The Mill AGM, 29 March

The Mill Community Hub will be holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) online by Zoom on Monday 29 March at 7pm. If you’d like to join the meeting virtually, please contact Chair of Trustees Pete Bowman by noon on Friday 26 March, and he’ll send you a Zoom invite and a copy of the agenda.

There will be a brief opportunity for questions to the Trustees at the end of the AGM (around 10-15 minutes or so), so please indicate in your email whether you’d like to speak. If you already have an idea of any questions you’d like to ask, please feel free to send them in advance, so they can be answered fully.

The main AGM usually lasts about 15-20 minutes (not including Q&A) and will be followed by the March Ordinary General Meeting, which you are also welcome to stay for. OGMs generally last between 30 minutes and an hour.

Progress update

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Gerry Henson who has been selling plants through the village shop and from home, raising a tremendous £200 for The Mill. Gerry had been growing plants for this year’s Fete which, as you know, has had to be postponed, but undaunted Gerry decided to press on and sell them herself instead. Thanks to Gerry and to everyone who bought one of these lovely plants.

Meanwhile, we’re still working behind the scenes to keep The Mill project moving forward. The Archaeological Survey has been completed and, while they’re now finalising the official report, we understand they found no issues with the site.

We have also appointed Corby Borough Council as our Building Control Services consultants, who will provide services such as serving legal notices, undertaking statutory consultations, ensuring compliance and issuing the final building regulations certificate when the project is completed.

Thanks again for all your continued support for the project and keep safe.

Pete Bowman,
Chair, The Mill Community Hub

Mill update from Pete Bowman, Chair

I thought I’d just share a quick update to reassure you all that we’re still busily but safely working behind the scenes on The Mill project during the current lockdown.

Within the last few weeks, we’ve appointed a Project Manager – GSS Architecture in Kettering, the architects that have been with the project since the start – and they’ll be helping us move towards our first phase of construction, which is to make a start on the entrance works in order to satisfy the terms of the planning permission. These works had been planned for August but will almost certainly now be put back, although we had originally built in a few months’ leeway anyway to offset any potential problems.

Before any works can start, the planning permission requires us to carry out an Archaeological Survey. We’ve now had three quotes for the work and we’ll be appointing our preferred surveyor shortly. As with the Project Manager, any work that needs to be carried out on site will be delayed until the lockdown is eased. While there will be some work that can be undertaken from home, our consultants’ personal safety and wellbeing is extremely important to us.

As you’d expect, the situation has also had an effect on our fundraising programme. Our Fundraising Team has thought long and hard about which events in the programme could still go ahead and which ones we’ll have to postpone. Please be assured that all your good work on planned events like the Copper Mile and the Food and Drink Fair won’t go to waste, there’ll just be put on hold for the time being. And as far as this year’s Fete is concerned, we’ve got our fingers crossed that it will still go ahead, but later in the year than planned.

In the meantime, Del Robertson is aiming to put together another Community Cookbook for Christmas so if you’ve got any more of your own recipe ideas knocking about, why not email them over to Del at

The Fundraising Team has also been busy liaising with funding and awards bodies, particularly the National Lottery where we have three applications in progress. Understandably, funding agencies are rightly focusing their efforts on organisations that are dealing directly with the Covid-19 situation at the moment, so any non related applications are being put on hold for the next six months. We have been advised, however, that our own applications are still in line for consideration, but obviously not until the current situation has eased.

Recently, we applied to HMRC for official recognition as a charity for tax purposes. We’ve now got that recognition and that means we can press ahead to set up Gift Aid and Just Giving schemes for people who’d like to donate to the project directly. I’ll update you further when these schemes are live.

We’re still working in the background to make sure that the Mill project is moving forward, even though it’s a little bit more difficult under the current circumstances. The project has sufficient funds to meet the costs of the works and services necessary to comply with the terms of our planning permission, and we have the expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to make sure this project happens.

Finally, I’d like to thank you all again for the wonderful support you’ve given the project – it genuinely means a lot to the trustees, the ‘Millers’ and everyone else who’s given their time freely.

Keep safe,


Fete volunteers needed

Planning will soon be starting for the Cottingham and Middleton Village Fete, which we expect to take place in early July.

Last year’s fete raised an amazing £6,200 for The Mill, and the organisers are now looking for volunteers who’d be able to get involved in organising and running the fete, to make this year’s event just as successful.

If you’re interested, please send your name and contact details to Sarah Brant on as soon as possible, so she can set up a meeting and get the ball rolling.

Chair’s Annual Report 2019

Thanks to those who came along to the recent AGM for The Mill. At the meeting, Pete Bowman was re-elected as Chair, Tony Freeman as Vice Chair and Jo Leaning as Treasurer.

Here’s the full text of the Chair’s Annual Report for 2019.

With planning permission now secured, 2019 saw the start of our comprehensive fundraising strategy with a number of hugely successful events taking place over the course of the year.

The starting point for this strategy was our first Fundraising Workshop held at the beginning of March. At a very well attended event, we welcomed people from both villages who had a wide range of skills and expertise to bring to the project, with teams volunteering to organise and run a range of events throughout the year. Alongside this activity, our core fundraising team – Jan and Del Robertson – were busy identifying and pursuing leads from a variety of local, regional and national organisations and businesses. This work has been crucial to bringing the project to the eyes and ears of important potential funders, and we would like to offer our sincere thanks for their ongoing efforts and hard work.

Following the first Workshop, we rebranded the project as ‘The Mill Community Hub’, complete with a new logo created by local designer, Charles Freestone of Wow Design. This would now appear on all subsequent publicity for the project. It also gave rise to the term ‘Millers’, which we use to describe our growing band of enthusiastic volunteers.

One of the first major events we were involved with was the Village Fete, held in July and organised and run by an incredible team of people headed up by Sarah Brant. Despite the undecided weather, there was a superb turnout and the event raised a staggering £6,200 for The Mill project.

As we entered this new stage in the life of the project, it became clear that we needed to change the status of the existing Trust. This was primarily to allow us to employ people, issue contracts in the Trust’s name and secure limited liability for the Trustees. The way forward was to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), which would allow us to do all of these things and more. The move to a CIO was agreed at a public meeting held in August, after which we started the official process of changing over. We were officially granted CIO status in October.

Throughout the year, we have also been consulting with building industry professionals to fine tune initial costings we had obtained for the construction of The Mill, which will now be on a ‘design and build’ basis. This is an ongoing process and we would like to thank all the local and national businesses that have already given us valuable advice and support to help move the project forward. As it stands, we are looking to start initial groundworks by August 2020 as the first phase of the construction programme.

In the meantime, increasing numbers of villagers were continuing to get involved through two more Workshops – the most recent being held in September where a calendar of events for the rest of the year and throughout 2020 was devised. The Mill’s bank balance was further swelled by Del Robertson’s Chilli Bake Off and Seasonal Cookbook, the Christmas card and the Christmas Bazaar, which alone raised over £2,000 for the project.

We are constantly amazed (and humbled) by the amount of effort that people who have got involved with all of these events put into raising money for the project. The ‘thank you’ list would take quite a while to read out, but be assured you have our heartfelt appreciation for all the work you put in behind the scenes.

As far as our finances go, the project’s own cash funds amounted to £13,782.82 (as of 31 December 2019), with £35,990.50 held by Middleton Parish Council (as of 31 December 2019), which is specifically ring fenced for the new community hub.

Finally, I think it’s fair to say that the Trustees have – as always – put in an incredible amount of time and effort to keep this project live and very much do-able. There’s still quite a way to go but, as this past year has shown, we’re getting there.

Pete Bowman
Chair of Trustees, The Mill Community Hub, Cottingham and Middleton