Published 10 October 2013

The most recent HLH Board meeting was held in Portree on the 2nd/3rd October. In addition to conducting its normal quarterly meeting (more later), the Boards of both companies undertook a series of visits to High Life Highland facilities on the island.

Directors first visited the Skye & Lochalsh Archive Centre where they enjoyed a tour of the building, hearing from staff about the important local archival, exhibition and family history material held in the archive. Onwards to The Fingal Centre where HLH’s Leisure Manager took the group on a tour of the building, during which Directors saw children enjoying swimming lessons taken by HLH staff, ascending the ‘climbing wall’ and working out in the fitness suite.

Next stop was Portree Community Library where the visit coincided with National Poetry Day and Directors were impressed to see the both school pupils and members of the public researching topics, reading for pleasure and using the free web linked computers.

Throughout the day, Directors also heard presentations by High Life Highland staff whose work has an impact on communities and customers in the area. High Life Highland’s Health & Wellbeing Manager, kicked things off with an update on work she is doing with colleagues on the island; Knowing Me, Knowing You A programme of bespoke activities designed to attract older people who are currently non users of services. Joint local programmes involving family history, library and leisure centre activity. You Time is a new programme about to be rolled out (from October 2013) in Portree and 6 other HLH sites, aimed at older adults (65+ yrs). The programme will provide lots of interesting opportunities for older adults to improve their health, keep minds active, have social interaction and have a good time. Includes input from Libraries, Archives and Leisure Facilities within HLH.

HLH Active Schools colleagues brought Directors up to speed on a range of initiatives, including ‘after school clubs’, a gymnastics development programme, more and better links to the island’s sports clubs and the recent project with Club Golf which saw local Community Sports Leaders ‘skilled-up’ to deliver golf lessons!

The Adult Learning Coordinator told Directors about the work she is involved with across the area, including a recent programme aimed at helping older people get more out of new technologies such as Facebook and Twitter.

Last to present their work to Directors was HLH’s Youth Development Officer for Skye & Lochalsh. Annie didn’t just do a presentation – she brought young people and the chair of the local drug and alcohol forum from the area to the meeting to demonstrate to Directors just how her work has benefited the groups she works with. Directors were delighted with this approach and took the opportunity to chat directly to the young people.

With the visits wrapped up it was time for Directors to turn their attention to content of the board meeting.

In addition to standing items on finance, human resources and performance statistics which are dealt with at every board meeting, items on this Board meeting agenda included discussion of the draft presentation about HLH’s work, which HLH’s chair and Chief Executive are due to give to The Highland Council in December. Directors are keen to ensure that Highland Councillors are afforded the best possible opportunity to appreciate the scale and extent of HLH’s impact in local communities.

Directors spent time discussing outcomes from a ‘Board Effectiveness Workshop’ and a Joint Board Development Session, both of which took place earlier in the year. The workshops were designed to equip Directors with the tools to maximise the impact of their tenure on the board, ensuring they are able to deliver the best levels of governance and strategic guidance for HLH.

Directors welcomed circulation of the most recent ‘Successes’ document; a regular Board item which presents the best submissions from staff teams on the successful work being carried out by HLH throughout Highland and across all areas of work. In addition, the Chief Executive circulated recent ‘press clippings’ which demonstrated the significant level of media exposure achieved by the Company in both Highland and national media. Despite recent weather being somewhat autumnal, Directors also had the opportunity to hear about the success of 2013’s Summer Activity Programme, which saw more than 5,500 children take part in specially tailored activities throughout the summer holiday period.

The Chief Executive gave the Board a verbal update on progress regarding the proposed National Nuclear Archive through the national Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, a major project in the Caithness area which is of relevance to HLH as the operator of the current Wick Archive Centre. An update was also given on the recent positive 6 monthly meeting of the Council’s committee which scrutinises the contract with HLH to deliver services on behalf of the Council.

Other items under scrutiny at the meeting included an update on the financial performance of HLH for the period ending 31 August 2013. Directors were pleased to record that budgets are currently on target. Potential closer working with the Highland Football Academy trust was also discussed.

If you are reading this and thinking ‘I’d like to know more about what happens at these meetings’ you are more than welcome to download papers relating to this meeting (and others) from the following link:

The next High Life Highland Board meeting will take place in December at the HLH normal Board base in Dingwall.