Members considered the report of the Community Museum Manager Cerian Trevan. She advised that for the first two months covered by the report the Windmill was closed as part of the new opening hours for 2016/7. Essential maintenance and training with the Mill Volunteers was carried out. Key maintenance which was carried out included cutting back of hedges and other grounds maintenance, clearance of the car park and the painting of the office area in the barn.
In March 2017, Bursledon Windmill reopened for the summer season with a very successful Special Sunday focusing on Cogs and Gears. In April 2017 there were two Green Man inspired events and on a Windmill Wednesday during the Easter holidays, visitors enjoyed the Birds at Bursledon event.
In May the site was opened for the whole weekend and welcomed over 50 people to the Flour Power event. Along with the flour power activities, the Bursledon Windmill Team were very pleased to welcome back Colin and his colleagues to site with their radio station. They spent the day chatting to the visitors and mills across the UK and Continent. They spoke to a total of 42 mills: 30 UK, 8 Dutch, 2 Belgian, 1 French and 1 German.
The final event for the period was the Strawberry weekend at the end of half term in June 2017. There were displays of historic photographs on site and a talk each day by local historian Jeff Martin and lots of fun strawberry themed activities available for the children. This weekend also signalled the start of the new opening hours. From June 2017, the Windmill opened for both days of the weekend which will continue right through until the end of November 2017. In addition an arrangement was made for a member of staff to be available on Fridays too. This would enable the Staff to carry out essential Mill training and maintenance that it is not possible to do while the site was open to the public and would greatly improve site/mill maintenance.
There had been an increase in the amount of Organised Groups visiting the site; there was 117 out of hours visitors in the last few months ranging from Brownie/Scout groups to U3A and groups of vulnerable older people.
A three stage approach to Mill Operation was introduced. Stages 1 and 2 of the Mill plan (to get Idling and Milling) involved reinstating the regular Mill Inspections by a Mill Wright, and continuing to train the new volunteer and staff team. The training had gone well and the Curator and the volunteers attended a course run by a company in Cambridge. A Mill inspection and Stone Clean was booked in for April 2017, unfortunately this uncovered two areas that were in need of further repair before the Mill would be fully operational. These repairs could be carried out in house by the Conservation Team. An initial visit was conducted in May 2017 to assess the situation and since then works had taken place back at Chilcomb to prep the various different parts. A date had been booked in July to start the repair work on site.
The most recent piece of Mill maintenance was at the end of June 2017 when the site team and volunteers from Eastleigh Men’s Shed re-painted the inside of the windmill. Selection of agricultural implements was now presented on site. Bursledon Windmill was awarded the “Bags of Help” Award which would be used to help to host summer events.
It was AGREED that the report be noted and that an ACTION PLAN/TIMETABLE for the Windmill repairs was to be produced.