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Summary of the Committee Meeting held on 22nd January 2010

Internal Communication - not for publication

The Committee met from 7:30 until 10:17pm. Paul Churchman and Chris Saunders were absent as a consequence of the meeting date being changed to avoid the snow and ice. Jan Kozminski (Society Representative to the Trust) was in attendance.

Society Finance: Subscription and donation income in November and December amounted to £11k (£7k in 2008). Provisional full year income was £186,972 compared with £134,657 in 2008. Land Purchase Fund donations for 2009 were £9,300. This was less than the previous year but some people had transferred to the Deferred Shares Scheme, Commitments for this Scheme were £104k from 201 standing orders and 73 lump sums. £82k had been transferred to the plc from this scheme during 2009. The old deferred share scheme had raised £303 during the year but contributors have now been transferred to the new scheme

Membership: As at the end of December, total membership was 10,242. A four year membership analysis showed a net increase per annum of 126 members but this hid a marked reduction in the number of adult and child members (including family memberships) and a significant increase in senior memberships. Over 1,000 subscriptions were now on Direct Debit. A technical problem had so far prevented the collection of the January subscriptions and we had subscribed for support from NatWest so this matter could be resolved.

Finance: Revenue in 2009 was better than expected but of course we had already spent the surplus on the new track for the tunnel. Nonetheless, it was a good result. Expenditure should be minimised until Easter. The snow in December had severely disrupted our Santa services, particularly the Victorian Specials, and total refunds were expected to be around £19k. We were reviewing what we do should we be hit with heavy snow in future years. Horsted Keynes was largely inaccessible by road for several days due to the condition of the roads.

Funding: £293k had been raised during the year, including £49.5k from our successful bid from the Big Lottery Fund and a magnificent £75k from Tenner for the Tip. Concern was expressed about uncontrolled fund raising including the 'sale' of spoil on e-Bay which was being promoted in the name of the Trust. The Trust was not allowed to raise funds specifically for spoil removal and this needed to be stopped. A member of the Yahoo group had contacted the press about this scheme which had resulted in some publicity which only exacerbated the situation.

Request for Trust Funding: The Committee approved a request to seek Trust funding to replace the two coal heaters in the loco works with a gas fired system similar to that installed in the C&W. This would give better heat distribution, reduce dust and result in lower running costs.

Loco No.55 'Stepney': A quick repair was being carried out to this loco to allow it to play a limited part in the 50th anniversary events. There was insufficient time to carry out a full repaint in its current livery and it had been suggested that it should be painted black to reflect the style it had when it first arrived. This was agreed, subject to it only being in this livery for 2010. It would also match the livery of the special model being sold in the shop.

Youth Protection: The carefully crafted policy which had been drawn up reflect the new safeguarding regulations had been cast into oblivion by the Government's announcement that it was accepting the review recommendations and would be reducing the scope of the regulations. The new regulations were likely to have far less of an impact on us and would simplify the controls. The two areas that still needed control was the 9F Club and volunteers aged 16 to 18. We needed to encourage 9F Club members to stay on as volunteers once they reached 16 and a graduation scheme had been proposed which would keep them linked with the 9F Club until they were 18. Once this had been sorted out, the 9F Club would be re-launched.

Operation Undercover: Work was now underway. Track had been lifted and the Museum building dismantled. Work on the new washout pit would start after 12th August and in the meantime, a presentation would be made to the Loco Lobby Committee on the new facilities to replace the existing lobby. It had been argued that the design for the new pit was over-engineered as the forces were downwards, not sideways and this would result in cost savings. The contractors were being approached by people seeking last minute changes to the design specification. This must cease as there was an established process for Change Control because every change had cost implications.

Next Meeting:   The next meeting will be held on 19th March.

Gavin Bennett
General Secretary


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