Chairman’s Report to the Annual General Meeting 11th September 2008
The year has been more one of preparation than of action, although the appointment of two Trust Administrators within six months provided intense activity at the time. My thanks go to Peter Hoare and Richard Brackenbury for their assistance with these appointments. Anthea Moat is now settled into the job, bringing her own standards of forward planning for which I am very grateful.
The annual Summer Party in the Walled Garden at Clumber Park was well attended and, I believe, enjoyed by all after the torrential rain at the beginning passed over. The food was excellent and the talk in the Gothic Revival Chapel by Rory O’Donnell was of considerable interest to those who could hear him. The Chapel has a poor acoustic and no amplification. Our gratitude has been expressed to Leigh Rix for the venue, and to Ian Deans, the National Trust Property Manager at Clumber, for the considerable help with the details of the organisation.
Next year the Summer Party will be combined with a concert at Southwell Minster by Cantamus Girls Choir on Saturday 27th June 2009.
The Trustees have expressed a wish to produce Christmas cards this year in aid of Trust funds, and these are now in production. Anyone wishing to obtain a supply of these can approach any Trustee or officer of the Trust for information, and it is hoped to add the finished card to the website shortly.
We are grateful to the many Charitable Trusts which make grants to assist our work, but our main source of funding comes from WREN, and the £100,000 previously reported has been confirmed. The £11,000 enabling Third Party Funding is in place and we expect to receive suitable applications to enable that sum and more to be allocated this year.
I continue to attend WREN Regional Advisory Panel meetings whose members and administrators appreciate the publicity for WREN funding which the Trust generates. We have now been given our own giant plastic cheque for use in publicity shoots and Graeme Renton, Keith Goodman and I have attended five such events during the year on the Trust’s behalf. Under the new arrangement for allocation of funds it is not clear how Gift Aid money will be apportioned.
The Grants Sub-Committee has met four times to consider applications collected and tabulated by Linda Francis, often after many frustrating telephone calls. Grants made during the year vary between a few hundred pounds and a capping figure of £5,000, except for exceptional circumstances, and the annual 100% Special Project Grant of £10,000 made at the discretion of the Trustees.
The organisation of the Friends of the Trust scheme is now being co-ordinated by Anthea Moat, and with the help of our President. A very interesting outing was arranged to the diverse churches at West Markham, Egmanton and Ossington on 19th June, at the invitation of Frances Soubry. The tea was particularly appreciated, and five new members have joined the Friends having much enjoyed the afternoon. The next visit has been arranged through the good offices of Jenny Alexander to Thurgarton Priory on 25th October, and a meeting in early spring has been suggested with Paul Hale giving an illustrated talk on Painted Organ Pipes.
The result of last year’s Ride and Stride event was another record, and I look forward to a fine day on 13th September for those taking part this year. Our thanks go to Mike Elliott and Boby Stefanov who do such a wonderful job of organising the event.
Finally, my thanks go to all the Patrons, Trustees and officers for their support this year. To Linda Francis for persisting with unruly grant applications; to Maureen Hallam for raising Third Party Funds and sponsorship, and for preparing the information for the Trust’s publicity folder; and to Anthea Moat for surviving a difficult handover at the lead up to the Summer Party.
Our primary objective, of assisting those who look after the county’s Christian churches by maintaining the fabric of these buildings, has been successfully achieved and more people have been made aware of the Trust’s existence through our activities in this past year.