Published Categorised as News



Present: (34) E. Wimbush, C. Morrison, A. Nicholson, J. McNamara, J. Bell, I. Knox, S. McLellan, L. Aykroyd, P. Lucas, G. Murray, T. Smith, A. McCoy, L. Stewart, S. Crowe, N. Richerby, D. Smeed, L. McDavey, K. Lymer, O. MacDonald, L. MacDonald, L. McLean, P. Revell, H. Smith, D. Bedland, J. Paton, M. Thornton, M. James, D. Williamson, G. Williamson, A. Tossell, S. Tossell, K. McGuire, T. Greeve, D. Mumford.

Apologies: (51) J. Sangster, K. Dietz, I. Marrian, M. Marrian, J. Jenkins, E. Maidens, F. Bryant, A. Moodie, S. Crozier, J. McCormack, L. Hill, A. Parry, S. Singh, I. Dickson, L. Dickson, P. Gardner, M. Meteyard, M. Roberts, P. Denholm, M. Denholm, V. H. Tennat, M. Lawson, J. Regan, J. Moulin, L. Yule, B. Whiteman, C. Carroll, W. Smith, M. Maple, S. Wight, A. McGachy, K. Hare, S. Woodall-Mason, K. Kid, C. Vasilenko, P. Vasilenko, E. O’Donnell, E. David-Stanier, P. Lucas, D. Scott-Douglas, R. Ward, S. Clubb, K. Covey, P. Braithwaite, L. Wilcox, L. Brunton, P. Davey, E. Davey, N. Brooke, J. Wright, S. Robertson, B. Richardson, L. Stobart, A. Stobart.

CHAIRPERSON’S WELCOME: Erica Wimbush welcomed shareholders to the 10th AGM of the Society and introduced the Management Committee and staff present.

MINUTES OF THE 2018 AGM: These were accepted as a true record of the meeting.

SECRETARY’S REPORT: Alan Nicholson informed the meeting that the current shareholder register stood at 1,101. In 2017/18 there were 43 new shareholders. Of these 58.4 per cent were from the Dunbar and East Linton area (including Innerwick and Stenton). Seven per cent were from elsewhere in East Lothian, 2.3 per cent from elsewhere in Scotland and 2.3 per cent from elsewhere in the UK.

Of the new shareholders, it was noted that 80 per cent took out a shareholding at the minimum amount of either £20 or £25 (the minimum shareholding increased to £25 in August 2018.)

Alan Nicholson then moved a change to Rule 24 of the Society’s constitution, to lower the level of shareholders required at an AGM to provide a quorum to 15. The motion was seconded by D. Williamson. The meeting agreed the motion.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Chrisann Morrison intimated to the meeting that 2018 had been the best fiscal year for the Society with turnover of £270,000 with a profit of £15,000. This had been driven by increases in both wholesale and hot food sales. Over the year costs had risen by £16,000, although £7,000 of this was attributable to roof repairs. Staff costs had remained equal in the year.

Loan payments had been made as expected, whilst creditor debt was being questioned and pursued. Overall, the balance sheet was in a good position.

The Treasurer advised the meeting however that 2019 so far was not looking good due to the loss of some key wholesale customers. Wholesale had peaked in October 2018, so subsequently efforts were being made to address this.

Shareholders raised points over the rates figure in the Accounts and on the issue of bad debts. The Treasurer advised that she believed that the rates figures had been categorized wrongly in the Accounts, whilst it was hoped the bad debts issue would be resolved within the coming weeks. Chrisann indicated however that she did not think that these were material to the accounts and unlikely to have an adverse effect.

However, because of issues with the Accounts it was noted that the Committee did not propose to approve the Accounts; rather the approval of shareholder of the 2017/18 Accounts when formalized would be sought by e-mail in due course, before being submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority.

AUDITOR: In line with Rule 54(b) of the Constitution, shareholders unanimously agreed not to appoint a qualified auditor.

MANAGER’S REPORT: Stella McLellan explained to the meeting the situation that had developed over Christmas 2017 resulting in two bakers leaving the Bakery and wholesale business being impacted by lack of consistency. She added though that she expected a good Summer, however increasing ingredient costs and the Brexit effect could mean taking quite a hit later on in the year. Stella explained that the Bakery was looking to take on two young people under the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme but noted that it was quite hard to get young people into the bakery trade.

On new products, Stella indicated that a Brioche bun would be introduced – this had been asked for by the hotels but it was hoped to get these into mainstream wholesale. On new wholesale business, there was potential for Lauderdale Park to come on board. The loss of Why Not?, and Paul’s Yard was significant – product consistency had been an issue but there was now a need to prove that quality had returned.

It was explained that Why Not?, business had gone to Bostock and that local hotels tended to buy their bread from ASDA, however they seemed keen to take on the new Brioche bun.

Stella explained that over the las t two holiday periods the tourist trade had been quite poor, and that the Easter period had been very quiet. Hopefully this would improve, however traders in North Berwick have noted a marked downturn; so far the Bakery had weathered the storm. Asked about the use of on-street tables, Stella replied that this was not allowed by East Lothian Council because of their proximity to street vennels.

REVIEW OF THE YEAR: Erica Wimbush noted that the highlight of the year was winning the Plunkett Foundation Award and offered her congratulations to everyone involved in the achievement. She explained why the Bakery had won the award, being the first community share-owned business in Scotland and showing longevity and resilience. The Bakery’s track record of improvements such as financial stability (especially in 2015 when the business had no Head Baker and very few assets). The business had been built up since then by biting the bullet to take on more full-time staff, setting challenging targets for revenue and a return to six day trading with a better range of products and increasing the wholesale trade. The Plunkett Foundation had recognized all of this, however Erica did point out that this had been the only time that the Bakery had received any benefit from its membership of the East Lothian Food & Drink Bid.

Erica then set out what had happened in the preceding year. Colin and Stella McLellan had been installed as joint managers to bring together their complimentary skills in managing the shop and the bakehouse. A new Treasurer had been appointed (Chrisann Morrison) but it was noted that much thanks had to go to Duncan McKinnell who had continued to provide valuable support to the Committee during the period when there had been no Treasurer in place.

Erica intimated that the Bakery had been successful in applying for an East Lothian Council Development Grant but that the business still struggles with limited storage space in the bakehouse. In terms of shareholder communications, she hoped that these were improving although some shareholders were not receiving newsletters etc. Erica encouraged shareholders to ensure their contact details were up-to-date. It was also noted though that the website was in need of significant attention and that the Bakery needed to make use of social media platforms. Erica then explained that the Bakery had introduced expenses for volunteer drivers and that this was something to be considered further if wholesale trade expanded.

Looking ahead to future business, Erica said that invoicing procedures would be improved and that, overall, business process would need to be smarter. The Bakery would also continue to strive to bring through the next generation of young bakers and would look to grant funding to help with this.

On shareholding, Erica explained that 80 per cent on new shareholders take out the minimum shareholding but still receive the 10 per cent discount. Perhaps we needed to be more hard-nosed about this but needed to balance this against attracting new shareholders. Erica explained that the discount costs around £4,500 (or £45,000 in turnover) and questioned whether this was worth the risk.

Finally, Erica noted that there was potential for collaboration with the new Community (Crunchy) Carrot initiative going forward.

ELECTION OF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE: Erica Wimbush indicated that she would be standing down as Chairperson. She made a call for any new volunteers to take up a role on the Committee and briefly set out the roles and responsibilities.

All other Management Committee members were willing to continue. Subsequently the following shareholders (5) were duly proposed to serve on the Committee: Chrisann Morrison, Alan Nicholson, Isobel Knox, Jo McNamara and Jacqueline Bell.

AOCB: Jo McNamara expressed thanks to all of the volunteers who make a significant contribution to the Bakery each year, either as part of the Committee, as volunteer delivery drivers or in helping at markets ad events throughout the year.

There being no further competent business the meeting closed.