Fr Tom Egan, Gerard Barden, Patrick Bolger, Libby Biberian, Felicity Brown, Ramon Landi, Patrick Madigan, Michael McGowan, Sean Carroll, Greg Howard (minutes)

Apologies were received from Edoardo Albert.

Opening prayer
The meeting was opened with a prayer.

Minutes of last Parish Council Meeting and matters arising
The minutes of the meeting of 15.12.14 were signed off.

Further to the section on IT and security, Felicity stated that she does not want her email to appear on parish lists.

She added further to the section on the Parish Support Network, raised under Any other business, that the network has numerous volunteers, but not the type of work to give them for which the network was established. She suggested that it might be possible to direct volunteers to jobs that need doing around the parish, and that she would discuss this possibility with Liam O’Hanlon, Fr Tom and Anne Banerjee. Gerard suggested that a note should appear in the newsletter publicising the network.

Further to the suggestion made under Any other business, regarding the recording of the life stories of some elderly parishioners, Felicity said that this was an excellent idea, and would be of great benefit to any people in the parish who are lonely. Michael said that he would discuss the matter with the office, as there are some extraordinary stories to be captured. He also said that he would speak to individuals, to see if they were willing to be interviewed.

Also further to a point made under Any other business, Patrick Madigan said that the Bereavement Friendship Group has many volunteers, but few people taking advantage of its services. He said that this was a shame, as the training programme for members of the group is intensive. Fr Tom suggested that the network could be publicised at masses – not just in the newsletter, but with an announcement. He also said, that in his experience, relatives of the deceased often live outside the parish.

Felicity suggested that the need for the network’s services might be greater two-three years after a bereavement – in the immediate aftermath of a death, the family members are more likely to be in touch, and to support each other.

Finance and Fundraising, and the report of Precision health and safety consultants
Patrick Bolger told the meeting that the parish has enjoyed a good year financially, and is on a sound financial footing. He said that the parish’s bank balance at the end of 2014 was £414,000, up from £364,000 at the end of 2013.

Our income and expenditure also rose over the same period – our income by £25,000 to £310,000 and our expenditure by £9,000 to £259,000. The parish’s expenditure varies from year to year depending on what work needs to be done. Possible expenditure for this year includes the fitting of new windows in the loft, and new doors at the back of the church. Offertory income was over £8,000 higher in 2014 than it had been in 2013. 2014’s non-accessible income includes a legacy of £20,000.
Patrick also told the meeting about the report produced for the parish by Precision health and safety consultants. All parishes in the diocese are obliged to employ Precision to conduct an assessment of their premises.

Precision have made numerous recommendations, as a result of which we will need to take action on various matters. For example, we will need to amend the Hall Users Agreement, which has not been updated for some time. We will also need to ensure that fire exits are readily accessible, and that electrical points are safe.

There will be a meeting in the small hall on Monday 16 March to go through the implications of Precision’s report. This meeting will report back to the parish council with suggestions on how we should respond. Some of their recommendations will be easy and inexpensive to act upon, but some will be more difficult, and more expensive. We will need to balance the need for security in the church (ie making access difficult for intruders) with safety (eg ensuring easy access to fire escapes).

The inspector from Precision expressed particular concern over the possibility of a fire breaking out in the church. There has never been one in eighty years, but we must endeavour to avoid prosecution under corporate manslaughter/health and safety legislation now that these issues have been highlighted.

Fr Tom said that he thought the church is exempt from fire safety regulations. This is a point that needs to be clarified.

Fr Tom told the Council of various activities organised for Lent including:

·    The showing of a series of DVDs "Jesus's footsteps in the Holy Land", in the Small Hall on Tuesday evenings. This has proved popular.

·    Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday afternoons. Parishioners have been invited to sign the list in the Porch if they are able to watch for half an hour.

·    Stations of the Cross are taking place each Friday during Lent at 10.30am and 7.30pm.

Felicity informed the meeting of a number of recent and forthcoming events in the locality, including:

·    A Women's World Day of Prayer at Manor Drive Methodist Church to coincide with International Women's Day on Friday 6 March.

·    A number of churches have recently held, or are about to hold, quizzes including one to raise funds for Christian Aid at All Saints Church on Oakleigh Road North on Sunday 17 May.

·    Felicity also told the meeting about Stations of the Cross organised by Churches Together on Saturday 28 March, starting at St John's, Whetstone, and finishing at All Saints Church. This has been advertised in the newsletter and Felicity strongly encouraged Councillors to come if possible.

Parish hall, IT and security
Gerard told the meeting about his efforts to arrange the installation of a projector in the hall which could be used to show DVDs and on which Mass could also be shown at busy times when the church is crowded.

He has discussed the matter with the Diocese and obtained the contact details of their recommended provider of this kind of service. The firm is based in Dublin but also does work in the London area. A representative from the company will visit Our Lady of Lourdes on Thursday 12 March to see what can be done. Most of what we have requested can be arranged quite straight-forwardly including the installation of a camera in the church connected to a display device in the hall.  The firm is unable to help with the installation in the hall of curtains/blackout blinds and we will need to take advice on this separately. Gerard expressed the hope that the work on the projector/camera would be completed by Good Friday (3 April).

Any other business, and dates of next meetings
Felicity enquired whether the hand drier in the ladies' toilet has been mended. No one at the meeting knew, so Felicity said she would check again. Fr Tom said she could raise the matter at the office if no progress has been made.

Fr Tom also informed the meeting that Ten Ten Theatre are moving out of the parish by Easter and relocating to larger premises in Muswell Hill.

It was agreed that the parish's Annual General Meeting would take place on Sunday 31 May at 7.30pm in the hall. It will also count as a meeting of the parish council in the regular cycle.

The next parish council meeting after this has been scheduled for Monday 6 July at 8.15pm in the Small Hall.