Fifth AGM of FoSJ 21st May 2018

Present:

Trustees: Ian Hughes(Chairman), Derek Ruskin, Geraldine Stapley, Wendy Wiggett, Pam Wilkins & Eric Carter (Secretary/Treasurer)

Members: Rev. Garry Noyes, Bill Dobie, Lucy Fairfax, Marion Gough & Brenda Whitehead

Minute No: 26/2018 – Apologies

Howard Morrish, Steve Dowling, Jennie Dickinson, Martin Dickinson, Bill Ellis, Sue Ellis, Barry Griffin, Gill Griffin, Jill Nash, Mike Rickard, Rosemary Rickard & Graham Whitehead

Minute No: 27/2018 – Minutes the AGM held on May 22nd 2017

The minutes were proposed as correct by Ian Hughes, seconded by Geraldine Stapley and unanimously agreed.

Minute No: 28/2018 – Matters Arising

Rev. Noyes wished to thank the Abberton Spire fund for financing the new sound system and thanked Friends of St James for their support.

Minute No: 29/2018 – Chairman’s Report

The chairman gave a report on the year’s events and a copy is attached as Appendix A.

Rev. Noyes thanked the Chairman and said that he was encouraged by the community support for the church building.

Discussion took place as to how best to ensure continuance of the charity in the face of the Chairman’s comments about the need for new trustees to fill key roles going forward. It was felt that a questionnaire as to how parishioners wished to see the work of the Friends continue would be helpful but that personal contact would be key to ensuring that people felt engaged with the future of the charity.

Concern was expressed about the common perception that the Friends were part of the Parochial Church Council and therefore linked to the religious element of the church and not a purely secular charity engaged in supporting the building and grounds. Andy Batchelor as Churchwarden agreed and said he would work with the Friends to try and ensure that the distinction was made clear to people.

Minute No: 30/2018 – Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer presented the end of year accounts for 2017 with comments as attached as Appendix B. These have been examined and found correct by Mr Simon Cosson. He reported that currently the Friends held £10,831 of which £7,200 was committed to repairs to the stonework, guttering and leadwork around the church.

Minute N0: 31/2018 – Ideas for Fund Raising Activities

A number of suggestions were put forward with Derek Ruskin and Pam Wilkins keen to try and organise some form of musical event, possibly involving a quiz and public participation.

Geraldine Stapley suggested that it would be desirable to get more public involvement particularly with children present, even if the event did not raise significant funds.

Bill Dobie suggested that with the new projector system now installed it would be a good opportunity to host film nights.

Minute No: 32/2018 – Election of Trustees and Officers

The following trustees and officers were proposed by Bill Dobie, seconded by Lucy Fairfax and agreed unanimously.

  • Ian Hughes

  • Wendy Wiggett

  • Geraldine Stapley

  • Howard Morrish

  • Derek Ruskin

  • Pam Wilkins

  • Eric Carter

The following officers were proposed by Bill Dobie, seconded by Lucy Fairfax and agreed unanimously.

  • Ian Hughes – Chairman

  • Eric Carter – Secretary and Treasurers

However, it was recognised that, during the year, it is anticipated that these roles will be passed on to other trustees as both Ian and Eric feel it is time to relinquish their respective offices.

Minute No: 33/2018- Proposed Constitutional Amendment

The Secretary explained that although the Friends had a growing list of members (currently 90), which might appear to be a good sign, some were people who had made a single donation but had had no involvement or apparent interest in the charity since. This presents two administrative problems. Firstly communicating with these members to advise them of General Meetings. Secondly, with a large membership list, of which some members are “dormant”, ensuring that there are sufficient members at a General Meeting to make it quorate (10% of membership is required). Currently the constitution makes no provision for removing dormant members unless they resign or die. This proposal, offered by the Secretary, would enable the trustees to drop a member with whom they could not make contact to ensure they were still interested. It is an amendment to section 8 (1) of the constitution.

Membership is open to individuals over eighteen or organisations who are approved by the trustees and has made a donation to the charity. Members who have had no contact with the charity for 3 years or more will be written to enquiring if they wish to continue as members. In the event of no reply within 3 months it will be assumed that the member wishes their membership to cease.

This was seconded by Ian Hughes and carried unanimously.

Minute No: 34/2018 – Appointment of independent Examiner of the accounts for 2018

The Treasurer wished to thank Simon Cosson in Droitwich as independent examiner following the excellent work he has carried out for the last 5 years without making any charge for his services. However, in order to reduce the load on Simon and perhaps bring the examination a little nearer home the Treasurer proposed that the 2018 accounts should be examined by Martin Wilkinson, a previous trustee, who had kindly offered to undertake the task. This was seconded by Ian Hughes and unanimously approved.

Minute No: 35/2018 – Other Business

Bill Dobie wished to thank the trustees for their good work in managing the charity.

The chairman thanked those members attending for their time and input and the meeting was formally closed at 8.45 pm

Signed: Dated:

APPENDIX A

Chairman’s Report – Friends of St James – Bishampton

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 to report on our activities and to satisfy the Charity Commissioners – but more importantly – it is an opportunity for us to update our members and to seek your views on how you would wish us to go forward in the coming years.

It is now over 6 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, net of expenses, we have raised nearly £70,000 to fund our projects.

This year we have raised further funds of over £6,000 from direct contributions, fund raising events and gift aid. This has also been supplemented by the receipt of the £9,000 grant that we applied for from Welcome to Our Future and that enabled us to complete the Church Paths project.

While this outcome is positive, it is slightly less than we raised last year, mainly as we had to cancel our proposed summer event due to insufficient ticket sales – we believe as a few key people were away on holiday.

Nonetheless, the monies raised have enabled us to continue to support this wonderful heritage building and, as well as finalising payments on the paths project, we have paid for essential maintenance work on the bells and have allocated significant funds towards repairs on the stonework and leadwork on the tower and other parts of the building.

It was interesting that we heard from a couple of members that there was a thought that Friends had now completed their work (heating, ‘bothy’, paths etc.) – we were a little concerned that this may be the impression and believe that there might be a need to explain that the costs of ongoing maintenance of the building are significant (estimated at about £3,000 pa) without allowance for any major repairs – roof relatively soon? – or further improvements. And hence, that the relevance of Friends to the wider community remains as high now as it was 6 years ago!

To this end, we do intend to run a ‘recalibration’ exercise by issuing a questionnaire to each house in the village in the coming year in order to explain who we are and what we have achieved thus far, to seek views on the feeling in the village for our work and its relevance and to seek further members to join us. We hope that such an exercise will provide us with a renewed sense of purpose and direction as well as advertising who we are and what we are all about.

Despite not running our summer event, our other fundraisers have continued to be very successful and well supported.

The Curry and Quiz night seems to have a life of its own and, even while becoming a bi-annual event, remains a storming success selling out very quickly it seems every time. Our talks are also well supported and both Croome and Elgar’s Birthplace attracted interested audiences and were generally very well received – the latter superbly supplemented by the addition of Elgar’s music played by an excellent wind quintet. 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 and to Barry Griffin for organising the Christmas celebration and Derek Ruskin for honing the Bishampton Choir and organising and rehearsing the quintet.

Upcoming events include the Bishampton Summer Ball with a glass of fizz, canapés, luxury buffet, raffle auction and dancing to the marvellous Tandem …………..and all for £25!! Tickets are available now to Friends before going on general release.

Later on, and by popular demand, we will be running our second Curry and Quiz evening of the year – the Chairman’s team will be defending their hard won trophy against all comers! Do reserve tickets early if you are interested, it really is a fantastic evening and we have had to turn quite a few people away.

We are also planning an autumn talk (in association with the History Society) which is of real local significance on the role of RRE Defford during WWII and its association with the Airfield at Throckmorton. Please watch out for further details later in the year – members get notification before general release.

Membership has increased during the 2017 – from 84 to 88 (and currently stands at 90) which is a real positive.

Friends continues to be an energetic and happy organisation and the Trustees have worked very hard to raise funds and to ensure that the monies that our Members generously donate are used wisely.

I reported last year that the energy and vibrancy that has always been a part of Friends depends on a continual flow of new ideas and new faces within our organisation and also on the need for the positions of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer to rotate every few years.

We have been very fortunate this year in that we have been joined by two new trustees – Pam Wilkins and Derek Ruskin – both of whom bring new ideas and energy to our work – and Lucy Fairfax has also helped us with a number of events and follows our work closely without taking on the formal role of a trustee. You are all very welcome as new members of our organisation!

On the filling of the more formal officer roles, we have been less successful.

You will recall that both Eric and I were intending to stand down at this meeting but we have not been able to easily identify potential successors! And that is a serious potential problem for us.

However, we have managed to agreed a way forward that we hope will effectively ‘spread the load’ a little more effectively and which may enable these key roles to be filled by the year end.

Working towards that goal, Geraldine Stapley will take on a role as Vice Chair and Derek will support Eric in his Treasurer role while Pam assists with aspects of the Secretary’s duties. In the meantime, we will be looking at each of the formal roles and identify specific tasks that could be undertaken by other trustees in order to make the ‘formal officer roles’ more appealing. We very much hope that this will result in a progression going forward as we think that it would be a great shame if Friends could not continue to help to preserve this fantastic building and to promote its use by the wider community.

We really do need some help for members who share our wish to see this great building preserved and used – and who might be able to spare a few –and I do mean a few – hours to do that. The more people that we can sign up as trustees, the easier it will be for all of us to keep going with the good work of Friends and the less time each trustee would need to commit.

Please do think long and hard whether you could help us in any of our various areas or roles – you don’t need to be involved in every aspect – just do what you can do – it all helps. And without input from the trustees (or any officers?) we would not be able to keep Friends alive, despite the very healthy ongoing donations and fund raising activities

During the past year, we have lost one trustee when Lesley Miller left the village for Northern climes. She is greatly missed and did a huge amount of work in publicising Friends and in securing raffle prizes auction lots etc.. Could I just place on record the thanks of everyone associated with Friends for all the effort that she put in over the years that she served as a trustee? She was great fun to work with and we wish her and David all the best in their new life in Scotland.

We are again fortunate that all the present trustees have agreed to stand in such a position. And, as I have indicated, both Eric and I are happy to continue in our current positions over the next few months while we resolve the forward succession of officers for the Charity. But I would emphasise that this does need to be resolved!

As ever, it would be very remiss of me if I did not finish with a few very heartfelt ‘Thank You’s’.

The first is to my fellow trustees who continually 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. Particular thanks this year must go to Geraldine for a huge effort with the two talks, to Howard for the fantastic curries that always appear at the Curry and Quiz nights and to Wendy for organising a lot of the entertaining and food associated with our events.

Thank You!

But most of all thanks have to go to all of our members who donate their monies, sign gift aid declarations, come to our events and, through talking with us, provide guidance on what they would wish to see happen to this lovely building. The trustees and 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.

Thank you.

Ian Hughes

Chair, Friends of St James Bishampton

APPENDIX B

ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE FRIENDS OF ST JAMES BISHAMPTON 2017 (Registered charity number: 1149912)

The following served as trustees during the year with all trustees and officers re-appointed at the AGM held on 22nd May 2017. No new trustees were appointed during the year.

Dr Ian Hughes (Chairman),  Mr Eric Carter (Treasurer & Secretary),  Mrs Wendy Wiggett, Mr Howard Morrish, Mrs Lesley Miller,  Mrs Geraldine Stapley

The objective of the charity is to enable the restoration, preservation, repair, maintenance, improvement and development of St James Church, Bishampton.

The charity received £3,359 in donations over the year of which £2,726 was from regular standing orders. Additionally £671 was recovered from HMRC as “Gift Aided” donations made in 2016.

A number of fund raising events generated, after expenses, a further £2,172 which represents a fall of 11% over 2016. This is mainly due to the failure to gain sufficient numbers to run the “Poshampton” race evening which realised an overall loss of £22.

The “Give as You Live” scheme raised £74 but still has the potential to raise much more if the membership pool could be increased.

The Friends received a grant from Welcome to Our Future (Severn Waste) of £9,000 towards work on improving and repairing the churchyard paths. Further funding of £4,287 was contributed from Friends of St.James and the work has been completed under the management of the Parochial Church Council (PCC). Friends of St.James also purchased battery powered flood lighting for the church, at a cost of £90, to be used for special events.

Friends of St.James provided £1,188 for essential repair work to the bells.

A donation of £100 was made to the Flyfords Newssheet.

As noted at the last AGM, Friends of St.James agreed to assist the PCC in meeting outstanding architect’s fees relating to the construction of the facilities block. Consequently, payments of £1,200 have been made to the PCC to cover this and a final payment of £600 will be made on the 1st January 2018.

At 31st December 2017, the Friends held no cash and £10,754 in the bank (with allowance made for an unpresented cheque of £77). Within these monies an amount of £120 is restricted to renovation and building repair and £1,000 will be held as a reserve to cover the organisation of events etc.

Eric Carter, Treasurer