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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Jinny Sanders (Term ended November 2019]
James McCallum, Russell-Cooke Solicitors, 2 Putney Hill, London, SW15 6AB
Auditor or Independent Examiner
John Hollis, Ashmeade, Edale Road, Hope, Derbyshire, S33 6ZF
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
2019 Accounts click on title page to view2019PDFCollated version