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Scots Music Group is a charity with a strong ethos of community-building, using traditional music, song and dance to bring people together.

We actively support and encourage our students to gain the skills and confidence to take their music back into their own communities. We rely on the enormous goodwill of all our members who get involved in making things happen.

Over the years, the organisation has been instrumental in the resurgence of interest in Scottish traditional music, song and dance, both in Edinburgh and further afield. Much of this has happened due to the enthusiasm and commitment of our team of tutors, and the willingness of members to join together in developing a large number of opportunities for sharing music, song and dance with others in the community. We support regular sessions, performances, ceilidhs and many other exciting events.

Scots Music Group plays a significant role in Scotland’s lively, diverse, traditional music scene and was voted ‘Community Project of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards in December 2007.

An important aspect of Scots Music Group’s valuable work is raising funds to help ensure our classes and events are accessible to as many people as possible, through generous discounts to concession-holders. It also allows us to actively support community development, which is an important aim of the organisation.

Scots Music Group is a registered charity number SC032702. SMG is a membership organisation with a volunteer Board of Directors. We have two part-time staff members: Sarah Northcott (Interim Development Worker 15hrs per week) and Helen Reid (Coordinator 21hrs per week) and a small team of volunteers.

Adult Learning Project
Scots Music Group started as a small part of the Adult Learning Project (ALP), an adult education organisation funded by the City of Edinburgh Council. ALP supports a variety of community learning and development groups including The Welcoming. The Welcoming encourages people of different minority backgrounds to meet with others and celebrate cultural diversity.

For further details contact:
Adult Learning Project
Tollcross Community Centre,
117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QG
0131 221 5800

Our Aims


To create a critical relationship of respect and status to Scottish music, song and dance that it may live in the heart of the community and beyond.


To build a repertoire in the Scottish idiom with reference to the past and present and into the future.


To encourage and maintain the oral and aural transmission of the Scottish tradition.


To create opportunities to foster connections with, and explore the traditions of, the music, song and dance of other cultures.


Bringing the best practitioners of Scottish music, song and dance into SMG as performers and tutors to inspire and encourage students to develop the skills and opportunities to perform together in the community.


To maintain a democratic and participative style of voluntary organisation.

AGM Minutes

2020 Minutes
SCOTS MUSIC GROUP AGM 1st March 2020 (1.30pm for 2pm)

Paul McIntosh (Treasurer)
Christine McIntosh
Jamie Taylor (Board)
Isobel Sheppard
Mike Appleby
Elaine Appleby
Joan Corbett
Marie-Elaine Maguire
Fiona Harrison (Board)
Edna Wilson (Chair)
Madeleine Brand
Alastair Hughes
Kenneth Dickson
Shauna Dickson
Colin Graham (Board and tutor)
Iain Murray
Frank Cowie
Joanna Cameron
Christine Craig
Peter Fraser
Gill McDonald
Chris Mahoney
Jill McPherson
John Lamont
Allan Sturrock
Stuart Wilson
Linda Campbell
Magnus Turpie
Fiona Tinelli
Jenny Wilson
Gill Simpson
Frank Downie
In attendance:
Helen Reid (SMG Administrator)
Sarah Northcott (SMG Interim Development Worker)

Alastair Cameron
Nicola McNeill
Dave Francis
Alison Carlyle
Trish Santer
Margaret Ferguson Burns
Helen Quigley
Harvey Sheppard
Eoin McIntyre

The meeting was opened by the Chair, Edna Wilson (EW), who welcomed SMG members to the meeting. Refreshments had been served. Ceilidh Caleerie were thanked for the lovely music provided from 1.30pm. The meeting began at 2pm. 32 members had signed in on arrival and the meeting was declared quorate. The Chair reminded the meeting that in order to vote on any motions or stand as a director, current membership of SMG was a requirement.

The minutes of the last AGM were accepted as an accurate record by the meeting (proposed: Colin Graham, seconded: Paul McIntosh) with the following correction:
Linda Campbell (LC) stated that Gica Loening hadn’t in fact supported ASN students in the past,and that this had been misremembered by Mary McCann.

Edna Wilson (EW) gave the report from the chair. EW had taken over from Alison Carlyle in August 2019 (note that the report incorrectly stated 2020). The Board had set up a new position of Vice Chair, currently held by Colin Graham. Steve Byrne had left his post as Development Worker in January 2020. EW noted that SMG is well respected in Edinburgh and beyond, having good community links.
SMG will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, and celebrations will take place during the 2020-21 season. EW asked for help and suggestions for these celebrations.
SMG’s class bookings and memberships continued to increase this year, with several new
classes and short courses. A group of volunteers had organised popular song workshops, and
Easter workshops were held in fiddle and guitar.
EW paid tribute to the skill and dedication of SMG’s tutors, welcoming those who had joined
SMG this year and thanking tutors who had moved on.
EW also paid tribute to office staff Helen Reid and Steve Byrne in keeping the office working
well. Steve left at the end of January 2020 to pursue new challenges, and EW wished him well.
Sarah Northcott has taken on the role as Interim Development Worker. EW thanked Helen for
keeping the office running during the transition.
EW noted the essential role of volunteers, including Liz Blair (bookkeeping), Robin Dempsey
(admin), ceilidh volunteers, volunteers at events (including Cafe Ceilidh) and on the Board. EW
encouraged people to contact Helen if they wished to volunteer. SMG always needs new Board
members, and is particularly looking for people with legal and HR experience, but anyone with
enthusiasm will be welcomed. The SMG ceilidhs continue to be popular and help to support SMG financially. They coordinated by Helen Reid.
EW noted the range of groups who play in the community, sharing their music and representing
SMG, including Ceilidh Caleerie, Caleerie Buskers, Balerno Buskers, Nigel’s Allstars, Colin’s
Ukelele Class, The DDs and groups from Sarah’s Mixed Instrument classes. Several groups
associated with SMG performed on Make Music Day. She thanked many of these groups for
raising funds for SMG at events.
EW noted that Inspire has now become a separate organisation, Inspire Community Music, and
that current and former Directors of SMG have been supporting the transition.
EW finished by saying that SMG had sadly lost several members in the past year: Geoffrey Sim,
Brian Stephen, Derek McMuldroch, Don Wright, Donald MacKinnon, Dave Mackay and Angus
Creech. They will always be a part of SMG and our community of traditional music.
Discussion relating to the Chair’s report
Chris Mahoney (CM) noted that there were several groups from SMG who had performed at St
Giles recently, and not all had been highlighted in newsletters etc. Sarah Northcott (SN) said
that often groups don’t let the office know what they’re doing, and encouraged everyone to
send in information and photos.

Treasurer Paul McIntosh (PM) gave the finance report. As SMG’s financial year runs from 1st
July to 30th June, the latest audited figures were for 2018-19.
PM noted that SMG was stable financially and generated a small surplus last year, mainly due
to an increase in student numbers, a higher number of students per class and extra classes and
workshops. This surplus served to top up the reserves in Unrestricted Funds, which means that
SMG now has reserves covering approximately 6 months of operating costs, in line with its
planned reserve level. Reserves in restricted funds are held for Inspire, which also made up
most of the specific grants received.
SMG’s main income has continued to be raised from membership fees; class fees; donations,
grants and fundraising; and ceilidh and other event income. Main expenditure has been on
tutor fees and venue hire; staff costs; office costs; event costs; and Inspire project operations.
PM rnoted that operations for the reported financial year had given the Board and auditors no
cause for concern. Discussion relating to the finance report
Mike Appleby (MA) asked about the scrutiny of the accounts. PM explained that the accounts
were externally audited, and these audited accounts were also subject to scrutiny from the
charity regular and Companies House because SMG is a limited company as well as a charity.

The current directors willing to stand again were: Edna Wilson, Colin Graham, Paul McIntosh,
Fiona Harrison, Eoin McIntyre, Jamie Taylor and Helen Quigley.
The re-election of the current directors was proposed by Allan Sturrock and seconded by
Shauna Dickson. MA welcomed and thanked the new Board.
There were no further motions from the Board or from the membership.

Risk – Coronavirus
Director Colin Graham (CG) explained that his background and main role on the Board was in
the area of risk. He noted the worrying possibilities of a global coronavirus pandemic, with the
closure of schools and other venues being a significant risk to SMG’s income. The Board would
be discussing how it could support tutors, potentially offering them some kind of retainer fee,
but that this would need to be balanced against SMG’s long-term needs. CG undertook to keep
a close eye on the situation.
Membership demographic
Linda Campbell (LC) asked about the membership demographic, and suggested that there
would be value in going out to schools to promote young people’s involvement, perhaps
through a mixed instrument class. Fiona Harrison supported the idea of encouraging more
people under 65 to join. Gill Simpson suggested approaching Feis Rois and other organisations.
CG noted that opening classes up to under 18s would add to administrative costs such as PVG
Isobel Sheppard (IS) stated that SMG is an adult organisation. MA suggested that a Young Adult
concession might help to encourage take-up. Helen Reid informed members that SMG had
discussed the recruitment of young people at a Staff/Board Awayday, and it had been decided
not to pursue this as previous attempts over many years had failed. David Leslie asked if the
age range was the same as 20 years ago – there were no figures available to answer this. Jill
McPherson suggested that there were people aged 20-30 in classes, but that they often left to
have families and then potentially returned. Iain Murray asked how many free spaces SMG has in classes. PM reported that the overall figure was 73% take-up, though this varied in different
terms. The Board agreed to add this issue to their agenda and work out a breakdown of ages.
Additional Support Needs
LC also said that the Board had told her there was no staff time available to set up an ASN
policy and encourage volunteers to help people in classes. CG said that the Board had acted on
this and had met with other organisation who might have been able to work in partnership with
SMG to achieve this, but these meetings hadn’t resulted in any further action. CG said that he
would be writing the policy. LC said that Creative Scotland has inclusion staff who will give
advice. She also asked that the membership be canvassed for ASN volunteers.
James Gillespie’s High School
John Lamont suggested that JGHS was potentially discouraging for students who don’t have a
car, especially in winter, as it’s a long way from bus stops. Shauna Dickson noted that
Sangstream has a member who has problems accessing the dining room as there’s no parking
immediately beside it. PM explained that SMG had looked to move with Boroughmuir, but this
hadn’t been possible, and that there were few schools which offered the facilities needed. Gill
Simpson noted that car parking is also important for students.
McLennan Collection
Gill Simpson told the meeting that Dave Francis had indicated that The Storytelling Centre were
considering taking the collection. Steve Byrne was going to get back to SMG about possibly
sorting it out and archiving it. Helen Reid said that originally SMG has space at The Eric Liddell
Centre to house the collection but office space had been reduced. EW agreed to contact Steve
Byrne. The meeting felt that it was better for the collection to go to The Storytelling Centre.
EW thanked everyone for attending, including the staff, members of Ceilidh Caleerie for their
music, and everyone who volunteered.
The meeting ended with a short session led by members of Ceilidh Caleerie.
SN 15 April 2020

2019 Minutes
Scots Music Group Annual General Meeting Sunday 3rd March 2019, 1.30 for 2pm

Christ Church, 6a Morningside Road, Edinburgh


The meeting was opened by the Chair, Alison Carlyle (AC), who welcomed SMG members to the meeting. Refreshments had been served.  Ceilidh Caleerie were thanked for the lovely music provided from 1.30pm.  The meeting began at 2pm.

24 members had signed in on arrival and the meeting was declared quorate. The Chair reminded the meeting that in order to vote on any motions or stand as a director, current membership of SMG was a requirement.


Sue Anderson
Madeleine Brand
Linda Campbell
Alison Carlyle (Chair)
Chris Craig
Colin Graham (Board & Tutor)
Emma Graham
Fiona Harrison (Board)
Tom Kane
Myles Lobjoie
Chris Mahony
Mary McCann (Tutor)
Paul McIntosh (Treasurer)
Christine McIntosh
Eoin McIntyre (Board)
Muriel McLardy
Iain Murray
Helen Quigley (Board)
Trish Santer
Isobel Sheppard
David Stephenson
Jamie Taylor
Edna Wilson (Board)
Stuart Wilson

In attendance: Steve Byrne, SMG Development Worker and Company Secretary

Apologies:      Celia Coulson, Alison Woolerton, Sarah Northcott.

Minutes of the last AGM 29th April 2018

These were accepted as a true record with some minor corrections:
1) Laurie Morris should read Maureen Morris,
2) The discount on James Gillespie’s is in fact 50% of the Council’s published commercial rates.

Questions relating to matters in the previous minutes

Isobel Sheppard asked about the progress of the ‘college’ of traditional music teaching organisations on which Dave Francis presented at a previous meeting. AC confirmed that in 2018, SMG had adopted the Code of Practice (CoP) based on the outcome of a working group attended by AC and Development Worker Steve Byrne (SB). The working group comprised representatives from other traditional music teaching organisations across Scotland, organised by the Traditional Music Forum. SB confirmed that in Sept 2018, a ‘Week Zero’ had been implemented for tutors to meet the week before classes start to introduce them to the CoP, where Dave Francis presented on this. AC commented that, as one of the larger teaching organisations, SMG was already implementing many of the aspects of the CoP. Mary McCann remarked that she found its approach regarding the quality of experience to be very positive. AC confirmed that the CoP looks at an organisation’s activity through several lenses: tutor / student / organisation, considering the perspective of each. AC wondered whether the CoP was available on the TMF website, and suggested SMG should host it on its website.

Miles Lobjoie asked what form the college would take, and AC confirmed that it is a virtual college or network rather than a physical entity.

The 2018 minutes were then proposed by Jamie Taylor, seconded Mary McCann.

Report from Alison Carlyle, Chair of Scots Music Group

The Chair presented her report which had also been distributed at the meeting.  She highlighted:

  • The growth in student numbers, with an expanding programme of classes, short courses and the upcoming Easter Music Days for fiddle and guitar.
  • The successful move to James Gillespie’s High School in Sep 2017 where, while not without issues, SMG has settled in well.
  • Ongoing grant support of LBPS towards smallpipes courses.
  • The Student Survey which received a good response, in particular the time and thought people had put into their responses. Results of the survey are in part borne out by recent short courses.
  • The contribution of Tutors who are key to SMG’s success, thanking those who were present and the work of Eilidh Steel and Mark Neal who left SMG at the end of last year to move to Helensburgh.
  • Tutor pay had been increased in Jan 2018 and is kept under review on an ongoing basis.
  • The office has reviewed its roles and as of autumn 2018 SB had reduced his hours and Helen Reid had increased hers, reflected in her new title of SMG Co-ordinator.
  • The contribution of volunteers, in particular Liz Blair, SMG’s volunteer bookkeeper who has helped over many years now.
  • The success of the fundraising ceilidhs for which the volunteers are crucial, with the events offering a great line-up of bands and a genuine experience for visiting tourists and students.
  • Events in the community including Café Ceilidh at the Storytelling Centre, and the advocacy work done by SMG students who go out to perform.
  • The Gift Aid process which the Treasurer Paul McIntosh (PMc) and the office coordinate which contributes to SMG funds.
  • The Inspire project: AC gave an update on the progress of Inspire following its 3 iterations over the past 8-10 years. Inspire will continue as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) in future, with AC and PMc as Trustees for the moment, alongside Colin Duff who was the external evaluator on Inspire 3. Inspire was in the process of producing a Directory of supported music opportunities, which the Inspire Choir helped to design. It will be available at the SMG Student Concert on 22nd

In Memoriam: AC also reminded the meeting of SMG members and students who had sadly passed away over the past year: Liz Marshall, Betty Pentland, Anne Renshaw, Lilias MacDonald and Lesley Oddy.

Discussion / questions from the floor relating to Chair’s Report:

Volunteers and people with ASN

Linda Campbell (LC) highlighted the donations available through employers; she had accessed the Cash for Communities scheme through her employer RBS which allowed her to volunteer for SMG, with the employer making a donation in the process. In relation to this, and the experience of her son who has additional support needs (ASN) and attends SMG classes, LC enquired as to SMG’s strategy on social inclusion, namely opening up and accessing classes for people like her son and his peer group. She believes that her son’s peers are not aware they could attend SMG classes. LC suggests SMG should be advocating for the whole of society and could there be a peer support or buddy scheme.

LC noted that her employer could give her time to help develop such a policy.

AC suggested that she thinks the SMG board would be broadly supportive but that the board would need to discuss this together in more detail.

SB noted that SMG already supports a variety of people to access SMG classes and events on an ad hoc basis, in part with the support of fellow students, e.g. particular students in the daytime classes at Gorgie. SB felt it would be useful to have a procedure or strategy in place to formalise some of these existing arrangements. In particular, how we establish whether people have ASN, as we currently do not ask this in the enrolment process.

LC highlighted the approach of Fèis Rois and suggested SMG could look at their policy. SB commented that, in contrast to SMG, Fèis Rois is a Creative Scotland RFO (Regularly Funded Organisation) with greater capacity in terms of staffing but agreed it was worth investigating. Mary McCann (MMc) recalled that in the past people with profound issues were supported by Gica Loening.

Retiring tutors

Fiona Harrison wished to record the retiral of tutors Mary McCann and Sylvia McGowan from the Thursday Sing Together class and the meeting warmly applauded. Chris Mahony remarked that ongoing success of Linten Adie would not be possible without Mary’s tutoring skills.

Song Workshops

MMc commented on the song workshops organised during the current year including Margaret Bennett and Sheena Wellington; these were popular and MMc asked for more to be organised.

Café Ceilidh

Trish Santer commented on the success of Café Ceilidh at the Storytelling Centre, with the central location meaning recent events had welcome up to 10 nationalities with visitors from abroad also contributing floor spots. AC agreed that it was nice to be able to offer authentic traditional music in the heart of the Royal Mile vs the various kitsch tourist shops. MMc expressed thanks to Donald Smith and staff at the Storytelling Centre.

Tutor encouragement and student progression

Colin Graham spoke from the tutoring point of view on themes of encouragement, helping beginners, the value of the Christmas Stramash, overcoming nerves and fears, or ‘stramash-itis’! Working together with the whistle class has been very positive and overall it is useful to take into account the different perspectives of students and tutors. AC agreed that Colin’s comments were borne out by the student survey and that SMG offers a positive balance to humdrum of everyday life.

Chris Mahony spoke of her pleasure at seeing the progression of raw beginners through to advanced players at the Student Concert, really admiring and enjoying the process they go through.

Make Music Day

Madeleine Brand noted that 21st June is Make Music Day across Europe and that Nigel’s Allstars were involved, but there appears not to have been much advertising of the event this year so far.
There followed a discussion of the options to help publicise the event and how people had participated previously. It was felt that increasing visibility in places like the Scottish Storytelling Centre would help, and Café Ceilidh would be able to support this. CM also raised the idea of an Edinburgh day for different cultures, Scottish, Polish etc.

In concluding of this part of the discussion, AC noted it was good to reflect on the 2018 minutes and see what has already been taken forward.


PMc presented his report and reminded the meeting that the full accounts are available in the SMG office. The timescale of the accounting year (July-June) means that matters being discussed extend quite far back to July 2017. The results show the outcome of around 2 years’ planning, from a situation where finances had been stable albeit with small losses / surpluses on a recurring basis. With the need to move to new premises and uncertainty as to the final costs, there were also increases to be taken into account for staff, tutors and rent at the Eric Liddell Centre. Financial modelling was done based on a stable class year from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

The last session was a pleasant surprise in terms of increased student enrolment, and some slight changes were made to ceilidh and class pricing. As a result 2017-18 made a bigger surplus than intended which has allowed reserves to be topped up, having nibbled into them a little in previous years due to some projects requiring investment, e.g. the website. With the increase in student numbers, it has been possible to put £13k into reserves to take the fund back to around 6 months’ operating costs, which is recommended for non-profit organisations. AC commented that the surplus is not directly spent, but allows more risks to be taken with a financial cushion.

CG gave thanks to PMc for his work on the accounts, and PMc also acknowledged the work of the office and volunteer bookkeeper Liz Blair. AC observed that PMc has been instrumental in creating a culture allowing the office to access financial information to allow them to do what they need to do and track figures. In recent years, SMG has been more on top of finances, largely through PMc’s stewardship.

MMc gave positive feedback on the newer website and booking system.

SB reminded the board of his request for submissions for a board page on the website.

A short discussion followed regarding the dates of membership renewals, with TS querying the status of SMG members being covered by insurance while playing out on the community, if their membership had expired on 31 July and they had not yet signed up to a new membership / class until sometime later in August. It was suggested that reminders could be sent out to those active in community performance, or that perhaps a direct debit / standing order could be offered for recurring memberships. LC touched on liability cover for members and SB confirmed it works in a way not unlike the Musicians’ Union member insurance scheme.

There were no specific questions from the floor relating to the financial report.


Robin McClintock resigned during the year due to time pressures restricting his ability to attend meetings.

Directors prepared to stand again were: Alison Carlyle, Colin Graham, Fiona Harrison, Paul McIntosh, Eoin McIntyre, Helen Quigley, Edna Wilson.

The reappointment of these directors was proposed by Iain Murray and seconded by Isobel Sheppard.

Jamie Taylor offered to stand for election and was duly appointed, proposed by Trish Santer and seconded by Colin Graham.

There were no further motions from the Board or from the membership.

Alison Carlyle intention to resign

AC stated her intention to step down as Chair and resign from the board during 2019, having been Chair since 2009 and involved with SMG for around 15 years. Alongside a new job and two young children, she feels it is in the interests of the organisation to have a fresh perspective. She will remain in post for the time being until a new Chair is identified and instigate a handover, as well as see through the immediate next phase of the Inspire project. AC paid tribute to SMG staff and the achievements in recent years meaning she can actively leave the organisation in a position of strength.

CG raised a query regarding a potential Vice Chair.

AC commented that this is not required by SMG’s constitution but it may be prudent to have one in the interim.

A short discussion followed regarding directorial duties and numbers of directors. LC asked regarding Companies House, and AC confirmed board members are registered there as company directors. CM asked how many directors SMG could have, AC replied that 16 is the max number, although usually 8 or 9 at any one time.

There were no board motions, and no proposal to increase membership fees, which have to be set by the members. Class fees are decided by the board but the current feeling was to not increase fees next year, although this would be decided towards the summer.

Other questions / comments from members during the meeting

David Stevenson advised that the Edinburgh Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra would be taking part in a major event in 2020 along with the British Banjo Mandolin and Guitar Federation, who have a big jamboree every 2 years. It will be in Edinburgh around February time, which ought to be taken into account re the SMG AGM timing. It takes place at Merchiston Castle School, a weekend of concerts, workshops, competitions and trade stands in various genres.

A discussion of the website and newsletter was held, considering how people accessed information, with compliments on the newsletter, and suggestions as to a Forum page or a more prominent Diary section, perhaps moving the news listings. SB explained that there were some limitations due to the modular nature of the website but that the office would take the suggestions on board for future revisions of the website.

ML asked where we thought SMG people were coming from, how they connected with SMG. SB commented that word of mouth was still a large factor, based on recent surveys, but AC noted that SMG has a good retention rate which also creates a ripple effect in terms of bringing new people to classes.

CG commented that trends change from year to year, particularly in the less traditional instruments, and it can be hard to gauge interest when planning the new term.  He noted that for his own ukulele classes, specific flyering had been helpful via music shops and other events.

The formal business was concluded with SB reading a statement on Sarah Northcott’s behalf, in tribute to AC:

“I’m very sorry not to be able to say this in person. On behalf of the Inspire Project staff, tutors, volunteers and the hundreds of people we have worked with so far, I’d like to thank Alison for all her hard work so far on our behalf. She has essentially been our manager throughout the different phases of the project and as such has been a great champion of the work we’ve done and helped us to develop into the new organisation we are creating today. Her flexibility, forward thinking and understanding of what we want to achieve have been a major factor in our evolution.

On a personal note, I’m very grateful for the support she has given me, always being open to new ideas (which I know has involved listening politely to some of the crazier suggestions I’ve come up with!) We’re very fortunate that she’ll be helping us to take the next steps in our journey.

Sarah Northcott March 2019.”

The afternoon ended with a session led by Ceilidh Caleerie. Several members had brought their instruments and joined the very enjoyable selection of music and stepdance.

Steve Byrne 06.03.2019

2018 Minutes
Scots Music Group Annual General Meeting Sunday 29 April 2018 at 2pm

Christ Church, 6a Morningside Road, Edinburgh


The meeting was opened by the Chair, Alison Carlyle (AC) who welcomed SMG members to the meeting (which had been rescheduled due to bad weather).

The Chair thanked Ceilidh Caleerie for playing in advance of the meeting.  She requested that all sign in and note any apologies. 19 members had signed in on arrival and the meeting was declared quorate.  She reminded the meeting that in order to vote in any motions or stand as a director, current membership of SMG was a requirement.

Apologies: Ciara Webb, Helen Quigley, Sarah Northcott, Trish Santer

Minutes of last AGM 26 February 2017

These were accepted as a true record.  Proposed by Colin Graham, seconded Edna Wilson.

Report from Alison Carlyle, Chair of Scots Music Group

AC reported it had been a positive year.

One key change had been the move of SMG from Boroughmuir to James Gillespie’s.  This has worked well. SMG is still settling in but the Headteacher had expressed an interest in developing a relationship with us.

The other venue related issue is in relation to our use of St Brides for our ceilidhs but this seems settled for now as the St Brides Advisory Group had accepted our future bookings and had agreed a reduced hire rate which partially offset the additional janitorial charges.

  • Classes – numbers are up quite considerably. Good take up of new whistle class and other increased number of guitar classes.   Last year Dave Francis spoke at the AGM in relation to a possible ”college” of traditional music.  There is an upcoming meeting in Perth to discuss this idea further.
  • Ceilidhs – These are going well. AC thanked the team of volunteers and Helen.
  • Community Groups and events – Ceilidh Caleerie, Sing together, Ceilidh buskers, Balerno buskers, Nigel Gatherer’s All Stars, and Sarah’s Tuesday group (which play at St Mary’s during the Fringe).
  • Donations and fundraising – AC thanked members for being so supportive of SMG. Many small donations as well as one of two larger donations had been received. Lowland and Borders Piping Association had made a contribution to the piping class. We had a fundraising concert at Summerhall involving a range of fantastic artists who volunteered to play which also raised resources.  Colin Graham noted that this might have contributed to increased attendance
  • AC explained that this project has just completed the third year of its activity. It had been very successful and was praised in terms of the impact on people’s lives.   Creative Scotland has declined to support the project again.  We have identified applying to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as a potential source of future funding and if successful, it will contribute to another 4 years of activity during which we would explore how to make this project more permanent.
  • AC thanked all tutors, staff and members for contributing to the year.

AC invited comments.  Vicky Pearson suggested a Bodhran class.  Mary McCann mentioned Café Ceilidh and the contribution that it makes to funding.  Fiona Harrison mentioned that Sarah’s Wednesday class is doing a gig on 13 June for Maggie’s at the Western General.   Laurie Morris, mentioned that Sangstream has an offshoot, the Wee Sangstreamers which are dong a few gig around Edinburgh

Colin Graham reported that Ukulele Session Group is doing a gig soon.

Presentation of Accounts – PM explained the period covered by the accounts (July 2016 – June 2017).  A summary was made available and there is a full report available if any member would like to see it, as well as Board Report which covers key points.

The Finance Report shows that we are fairly stable.  Restricted funds are ring-fenced for particular purposes (e.g. Grants for Inspire etc).   Main income comes from membership fees, various grants, funding from Ceilidhs etc.

Main expenditure is tutor fees, class costs and Inspire costs.  The table on page 2 of the report shows a deficit of around £17000. However, the main SMG operation had a very minimal deficit of £1700.  In relation to restricted funds, where the bulk of the loss is noted, this is mainly due to a mismatch between financial years of SMG and Inspire rather than any underlying weakness.

In summary the financial position is healthy. We had increased fees a little and also increased pay to tutors.   This year is looks as though we will finish with a surplus.  PM thanked staff Steve Byrne and Helen Reid, and volunteer bookkeeper Liz Blair.

Jamie Taylor asked about how we pay James Gillespie’s and PM noted that we receive a slight discount. He also noted that he was pleased we were giving tutors an increase and asked how we decide. AC noted that we compared with like organisations. CG noted an increase in quality.

Alison Woolerton raised the Summerhall concert and asked how money much was raised.  AC reported it was around £1500.   We often organise a tutors’ concert but this year tried something different. It worked well with great support from performers and also with the concert selling out on a Monday night.

Mary McCann was impressed at the class numbers going up.

Tom Kane speculated on how the relationship with Gillespie’s could be developed and AC noted that Steve Byrne is considering this. Tom suggested that Burns week could be an opportunity.

Helen will add a question to our feedback to ask how people hear of SMG.

Election of Directors.

Resignations from Iain Murray and John Culbert. AC thanked both for their contributions.

Directors prepared to stand again are: Fiona Harrison, Colin Graham, Robin McLintock, Helen Quigley, Edna Wilson, Alison Carlyle, Paul McIntosh, Eoin Macintyre.

The reappointment of these directors was proposed by Iain Murray and seconded by Alison Woolerton.

If anyone has questions about being a director they should contact AC. AC is happy to continue as Chair and PM as Treasurer.

Questions and motions from the Floor.

There were none from the Board.

Membership fees are proposed to remain the same.

Jamie Taylor proposed thanks to the Board on behalf of members.

F. Harrison 29.4.2018

2017 Minutes
Scots Music Group

Annual General Meeting

Sunday February 26th 2017 1.30 for 2pm

Christ Church, 6a Morningside Road, Edinburgh


The meeting was opened by the Chair, Alison Carlyle (AC), who welcomed SMG members to the meeting, commenting on the good turnout despite poor weather. Refreshments had been served.  Ceilidh Caleerie were thanked for the splendid music provided from 1.30pm.  The meeting began at 2pm.

28 members had signed in on arrival and the meeting was declared quorate. The Chair reminded the meeting that in order to vote on any motions, current membership of SMG was a requirement.

Apologies:    Ian Davies, Mary McCann, David Roy, Alison Woolerton

Minutes of the last AGM 6th March 2016

These were accepted as a true record. Proposed Iain Murray, seconded Fiona Harrison.

Report from Alison Carlyle, Chair of Scots Music Group

The Chair presented her report which had also been distributed at the meeting.  She highlighted:

  • A year of consolidation, with much change behind the scenes for the SMG office but hopefully little noticeable for SMG’s members and students. It has focussed on how well classes and the administration of the organisation were running.
  • Changes include the new accounting system in the office, changes ongoing with venues including Boroughmuir and St Bride’s, and the needs of the new website, all of which had consumed a great deal of staff time.
  • Inspire 3, led by Sarah Northcott, had continued to involve those in the wider community suffering from homelessness, addiction and mental health issues.
  • Tutors’ contribution to the continued success of the organisation
  • Volunteers’ contribution to the successful management of the organisation, assistance in the office and at SMG ceilidhs and other events.
  • Community fundraisers who contribute valuable funds to SMG throughout the year.
  • Ceilidhs have done consistently well with regular sellouts and a mix of regulars, overseas visitors and students. There is a valued team of core volunteers, but the Chair noted there is still a need for extra pairs of hands to help with the important fundraising role of ceilidhs on an ongoing basis.
  • Community events: Café Ceilidh is well-attended, with good support from the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
  • Donations / funders: A variety of donations and grant funds were received during the year, from both organisations and individuals, which were gratefully acknowledged.

SMG staff Steve Byrne, Helen Reid and and Sarah Northcott were thanked for their efforts during the year, as were volunteers and Board members.  The hard work of excellent tutors was recognised and they were warmly thanked by those present.

Issues during the year:

Venues – Boroughmuir School, St Bride’s Centre
There had been ongoing communications issues with the school and the City Council, with a dearth of information on the facilities potentially available at the new Boroughmuir school building. Other approaches were actively being considered, namely Gillespies / Tynecastle high schools. There were other options to explore such as the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College and the city’s private schools, but this was a very different route to go down.

There were recent changes in the management at St Bride’s which may have an impact on ongoing successful fundraising ceilidhs. A short discussion followed, with Jenifer Spencer suggesting a link with dance classes. Chris Mahony encourage an exploration of other church halls for ceilidhs which may prove cheaper; AC confirmed SMG has been keeping an active list of possible venues
SB commented that one issue might be the lack of bar facility in other venues. Eoin McIntyre commented on the usefulness of having St Bride’s staff who manage the building on the night which might otherwise fall to the volunteers.

Finance report for Financial Year 2015 – 2016

Paul McIntosh (PMc), Treasurer and Board Director, presented his Finance report for Financial year 2015-2016 and Statement of Financial Activities for the year ended 30 June 2016 which was also distributed to members at the meeting.

The Treasurer spoke to his report referring to a year of consolidation with the benefits of the online accounting system proving a real boon, giving much more visibility of activity and helping significantly with preparing the accounts.

In summarising his report, Paul clarified the difference between restricted and unrestricted funds as laid out on the report, with the former mainly applying to Inspire 3 and its specific grant funding. It was also noted that Inspire has a different year end (August) that SMG overall (June), hence the surplus shown against restricted funds at the reporting point of 30 June 2016.

Core expenditure was up approximately £6,000, which broadly reflects the new hire charge for Boroughmuir School, in the region of £5,500. For the 2015-16 year, there was a small surplus which was positive against a deficit of approx. £1,700 in 2014-15.

Reserves stand at approx. £35k unrestricted for SMG’s core programme, with approx.. £19k for Inspire, which represents restricted funds due to be spent in the period after June 2016.

Questions from the floor relating to the financial report:

Jamie Taylor (JT) asked whether the reserves were available indefinitely. The Treasurer confirmed that the funds are held separately broadly in line with the policy of keeping six months’ operating costs in reserve, although currently the level was slightly lower than ideal due to some capital expenditure in recent years, but the aim was to build up towards approx. £45k.

JT asked how the process following the end of Arts Council funding was managed, as it had been viewed as something of a “cliff edge” at the time, and whether this had solely been mitigated through increasing class fees.

AC responded that SMG had been given sufficient advance warning by the Scottish Arts Council / Creative Scotland along with “organisational review” funds to help look at SMG’s setup. Two staff members were made redundant, and the previous policy of running classes in multiple instruments even in cases of low sign-ups had been changed to a firmer policy of, broadly, running classes that have to break even, along with progressive modest increases in class fees.

Nicola McNeill asked whether class fees cover their costs or whether they are subsidised in other ways, e.g. ceilidh income.

AC responded that while SMG does have visibility of individual class incomes and direct costs such as tutors and venues, there are additional costs general to the whole organisation that also have to be covered, such as SMG staff, insurances and the office. Broadly speaking the majority of classes cover their immediate costs but wider organisational costs have also to be met from elsewhere.

There followed a brief discussion regarding the concerns surrounding St Bride’s as a ceilidh venue and its upcoming additional charges. PMc noted that at the ceilidh the previous Saturday, he had spoken positively with one of the deputy managers about a solution to SMG’s concerns.
Chris Mahony commented from the floor that she had experience with the volunteers who help run St Bride’s and stressed that they are doing the best they can to run the venue effectively, but she felt they had been let down by the City Council, and there was some disquiet about the management of a community facility such as St Bride’s.

AC commented that SMG shared some of those concerns and hoped there would be a resolution following the St Bride’s Advisory Group meeting, to whom the board had recently written.

The accounts were proposed by Jamie Taylor and seconded by Nicola McNeill.

AC thanked PMc for his report and PMc expressed his thanks to the office staff Steve and Helen and SMG’s book-keeping volunteer Liz Blair.

Election of Directors

One director, Mac Walker, had resigned in autumn 2016. The Chair thanked Mac for his service in particular given his business background, having come to the board through the Arts & Business organisation. He continues to volunteer help in the office with occasional IT support.

Two new directors, Edna Wilson and Robin McClintock, who are both SMG students, had been co-opted during the year.

All other board members were willing to stand again:  Alison Carlyle (Chair), Paul McIntosh (Treasurer), Fiona Harrison, John Culbert, Eoin McIntyre, Iain Murray. All 6 were re-elected (proposed David Leslie, seconded Jenny Wilson).

Two further members had expressed an interest in joining the board and were duly elected:
Helen Quigley (proposed Alison Carlyle, seconded Heather Harbinson), and Colin Graham (proposed Alison Carlyle, seconded Helen Quigley).

There were no further motions from the Board or from the membership.

Other questions from members during the meeting

  1. David Francis (tutor member) asked about the current status of affiliation to SMG, given the historical links with Sangstream, Edinburgh’s Youth Gaitherin and the Scots Fiddle Festival.

AC confirmed that Sangstream are still formally affiliated to SMG and pay for SMG membership partly in support of SMG but also in exchange for their weekly use of Boroughmuir, for which SMG arranges the booking. Other than that the need for formal affiliation had eroded with the growth of the internet allowing organisations to be contacted and run their events without the need for a physical office or postal address.

David Francis informed the meeting that the Youth Gaitherin was now being wound up as a separate organisation but Hands Up for Trad would take over the staging of the event. In response to Fiona Harrison, DF confirmed the change was due to lack of engagement from parents of children attending the Gaitherin.

  1. Chris Mahony (CM) asked about Big Seat by the Fire which had halted several years ago due to poor attendance and lack of volunteers to run it. She noted that it had been invaluable to her as a singer in developing her performance and felt that some kind of successor event could be run possibly with the organisational help of newly retired people, or people who work part-time.

AC expressed the board’s regret that the event had to end due to the poor attendance and associated costs and organisation.

CM suggested there could be some other way to encourage development and build confidence, and controlling nerves for people starting to perform in public.

AC noted that the term structure currently includes stramashes which is one way that SMG supports this kind of transition but that the board would try to think of other ways to develop a safe, supportive environment for performers starting out.

The formal business was concluded and David Francis of the Traditional Music Forum was invited to address the meeting to discuss the TMF’s work on support for tutors in non-formal traditional music education with particular regard to mentoring and a possible “Virtual College” for Scottish traditional music, to move away from current ad hoc processes of tutor recruitment and management. SMG were invited to participate in the development of this work which would continue later in the year.

The afternoon ended with a session led by Nigel’s Allstars from the Wednesday morning mixed instrument group.  Many members had brought their instruments and joined the Allstars in very enjoyable selection of music and songs.

Steve Byrne 02.03.2017

2016 Minutes
Scots Music Group

Annual General Meeting

Sunday March 6th 2016 3.30 for 4pm

Christ Church, 6a Morningside Road, Edinburgh


The meeting was opened by the Chair, Alison Carlyle, who welcomed SMG members to the meeting.  Refreshments had been served.  Ceilidh Caleerie were thanked for the lively music provided from 3.30pm.  The meeting began at 4pm.

34 members had signed in on arrival and the meeting was declared quorate.

Apologies:    Catherine Crawford, Kenneth Dixon

Minutes of the last AGM 1st March 2015

These were accepted as a true record. Proposed Alison Carlyle     Seconded Iain Murray.

Report from Alison Carlyle, Chair of Scots Music Group

The Chair presented ‘The Year in Review’, a paper distributed at the meeting.  She highlighted:

  • A lively year with excellent class attendance. Enrolment in Sept 2015 was at 85% with 2 new classes in ukulele and step dance.
  • An excellent year for ceilidhs with a mix of regulars, overseas visitors and students. There was a larger team of ceilidh volunteers who had been trained in new administration of the ceilidhs, thanks to the co-ordination of Helen Reid, SMG administrator.
  • Inspire 3, led by Sarah Northcott, had continued to involve those in the wider community suffering from homelessness, addiction and mental health issues.
  • Increasing numbers of members were taking music to other venues, both to raise awareness of SMG and/or raising funds.
  • The new SMG website had been a major project and was a more effective ‘off the shelf’ solution for current SMG needs. Mac Walker (Board member) and  Steve Byrne were thanked for their hard work in all matters concerned with the development and rollout of the website, as was Helen Reid, who was thanked for her services in helping members familiarise themselves with the new booking process.
  • Boroughmuir High School building project had been delayed, with a school move now planned for January 2017. Implications for SMG were still uncertain as to what this meant for our classes, but liaison continues with the Council and members would be kept informed.  Members were reminded that ‘in kind’ benefit to SMG had ceased and our classes were now charged under ‘Community Access to Schools’.  However, SMG had organised a discount and costs were covered by last year’s increase in class fees.

Steve Byrne, Helen Reid and and Sarah Northcott were thanked for their hard work, as were volunteers and Board members.  The importance of quality tutors was recognised and they were thanked with all members and students of SMG.

Finance report for Financial Year 2014 – 2015

Paul McIntosh, Treasurer and Board Director, presented his Finance report for Financial year 2014-2015 and Statement of Financial Activities for the year ended 30 June 2015 (attached).

Paul spoke to his report referring to a stable year with only a slight loss reflected in the SMG accounts.   Web based accounting was going well and he expressed a wish to build the reserves via donations, gift aid etc.

In summarising his report, he reminded the meeting that (1) Inspire 3 was funded separately and (2) the numbered notes on the finance statement presented, could be accessed if required from the SMG office.

He extended his thanks to the office staff, including Liz (book-keeper).

Election of Directors

One director was standing down – Alison Woolerton who had been a member of the board for 6 years.  The Chair thanked her warmly for her role and presented Alison with flowers and prosecco.  Alison thanked everyone – she had enjoyed her time on the board and her commitment to SMG and all its activities remained.

All other board members were willing to stand again:  Alison Carlyle (Chair), Paul McIntosh (Treasure), Mac Walker, Fiona Harrison, John Culbert, Eoin McIntyre, Iain Murray.  All 7 were re-elected (proposed Margaret Littlewood, seconded Bill Cunningham).

Members were invited to put themselves forward for membership of the Board.  Further details could be accessed from Alison Carlyle via the SMG office.

There were no further motions from the Board or from the membership.

Questions from members during the meeting

  1. A member queried the layout of tables for ceilidhs which limited dancing space. It was reported that these were required to provide seating for participants (Max 180) and to reduce the numbers, would impact on income. However the concern would be raised with St Bride’s.
  2. Given the small loss reported this financial year, a member suggested more fund raising could be done by groups who go out to perform in and around Edinburgh.
  3. A member queried whether alternative accommodation to Boroughmuir HS was being considered. The Chair confirmed that was the case.
  4. The role of traditional music in the school curriculum was discussed. This had been an issue already raised by TMSA.
  5. Traditional music opportunities for parents and children out of school hours were discussed. SMG did not have the resources for this sort of activity, though it was thought there were already existing opportunities.
  6. A further query was raised about the age range of SMG members with the highest numbers being in the older age bracket. It was noted this was a perennial query with no easy answer.  However, membership had increased over the last 10 years and we were sustaining our numbers.  Clearly people had more time in their retirement though it was noted instruments were still being learnt in school. Meanwhile SMG ceilidhs attracted all ages.

It was noted that choirs were increasing in number in Edinburgh, though it was thought Sangstream alone addressed Scottish traditional song.  It was suggested that Café Ceilidh could be promoted at song classes.

Alison Carlyle offered to be available for any further questions.

The afternoon ended with a session led by Nigel’s Allstars from the Wednesday morning mixed instrument group.  Many members had brought their instruments and joined the Allstars in very enjoyable selection of music and songs.

Alison Woolerton 05.04.2016

2015 Minutes
Scots Music Group

Annual General Meeting

Sunday 1 March 2015 3.30 for 4pm

Large Hall, Morningside United Church, 15 Chamberlain St, Edinburgh EH10 4DJ


The meeting was opened by the Chair, Alison Carlyle, who welcomed SMG members to the meeting.  Refreshments were served.  Ceilidh Caleerie was thanked for the lively music provided from 3.30 pm.  The meeting began at 4pm.

15 members signed in on arrival and the meeting was declared quorate.

Apologies:  David Roy, Catherine Crawford, Celia Coulson, Mary McCann, Glenda Davies, Fiona Harrison, Mac Walker

Minutes of the last AGM March 2014

These were accepted as a true record.  Proposed: Alison Carlyle    Seconded: Alison Morton

Report from Alison Carlyle, Chair of Scots Music Group

The Chair presented ‘The Year in Review’ (attached).  She highlighted:

  • An active membership and well attended classes
  • Successful ceilidhs with regular attenders and significant numbers of foreign language students
  • Active participation in performing in the community with funds raised for SMG – sincere thanks were expressed
  • Successful continuation of the ‘Inspire’ project

Other matters covered in her report were:

  • A financial loss for 2013-2014, largely due to moving costs to the Liddell Centre which provided more security of tenure than the Glasite Meeting House was able to offer. Updating the website also made further financial demands. The previous year had also had unusually high income due to community performance contributions, as well as funds raised on the occasion of the Chair’s wedding! So a drop in income had contributed to the loss.
  • Community access to schools was currently under review. Free access to Boroughmuir HS would cease with the introduction of a new streamlined letting system by Edinburgh CC with a transparent rationale for charges which would be managed by area community access officers.  The impact of new costs for SMG was as yet unclear, though it was thought the maximum would be £8000 pa. and such costs could be incurred as early as September 2015.  It was also expected that discounts would apply for multiple bookings.  Jamie Taylor queried whether the Council factored in letting costs to the costs of their own classes: the Chair responded that this was unclear although there was mention of doing so in future in the consultation document.

In conclusion, the Chair thanked all the SMG staff, volunteers and members for their continuing outstanding support for the organisation.

Presentation of Accounts

A report was presented (see attached) which set out and explained the final outturn for 2013-2014.  The Treasurer, John Whiteford, emphasised in support of the report:

  • The Board’s constant monitoring of the viability of classes
  • The significance of Gift Aid
  • The important contribution of the monthly ceilidhs in making a contribution to SMG funds
  • SMG pays higher tutor rates than equivalent council classes
  • Worldpay costs have increased (see also below)
  • SMG has cash reserves of approximately £32, 000

He indicated that Whitelaw Wells (accountancy firm auditing SMG accounts) costs were high and that the Board should consider a smaller firm which deals with charities, who might offer better value for money.  Our new ‘Xero Accounting’ software was working well for SMG.

In conclusion, John paid tribute to both the SMG office staff, Steve and Helen.  He also stressed the excellent contribution in financial matters of Liz Blair, volunteer book keeper.

In response to a query from Jamie Taylor, there was a detailed discussion of the costs of Worldpay, and the advantages to SMG of members paying by debit rather than credit card as debit cards attract a lower fee.  The Board would examine this issue further.  Paypal would demand similar costs, but both had the advantage of ensuring maximum security for SMG and its members.

Vote on the following motionThe Board of SMG proposes that membership fees should be increased from September 2015 to £20 for full price membership and £15 for concessionary rate membership.

The chair stressed that this motion was not linked to the reported loss in 2013 – 2014.  Membership fees were last raised in 2010.

A vote was taken and the motion was carried.

Election of Directors

Two directors were stepping down:

  1. John Whiteford, Treasurer, who had been on the Board for 5 years. The Chair expressed appreciation of his hard work. He would help in a voluntary capacity until a new Treasurer was appointed.  A presentation was made to John and the thanks of the Board and members noted.
  2. Gill Simpson, Board member, has been very active and has worked in a voluntary capacity in the office for 1 day per week. She was now following a new course of study. She was also thanked in her absence for her commitment.

Since the last AGM, John Culbert had been co-opted on to the Board.

The Board therefore consisted of the following:  Alison Carlyle (Chair), Mac Walker, Fiona Harrison, Alison Woolerton and John Culbert. A brief resume was given of the background and contribution of these Board members.  All 5 were re-elected (proposed Margaret Littlewood; seconded Eoin McIntyre).

Two new Directors were appointed at the meeting, both active and supportive SMG members:

  1. Iain Murray (proposed Alison Carlyle; seconded Heather Harbinson)
  2. Eoin McIntyre (proposed Alison Carlyle; seconded Jamie Taylor)

Questions and motions from the floor

  1. Jamie Taylor (Ceilidh Caleerie) reported a surplus of £1000 in their funds and asked how this could be donated to best benefit SMG. The Chair suggested that rather than donate specifically to the Inspire project, it would be best given to SMG, but stressed that Ceilidh Caleerie should make this decision themselves; Jamie Taylor agreed that they would do so.  The Chair thanked them for the generous contribution raised by Ceilidh Caleerie.
  2. Sarah Northcott (tutor for Inspire) reminded the meeting that Inspire was not a separate organisation. It could be referred to as ‘SMG Inspire’.
  3. Iain Murray queried the SMG practice of having members and non members. The Chair explained that our constitution required that we had a membership.  This also meant SMG could claim Gift Aid on membership fees.  She also pointed out that there were members who did not participate in classes and some people only registered for one term of classes so there would be complications in making all students automatically members. It was something the Board had been considering and would continue to keep under review.  It was confirmed that SMG currently has 403 members.
  4. Insurance was raised as a provision of membership. A query from Madeleine Brand, who organises gigs for ‘Nigel’s Allstars’, a group from Nigel Gatherer’s daytime mixed instrument class, raised the issue of her uncertainty as to whether the participating class members  were  SMG members and therefore insured. Helen would check this as office administrator.  The Chair thanked her for the funds this group regularly raises for SMG.
  5. Wendy Carle Taylor, singing tutor, commented on the excellent work done by members, tutors and the Board. She congratulated the organisation on its contribution to music in the community and its inclusive ethos.

In the absence of the invited speaker, Douglas Robertson, the meeting was concluded, with thanks for attendance. Helen was thanked for her excellent administrative organisation of the AGM and Ceilidh Caleerie was again applauded for their playing at the start of the afternoon.

Alison Woolerton 04.03.2015

2014 Minutes
Scots Music Group

Open Afternoon and Annual General Meeting 2014

Sunday 2 March 2014 3.30 for 4pm

Glasite Meeting House, 33 BARONY Street, Edinburgh EH3 6NX


The meeting was opened by the Chair, Alison Carlyle, who welcomed  SMG members to the Glasite Meeting House.  Ceilidh Caleerie were thanked for lively music provided from 3.30pm (with the Chair joining them in a short stepdance/reel!)  The business for the meeting began at 4.10pm.

Members signed in on arrival.

Apologies: Cherry McIntyre, Trish Santer, Sarah Northcott,  Mairi Campbell, Mary McCann, Sophie Adams

Minutes of last AGM meeting January 20th 2013

These were accepted as a true record.  Proposed: David Leslie    Seconded:  Gill Simpson

Report from Alison Carlyle, Chair of SMG

The Chair presented ‘The year in Review’ (attached). She emphasised a year of stability and growth in the programme of classes, with expanded opportunities for class participants in spite of lack of external funding .  SMG had proved its capacity to be self reliant and sustainable.

The Saturday ceilidhs continued to be popular and were considered to be an important part of the SMG programme.  It was hoped that the grassroots element of ‘Inspire’ would continue subject to grant funding, bringing life changing opportunities to its participants and adding a further dimension to the mainstream programme of classes.

The Board offered many thanks to all SMG volunteers. Special thanks were made to Liz Blair, book keeper.

Thanks were also warmly extended to the SMG membership.

David Leslie acknowledged with thanks the stability of SMG finances. Payments to tutors and fees for 2014-15 were queried and the Chair referred the membership to the Board Business Plan and the process of review for these financial issues each year. Tutor fees had been increased to £25 per hour 2 years ago and Dave Francis concurred that this was in line with other organisations.  The Chair also reminded the meeting that SMG was fortunate to have Mac Walker on the Board as a finance modelling expert. His skills had helped significantly in building a programme which was cost efficient.

Presentation of Accounts

In the absence of the Treasurer, the Chair presented the accounts. She reminded the meeting that accounts had to be presented annually rather than approved by the membership. A  Statement of Financial Activities and Balance Sheet (attached) were presented. Classes had proved to be  self sustaining with a small profit and ceilidhs had continued to make an important contribution to this figure.

The following were highlighted via queries and points raised by the Chair.

(1)The report covered a 15 month period, with the reporting  date now changed to 30 June each year. The end of March had been unhelpful as it did not align with our teaching year.

(2) The Voluntary Grant income was entirely linked to the work of ‘Inspire’.  It was a ring-fenced project.

(3) Whitelaw Wells, Accountants, had now completed the accounts, with the Treasurer  and SMG retaining a full copy.

(4) £3,982 was the bottom line figure for total funds for 2013 which would be added to our reserves.

(5) SMG membership was advised of the impact on our finances for 2014 of the costs of the new  SMG website.

(6) David Leslie queried the nil return of merchandise stock.  Its value had been written off this year on the recommendation of Whitelaw Wells.

Election of Directors

The Board were all willing to stand again for office (as Chair: Alison Carlyle, as Treasurer: John Whiteford.  Other directors on the Board: Mac Walker,  Fiona Harrison, Gill Simpson, Alison Woolerton, Sophie Adam, Sam Macadam)

The re-election of current  directors was proposed (Stuart Brydon) and seconded (Linda Remally)

Questions and Motions from the floor

  • It was confirmed the membership fees will remain the same for 2014-2015.
  • Christine Mahony noted some Board members were not present and expressed concern that they were not known to the SMG membership, whilst acknowledging they were doing a good job. The Chair accepted her point but assured the meeting of the commitment of Directors and the range of their expertise which they brought to meetings. Fiona Harrison and Gill Simpson offered their own support to this view as did member Heather Harrington who referred to the contribution of Ceilidh Caleerie and Buskers.  The Board’s contribution to a past Tutor Concert was also seen as a positive way of showing their faces!
  • The AGM will remain in Feb/March each year, with June 2014 as the next accounting date.

Presentation by Jo Miller from the Riverside Music Project

Jo’s background in music education  and her contribution to the SMG mentoring programme (funded through Artworks), was  highlighted on the agenda for the meeting.  She reflected on the importance of mentoring as a positive contribution to the career development of tutors, which SMG strongly supports. She also gave an informative and interesting account of the intergenerational Riverside Music Project which she runs in Stirling and which is ‘participant driven’. She was thanked for her enjoyable contribution to the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, David Leslie proposed a vote of thanks to the Chair and the SMG Board.

Alison Woolerton 17.03 2014

SMG Newsletters

Read our current and past email newsletters to find out the latest info on SMG classes and events.

View our newsletter archive or subscribe to receive future editions. We usually send email newsletters out once or twice a term.

Your SMG Board

Edna Wilson
Although I always liked folk music, I got interested in traditional music when I lived in Dublin – that was a revelation! However I only started playing an instrument seriously when I moved to London and had lessons with Pete Cooper. When I returned to Scotland in 2015 I joined the Scots Music Group fiddle class and became re-enthused. I wanted to have a constructive retirement and give back something to SMG so volunteered for the Board. Getting involved has been so interesting and I have learned such a lot about the organisation, including helping in the office and supporting our events. So different from my previous working life.
Paul McIntosh
Paul was born in Nairn, and holds a BSc Hons Physics and an MBA degree.  He retired in 2015, having followed a technical and management career in the Information & Communications Technology and Oil & Gas sectors.  He was a director of his own small ICT consultancy for 15 years.  Paul has been involved with SMG as a student since about 2004, and plays guitar in the Ceilidh Caleerie dance band.  He has been Treasurer on the SMG Board since 2015.
Helen Quigley
Board Member
Singing, clàrsach
My mother was a Scots song singer, so I was familiar with traditional music from an early age. I spent my working life in England, but when I came back here I took up the clarsach as a way into traditional music, joining an SMG mixed instrument class and then playing in the slow session. I have also sung in several SMG groups. I have been on the Board for two years and enjoy helping SMG to promote traditional music: not only through the classes, but also by its community projects and out-reach activities.
Fiona Harrison
Board Member
Fiddle, guitar, singing
I have been a member of the Scots Music Group for over 15 years and sat on the Board for about ten years. Its a wonderful organisation which has something for everyone and can change lives.  I never imagined that I would play traditional music, or that I would learn to play the violin before I joined. Traditional music is addictive. For me, it led to going on to study music and composition after giving up my day job.  I have also made many friends and have had lots of great experiences. The tuition is fantastic and we are always interested in and grateful for new ideas. Being a board member is a good way to become more involved in the organisation and I would encourage everyone who might be interested in this, or other ways of volunteering, to get in touch.
Jamie Taylor
Board Member
Fiddle, smallpipes, whistle
I started going to SMG classes in the mid 90s and have been unable to kick the habit. I help to manage the Ceilidh Caleerie band and I’m a Balerno Busker, both of which raise money for SMG. By day I’m (just) still an engineer, historically mostly in wave and wind energy. I joined the board in 2019.
Hellen MacPherson
Board Member
Singing, fiddle, whistle
My musical influences growing up were mainly classical piano, recorders and singing the occasional solo and choral singing in the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and now Jubilo   My father was very involved in the Edinburgh Burns scene and I was ‘encouraged’ to attend many Burns’ Suppers!
It wasn’t until after I retired that I discovered SMG and Mary McCann’s wonderful Singing Together class, followed a few years later by my decision, after a gap of 60 years, to pick up my violin and for the first time ever learn to play Scottish fiddle. It’s work in progress! I then joined Nigel Gatherer’s Mixed Instrument Group with my descant recorder but dedicated myself during COVID lockdown to mastering the Whistle.
I have so appreciated SMG, its tutors and the enthusiasm and dedication in promoting Scotland’s traditional music and am very happy to be a member of the Board and give my tuppence-worth.
Bill Savage
Board Member
Ceilidh dancer

Details to follow

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**The SMG staff are partly working from home. If you wish to come into our office at Eric Liddell Centre please contact us to make an appointment** Contact us here

We usually work between the hours of 10am – 5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but this can vary depending on meetings, staff holidays and other commitments.

SMG has two part-time staff, Coordinator Helen Reid (21 hours per week), and Interim Development Worker Sarah Northcott (15 hours per week).

Find our classes…

During the pandemic we have run all our classes online on Zoom. However our usual class locations are in Bruntsfield, Gorgie and Slateford for daytime classes and James Gillespie’s High School in Marchmont for our evening classes.

Piano Accordion





Mixed Level Ukulele


5-String Banjo

Mixed Instrument 3E

Mixed Instrument Slow Session

James Gillespie’s High School
57 Lauderdale Street

Held in The Malala Building, the main teaching block on level 2 except:

  • The Forum on Level 1 for Mixed Instrument 3 on Wednesday.
  • The Dining Centre in the Muriel Spark building for Sangstream on Thursday.

On Parents’ Evenings classes held in the Forum will run in the Dining Centre in The Muriel Spark Building.

Pedestrian access: ramp access to The Malala Building and The Muriel Spark Building from both the Warrender Park Road entrances and the Whitehouse Loan car park


  • Parking: disabled parking bays in the small car park accessible on Warrender Park Road for disabled badge holders only
  • Lift access: into The Malala Building from Warrender Park Road car park. Look for the large traffic cone which the school uses to hold the entrance door open, and see the annotated image below. The lift gives access to Level 1 (Forum) and Level 2 where most of our classes are held.

Scottish Song and Beyond

St Michael’s Church
1 Slateford Road
EH11 1NX

The hall accessible and entry is via the pedestrian ramp in the church drive. Parking in the drive is available for disabled participants. Please arrange this in advance via the SMG office.

Mixed Instrument 1

Gorgie Dalry Stenhouse Church
190 Gorgie Road
EH11 2NX

Venue fully accessible.

Sing Together

Christ Church Centre
6A Morningside Road
EH10 4DD

Venue fully accessible. Parking in grounds available for disabled participants only, where permission is given.

Mixed Instrument 2

Morningside United Church
15 Chamberlain Road
EH10 4DJ

Venue fully accessible. Please use entrance on Chamberlain Road.

Slow Pub Session

Leslie’s Bar
45-47 Ratcliffe Terrace

Mixed Instrument 3D

Eric Liddell Centre
& SMG Office
15 Morningside Road
EH10 4DP

Venue fully accessible.


St Bride’s Centre
10 Orwell Terrace
EH11 2DZ

Venue is accessible. Centre staff will open café door for wheelchair access.

Cafe Ceilidh

Scottish Storytelling Centre
43 High Street

Venue is accessible to wheelchair users and there is Braille signage throughout.

Contact Us

Send Message

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Scots Music Group
Eric Liddell Centre
15 Morningside Road
EH10 4DP

+44 (0)131 555 7668

[email protected]