Annual Report and Accounts

Annual Report 2019 as submitted to the charity commission July 2020
Objectives and Activities
Our charity’s aims include furthering the general religious and charitable purposes of the
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) by living together as a residential community and
searching for ways to live out and demonstrate the Quaker Testimonies of peace, equality,
truth, simplicity and sustainability. We also aim to work towards becoming a low carbon
community and to protect the local natural environment through sustainable practices on
our 10 acres of land.
The main way we fulfil these requirements is by offering opportunities for growth and
renewal through both individual and private retreats and a programme of facilitated
retreats on various themes in accordance with our aims.
We also offer working retreats to provide opportunities for visitors and guests to become
involved in the sustainable management of our land and in growing organic food in the
gardens, poly tunnel and greenhouses. Volunteers also help in the maintenance of our
buildings.
The Community owns a large property, formerly the Derwent Water Board Offices in the
heart of the Peak District National Park. Community members live and work as volunteers
at the centre and share the work to maintain the buildings, the land and provide all aspects
of hospitality, housekeeping and administration.
All our activities are evaluated by guests and visitors by written and oral feedback, we
respond to and improve our practices where applicable.
The Quaker Community Bamford CIO is wholly managed by its volunteer members and
trustees and has no employed staff. The charity receives no grants or funding from
investments.
Achievements and Performance
1. Retreats, Lettings and other Visitors
The annual retreat programme organised, managed and facilitated by Community
Members is the main activity by which our charity fulfils its aims and objectives. These
include residential retreats, working retreats and opportunities for volunteers to live and
work alongside community members. Our residential retreats included opportunities for
spiritual learning, meditation, walking and creative arts, beginning with a joyful New Year
celebration and included a Walking and Art retreat in the summer. A new venture for us in
2019 was a retreat drawing on the local tradition of Derbyshire Well Dressing. This
attracted visitors from across the country and many local people visiting the community for
the first time, supporting our aim of integration and connection with the local community.
The Working Retreats and Working Saturdays throughout the year attract regular
supporters and many new visitors. Exploring Community weekends and Spirituality based
retreats including Step into Stillness and Qi Gong attract many new faces into our
Community and the experience of community life. We have made a lot of new friends this
year.
The diversity of our premises and grounds attracts outside visiting groups running their
own programmes and retreats. These included a large group of young Quakers who
stayed over Easter, a young Jewish faith group, a regular Catholic (CAFOD) group, and a
Five Rhythms dance group. We also welcomed a study group from Aston University and
individual PhD students and authors, who find our unique and peaceful location conducive
to research and writing.
When not running and supporting group retreats the Community also hosts guests on
individual retreats throughout the year. These often include spiritual leaders from a variety
of faiths who take advantage of our beautiful location and peaceful and spirit focused way
of life for a period of rest and renewal. Charity workers and volunteers also find us a
unique resource for respite and renewal.
2. Management of the Community
With the departure of several long standing members of the Community, for a variety of
reasons, the remaining members have found 2019 to be an exceptionally busy year.
Community Members not only organise the retreat programme and facilitate retreats but
are also responsible for the day to day running of the centre and its maintenance. This
work load, including Housekeeping, Communications, Maintenance, Gardening, Catering
and Food Stores, Administration, Finance and maintenance of the Website, is shared
between all members of the Community.
In 2019 along side this practical work has been the completion of the long process of
changing the status of the Community from a Housing Co-operative into a Charity. This
has included working with the Charity Commission, Financial Conduct Authority and Land
and Mortgage Advisors to help with transferring the assets of the Community. A new logo
was designed to reflect the new Quaker Community Bamford and charity status.
During this time of change the Community has explored new ways of maintaining its
income and supporting its work by taking on volunteer tenants for long and short terms.
The success of this has led to a more in depth look at volunteer support in 2020.
With the help of our volunteers we were able to progress our ongoing maintenance
programme. Guest rooms have been renovated and decorated. The cellar was cleared,
the floor and walls sealed and painted, and the dry food storage renovated.
The main gates have been restored and a new side gate made and both have been
painted. New directional signage at the end of Water Lane and Private Road signs has
been organised to prevent through traffic: wear and tear to the lanes leading to the
property is a problem which is the Community’s responsibility.
We have taken advice from local surveyors about the safety of the retaining wall from
our cottage garden. A diversity of recommendations and cost implications leads us to put
this project on hold for the current year.
On going maintenance of the roof has been undertaken, as have all other required
annual maintenance projects.
All maintenance projects are guided by our commitment to sustainability and working
towards becoming a low carbon community.
Stewardship of the woodland and gardens owned by the Community is a priority action as
set out in our charitable aims. Community members, volunteers and guests on working
retreats contribute to the work of maintaining and improving the land using organic and
sustainable practices.
3. Community Life
Residential trustees lives are enriched by their shared experiences both within the
community and in the wider local community.
Our twice daily spiritual gatherings underpin all aspects of our working day and social
engagement.
Growing Community and Zero Carbon Workshops led by members of the community have
enriched our future plans for the Community.
Quaker friends guided us in a retreat solely for members entitled ‘Nurturing the Spirit in
Community’ supporting both our spiritual and working practices.
We regularly share meals together in our lovely central kitchen.
Resident trustees are active in the local community of the Hope Valley, individual members
attend a local Prayer Group, Bamford Art Group, a Buddhist Sangha, Hope Valley Climate
Action Group, the U3A and other social groups. Hope Valley Quakers worship at the
Community weekly and provide both spiritual and practical support.
Community Members are also supported and peer reviewed by a panel of local Quakers,
known as Elderseers. These friends frequently attend planning meetings to oversee our
work and support us in spiritual, pastoral and practical matters. This support can take the
form of group meetings, conflict resolution and one to one support.
Financial Review
Overall 2019 was an extremely successful year financially. We turned a budgeted deficit
of nearly £2,300 into a surplus of £15,108.
Income is £16,422 over the original budget.
The biggest increase is from various kinds of guest income. This is nearly £8,400 over
budget. Income from our own retreats and from self-catering guests would normally be
expected to be over budget, as the budget cautiously allows for everyone to pay at the
bottom of the sliding scale pricing structure. As some guests pay more generously,
including the top level, this has contributed to the increased income.
All the other income together is nearly £8,050 over budget.
Of these other headings, the main over budget source is rent from members, tenants, and
volunteers, which was collectively £8,400 over budget. This was as a result of the
changing arrival and departure plans of various members and the recruitment of a rent
paying volunteer for six months.
Expenditure is below budget by nearly £1,500.
This is partly because various expenditure headings are below budget, particularly
Mortgage & Utilities & Phone, under budget by nearly £1,800, and Outside Contractor
Maintenance approximately £1,400 below budget.
It is also because the budgets are prepared on a cash basis, that is the expenditure
flowing through the bank account. The year end figures include non-cash adjustments,
including taking the mortgage capital repayments out of expenditure, and any fixed asset
purchased, but adding back depreciation. The year end figures are also affected by
removing any contra payments, and adjusting for debtors, creditors, and stock
movements. All these adjustments together have a net reduction of expenditure.
There was one major item not in the budget of £5,804 for the one off legal fees for
transferring the land, building and mortgage from the Sheffield Quaker Community Ltd.
Housing Co-op to the Quaker Community Bamford CIO.
Going forward we will no longer be required to pay fees to the Financial Conduct Authority,
Companies House and accountants fees.
Our 2019 surplus allows us to go forward in to 2020 in a good financial position.
Risk Strategy
The principle risks facing the charity are in bold with how these risks are managed in the
bullet points below each heading.
Lack of Income from guests
An improved website means we now have increased demand from self-catering guests
and outside groups.
We put on a varied and attractive programme of retreats, and repeat some of the most
popular retreats and drop those where participant numbers are low.
Lack of full community members/ resident trustees
Hold four “Exploring Community” weekends a year, for potential new members to come
and understand how we work.
Hold meetings at Quaker events aimed at attracting new members.
Have a tenant on a short contract.
Have one or more long term volunteers who pay rent to live here with the community.
An unsuitable person volunteers to be a community member / resident trustee
Potential members fill in two sets of questions during the joining process.
Potential members visit us several times until all community members have had a chance
to get to know them.
Potential members have some discernment with their local Quaker Meeting.
Potential members come and live here for a three months trial.
The building falls into disrepair
We manage the amount of building repair work we do each year in line with maintaining a
balanced budget.
Every year we under take a programme of maintenance, both DIY work done by ourselves
and other work by outside contractors.
Loss of spiritual life
By holding twice daily Meeting for Worship.
We hold closed days and retreats for ourselves.
Community members participate in our programmed retreats when possible.
We have a group of external people called Elderseers to oversee the spiritual and pastoral
care of the community.
Going Forward
Attracting suitable new community members/ resident trustees remains an ongoing aim. In
2020 we hope to attract two long term volunteers as well as continuing with our tenant. A
variety of opportunities for volunteers to share in the life of the Community were explored
in planning meetings in September 2019 with advice from Elderseers and external
trustees. It was agreed that short and long term volunteering opportunities would be
offered rather than just appealing for new members. A leaflet and posters were designed
and distributed to Quaker Groups, University Chaplaincies and University Volunteering
Networks.
Principle Funding Sources and their use.
As can be seen in the accounts, the Principle Funding Sources are the income from rent
paid by members, tenants and volunteers and income from guests attending both
facilitated and individual retreats. Limited opportunities are offered to outside groups, who
are sympathetic with our ethos and charitable aims, to rent the premises to run their own
retreats thus providing us with another source of income.
This income is then used to support our charitable objects by funding the maintenance and
upkeep of the premises and stewardship of our land so that we can welcome guests on
spiritual and working retreats. This in turn offers opportunities for retreat participants to
share in community life and learn new skills guided by the principles of the Quaker
Testimonies to equality, peace, truth, simplicity and sustainability. All retreats offer
opportunities for reflection and feedback so that the life of the community continues to
grow through gaining new insights into spiritual, practical and reflective ways of living.
2019 Funds and Reserves.
The Quaker Community Bamford holds funds in reserve:
to cover fluctuations in income and expenditure. These include paying the whole year’s
insurance premium as a lump sum.
to allow for unexpected decreases in income.
to allow for unexpected major building repairs not covered by our insurance.
The trustees have been building up our general reserve to cover the greater of six months
budgeted income or six months budgeted expenditure. We achieved this for the first time
in 2019, mainly due to a change in our depreciation policy.
All funds are unrestricted as they have been generated by us, rather than given by donors.
Nearly £180,000 of funds are fixed assets.
Designated Funds
At the board of trustees meeting 8 December 2019 trustees decided to use the 2019
surplus for maintenance projects in 2020. This fund has £15,100.
The Long Term Maintenance Reserve Fund is money set aside for larger maintenance
projects. This buffer means we would not have to increase our mortgage if a larger piece
of work needed doing. We are building this up rather than paying off our mortgage. This
fund has a balance of £33,000 at the end of 2019, £4,000 from this fund will be used in
essential boiler replacement in 2020.
General Funds
The general fund includes all our working capital and other money available for spending.
It has £43,078. At the end of each financial year Trustees decide on the use and
allocation of any surplus depending on the needs at the time. With the maintenance
demands of our ageing property, sometimes spending money on maintenance or setting it
aside in the Long Term Maintenance Reserve Fund is more urgent than building up our
general fund.
At the end of 2019 we have funds of £270,103.
Plans for Future Periods
A retreat programme has been planned for 2020/2021 to invite guests and friends to take
part in community life.
This can be experienced in various ways and is guided by and reflects our charitable aims
and objectives.
There are four weekends exploring living and working alongside community members
providing opportunities for guests to ask questions and learn about community life within
the context of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Three weekends focus specifically on the garden and land. Sowing and planting in Spring,
and an annual activity of mowing the meadow in Summer using traditional methods with
scythes and sickles. In Autumn, we include woodland skills of coppicing, hedge laying,
splitting and stacking logs. These working retreats support our charitable aim of
sustainable stewardship of our land and natural resources.
Spiritual nourishment through experience is a part of living here and some retreats reflect
this more deeply; Stepping into Stillness, Qigong and Reflection, A Spiritual Journey,
Stillness and Prayer.
Creativity is at the core of being human and this is encouraged in Walking retreats, Well
Dressing and Seasonal crafts.
Time spent here offers opportunities for writing, reading, art work, reflection, rest and
relaxation.
The beautiful location allows total immersion in nature from the doorstep.
A great variety of tasks, indoors and out are fulfilled in monthly working Saturdays. Regular
volunteers return again and again to help out. A simple, homemade vegetarian lunch is
provided and new people are welcome.
Our programme planning also includes providing periods of time to welcome self-catering
guests and occasional groups with individually planned agendas.
Plans for 2020 have been guided by our recent experiences. Following the cancellation of
our February retreat in 2019 due to poor attendance and a reduction in visitors at this time
of year we have decided to use the winter period to concentrate on maintenance priorities
to refresh and renew the centre. In contrast our facilitated silent retreat in 2019 was
oversubscribed. The 2020 programme reflects this by offering several retreats guided by
our spiritual practices of silent listening. The success of our Well Dressing Retreat will be
followed up with another local community based retreat led by our resident artist member.
We have seen a good response to our appeal for short and long term volunteers. This
provides opportunities for volunteers to contribute and experience all aspects of
community life (as detailed in the financial review).
In accordance with our commitment to low carbon living our maintenance programme in
2020 and onwards will be guided by the results of an Energy Survey undertaken by a local
Energy Consultant. We will be exploring funding to support this programme with Quakers
in Yorkshire.
We plan to continue to work together with our Elderseers, Volunteers and Trustees to
support all aspects of the practical and spiritual running of the community, retreat
programme and our charity.
Structure, Governance and Management
The charity’s organisational structure consists of resident trustees, volunteers and external
trustees. Community members are trustees of the charity whilst resident within the
community. Community members and volunteers pay rent to live in the community and
give unpaid service to provide the aims of the charity. There are no subsidiary
undertakings.
No members of the charity receive pay or remuneration or are employed by the charity.
The rent payable by community members and volunteers whilst residing at the charity is
set by the external trustees. Resident trustees receive an initial period of three months
induction, which can be terminated or extended as the need arises by either party.
The charity is not affiliated to an umbrella group but does operate within the principles of
the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain.
Day to day decision making is undertaken by resident trustees in regard to the running of
the Quaker Community in furtherance of the charity’s objectives. For example, providing a
place of spiritual retreat, pastoral care of visitors and community members, stewardship
and protection of the local natural environment.
Reference and Administrative details
The external trustees delegate the day to day management of the charity to the community
members who are resident trustees. Trustees may seek advice from the Religious Society
of Friends (Quakers) in Britain governing body Britain Yearly Meeting.
Weekly House Meetings guide the day to day management of the charity and records of
these meetings are kept and circulated to relevant members. CIO meetings are held
quarterly, unless an extraordinary meeting of the CIO is required. External and resident
trustees attend CIO meetings. No decisions shall be taken unless a quorum is present,
that is, three Charity Trustees, or the number nearest to one third of the total number of
Charity Trustees, whichever is greater. Meetings are conducted in accordance with the
principles of the Religious Society of Friends and the provisions of the current edition of
the book of Christian discipline of the Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
(Quakers) in Britain as outlined in the constitution.
Administrative Information
Resident Trustees
Zee-Zee Heine
Linda Southwick
Amanda MacKenzie
Cindy Metcalfe
Jinny Sanders (Term ended November 2019]
External Trustees
Jasmine Piercy
John Rouse
Gregory Norminton
Valda Dagnell
Solicitor
James McCallum, Russell-Cooke Solicitors, 2 Putney Hill, London, SW15 6AB
Auditor or Independent Examiner
John Hollis, Ashmeade, Edale Road, Hope, Derbyshire, S33 6ZF
Bank Account
Triodos Bank UK Ltd. Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS
Mortgage provider and Savings Account
Ecology Building Society, 7 Belton Road, Silsden, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 0EE
The charity has no investments and therefore does not require an investment advisor.
Annual Report submitted on behalf of the Charity by co clerks/secretary
Amanda MacKenzie
Linda Southwick