Registered Charity No. 702429
FINANCE DIRECTORS’ REPORT - A.G.M. 2009
Debtors are the regular Retail Trading subsidiary company stock and cash assets, plus settlement of the group net VAT reclaim for the final quarter of the year.
Bank balances follow the Trust’s Reserves Policy by identifying funds in three categories:- “restricted”, “designated” and “unrestricted” as defined in the formal accounts. As far as possible, funds are held on deposit to generate interest income although the rate of return fell sharply by the year-end in line with national recessionary trends. The generous Ainge donation of £5,000 was applied to installation of a new footbridge to access the Borrowcop Locks Canal Park on Tamworth Road, Lichfield. New funds were allocated in support of a commitment to a professional Feasibility Study of the Lichfield Canal and for future purchase of land as it becomes available for the canal.
The mortgage loan from the Charity Bank secured by Ogley Cottage drawn in 2006 is repayable over 25 years, or earlier on sale of the property, with repayments made as they fell due. Three years’ forward projections required by the lender show a stable position in meeting this commitment.
Subscription income increased slightly, both gross and net after membership administrative costs. There was also an increase in the past trend of members voluntarily adding a donation to their annual subscription renewal for which the Trust is most grateful. Generous donations have continued into the various funds but regular income is depleting as term commitments mature which will call for new funding initiatives.
Marketing and Retail Trading produced a lower net contribution of £12,261, largely due to another year of poor weather affecting many of the summer shows. The “500 Club” after its first year novelty, produced a slightly lower return but has generated over £2,500 for the Capital Fund over two years. Ogley Cottage rent and overall Gift Aid tax recovery generated nearly £15,000.
Exceptional grant income was dominated by the Staffordshire Aggregates Levy Grant Scheme of £36,269 towards the Borrowcop Locks Canal Park project in Lichfield. Another generous grant of £6,000 from The Inland Waterways Association plus several significant donations exceeded £10,000. Total income of £109,507 (2007 £96,096) indicated the very real public support for the Trust which enabled the Directors to supplement the ongoing volunteer program with supporting contract work.
Apart from regular maintenance on the Hatherton Canal and improvements at Darnford by volunteer teams, restoration effort was mainly focused on the Lichfield Canal at Tamworth Road. With IWA grant support, a new off-side wall to the pound between Locks 25 and 26 was built under contract and the adjacent garden landscaped. In Pound 27, volunteers reinstated 125 metres of towpath wall using a novel inter-locking concrete block method with blue brick facing funded by the Staffordshire Aggregates Levy Grant. A new steel footbridge was installed over the tail of Lock 25, dedicated in memory of Mrs Ainge’s late Mother. Together with the newly acquired diversion land, these enabled the formation of a continuous ½ mile footpath which was formally named the “Borrowcop Locks Canal Park” during the Lichfield town twinning festivities with its French and German counterparts in April. Regular costs were kept under control, increases being seen in land purchase legal fees and premiums for a wider spread of insurable assets.
2008 was a busy year of new project work which transformed the amenity value of the route of the Lichfield Canal through the Borrowcop Locks Canal Park. However, it is regrettable that unpaid time, office work and efforts given by Directors, Officers and volunteer workers running the Trust, holding consultations on planning issues, professional engagements, contracts, design, construction, maintenance, etc. cannot be shown in the financial statements to reflect the true cost of what has been achieved. A conservative estimate would put this in excess of £100,000.
R. O. WILLIAMS
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