Threlkeld Village Hall Management Meeting.
Minutes of meeting held 12th January, 2017.
Present were Jo Alberti, Neil Beresford, Joe Davies, Graham Anderson and Steven Oldfield.
The meeting opened at 6.40pm and closed at 6.45pm
THRELKELD VILLAGE HALL TRUST MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 12 JANUARY 2017 7.30PM.
Present: Trustees: Jo Alberti, Steven Oldfield, Graham Anderson, Joe Davis. In attendance: Neil Beresford, Barbara Lowesmith, Adam Bazire, Kathy Oldfield, Vanya Anderson, Liz Beresford, David Minnikin, Debbie Hutton, Graham Thompson.
After a short break, Graham Thompson gave a very interesting and illuminating talk about the 2015 floods in Keswick and his role in setting up the Keswick Emergency Plan to enable a rapid response to any threats of flooding. After answering a variety of questions, Graham was sincerely thanked for coming to talk to the meeting.
The evening concluded with drinks and a substantial spread provide by Barbara Lowesmith – many thanks.
Jo Alberti told those attending that her address would focus on people. Her chief concern this year as last was to convey her admiration and thanks to the people who care for the Village Hall in a variety of different ways. And she emphasised that it is a question of people caring for and about the hall: there is a fund of good will and enthusiasm which lies behind the success of the hall.
She said she would try to avoid listing people in an order of merit: however, she had no doubt that the key person who keeps both the building and the administration of the Trust is Steven Oldfield. It seems he can turn his hand to any practical problem thrown up while at the same time keeping a meticulous eye on procedures. The one area which Steven says he feels uncertain is the financial – and there the committee is blessed with the skills of Neil Beresford. Jo called attention to one of Steven’s many talents that of persuading other members of the committee to take on tasks as Graham Anderson and Joe Davies will attest.
Jo said she was certain that everyone who knows her is impressed by the energy, efficiency and innovative spirit that Barbara Lowesmith throws into the creation and organisation of the Activities Association. Barbara leads a team whose presence at events, selling tickets and serving refreshments, is part of the reason for their success.
Jo suggested that the TAA events is indeed vital, but the daily activities are the essence of what has made the Hall such a success. And the person who arranges these, deals with the constant daily demands of responding to requests, making the bookings, ensuring that those making the bookings know what the terms on which they use the Hall are and often being the one who clears up afterwards is, of course, Steph Malik. All this, Jo declared, she does with grace and good humour.
Of those who hold regular sessions in the Hall, Jo said she wanted to mention the Youth Programme. This has been a great success of which the whole village should be pleased, she suggested. This is thanks to the hard work, competence and vitality of a team of volunteers, ably led by Emma Moody and Saima Afzal .
Jo turned her attention briefly to the Coffee Shop. She reminded those attending that the Coffee Shop was a separate entity, a Community Interest Company, of which the Trust is the sole shareholder. There have been some crucial changes in the people who run the coffee shop: a new manager and some new baristas; a new Chair of the Board and one new member of the Board. She expressed her confidence that Fiona, the manager, and Adam the Chair of the Board, will contribute by their personal gifts to the success of the Coffee Shop.
At the end of her address Jo Alberti said that she had learned a good deal as a result of taking on the Chairmanship of the Hall Committee and anticipated learning more. She concluded by thanking all those who have given of their time and care to the Hall.
This Secretary’s Report relates to the work of the V.H. Trust Management Committee since the date of the last A.G.M on the 14th January, 2016 up to the present time.
The Committee during 2016 comprised Jo Alberti, Joe Davis and myself, elected at the A.G.M., Ann Iredale and Graham Anderson, co-opted by the Committee and Moira Suringar, Saima Afzal and Dot. Benson, appointed by the TAA, TYP and PC respectively. Jo Alberti has been Chair, Graham Anderson - Vice Chair, Joe Davis – minutes secretary and myself Secretary. In addition Neil Beresford – Treasurer and Barbara Lowesmith – monitoring officer have attended meetings but without voting rights, plenty of influence, but no voting rights. Ann resigned from the Committee in October, 2016 and is thanked for her input.
During the course of the year the Committee met 5 times to deal with routine matters and at these meetings averaged 80% attendance. Steph, our bookings lady, Elaine Jordon and Adam Bazire, directors of the coffee shop board each attended one meeting. We are likely to be 2 trustees short for the forthcoming year and are recruiting, if anyone is interested. In addition to the 5 regular meetings we also met three times at the beginning of the year to discuss issues directly attributable to the floods.
At the regular meetings we discussed, among other things, improving the car park, which has been done, re-painting of which so far the toilets and corridors have been done, an overall of the hall kitchen equipment, which has been done, an application for financial assistance received from the Rainbows/Brownies group, which was approved. Still on-going are discussions to repair or replace the main hall floor, an improvement or replacement of the sound and A.V. system and the installing of a flood resilience system, which is scheduled for the 31st January. We have members keeping a close eye on the work, or stagnation of work, on the old railway line.
Steph Malik is still in charge of hall bookings and marketing and, along with Sylvia Tuer, the cleaning of the hall and the ‘meeting and greeting’ of hall hirers. The Committee are very grateful to them. Whilst on the subject of appreciation for help given, Helen O’Brien still keeps our web-site in good order and John Knifton has saved the Village Hall thousands of pounds and also provided work of an exceptional standard carrying out maintenance and installation work of all kinds. We are very grateful to these two, as well as to those too numerous to individually name for providing other types of assistance.
During the last financial year ie. October to September the hall has hosted 6 separate groups of campers and 5 wedding receptions. The TAA has hired the hall for music events, drama, comedy, ceilidh and a craft fayre, 19 events in all, plus keep fit classes and TAA meetings, to a total hire worth of £1389.28p (I have no idea where the 28p came from). The TYP reports that the youth group numbers have risen from an average of 26 to 34, the Rainbows/Brownies have risen from 17 to 25. This is an area the trustees are particularly pleased with. Professional leaders are employed with the youth group but both activities also rely upon voluntary help. Again, anyone feeling they have something to offer would be most welcome. In addition to those activities, regularly held in the hall are meetings by Threlkeld Housing, the Women’s Group, the Parish Council and Friends of Blencathra, events by the school, the Blencathra Foxhounds, an N.H.S. mediation group, indoor bowls, circle dancing, singing, Yoga, Pilates, and keep fit, to name just about all of them. To sum up the hall hire, during the last financial year we had 481 hirings of the main hall, compared to 446 the previous year, the total hours being 1240 compared to 1187, which works out at 3.4 hours every day of the year. Conversely the meeting room (coffee shop area) and the whole building were hired out on fewer occasions than the previous year. The structure for hire charges was simplified and the rates altered slightly in January last year, there is no intention to make any further alterations in the near future.
I would normally say a few words about the Coffee Shop but as we have a speaker directly involved with the Coffee Shop, I will say no more on that subject.
A tremendous amount of good will has been created around the village hall and the activities carried on here. Much work is done, time given voluntarily by a relatively small group of people, however, there is no closed shop. Anyone is invited to get involved, there is enough work to go round and if anyone feels they have something to offer please make yourself known to any of the people already involved.
Year Ending 30th September 2016
The summary profit and loss account for the Trust are shown above and include all income and expenses for the Trust in the year, creating a Deficit for the year of £7,157. This has largely arisen as a result of the final payment of £35,019 to the Project Contractor, offset by a substantial grant from the Coffee Shop of £21,719.
After considerable negotiation with the Contractor, the final account for the Revitalisation Project of £35,019, was agreed and paid. This payment was met from the Trust’s own resources, and the Project shows a deficit of £13,300 for the year.
The Project Account is now closed.
Following the closure of the Revitalisation Project, the Trust in future will report an ‘Operating Account’, showing the income and expenditure associated with the normal operation of the premises, and a ‘Reserves Account’ showing exceptional costs and income not associated with ‘day to day’ activities.
In this way we will be able to assess to what extent the Hall operation is viable and also the sums we have available in reserve, either for exceptional events (repairs, enhancements) or to support external groups by making grants. At the moment, none of the Reserves are Restricted or Designated.
The Trust made an Operating surplus of £3,814 in the year compared to £1,435 in the previous year.
There was a substantial increase in Hall Hire income in the year to £11,421, compared with £8,730 in the previous year. Hourly rates for hiring the Hall have not been increased, and the improvement is entirely as a result of greater use of the premises, reflecting the success of the Hall as a venue.
Expenses were well controlled and were slightly less than the previous year. Insurance costs have risen due to the claims lodged for the flooding of the premises. There is some increase in maintenance costs, which is expected to continue due to the requirements of the more complex modern systems in the premises, such as automatic doors, lifts and the heating system.
The reduction in funds being handled by the Trust as the Project has concluded has meant that Professional Fees have fallen substantially.
In 2015-16 grants from the TAA of £1,350 and from the Coffee Shop, of £5,000, were added to our Reserves.
The TAA grant assisted the Trust to purchase taller stage legs to improve the view at performances held in the Hall.
Part of the Coffee Shop grant was spent on improving the surface of the Car park. Additionally, it enabled the Trust to make Grants to two users of the Hall who support young people in the village; the TYP, which organises a regular Youth Club in the Hall received £1,000, and the Rainbows, part of the Girl Guiding Organisation, which meets regularly in the Hall, received £350.
Funds available at the end of the year were £20,712, compared with £27,681 at the beginning of the year.
The Trust’s accounts have been independently examined and no material problems have been highlighted.
The main sources of income for the Trust are Hall Hire and the Coffee Shop.
Hall Hire continues to grow and all indications are that in 2016-17 income will be slightly better than 2015-16.
The creation of the Coffee Shop to generate an income stream for the Trust was a fundamental part of the Revitalisation Project, to create a sustainable operation. The initial years of trading of the Coffee Shop have fulfilled this objective, and not only allowed the Trust to make the final payments on the Building Contract, but also enabled it to make grants to deserving groups in the Village and improve its facilities.
In the early part of the current year, September 2016, the Coffee Shop made a further grant of £5,000 to the Trust.
However, the closing of Railway Path after the December 2015 floods, is still having an impact on earnings of the Coffee Shop, and the Trust must remain cautious about the likely income stream from the Coffee Shop in the foreseeable future.
The Trustees recognise, and are grateful for, the efforts of the Employees and the Directors of the Coffee Shop, to maintain its profitability and service to the wider community.
The Coffee Shop is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Village Hall Trust. However, to avoid any conflicts of interest between the charitable objectives of the VHT and the commercial objectives of the CS, the CS has a separate Board of Directors.
Although the CS is a commercial enterprise, it is set up as a Community Interest Company which means that its business practices are set up to be supportive of the local community, and all profits are returned to the VHT for the benefit of the community.
Update for the last 12 months
The former Coffee Shop Manager, Paolo Resende, handed in his notice in October and left the business at the beginning of November. In mid November, Fiona Thomas started as the new Manager and has brought huge energy to the role and lots of fresh ideas.
The Board would like to thank Paolo for his excellent contribution to the business and his success in building it up during his tenure. We would also like to thank the staff who worked extremely hard between Paolo’s departure and Fiona’s start to keep the Coffee Shop open, especially Rachel Thompson and Eduard Szasz.
Board of Directors
In September, Stephen Harris joined the Board as Finance Director. In October there was a further addition when Adam Bazire joined. In December, Trevor Roberts and Jane Roberts both stood down as Directors following their decision to move away from the village. Trevor had been the Chairman, and Adam Bazire was appointed as his replacement.
Trevor and Jane had been involved in the Village Hall Trust and the Coffee Shop for over ten years and made invaluable contributions to getting both establishments to where they are today and their efforts were marked at a gathering in the Coffee Shop just before Christmas.
The Board of the Coffee Shop now comprises:
Storm Desmond made a significant impact on the level of business due to the damage to the Keswick to Threlkeld railway path. This made the most difference during the peak summer holiday period when the casual day traffic from Keswick, by foot and bike, did not materialise.
While efforts have been made to bring in other business, it has not completely filled the shortfall and the profit for the year is likely to be significantly down compared to last year.
The Coffee Shop contributes to the local community in a number of ways: