Minutes of Trustee Meeting on 15 July 2020
In attendance via Zoom: Chris Smith (Chair), Andrew Oxley (Treasurer), Sarah Wales (Secretary), Liz Day, David Roy, Derek Hoare, Janet Worth, Joshua Piercey, Alice Noakes, Kate Sebag (Director)
Apologies: Antonia Gross
Josh and Sarah propose vote of thanks to all staff and volunteers for their incredible efforts and achievements under exceptional circumstances.
Trustees reflected on the Chair’s comments and discussed the continued impact on charity income, planning for The Barn, and future funding opportunities. Chris had identified the need for the education service to be reviewed with particular focus on the children and families programme. Kate confirmed that a 5YP is already underway and will be considering this area of operation. Liz raised the point that education is integral to the charity’s aims although it was agreed that the continued plan is to reintroduce the programme as soon as possible. Chris identified volunteers for a group to review the current structure and make recommendations for future direction with a focus on financials.
Kate invited questions on the content. Janet asked if the changes to the volunteer attendance would remain. Kate and trustees discussed the new volunteer booking system and the benefits felt by staff, key volunteers, and volunteers. It is unlikely that the prior arrangement will be reintroduced and consideration is being given to those volunteers who, for any reason, may find it difficult to engage with the booking system. David asked for clarity on the number of volunteers on site per session. Liz asked if the play kitchen will be opened in the near future and Kate confirmed that there are no current plans to open this area.
Trustees would like the Operations team to consider opening to visitors on Thursdays and Fridays as well. Trustees agreed to release payment for the tuk tuk, with David giving conditional agreement assuming that due diligence is complete.
Andrew highlighted some figures in the management accounts and asked for questions on the figures. The plant and produce income is high and has benefitted from the ongoing retail arrangements. The donations figure will increase slightly once Andrew has updated the collected funds. Income continues to be monitored against cost of sales. The lower greenhouse electrical works have been included in the new build cost. The electrics works have been higher because of the reduced volunteer input.
The next stage for the 2019/20 accounts is to submit the trustees report to the Accountant.
All trustees present intend to stand again for election at the September AGM. Ant, Alice, and Derek have not yet indicated their intention.
Chris talked through the membership criteria and confirmed that there are 166 people deemed members for 2020. Trustees agreed with this interpretation therefore the AGM will require attendance of 17 people to be quorate.
Kate asked for questions on the education and garden reports. Kate highlighted that there are no volunteer meetings being held at present and that this needs to be addressed. A forum for volunteer feedback needs to be established. Liz asked about plans in place to mark the end of Helen’s and Cathy’s tenure.
Trustees agreed the minutes from the May session.