Chairman’s Report for 2017/18

In common with a number of other smaller charities (and not just other County Historic
Churches Trusts) 2017/18 has continued to produce challenges, mainly financial. However, it
has been another successful year for the Trust with a number of ideas being tried which it is
hoped will help in the long term.

Although it seems rather materialistic to start with the question of money, the raising of cash to
make grants to churches who need it for maintenance, repair and preservation purposes is of
course our raison d’etre. On the one hand, the Ride+Stride for Churches event every
September, which is one of our main sources of funds, raised £16,000, slightly down on the
year before. On the other, we were able to very slightly increase our grants paid out to a total
of £37,725, together with £15,000 via the National Churches Trust Partnership Fund. Maureen
Hallam continues in her role as fundraiser, working extremely hard to obtain support from
other charitable trusts, and in the year to 31st March 2018 was able to raise £29,935. However,
her role continues to become more difficult as charities that have historically been supporters
of the Trust are now being driven by societal conditions to look at more “community-based”
projects. This trend includes the Heritage Lottery Fund, and even the National Churches Trust
whose Partnership Grants will come to an end in their present form this year. Nottinghamshire
has also now lost all funding from Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN) which the
Trust had been able to access for churches affected by waste recycling operations.

The Friends continue to grow in number, and are greatly valued for their support and their
interest in the work of the Trust. Some most generous Friends have made significant donations
to the Trust during the year, either as a one-off donation or by means of a legacy, and such
generosity is most welcome indeed. The time and expertise given by a number of our trustees
to leading groups of Friends on several interesting trips to churches in the County is
acknowledged here with gratitude. In particular I would like to thank Dr Chris Brooke,
Professor Michael Jones and Dr Jenny Alexander for giving their time to lead these visits.
For many, the highlight of the year is the annual Summer Party in June to which all Friends and
supporters are invited. Blessed with superb summer weather, that of 2018 is probably one of
the most successful to date judging by the number of people who supported it. Hosted by Sir
John and Lady Peace at Caunton Manor, we had a perfect evening in their beautiful garden
followed by a fascinating talk by Dr Philip Hesketh, current Dean of Rochester, about Dean
Hole, his 19th century predecessor and renowned rose enthusiast, who had been incumbent at
Caunton before moving to Rochester.

Perhaps most significantly, in November 2017 we had our first full review meeting. The idea
was to take time away from the routine of the Trust to review what we were doing. Although we
decided to carry on with the same objects as those we had always worked to, we did look hard
at potential fundraising ideas and came up with a number. The issue, as always, is implementing
them. One idea which, at the date of this report, appears to be coming to fruition, is addressing
the issue of the Trust’s activities through the help of volunteers rather than formally appointed
trustees. We thought that the concept of trusteeship could be rather daunting for some and
that we may therefore be missing excellent help. Consequently, the first volunteer is about to
start by helping with social media, but we are still actively looking for others to help with ideas
for and organisation of social and fundraising events.

Whilst a cliché, it is still true to say that the Trust is nothing without its people. As well as
Maureen, I would like to thank Anthea Moat who continues to be the anchor of the day-to-day
functioning of the Trust. Graeme Renton continues as the very hard working chairman of the
Grants Committee, and Margaret Lowe provides sterling service as the secretary to the Grants
Committee. She has also taken over from Keith Goodman the running of the Ride+Stride for
Churches, who in the three years in which he was in charge of this important event, brought the
organisation of it into the 21st century. The Trust has benefitted hugely from Keith’s expertise
and diligence, especially as its wise treasurer for 15 years, and latterly as Ride+Stride
Administrator. In that context, Keith and Jenny Mellors have both given notice that they will
retire at the AGM in September. Jenny has been both Chairman and President of the Trust
during her 31 years as a trustee, and in both roles she has been an effective and charming
ambassador. Both are extremely long-serving and core members of the body of trustees and
are synonymous with the Trust; it is no exaggeration to say that it will not be the same without
them. I am delighted that they both plan to continue to support the Trust as members of the
Friends, so we will not completely lose touch with them.

Richard Brackenbury

Previous Reports

2015/16 Report2014/15 Report2013/14 Report2012/13 Report2011/12 Report2010 Report 2010 Report to AGM 2009 Report 2008 Report 2007 Report