We are an active community group committed to respecting the heritage of Castle Green, making more use of the park for today’s community and improving and protecting it for future generations.
Friends of Castle Green
Annual General Meeting
Castle Green Pavilion
Thursday, 21st November 2019 7:30pm
Mark Hubbard, Martin Flowers, Paddy Nugent, Katie Bott, Annabel Oxford, Heather Clyne, Annie Lilwall, Bob Heath, Ian Yemm, Dave Quine, Julie Brown, Patricia Tierney, Margaret Jones, Vivien Tourmache, Sue Griffin, Anne Colleton, Paul and Margaret Jackson, Wilma Gilmour, Malcolm James, Caroline Gerstad, Pete Redding, Cathy Taggart, Sue Handy, Jenni Morgan, Colette Priestley, Richard Priestley, James Harper, David Whitemead.
Mike Griffin, Heather Davies, Bill Laws.
The minutes of the last AGM held on 16 October 2018 were accepted as being a true record of the proceedings. Proposed by Ian Yemm and seconded by Jean. Unanimously agreed.
Martin presented the Income and Expenditure account and Balance Sheet for 2018. The overall result for the year was a deficit of £3,848 compared with a small deficit in 2017. Some extraordinary costs, such as legal fees associated with the asset transfer and one-off premises expenditure were offset against the contingency held and are not included in the report. The operational deficit from running the Pavilion reduced from just under £10k to £6,836, primarily through an increase of about 30% in bookings. The surplus from running events, which offset the Pavilion deficit in 2017, reduced to under £3k in 2018.
Although all of the events made a profit after use of the grant received from Hereford City Council, Historic Hereford Day/Summer Fair and the River Carnival were significantly in deficit, when comparing actual expenditure against income. The annual fireworks event also made a much lower surplus than it did in 2018. All events include a reasonable allocation of staffing costs, representing
the estimated time of the Operations Manager spent on organisation.
Cash and bank balances have reduced from £23,112 at the end of 2017 to £15,349 at the
end of 2018. The contingency has reduced to £3,612 due to the extraordinary costs mentioned previously. Accounts for 2019 will be presented to next year’s Annual General Meeting, but we already know that there is likely to be another significant deficit for this year. The Directors will shortly be considering the budget for 2020, taking into account the recent change in priorities, but with the intention of delivering at least a break-even position for next year.
A question was raised regarding the plan to break even next year. There is scope to increase bookings as the Pavilion is very underutilised. If booking increased to just 30%, the organisation would be in a much better position. Booking rates were also reviewed this year and were slightly increased for commercial organisations. They remained the same for non-profit groups.
Adoption of the accounts was proposed by Dave Quine, seconded by Ian Yemm and carried unanimously.
Mark reflected on the position of FoCG at last year’s AGM, as compared to this year. FoCG has faced many challenges in this short time. The greatest and most deeply felt was the sudden passing of Secretary and founding Director Lisa Richardson. It has been a devastating and heart-breaking loss for the Friends and the community. Lisa covered vast amounts of work and quietly kept the organisation afloat. She held the organisation together since it was founded in 2002.
As there was no time for a formal handover of files, many thanks go to Katie Bott for doing an incredible job of working with Lisa’s family to retrieve and organise Lisa’s FoCG records. Massive thanks also go to Toni Cook for organising the stallholders for the Summer Fair (another job Lisa always took care of). Her passion and joy for Castle Green was unparalleled. To say she will be missed is an understatement.
FoCG also lost Amanda Attfield as Chair. While not unexpected (Amanda had announced at last year’s AGM she was stepping down as she was moving from the area), it was still a great loss. Amanda was a great Chair and was excellent at keeping the Directors to task and made sure things got done.
It became clear to the Directors that they were in a very difficult position of being overstretched, and the future of the Pavilion was grinding to a halt. Between losing Board members and the analysing of the vast amount of energy put forth in running events for this small group of volunteers, it became clear where priorities needed to shift. The Directors made the very difficult decision to no longer host large-scale events whilst focusing on securing the future of the building. Mark acknowledged what a disappointment this is for the community but was clear that this is not a forever decision. Capacity needs to be created to make a difference to the revitalisation of the building.
The Summer theatre event operated at a loss due to heavy rain. The Summer Fair was successful but made very little profit. November 9 was the date for the Fireworks Spectacular. It ended up being a very wet day. Had the event gone ahead, we may have had even greater losses, potentially bankrupting the organisation. The Directors went back to accurately analyse the costings of the events and found that we had massively underestimated the time, energy and money necessary to run them.
Mark highlighted that if building occupancy increased to 30%, rather than the 15% that it is currently operating, financially, the organisation would be fine. FoCG has been events-focused for so long. It was time to step back and fulfil our role as guardians of the Pavilion.
On a personal note, Mark indicated that while he is not going anywhere, his capacity to dedicate vast amounts of time and energy to FoCG has become limited by his demanding businesses.
The Board has had a few applicants from interested parties to join the Directors. Most exciting of which, eminently qualified Conservation Architect Bob Heath has stepped forward to assist with the revival, restoration and conservation of the Pavilion. The Directors are thrilled to have him on board for the next journey for Friends of Castle Green.
Election of Directors
All Directors willing to stand again for re-election.
Mark Hubbard- Acting Chair
Martin Flowers- Treasurer
Annabel Oxford- Community Engagement
Paddy Nugent- Building
Heather Clyne- Fundraising
Added to the slate this evening, Bob Heath, Pavilion Restoration. Bob is a local resident and a Conservation Architect, who has stepped forward to join the Directors to take the Pavilion into the next stages of revitalisation.
Election of this Board en bloc was voted in favour unanimously.
Future of FoCG: Architects’ Concept Drawings of Pavilion
Three architects were approached and asked to come up with concept drawings of the Pavilion as a multifunctional space, guided by the results of the in-depth community wide FoCG consultation held in 2018. AV Architecture, Circle Architecture and Errand Studio Architecture & Design all presented visions for the space free of charge as a starting point for the future of the Pavilion.
Heather Clyne talked through the propsals submitted by the individual architects and invited members to look at the display of proposed plans at the back of the room. It was explained that this is the first stage of future plans for the building, with more in depth drawings and costings to be the next step once funding was applied for and granted to cover fees for architects and surveyors.
An opinion from the floor was to invite people with disabilities to give their opinions on what change is needed for the Pavilion to make it more accessible to all.
It was also suggested that young people be involved in the future plans for the building and that perhaps a representative could sit on the Boards. FoCG are investigating this with Close House.
Date of Next AGM
November 2020. Exact date TBC
NEW PRIORITIES FOR THE FRIENDS OF CASTLE GREEN
At an extraordinary meeting of the directors of the Friends of Castle Green (FOCG), held on 11th September, the following statement was agreed:
After 17 years of tremendously successful community events held on Castle Green, the Directors of FOCG have taken the difficult decision to re-prioritise the short to medium term objectives of the organisation.
FOCG has become a vibrant events-led organisation since it was founded in 2002. When we started, we were the only community organisation in Hereford holding regular, and very popular, free to attend outdoor events. We are very proud of our record of helping to stimulate the growth of community events-led groups within the city and the fantastic work they are now doing.
The recent Community Asset Transfer of the Pavillion on Castle Green to FOCG stewardship is an exciting development which requires FOCG to develop a new approach to its city centre role. Based on overwhelming feedback from our city-wide consultations held last year with FOCG members and the wider community, the Directors have made the difficult decision to step back from being an event-led organisation and focus our work on the Pavilion. The most strongly voiced opinion in the consultations was for FOCG to focus on restoring, revitalising and renovating the Pavilion as a community space for all. By narrowing our focus now, we will ultimately be able to provide and expand our community capacity sooner rather than later.
We acknowledge that this decision will be disappointing to the many supporters of our events, especially the Fireworks Spectacular, which will not now go ahead this year. We hope that the Castle Green will continue to host large scale events, but not necessarily organised & run by us.
Whilst this is a big change to the operation of FOCG, the Directors are unanimous in their agreement of the way forward.
This is an exciting time for FOCG, we hope that the coming conversation with all our stakeholders & partners about the way forward will result in an even more dynamic city centre community group!