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 delboy639@gmail.com?

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,

Pete

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