Audit 3 Jul Dec 2008

Ayton’s Story Project
Third Report to Audit Panel (July to December 2008)

1 Summary

We are now well into the research stage of the project, with individuals and small teams studying specific aspects of village history. Recognising the potential difficulties of keeping the group together during this phase, and the need to communicate progress, a series of presentations was held in the autumn.

The website was further developed and efforts made to encourage more material to be posted here.

Expenditure continued to be well below budget. After four attempts, we were awarded a small grant from North Yorkshire County Council.

2 Responses to Second Audit Panel

The Audit Panel, Barry Hallam (Chairman), Linda Polley and Shirley Hetherington, met for the second time on 8 October 2008. Several actions arose from these conclusions, requiring the group’s attention.

1) All items raised at the first audit had been addressed. Control of equipment and insurance were considered adequate. The project was making good progress.
2) The digital archiving system was demonstrated and backup arrangements explained. The system was operational. It was agreed it was possible to lose data in the time it took from its production on an individual laptop to the time when all were linked together with the main computer (normally monthly). Procedures where the individuals downloaded their new information to a fob and held it as a copy until all computers were brought together could reduce the risk.
3) The plan to establish a digital archiving system is now over 90% complete. Members need further training and experience. Currently Mike Newton transfers the data. A timetable to enable more people to do this work should be considered in order to reduce the dependency on this person.
4) Maintaining interest. A high level continues among the original members and there are some newcomers. It was agreed to discuss the subject at the next audit when participation in the autumn meetings could be measured.
5) The newsletter and enabled communication with the wider group. Measuring the number of times the website was accessed could be a useful indicator. Minor change to site needed.
6) Finances are under control and corporation tax is not seen as a serious issue. There could be a liability on interest from deposits but not profit from the book.
7) It was noted several topics did not have leaders. The list was produced from a brainstorming session to generate areas of potential interest. It would not be productive to engineer interest in all areas but let it evolve as appropriate. Some topics may not be covered but that was not a serious issue.
8) Linda Polley noted “historic directories “could be of use. Bob de Wardt explained that plans were in hand to gather data where there were few or no records, for example taking core samples and geophysical surveys. The latter could cost £600 but would be done within the current budget.

3 Autumn presentations

Five public presentations on progress in some of the research topics were held between October and December. Average attendance was 50, in spite of various handicaps such as international football and icy weather. There were numerous requests to repeat the presentations from people who had been unable to attend, and so on Saturday 14 March 2009 the presentations will be repeated in a slightly abridged format.

‘Great Ayton - who do you think you are?’ (Alan Bunn) Attendance = 58
A look into the lives of a few Ayton families in past centuries using information from census records, parish registers and other historic documents.

‘Ayton’s Number 1 and 2’ (Ian Pearce) Atendance = 37
Our village was the first in the region to have modern sewage system, installed in the 1890s. This presentation explains the background to the scheme, and looks at what remains today.

‘Who started it all?’ (Robert de Wardt and David W Taylor) Attendance = 41
The village as we know it started life after the departure of the Romans, as a Saxon settlement around Low Green, with the church, manor house and corn mill at its heart.

‘California here we come’ (Ken Taylor) Attendance = 54
Towards the end of the 19th century, the population of Ayton rapidly increased. Many new houses were built in the area which became known as California.

‘Images of Great Ayton’ (Dan O’Sullivan and Ian Pearce) Attendance = 56
Films about the village, including some clips from old Pathé Newsreels of Ayton, ciné film of the building of Hollygarth, and a 1990s video guide to the village.

In response to several requests, these presentations are to be repeated in the spring of 2009, and the film show is to be put on at Hollygarth (sheltered accommodation for the elderly).

4 Project progress

This table is an abbreviated version of that in the original project submission. Where an action was completed and reported in the previous six-month reports, it is shown in lighter type.

5 Research topics

There will be a comprehensive review of progress in each topic in the next audit report, when we will have reached a half-way point in the project.

6 Miscellaneous

In response to a request from the University of Teesside, we organised a Day School for their post-graduate history students.

We are part of the sample of projects which consultants are visiting to assess, on behalf of HLF, the impact of projects on the public.

We advised the Staithes Group on setting up a local history project.

Members made two visits to the large library of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society in Leeds. Whilst they have a vast range of material, we found comparatively little of direct relevance to the project.

7 Financial

After four attempts we were successful in obtaining a grant of £800 from the North Yorkshire County Council, although the final application had been for £3,527. The shortfall has been made up from our own funds. Our six-year old digital projector was replaced, at a cost of £938.47, with a more powerful Sony projector which can illuminate the large screen in the Friends’ Meeting House, even in daylight. A non-budgeted expenditure of £160 was for the use of the Park Room at the County Record Office in Northallerton, where we have a sub-group meeting there fortnightly transcribing source material.

A statement of income and expenditure for this project is shown in Appendix 1. The project is still significantly under budget. Expenditure, including a provision for work done but not yet invoiced, was approximately £18,100 compared with a budget of £28,000. At some stage permission will be sought from the HLF to use this money elsewhere, or to extend the project into a fifth year.

The issue of corporation tax on some of the group’s income has still to be resolved. Our volunteer time continues to far exceed the 120 hours per six-month period agreed with HLF.

8 Looking ahead

We plan a further series of presentations in the spring of 2009. A good few members are likely to formally enrol with the University of Teesside, which will give us access to their library facilities.

Ian Pearce 13 February 2009

Appendix 1 - Income and expenditure

Ayton’s Story Project Income and Expenditure Account (to January 2009)

Income £ Expenditure £ Budget

Capital equipment:
HLF grant first payment 21,850.00 Computer equipment 2 3,831.54
NYCC grant 800.00 Digital sound recorder 385.36
GACAP cash contribution 1 7,475.00 Digital camera 256.96
Projector, case, auto-changer 938.47
Sub-total capital equipment 5,412.33

Operating expenses:
Adviser/tutor Comm Arch Ltd) 5,968.20 6,300.00
Professional experts 3 25.00 900.00
University seminars 4 0 2,400.00
Accommodation (FMH) 3,340.00 3,825
Accommodation (NYCRO)5 160.00 0
Maps, books, etc 6 304.78 1,125.00
Subscriptions 7 123.00 128.00
Insurance 249.42 450.00
ISP 8 0 375.00
Website expenses 9 211.36 2,000.00
Auditors’ expenses 10 0 270.00
Office expenses11 239.25 300.00
Inflation and contingency 0 2,185.00
Sub-total operating expenses 10,621.01

Total income 30,125.00 Total expenditure 16,033.34 28,013.00
Bank balance 14,091.66
1 The GACAP contribution has been reduced from £8,275 following the successful application to NYCC.
2 Hardware - 5 laptops, optical mice, internet router, WiFi hub. Software - Operating systems etc for new laptops, Norton AV, SyncToy updating, Portfolio record management.
3 Linda Turnbull of NYCRO.
4 Delivered in 2007 but not yet invoiced by the university!
5 Sub-group on alternate Wednesday afternoons transcribing source materials.
6 Maps, Northumbria book, Home history starter packs, paper.
7 Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Council for British Archaeology.
8 Not now needed since ‘piggy-backing’ on a member’s ISP.
9 Hosting
10 Auditors are not claiming expenses so this will not be spent.
11 Includes restoration of Low Green oil painting donated to the group.

Provision for work not yet invoiced

University of Teesside 2,100.00
Total provision 2,100.00

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