Chairman’s report for 2011/12
This is the first Chairman’s Report that I have had the privilege of writing following the retirement of David Atkins who chaired the Trust so well for five years prior to his retirement in September 2011. However, I am delighted that David continues as a valued Trustee; his professional architectural expertise coupled with a wry sense of humour proved a wonderful combination to lead the Trust through several difficult years.
As David reported last year, funding from WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental) has effectively stopped. A partnership grants programme from the National Churches Trust has helped but has in no way plugged the gap that WREN has left. I echo David’s comments in last year’s Annual Report in saying that the need for increasing Trust funds from other sources is now greater than ever.
I give the Trust’s huge thanks to Bobby Stefanov and Mike Elliott in promoting the Nottinghamshire element of the national “Ride and Stride” event. This takes place on the second Saturday each September, and in 2011 raised £21,175 for the Trust’s funds. The “Ride and Stride” is one of the chief fundraising events of the year and as David commented last year, has the added advantage of the potential to engage individuals who might not otherwise know of our existence.
The Trust has for the first time employed some professional marketing help to widen the knowledge of the Trust beyond its historical constituency. This has proved successful with some useful press coverage of Loyd Grossman’s visit to the Great Hall at Southwell Minster to talk to the Trustees, our Friends and guests on 23rd March last. Loyd’s visit pulled together a number of threads. Drawing on his experience at the head of several national cultural organisations, he spoke about the challenges that face all such organisations as ours in the coming years. His words were prescient given the recent inclusion of church repairs in the VAT regime, another difficulty we now face.
Trust events earlier in the year included a 25th Anniversary Concert at Southwell Minster, when Harry Christophers and his choir “The Sixteen” performed to a packed house. The Trust was lucky to be able to benefit from the visit of such an internationally acclaimed choir performing in such a wonderful setting. In June, the summer garden party at Flintham Hall had been a ringing success, helped by a combination of the hosting by Robert Hildyard and excellent weather. The evening was brought to a fitting conclusion by Elizabeth Williamson (editor of Pevsner’s Buildings of Nottinghamshire) talking to the assembled company in the 11th century church next door.
The Trust can only survive and prosper by building on the support that it has enjoyed for the past twenty five years. The challenge lies in using that goodwill to create a stronger and wider body of support for the future.
Finally, thanks must go to those who so willingly support the Trust on a continuing basis: Anthea Moat, our secretary, Maureen Hallam who is in charge of our fundraising, and Linda Francis, the Trust’s Grants Administrator. Thanks must also go to the Trustees who between them make the decisions on Trust policy, on the grant applications that are made to us, produce the Trust’s publications, its reports, Christmas cards, etc., and who lead visits of the Friends. We are all most grateful to Keith Goodman for his valiant work in continuing to keep the Trust accounts in good order, to collect Gift Aid, and to generally liaise with the Charities Commission. Our thanks go to Richard Craven-Smith-Milnes for his continuing hospitality to the Trustees. Without these dedicated individuals, the Trust could not function.