2018 Minutes

Will be added shortly

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 motion: The 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