Chairman’s Annual Report 2016Feedback on the progress of the trust
Another year and once again I am pleased to be able to report on a successful one for the Trust. We increased our grants to over £96,000 but nevertheless, under the careful stewardship of our Treasurer, Ian Meier, our assets also increased and now stand at over £830,000. Membership remains very healthy at around 1,100.
Many of the grants to the churches we support are now for major restoration projects which, because of their nature, are often spread over a number of years. This is very true of All Saints Lydd where their extensive renovation work is well in hand. Last year, our grants to this church alone amounted to almost £35,000. Ten years ago in 2006, our grants to all churches amounted to only £36,000! Further funds will be made available as the restoration work continues.
Those of you who are able to come to our Annual General Meeting this year – to be held at All Saints on 13 May – will be able to judge progress for yourselves and with a very special speaker this year, I hope many of you will try to come. We are both extremely fortunate and privileged that Lord Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and of course our former Patron, has agreed to address us. Lunch will be held at the Lydd Community Hall; details are enclosed.
Another long-running project is the repair and restoration of the west window at St George’s, Ivychurch, our venue for last year’s AGM. The origins of the problems go back to 2008 and although all the permissions have been given and funds – including substantial grants from this Trust – have been raised, an issue with their chosen contractor has resulted in a further delay. However, it is hoped that work will finally get under way during the course of this year.
Progress at St Clement’s, Old Romney where we made a grant of £21,000 last year, has also been slow but we have been assured that work will start this Spring and our hope is that this beautiful little church will soon receive the facelift it deserves.
Our grants budget has been set – provisionally – at £80,000 for the year. However, with ongoing costs at All Saints, Lydd and a number of other significant projects either planned or in hand, it is likely to be increased later in the year. Our Constitution allows us to use both capital as well as income and given the strength of our finances, we are quite prepared to use our capital as and when appropriate.
I mentioned the healthy state of our membership. Behind the scenes, David Hanbury, our Membership Secretary, does a fantastic job taking on new members, sending out reminders and in conjunction with Ian Meier, ensuring that our tax refunds for Gift Aid Donations are received. Our thanks go to him and all those who give of their time so freely. Elizabeth Marshall, our indefatigable Secretary, who does everything from organising our Annual General Meetings to sending out Christmas cards. John Hendy who organises our Tours which once again have proved so popular. Joan Campbell who speaks on our Members’ Tours each year and her husband David, a regular provider of photographs for our Christmas cards. Small charities such as ours rely heavily on people who are prepared to help and support us and of course without our ever enthusiastic, President, John Doyle, where would we be?!
A few dates for the diary. Our two Members’ Tours, as usual hosted by Joan and Elizabeth will be on 1st July and 2nd September whilst our annual service of Thanksgiving at Snave will be on Sunday 10th September. For the last two years, Snave has played host to the Latin Mass Society who have held a traditional Tridentine Mass there. A service is planned for later this year and details will be posted on our website – www.rmhct.org.uk.
Sales of our Christmas cards and other publications have held up well in recent years in spite of ever increasing postage charges. This year we will have an interesting selection of cards which I hope will be available by the date of our AGM.
Finally, this Trust would not have succeeded and indeed cannot survive without the support of you our Members and to all of you who contribute and continue to show a keen interest in the Marsh and its churches, my heartfelt thanks.
Summarised Financial Statements 2016
You may view and print the Summarised Financial Statement