At the AGM we made £208.81 profit on the teas and the retiring collection amounted to a total of £484.42. We have also received £350 match funding from The Vodafone Foundation for these fund-raising activities, making a total of £1,043.23 raised for the Northern Extension, along with £970 of Tenner for the Tip certificates sold.
Internal Communication – not for publication
I am sorry for the long delay in circulating the summaries for March and
April. I have had a lot of commitments outside the railway as well as on it and
preparation for the AGM.
Regular topics, such as Society Finance, Funding and Membership, have been consolidated in the report of the May meeting.
The Committee met from 7:32pm until 10:45pm. Chris Saunders was absent. Richard Salmon was in attendance as Society Trust Representative and we were also pleased to welcome Mike Debens, a TV programme creator, for the first item.
Proposed Documentary: Mike Debens put forward a proposal for a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the railway with the aim of making around seven episodes for broadcast in 2010. The programme would focus on the new generation of volunteers and characters and would be of the same ilk as the recent Island Parish documentary. Nigel Farrell, the producer of Island Parish, had expressed an interest in producing it. A 'Springwatch' element could be introduced, focusing on the line's flora and fauna.
The Committee was generally receptive to the proposal but felt that a power of veto would be required to prevent inappropriate filming. It was important that the project was managed properly, preferably by someone outside the paid staff. The Committee agreed that the project could be developed further and a more detailed proposal bought back to the table at a later date.
Simon Baker: The passing of Simon was recorded with regret and it was pleasing that the funeral had been so well attended.
West Hoathly development: The planning application for the railway style station house (three flats) and two cottages had been submitted.
Heritage Railway Association: A long and lively discussion took place on the merits or otherwise of belonging to the HRA. Some Trustees (mainly Directors) did not see the point, regarding the HRA as an irrelevance with those in charge having little knowledge of operational issues and focusing more on preservation niceties. Others refuted this claim arguing that the HRA played a key role in watching for emerging legislation, which was becoming increasingly onerous, and fighting the corner for the Heritage Railway sector.
Governance: The Trustees considered a proposal submitted by Barry Coward for the railway's structure to be revised so as to reform the company into a Community Interest Company (CIC). The driver for this was the increasingly onerous regulatory burdens of running a plc and raising funds through share issues. A CIC would involve the local community and allow the railway to develop as a Social Enterprise. [A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.] The Committee felt that we had too much on our plate at the present time to consider a major restructure but the subject would be re-considered at a later date.
Social Sub-Committee: The annual report and accounts were noted and the sub-committee thanked for its efforts.
Friends of Kingscote: Their annual report and accounts were noted and the FoK members thanked for all that they do at Kingscote (and beyond).
The Committee met from 8:15pm to 10:10pm. Tim Baker and Roger Kelly were absent as they were working on the Rail Ale train. Neil Glaskin was also absent. Jan Kozminski was in attendance as Society Trust Representative.
Livery for Loco No.263: The Committee considered a number of options for this but agreed to recommend SECR livery to the Trust (the engine's owners).
Disposal of Rolling Stock: The Committee agreed to the disposal of MK1 24458 and Bogie Bolster 57889 as they were surplus to requirements. They also noted the recommendation from the Rolling Stock Committee that the Shark Ballast Plough (DS62864) and SR Bogie Scenery (Elephant) Van (4601) should be designated as Heritage Stock to be retained for preservation. This led to a discussion on the lack of siding space and the imminent loss of Turner's Sidings which would exacerbate the situation. It was suggested that the long-defunct steam crane should be considered for disposal as it was never likely to be used again (regulations having become more onerous) and took up a lot of space.
Yard Crane for Kingscote: A different but complete example of an LBSC yard crane had become available and it was agreed to pursue this as a better alternative than using the incomplete crane from Sheffield Park.
Memorial Garden: The basic ground-works for this were now complete and a team of volunteers was being assembled to landscape and look after it.
The Committee met from 7:32pm until 10:08pm. Charles Hudson and Chris Saunders were absent. Jan Kozminski was in attendance. The Committee were saddened to hear of the death of former volunteer Phillip Kennedy.
Society Finance: April subscription and donation income was substantially higher than last year though some of this was attributable to people buying five-year memberships. Income for the first four months of the year was £100k (£69k in 2008). Cash transfers to the plc for the first quarter total £96k.
Deferred Share Scheme commitments are £64k with around £51k receivable this year. The Committee agreed to modify the scheme to allow an initial payment of £10 followed by monthly payments of £15 in the hope that more members will take advantage of this.
Membership: Membership numbers continue to remain above 10,000 at 10,287 and the Standing Order renewals continued to be transferred onto the Direct Debit scheme. 300 members had taken advantage of the five-year Membership deal. 38 Seniors and 42 Joint Seniors had taken up Life Membership.
Review of AGM: The meeting had gone well with more time available at the end for questions. The profit from the refreshments and the retiring collection raised a record £693 for the extension and a further £350 of match funding had been requested from the Vodafone Foundation. £970 had been raised through Tenner for the Tip. Mr Pearce said he would write a response to Graham Ward's comments. Six ballot forms had been spoilt by members casting more than the three votes allowed. There had been problems with one of the microphones but this was the first time we had used the school's in-house team (at a considerable cost saving) and we would take heed of the problems. Messrs Cooper, Glaskin and Nodes were congratulated on their re-election. 2010 would see four Trustees and all the Officers up for election.
Brighton Saloon:A proposal had emerged from the comments conveyed on behalf of the President to investigate the work required and scope for external funding and repair of the Brighton Saloon. The Committee was mindful of the earlier effort which had fizzled out but agreed that this should be taken forward providing that funding did not draw donations away from the extension.
Trustee Responsibilities & Director Nominations: No changes were made to these. We need to think about succession planning as once the extension and Woodpax projects are complete, it is likely that several Trustees and Directors will want to stand down. Over to you, dear reader.
Funding: The Tenner for the Tip scheme had now raised over £25k. Ginny Waddingham, the retiring Mayor of East Grinstead, had given the scheme further publicity in the local paper. The ink cartridge/mobile phone recycling scheme had raised £100 so far. Norman Baker MP had agreed to become a Patron of the 50th Anniversary Appeal. The application to Chapel & York Charity Management Services as a means of reaching donors in the US had been successful and the first donation received. The Easyfundraising scheme had raised £400 despite poor support from the Society's membership. This included a £35 donation from one member renewing his car insurance online via the Easyfundraising tab. Note: There are currently over 600 retailers registered with Easyfundraising, with some donating as much as 15%.
Operation Undercover: A licence to re-house the bats in a new purpose-built bat shed at the south end of the site had been received from Natural England. The Committee rejected a suggestion that the visible sides of the shed should be light grey and instead proposed that it should be powder coated in the same LBSC cream as used on the station. The roof would be dark grey. The tender for the works would go out on 24 June with an estimated start date of 19 October. Planning consent for the new ticket printing hut and visitor entrance had been granted.
Infrastructure Sub-committee Meeting Report: The Committee noted the report of the 9 April meeting but had concerns on a number of issues. It was agreed that these would best be addressed by inviting Mr White to attend the next Society Committee Meeting, which would be held immediately after the company AGM.
Railway Heritage Committee: The railway had been pleased to welcome the Railway Heritage Committee to the railway for one of their meetings and they had made an interesting suggestion for use of the Ardingly site at some point in the future. They had also confirmed unequivocally that the Ashford Weigh Tables belonged to the Residuary British Railways Board, and the RHC agreed to inspect these and arrange for their removal to another location.
SER Carriage Body: The Committee agreed, reluctantly, to support the application to the Trust to acquire this body but made it clear that no more requests of this sort would be agreed unless they were accompanied with a viable restoration plan.
Date of Next Meeting: The next meeting will be held on 17 July commencing at 6pm.
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