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2017 AGM

AGM MINUTES VSWS 15th November 2017
Present: Ian McAndrew, Karen Hall, Jane Henry, Jill Finnimore, Frank Gourlay, Marion and Patricia Picken.
Apology: Fred Findlay.
Chairman Ian McAndrew welcomed everyone to the AGM and thanked Arden House for providing the venue for this year’s AGM. Ian stressed to everyone present the VSWS is their organisation and to get involved.
Adoption of Minutes AGM 2016:
A copy had been given to all attendees together with the trading accounts of VSWS to date. Presented as a true and accurate reflection of the AGM 2016 by Patricia Picken, Secretary.
Proposed by Alison Smith. Seconded by David Birchman.
Chairman’s Report:
Ian said thank you to everyone for the great turnout and for replying to emails sent. There have been two new members co-opted to the committee throughout the year: Frank and Marion. Also, there will be an additional three new committee members added today: Lynda McDairmant, Ronnie Bradford and Douglas MacMillan. An invitation had also been given to Naomi Brough, formerly of Kirkcudbright Summer Festivities.
For information, Jill Fillmore is a self-employed member with the role of recruiting and managing membership. Currently, 250 members. According to Tripadvisor, there are over 900 places to stay, 365 places of interest and a vast selection of food/drink places here in SWS so there is a huge opportunity for VSWS. We the committee need help from businesses in our region, e.g. social media linking – everyone working with same themes etc.
Leaflets: The Route section was included in the 2017/18 copy. There has been lots of discussions with MSP’s/council regarding the best route for SWS. Council have commissioned a report. Landward TV featured the South West Coastal 300 (SWC300) using an electric car, the car was the main theme. However, the TV programme did drive traffic to the SWC300 Facebook page. Potential is there when you look at success of route NC500, however this route was given vast funding. VSWS have talked with council and hopefully with time/expertise/funding we could see a successful route in our region that will benefit everyone.
VSWS website – need to add more town/location information and everyone needs to keep their pages current. Social Media: Need everyone helping to drive interest and traffic. Please post/share.
Change of Legal Status: Briefly, we have been discussing the potential benefits of a change in legal status to identify if additional sources of funding could be available. The committee would require a vote today from all present to examine this opportunity further and we will take this vote at end of the order of business.
Treasurers Report: Copy of Karen Halls Report.
This was my first full years set of accounts after taking over the role of Treasurer on 29th June 2016.
As the accounts, you have a copy of today are for the year ending 5th April 2017, I present these as a true record of the organisations finances at that time.
The Accounts have been audited by Bell Ogilvy of Castle Douglas and I would like to propose that we use their efficient services again for the coming financial year – ending 5th April 2018.
Proposed by: Karen Hall
Seconded by: Patricia Picken
You will see from the accounts here, that Membership Subscriptions have increased dramatically in comparison to the previous year, I’ll come on to the main reason for that shortly.
The organisation has received no grants or external funding this year.
We have spent less on our Website and Social Media Campaigns in this accounting year as the majority of the changes were made in 2016. We continue to develop our on-line presence as efficiently and economically as possible.
It is extremely important that we continue to grow our membership base considering the positive changes we made to Visit South West Scotland over the last 12 months opening up possible membership to all tourism related businesses from across Dumfries and Galloway and beyond.
In order to do this effectively, in January 2017 we hired a free-lance, commission based Sales Executive – Jill Finnimore to concentrate on
increasing new Membership, these accounts show her first three months in the role, the cost of this service is shown as commissions… a pretty good return, I hope you’ll agree?
You will also see a huge difference in the ‘Advertising & Leaflets’ section. This is due to the increase in revenue gained by selling advertising space in the leaflet offset against the cost of leaflet design and distribution. Again, primarily we have Jill to thank for this.
All other lines in the accounts I think are self-explanatory.
To streamline the accounting process, we are now able to take card payments for new and renewed Membership. This has proved enormously beneficial and the costs for this are nominal.
Card services Gateway Fee of £9.99 per month plus a very small transaction fee.
Due to the continued closure of ‘Bank of Scotland’ Branches across the area it is becoming increasingly difficult to process cheque payments for Membership. We would like to encourage all members to pay either by Bank Transfer or by debit/credit card wherever possible.
This current year Membership fees have remained at £50 per annum plus £10 per any additional webpage required. It is with regret that the Organisation may be required to review these fees next year – 2018/19. We will keep any increase to a minimum and of course we will keep you informed.
If anyone has any questions regarding the accounts, I would be happy to try and answer them?
Election of office bearers/committee:
Chairperson: Ian McAndrew
Treasurer: Karen Hall
Secretary: Patricia Picken
Current office bearer’s forms completed. Proposed & Seconded per form.
Current committee agreed to stand again: Jane Henry, Fred Findlay, Emily Geddenlogue.
Formally added to committee: Frank Gourlay, Marion, Lynda McDermid, Ronnie Bradford and Douglas MacMillan.
Proposed by David Birchman.
Seconded by Patricia Picken

Paul Seaton of Swallow Theatre – Leaflet/Website map concerns. The maps are not well translated and the colour of dots and layout needs improvement. Website needs up-to-date/current events listings page. Karen Hall added that everyone can add to their pages. Ian said committee can do and everyone must be responsible to help add items.
Alex Johnston of Meiklebob Holidays – Feels VSWS needs to spend more time/effort/money to get traffic increased. Feels our current performance is poor and wondered of we used and paid for advertising? Ian answered as no for paid advertising and agreed we could look to so more as an organisation with social media networking.

Angus Fordyce of Cavens Country House Hotel – Congratulated work of present committee. Are we working with STA? Is there possibility of online booking being added to our website? Ian is in communication with STA and yes VSWS would be joining STA. Patricia added no online booking in place, everyone has opportunity to have their own page that links through to their website/online booking system. Karen Hall added that an integrated online booking system was not feasible.
Galloway Cottages: Stressed VSWS must increase Social Media. 40% of their bookings are directly driven from social media. Could VSWS members host week/day on Facebook/twitter to help increase output? Deborah Firth of Hillcrest House agreed and said she would be happy to take a turn at hosting. Carol Millar – SEO? Can we start to use a defined hashtag for VSWS? Get members to make suggestions and then everyone start using it. Deborah Firth said an example would be #LoveDandG used by D&Ghour.
Vote on Membership fees: 2017 Principal Subscription £50 with £10 for any additional business. Proposed by: Ian McAndrew. Seconded: Karen Hall.
Vote to investigate change of Legal Status for VSWS: Ian asked the attendees to vote and the majority agreed to do so.
For: Majority. Against: None. Undecided: Two
Meeting close:
Ian thanked Arden House for their hosting of today’s and praised them for everything going well. Ian thanked everyone for coming today along today and for their support for VSWS. The committee will look forward to the year ahead working with tourism businesses and organisations to promote South West Scotland. 2018 AGM will be in November with the date/venue to be confirmed.
Ian then introduced Sheena Smith and Amy Robertson from Visit Scotland and the team from Mostly Ghostly. Both Visit Scotland and Mostly Ghostly provided an interesting and entertaining presentation.

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