Thank you for taking the time to come to our Annual General meeting.
As a charity, we need to hold this meeting once a year in order to report on our activities and to satisfy the Charity Commissioners – but more importantly – it is an opportunity for us to pass news onto our members and to seek their views on how they would wish us to go forward in the coming years.
It is now some 5 years since Friends was formed and much work has been completed thanks to your very generous donations, funds that have been raised from events and grants that have been secured by the trustees.
Overall, Friends has been able to raise more than £60,000 and to direct those monies to preserving this wonderful building and encouraging its use by the whole community. All the feedback that we have had to date has told us that the efforts made by the Friends and the trustees are well appreciated by the wider community. The Church is a warmer, more accommodating and better place to visit and with vastly enhanced facilities.
In the past year, we have again been successful in terms of our overall fund raising with a grand total of over £16,000 being secured from donations and events (together over £7,000) and grant awards (£9,000 secured from Welcome to Our Future). While donations and events were slightly less than last year, the promise of the grant monies provided us with a great overall result.
We have great fun at our events – the Curry and Quiz night was a storming success, the Summer Ball – while a few down on numbers – went off really well and made an excellent profit and our autumn talk was again well attended and raised a super profit. As always, the Christmas celebration was also great and well appreciated. Massive thanks must go to everyone who has helped us to organise these but particularly to Mark the Quizmeister, Bill Dobie and Rob Preston for arranging the talk and to Barry Griffin for organising the Christmas celebration.
Upcoming events include Ascot comes to Poshampton – a racing themed evening – on 24th June with a glass of fizz, canapés, a couple of races, luxury buffet, raffle and disco …………..and all for £20!! Later on, and by popular demand we will be running another Curry and Quiz evening – please watch out for further details as we had to turn away quite a few people at our spring event this year – get your tickets early – members get notification before general release.
Membership remains relatively stable at 86 but we are very sad to report the untimely loss of Mrs Mary Davidson and Mr Raymond Lee who were both great ‘Friends’. They will be greatly missed.
In terms of work undertaken, the trustees and I are delighted to have been able (finally) to commission and (now) complete the main path project and hope that the Friend’s agree that new surfacing enhances the approach to the Church as well as being very much safer for those visiting St James. Our thanks go to Phil Day Sports for acting as contractor on this work and carrying out such a good job.
In addition to the path works, we have also supplied three portable floodlights which enable the Church to be floodlit for evening events in autumn and winter and we have put monies aside to pay for bell refurbishment works that are planned. We also allocated funds for additional security measures after some unfortunate incidents in the Church last year. At last year’s AGM, the issue of architect’s fees for the ‘Bothy’ was discussed and, as agreed then, we have made a provision of £1,800 to cover those costs.
Looking forward, there will be some major repairs to be undertaken in the not too distant future. We already know of stonework and guttering that will need to be sorted out this year and some parts of the roof are beginning to need attention so the monies that Friends raise will be vital in helping to preserve our heritage.
Friends is an energetic and happy organisation and the Trustees have worked hard to raise funds by organising events, to apply for grants from the relative authorities and other charities and to ensure that the monies that our Members generously donate are used wisely. We all strongly believe that this energy and vibrancy depends on a continual flow of new ideas and new faces within our organisation. For the continued existence of Friends, we need to attract new Trustees to join us and for people to take on some of the key roles.
Over two years ago, I was very lucky to be able to follow Martin Dickinson into the role of Chair of Friends. Similarly, Eric Carter, our Secretary and Treasurer has worked diligently for Friends from its inception and we have been supported by a fantastic mix of Trustees who have brought their experience, knowledge and humour to our meetings.
We are fortunate that all the present trustees have again agreed to stand in such a position for a further year. And, similarly, both Eric and I are happy to continue in our present positions for that year.
However, we will both be standing down at this time next year and we would ask our Members and other trustees to consider if they could and would help us to take Friends forward going into the future by either joining us as a trustee or by looking to take on one of the ‘officer’ roles for a limited period.
The time input is probably a bit less than you might think and it is actually a lot of fun as well as being immensely rewarding to help preserve a lovely heritage building and see the community appreciate it. These roles do need to be filled and it would be great if we could see some new faces sooner rather than later so that any handover can be smooth and well organised.
Being Chairman sometimes feels like you spend your time always saying thank you to folk but it would be very remiss of me if I did not finish with two very heartfelt ‘Thank You’s’.
The first is to my fellow trustees who continue to bring great ideas and enthusiasm to the table and willingly help in whatever way they can to make our events and fundraising efforts a success and to guide the spending of those funds wisely. Thank You!
But most of all Thank You to all of our members who donate their hard earned cash, provide us with gift aid declarations, support our events and, through talking with us, provide guidance on what they would wish to see happen to this lovely building. I truly appreciate your support!
That pretty much concludes the Chairman’s report other than to ask if there are any questions from the floor or suggestions on how Friends should go forward.