Rebecca Mckinney. Charities are inundated with submissions and the successful ones seem to be those relating to disadvantaged groups and young people. Brenda suggested this was an area to be discussed, possibly at the AGM.
• The possibility of narrowing the remit of the CWF (the main need for funding) was discussed, though this would be to enable the job to be manageable rather than to reduce salary.
• Suggestions for funding applications included The Robertson Trust and The Weir Trust (Jane to explore these).
• Jock has 5 applications outstanding to: The East Lothian Educational Trust, and 4 Local Authority Common Good Funds.
• Successful professional writers e.g. J K Rowling, Alexander McCall Smith might be approached (although they may have particular interests they would be prepared to support).
• The Penicuik Group includes a local councillor who is interested in lobbying Midlothian Council to divert monies spent on setting up Creative Writing Courses towards T& E Writers. This would not be a large amount but discussion is ongoing.
• Jock and Jane will pursue as above.

5. Treasurer’s Report
• T&E yearly Report and Accounts were agreed, and will be presented at the AGM. At the AGM Diana retires as Treasurer. Ron Thomas will take over as Treasurer, Roy Moller as Membership Secretary.
• Bank of Scotland balance stands at £5827.60. Income from Membership was £1220 (65 paid up members). Regular donations are coming in from members.
• Signatures for Bank of Scotland Mandate forms (change of signatories) are needed from Ron, Roy, and Jane. Diana, George, and Brenda will cease to be signatories, Jock will remain.
• Ron’s signature will be required on the final accounts submitted to OSCR (before 31 December 2017).

6. Operating without a CWF (Jock )

• Two suggestions were included in the Minutes of the last Committee Meeting:
1) some of our own writers facilitating other groups meetings
2) sharing work between groups

• Those members of the groups who have skills or experience to offer (e.g. in getting published) could visit groups with a view to sharing these or facilitating discussions if requested to do so by the groups, probably only once or twice a year. Transport might be a problem. It was agreed that Jock would write an article to be published in Scrivens asking if this would be acceptable and who would be willing to do it.
• Sharing work with other groups was agreed to be unpopular.
• Ways of conducting group meetings to stimulate ideas (i.e. rotating the chairing of meetings, including short writing exercises) were discussed and Brenda agreed to write an article outlining how the Dunbar Group functioned.
• Providing that Scottish Book Trust continues to give funding support, the Workshops are very worthwhile and should continue.
• The general consensus was that the best way forward was to try to make the groups as effective as possible.

7. Group Feedback (if anything new)
Musselburgh: small numbers at meetings during the summer
Penicuik: open mic session September 7th – all welcome, Penicuik Library. Penicuik Community Arts Group has invited contributions for the Christmas Lights switch-on event.
North Berwick: invited to contribute to an Absent Friends, Grieving and Loss event in North Berwick on November 11th organised by the NB Health and Well Being Network.
Haddington: Not sure if they will still have access to a room in the Town House. Billy’s latest book (semi-autobiographical) will be out shortly.
Dalkeith: Rebecca McKinney’s book The Angel in The Stone will be launched in Waterstone’s on Tuesday September 5th.

8. The Second Poetry Group: The 2nd Poetry Group will have its first meeting on September 14th, 7 p.m. in Stagg’s Bar, Musselburgh. Dates of meetings thereafter to be confirmed.

9. Arrangements for AGM

• Dalkeith Arts Centre Monday 11th September, 7.00 p.m. George to send out notice.
• Brenda cannot be there. Billy volunteered to organise refreshments (i.e. wine and soft drinks) to be served after AGM. Minimum donations to be suggested. George to chair AGM, Jock to chair WOTY event.

10. Date of Next Meeting – Friday December 10th 2.30 p.m. Lasswade Library. Tbc.

11. AOCB

• Diana – Facebook page links to blank page – needs updating to current T&E website. Diana offered to take on updating it.
• Jock – proposed Newbattle Abbey Literature Festival. A proto-literature festival event will take place on 25th October 7-9 p.m all welcome. Also there will be a meeting on 6th September re the Festival – Brenda volunteered to attend if free.

Committee Minutes – June 2017

29th June 2017

Minutes of Committee Meeting held in Lasswade Library 2 p.m. Monday, 19th  June, 2017

1. Present: George Cunningham (Convener and Musselburgh) in the Chair,  Jane Patmore (Succeeding Rep. at Musselburgh), Jock Stein (Vice Convener and Poetry Group) Brenda Thomson (Dunbar), Eric Platten (Penicuik), Mary Johnston (Dalkeith).
Apologies : Annabel Cavaroli (Midlothian Libraries), Trina Gavan (East Lothian Libraries), Diana Stevens (Treasurer), Lorna Dixon (North Berwick), Billy Graham (Haddington), Graham Leake (Dalkeith). Jane Patmore, George Cunningham’s successor to the Musselburgh group, was introduced and
2. Minutes of the previous meeting: These were adopted.
3. Matters arising from minutes not covered below: None.
4. Convener’s report:
There is not a lot to report since the last meeting. Our third Writers’ Winter Workshop took place on 25 March with the poet Gerry Cambridge. It was well-attended and as Gerry is also something of a virtuoso on the mouth-organ, we closed the session with a short rendition of well-known tunes. All workshop leaders were thanked as well as the Scottish Book Trust, for whom we must be grateful for funding assistance, abreast of each event. Activity has gone on behind the scenes to identify names to be put forward at the AGM for the posts of Convener and Vice-convener and George thinks we are there.

However, the post of Treasurer remains a problem. We must remember that being a charity and therefore eligible to apply to a wide range of organisations for funding, that we must keep our accounts to meet the standards set by the Office of the Scottish Charities Register. Failure to do so adequately may in future close several doors for us.
George had hoped to come here today with some good news about our latest application for funding. However, it is still working its way through the system – but he should receive an indication next week if our bid to
Creative Scotland for £9,000 has been successful. He wishes to record all our thanks to Rebecca McKinney and Yvonne Dalziel for the enormous amount of work they both put into this application. He is not going to speculate on the outcome – He is not even keeping his fingers crossed. This is the last group representatives meeting of the 2016–17 year and our AGM will take place on Monday 11 September starting at 7 pm in Dalkeith Library – although that must be confirmed – followed by the 2017 WOTY awards.
5. Vice Convener’s report:Book sales at an event at Haddington library, which involved selling copies of Alan Gay’s pamphlet and our anthology, still have to be passed on to the treasurer.
6a. Treasurer’s report:The Tyne and Esk Annual Report was agreed. It was agreed that while a CWF could not be appointed unless the organisation received further funding we could continue to run the 3 winter workshops
which are always popular. George would ask Annabel Cavaroli if T& E could charge attendees or ask them to make contributions towards the costs – e.g. £3.
It was suggested that Tom Murray should be invited to run a workshop.
7. Fund Raising Situation and Report: If we are successful in acquiring the grant for which we have applied, Jock Stein will invite Marjorie Loft Gill to have a discussion with Brenda, Graham L. and himself with a view to
appointing her as a CWF as she has indicated an interest. (Graham will need to be asked to do this.) If we are unsuccessful John MacMillan, the Provost, could be approached for funding.
We will continue to run the 3 winter workshops. We will give consideration to:
1) some of our own writers facilitating some of the group meetings if groups wish that;
2) sharing work between groups.
8. WOTY Update: All of the entry forms will be sent to the entrants in the next few days. George will ask Annabel about us using either Dalketh Arts Centre or Dalkeith Library for the AGM and the WOTY celebration.
9. Succession Planning:George will be retiring as Convener and Diana as Treasurer. Reluctantly, Jock will take on the role of Convener for one year, but one condition of this is that we must have a new treasurer. Jock would be willing to mentor the work of a new treasurer if they wished some support. No-one has offered to take on the role of treasurer. The reps should encourage candidates from their groups to come forward. Some younger candidates would be very welcome. The committee could choose to meet in the evenings or on Saturdays if that encouraged others to join it. George will send out a note to the reps. to this effect.
10. Scrivens: There appears to be a communication problem between Cheryl Smith’s computer and that of Tim Mackenzie because Tim does not receive copies of Scrivens from Cheryl. Jock is currently sending copies to Tim. Discussion arose about whether or not Scrivens should come out three times a year or four times a year.
11. Group Feedback:

Musselburgh: 9 – 10 attend regularly which accords with the paid-up members.
Poetry: The attendance was good in March and April, but has been lower recently. At the last meeting the group discussed the possibility of there being an evening poetry group in a library or in a pub in another town. It was thought that Dalkeith might be a suitable place or Staggs Bar in Musselburgh.
Dunbar: 8-10 people are attending on a regular basis.
Dalkeith: 8-10 people have been attending, although, in the summer, the numbers are lower.
It is encouraging that some young people are attending Penicuik: Six renewed their membership. Eric advertises in the Town Cryer.
Penicuik Writers, Pentland Writers and the Penicuik Arts Association are working together to present Penfest in September. Eric and Catherine Simpson have been on the local radio.
11. AOCB: George should mention the possibility of a new poetry group being set up when he next sends out a circular. George needs to make it clear that T & E can only continue if officers come forward to take on the roles on the committee.
12. Date of the Next Meeting:The meeting will be held either at the John Gray Centre or in Jock’s home on the 28th August. George will see if the John Gray Centre is available.