Minutes of Trustee Meeting on 13 May 2020

In attendance via Zoom: Chris Smith (Chair), Andrew Oxley (Treasurer), Sarah Wales (Secretary), Liz Day, Antonia Gross, David Roy, Derek Hoare, Janet Worth, Joshua Piercey, Alice Noakes, Kate Sebag (Director)

Accounts for the year 2019/20

Andrew presents the draft 2019/20 financial statements. Donations from the Raise the Barn campaign are included in the income total. JW asked if schools are expected to request refunds for sessions cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Andrew confirms that to date no schools have asked for a refund but there may be a need to refund some site hire bookings.

April 2020 Accounts

Andrew has prepared the first month accounts and highlights the key figures. There is c. £10k grant income boosting the total income. Plant sales are still strong and donations are being received. The staff furlough application has been submitted and payment has been processed. All grants that have been applied for before or around year end have been paid. Expenses include planned electrical works and the recent honey purchase.

AG mentions strong sales down to great effort from staff, volunteers, and those trustees involved.

A scenario for survival and regrowth

The contents of the paper prepared by Kate, Andrew, and Chris were discussed at length. Trustees agreed that longevity is essential and that the drop in income needs to be compared against continued expenditure on care of the gardens and maintaining the supply of plants for sale. Discussion was focused on the recommended changes to the Education team over the next twelve months. With schools closed it will be difficult to gauge bookings for the Autumn or Spring term so a prudent approach is required. The Education Officer’s tenure ends in July. The weeks following return from furlough will be used to prepare a thorough handover and to pick up communication with schools. A contractor will be appointed to offer education visits following the EO’s departure. The Education Assistant’s contract will not be renewed in September.

LD raised the question of whether the charity’s objective’s are being met with these changes. KS reassured that there will still be an education emphasis but adjusted to meet the temporarily reduced demand.

By majority Trustees endorse the paper.

Capital projects

All milestones for GLA GGF will be pushed back 12 months with exception of glazing which will be undertaken this year. The revised start will be September 2021 with the finish date now March 2022. Covid-19 has raised questions about classroom size, circulation space etc for future consideration.

Kate explained that the outputs for GLA GGF project review have been amended and took questions on the prepared schedule. JW asked if they are conservative and Kate agreed that on balance they are conservative figures. SW asked if milestones will be measured using GLA’s method and yes, there will be clear guidance.

Proposed Contract with GLA

 Janet had summarised key findings after reviewing the contract and worked through these with trustees. There had already been a discussion with the Project Officer to discuss these points and confirm the suitability. The standard contract has been written to accommodate larger organisations with a procurement department so some of the clauses will not be relevant to BPCG. There is an opportunity to seek GLA’s input on the design. SW asked if point six is attainable and AO confirmed that the requirement can be met. A schedule of milestones and outputs will be appended. CS emphasised to Trustees the joint responsibility when the contract is signed and that there is a shared duty to meet the agreed terms.

Staff reports

 Kate had prepared the report on activity since the beginning of lockdown to keep everyone safe, protect the future supply of plants for sale, and maintain community engagement. Kate also provided an update on Allen & Overy funding opportunity and Postcode Local Trust funding.

DR asked for an update on the Response funding availability. There is a low likelihood that funding will be granted but the application has been submitted. Beth has submitted interest to two other funders.

AG requests thanks to all involved in the response to date.

Trustees had all read the garden report and the main discussion point was that volunteer hours have been higher than estimated but in a controlled manner.

Any other trustee questions

 

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