Gordon Carling Foundation

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Minutes of Meetings

THE GORDON CARLING FOUNDATION

MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING TUES 10 NOVEMBER 2015

HELD AT AVON MILL, LODDISWELL COMMENCING AT 12 noon

 

 

WELCOME:              Ann Widger, as Chairman, welcomed those attending.

 

APOLOGIES:           Apologies were read out by the Secretary.  A list of those attending and sending apologies is appended to these minutes.

 

1. MINUTES:

 

The Minutes of the A.G.M. held 26 September 2014 were agreed as a true record.  
Val Mercer proposed and Gill Britton seconded that these be approved.  This was agreed unanimously.  The Minutes were signed by the Chairman.

 

2. TRUSTEE’S ANNUAL REPORT: – Judith Halliday

 

The Financial Year has been generally very satisfactory.  This is explained further in the Treasurer’s report.

 

The Trustees’ Committee has been strengthened by Andrew Bishop joining us in November 2014 but we also have to report that our Chairman, Mrs Gill Britton, stood down and resigned from the Committee in October 2014.  This means that we are still operating with fewer Trustees than is desirable.

 

We have taken on two new leases to provide accommodation for tenants, one moving from a previous tenancy with GCF and the other being a new tenant to GCF.  We have also been able to include those new tenancies within the Supported Living scheme.

 

Anomalies in the Supported Living Scheme relating to our relationship with Devon & Cornwall Housing Association were resolved in the early part of 2015 and GCF no longer processes their Housing Benefit receipts and their contribution to Kaleidoscope for their Housing Support Management.

 

A group meeting with GCF, Kaleidoscope, Housing Benefit and ‘stakeholders’ in October have ironed out misunderstandings and resulted in a lasting financial framework between the charities for the Supported Living scheme.

 

You may remember that we previously installed solar panels to all our suitably sited owned properties.  We have now been able to distribute money from the FIT revenue towards energy costs for those tenants in properties where it was not possible to install the panels.  These ex-gracia payments will be an annual feature.  The amount is dependant of course on how much the sun shines on the South Hams!

 

We have developed a Business Plan and discussed this with our Legal and Financial Advisors.  It is clear, however, that our business is substantially dependent upon housing clients of Kaleidoscope, whose own Business Plan is greatly affected by demand from DCC.

 

We have been affected by the sudden and extremely regrettable resignation of Ken Morgan as Chief Executive of Kaleidoscope.  Ken had been our Property Manager, Supported Living Manager and link with Kaleidoscope for many years.  However, our decision made earlier in the year to seek a professional Property Management company eased the transition of this work at the end of the Financial Year.  We have appointed Marchand Petit Kingsbridge to be our Property Management agent who will take care of the day to day repairs and maintenance issues on the properties.  They have kindly agreed to do this on a ‘cost only’ basis as they wish to demonstrate their support for our work in the community.

 

We have also decided to manage our own financial book-keeping work and this will be managed by the Treasurer.

 

From 1 April Colin Voisey became Chairman and John Halliday became Treasurer

 

It has been decided that all contractual correspondence will be dealt with on behalf of the Foundation by the Secretary.  Also that most other correspondence with outside bodies will be circulated to all Trustees via email.  This will ensure that decisions are made appropriately on behalf of the Foundation.  Please note that all correspondence should be addressed to 5 Southcote Orchard Totnes TQ9 5PA and no longer to Carling Court.  The registered address of the charity remains c/o Bromhead Accountants in Plymouth.

 

Late on in the Financial Year we were saddened by the passing of Albert Court, a long term resident with South Hams Mencap and latterly with Gordon Carling Foundation.  It was then decided to make adaptations at Hill View (South Brent) to accommodate a separate living unit within the bungalow for another long-term resident.  Unfortunately, just after works commenced, it was found that a drain pipe leak had caused damage throughout the original building and an Insurance Claim process was started.  This meant that our adaptation works have had to be suspended and we have taken on another short-term lease to house the resident who was not able to occupy the newly separate accommodation.  Fortunately we were able to relocate our other tenant at Hill View to another of our properties in Kingsbridge.

 

In response to concerns that Alta Vista has become unsatisfactory for our tenants, we have started to look around the Kingsbridge area for more appropriate accommodation.  The purchase of alternative property will have an effect on our cash-flow over the coming years but will be carefully managed by the Trustees.

 

At the end of the Financial Year Kaleidoscope relocated their offices from Ropewalk – which DCC are closing – to their new offices at 115 (Fore Street, Kingsbridge).  In the process there has been a clearing out of files – some of which go back to the 1980s!  Many boxes of these have been collected by GCF and there will be a lot of disposal required as we have concluded that we need to keep financial information for 7 years and other correspondence, etc. for only 5 years.

 

In the new financial year we are already planning exciting new projects which will keep the trustees very busy.  We aim to own rather than rent property for our tenants wherever possible and respond to requests for housing from Devon Social Services or the families of people with learning disability in the area.  We are mindful also that our existing tenants will have changing needs as time goes on

 

3. TREASURER’S REPORT YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2015 – John Halliday for Colin Voisey.

 

The year has again been a positive one for the Foundation with the accounts showing a surplus of £98,975 which shows an increase of £7,669 over the previous year’s total of £361,569.  Total income increased by £7,937 due mainly to additional income from rental properties and a small increase in other owned properties.  Income from our Solar Panels at £6,352 was almost identical to the previous year of £6,359.

 

Our expenditure showed an increase of only £268 to £270,531 compared to the previous year of £270,263.  The total expenses compared to the previous year are detailed in the Statement of Financial Activities in the audited accounts and if you have any questions about the various ups and downs in the totals for the two years please feel free to ask either at the end of this report or at the end of the AGM.  Our bank and cash balances at the year-end stood at £113,368 compared to the previous year’s total of £100,986 which is very favourable when you consider that we repaid £50,000 from the 16 Hillside Drive mortgage in October as reported in the Treasurers report last year.

 

The Balance Sheet is very positive with net assets of £2.08 million compared to the 2014 total of £1.98 million.  The net book value of our properties is in excess of £2.12 million which is a small decrease from the previous year, but we are depreciating at 1% per year.  Sometime in the next few years a re-valuation will need to take place to reflect the current market price of our properties.  As stated in last year’s report the Foundation is in very good shape but we do need to increase our cash balances to meet expected costs in the current year.

 

The budget for the current year is expected to achieve a surplus of approx. £82,000 but we have had problems at Hill View and we are also altering the accommodation to provide separate living quarters for one of the residents.  Many of these costs were not anticipated when this budget was prepared so it may be hard to match the anticipated surplus.  John Halliday has been overseeing the alterations and other problems at Hill View and will be happy to answer any questions on the current likely overall costs.

 

Last year we stated that we would be paying those properties without Solar Panels which were owned and rented a total of £155 per property and in the current year we have paid a total of £4495 to cover the 2 previous years as stated in the Trustee’s Report, and we will be making a further payment in this current year.  Our income from the panels remains extremely good with a return on capital of 11.2%.

 

There are some edited versions of the accounts with your agenda and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and if you would like a full copy please ask and that can be arranged.

 

My thanks go to Jude Curtis for the preparation of our management accounts for the year but as the Trustee’s report stated we are now preparing our own accounts.  Jude and I have worked together for many years and she has always been willing to answer any questions that I have thrown at her.  It was also sad that Ken Morgan resigned as Chief Executive from Kaleidoscope and again my thanks and the Foundation's for all his help over the years.  He will be missed by us all and we wish him well.

 

The Foundation is in a very strong financial position and with the current Trustees you can be sure that they will continue to maintain a close watch on all aspects of the Charity, however we could do with a few more people to join the Committee and see that we go forward over the course of the next few years

 

Approval of the Treasurer’s report by Colin Voisey was proposed by John Halliday nsd seconded by Andrew Bishop.  Members approved unanimously.

 

John Halliday advised the meeting that GCF was obliged only to have an Independent Examination of the accounts, although previously the accounts had been subject to a full audit.  That was probably a legacy from the time that South Hams Mencap had been a service provider as well as a property owner.  Bromhead & Co had disappointed the Trustees this year, forcing the postponement of the AGM, had cost £4050 for the Audit and £13 for reporting to Companies House.  They also have offices in Plymouth that are not convenient for easy access.  Trustees had sought quotes from two additional Accountants for the next year’s accounts and were proposing that the accounts should be Independently Examined by W Frost & Co of Totnes for the year 2015/6 at a cost of £1600 +VAT.

 

The adoption of the accounts and the appointment of W Frost & Co. as Independent Examiners for the year 2015/2016 was proposed by Toni Lawton and seconded by Andrew Bishop.  Approved unanimously.

 

4. APPOINTMENT OF THE FOUNDATION’S COMMITTEE & OFFICERS:

 

In accordance with the rules of the Foundation, one third of the committee members must retire each year.  These are: - Sally Bishop and John Halliday. 

 

The above had expressed their willingness to continue to serve as Trustees and Committee members of the Foundation, if re-elected.  It was proposed by Toni Lawton and seconded by Val Mercer that the committee members be re-elected.  This was agreed unanimously.

 

5. SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR MEMBERS

 

It was proving difficult to ascertain who was a Member of GCF as records had been lost in the years after it had been decided to suspend the levy of a Subscription Fee.  People who were apparently Members had been written to last year and some had confirmed that they wished to remain as Members, others had advised that they wished to be removed from the Membership.  The Trustees were proposing to levy a Subscription Fee of £5 per Member to re-establish the Membership Role.

 

It was suggested that the Subscription should apply to family groups at one address rather than individual people and this was agreed as an amendment to the proposal.

 

The production of a Newsletter was suggested and Trustees will look to see whether resources would allow this useful proposal to be addressed.

 

The amended proposal for the Subscription was made by Judith Halliday, seconded by Toni Lawton and agreed unanimously.

 

6. POTENTIAL NAME CHANGE

 

Trustees had been led to believe that the current name was not readily understood by the general public and our function was not easily discovered by families of potential tenants.  Subject to acceptable terms, it was proposed to re-affiliate to Royal Mencap and to rename ourselves as Gordon Carling Mencap.

 

There was discussion regarding the profile of the Foundation including the suggestion of a web-site (we have had one for at least 3 years) and a Facebook page (to be researched).  Rowena advised that KSHL have web-site and Facebook pages that have “hidden text” that means they are found by search engines up when someone searches for learning disabilities in the South Hams.  (NB this also works for GCF’s web site.)  Should GCF register as a Social Landlord?

 

Gill Britton asked what would happen to GCF assets if the charity was unable to continue.  She was advised that the Trustees were looking into that matter and it may be that we amalgamate with Golden Lane Housing or ROC Housing.  Members will be advised if and when anything concrete is proposed.

 

 

 

 QUESTIONS: 

           
Gill Britton asked who was responsible for the landscape contract at Carling Court as the standard of care of the shrubs and grass cutting frequency this year was poor.  John replied that the contract was managed by KSHL on behalf of DCHA who are the main tenants of SHDC (GCF are DCHA’s sub-tenants).  GCF pay 50% of the invoiced costs to KSHL.  Rowena felt that this was not right and that the contract should be handled through GCF and Marchand Petit.  Geoff Earnshaw saw no problem with the contract being handled that way but needed instruction.  GCF and KSHL to resolve and improve the contract.

           

6. DATE OF NEXT COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

 

Committee meeting     10am Tuesday 12 January 2016 at 5 Southcote Orchard.

10am Tuesday 8 March 2016

 

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 1.30pm.

 

Attending

Apologies

Gill Britton

Les & Georgie Burns

Judith & John Halliday

Jill & Dennis Stubbs

Andrew Bishop

Rene Carling

Ann Widger

Colin Voisey

Toni Lawton

Martin Britton

Val Mercer

Ian Mercer

Tom Hill

Mr and Mrs K Doughty

Tom Hill’s support worker

Mrs G Boyce

Fred Widger

Sally Bishop

Jeff & Lorraine Buckley

 

Rowena Halle

 

Geoff Earnshaw

 




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