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Summary of the Committee meeting
held on 17th July 2009

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee meeting was preceded by a Funding Presentation by Paul Leader, to the Society, company and Trust and commenced at 6pm. This was a review of fundraising to date and forward look at potential sources of funding and plans for the future.

So far, we had concentrated on attracting individual contributions such as the share issue, the Deferred Share Scheme for Members and the public 'Tenner for the Tip'. This was not a good time to be asking for money as witnessed by the response to the share issue. Graham Flight was perplexed as to how the Society had managed to raise £300k in six weeks for Woodpax but the members were not so forthcoming when it came to the share issue. It was pointed out that much of the commitment to fund Woodpax had come from the working members in the main and had been achieved by personal contact and by email. The share issue had been much more formalised and the high threshold with short term rewards, which were perceived in some quarters as derisory, provided little incentive to the membership.

The 50th Anniversary Appeal (launched on 7th August) had the Rt Hon, the Viscount Thurso MP as Patron and a high profile network of Vice-Patrons. The VP Network was vitally important to securing funding from Trusts and Foundations as this gave us access to Trustees and avoided 'cold' applications which were rarely successful. 70% of our funding requirement could come from Trusts and Foundations but they had been hit by the recession and now was not a good time to ask. You only got one bite at this as once you had asked and had been turned down, you could not ask again. So it was a matter of waiting for confidence to be restored and choosing the right moment to make an approach. That said, it was planned to make an approach to 200 Trusts in the latter part of 2009

A new website for the appeal would be launched on 7th August and would stand alongside the existing railway website which was seen as too complex and difficult to navigate to specific information.

Committee Meeting

The Committee met from 7:30pm until 9:05m. Charles Hudson, Lewis Nodes and Russell Pearce were absent. Jan Kozminski was in attendance as Society Trust Representative.

Society Finance: Subscription and donation income for the first six months was £128k, a substantial increase on the £85k received in the same period in 2008. In addition Land Purchase Fund donations amounted to £4,700. Deferred Share Scheme commitments amounted to £66k from 159 standing orders and 16 lump sums. Cash transfers to the plc so far this year totalled £155k.

Membership: Membership numbers continue to remain above the 10,000 threshold at 10,215. Two compliments had been received on the new style Direct Debit membership Cards. There had been a few problems with Standing Orders not being cancelled when members had transferred to Direct Debit but we had a work around for this.

Company Finance: Fare revenue was cautiously encouraging and close to budget but we still needed a good August and control on spending. Funding: Income from Tenner for the Tip was well over £35k (currently over £45k) and the on train teams were doing well but more help was needed.

Applications to seek Trust Funding:

1. East Grinstead Lamp Posts: A proposal to seek Trust funding for the casting of LBSC replica lampposts with swan necks for the platform at East Grinstead was approved with the proviso that we cast additional posts for Sheffield Park to cater for additional lighting on Platform 2 and for future platform extensions

2. Scanning of C&W Drawings: A proposal to seek Trust funding for the C&W to scan and catalogue its large range of drawings and blueprints was submitted. The preferred solution was for a contractor to scan and microfiche and convert to a computer TIF image for future reproduction. It was felt that this was better than the railway purchasing its own scanner with all the future liability for maintenance etc and eventual obsolescence. This was approved.

Both requests will be submitted to the next Trust meeting.

Operation Undercover: The building design was nearing completion and would be put out to tender shortly (Stop Press: tenders issued 13th August). The new bat roost was under construction and it is hoped they will appreciate their new home. This will allow the wooden shed to be demolished. The model railway will close at the end of August and will be dismantled.

Amateur Radio Station: The Committee approved a suggestion from the local Amateur Radio Clubs that we host a number of Amateur Radio Stations as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. This would give Bluebell publicity around the world and would be an added attraction for our visitors.

Simon Baker Memorial: The Committee approved a suggestion that we replace the stained glass windows in the porch at Horsted Keynes as a memorial to Simon. This would be a replacement of an original feature and was something that Simon wanted to do but never had the funds. This approval will allow the station staff to raise funds through the Trust.

Date of next Meeting: The next meeting will be held on 18th September commencing at 7:30pm.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary


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