Trustees’ Annual report for the period 1st April 2018 – 31st March 2019

Charity registration number: 522842

Our Annual Report reviews our yearly performance. It contains information about the work we’ve been doing throughout the year and explains how we are spending the income we have received.

It also contains a statement from our Chairman, including his outlook for the year ahead.

The focus of our work remains to provide social and recreational activities for the residents of Allen’s Cross and surrounding neighbourhood.  In planning our activities for the year the trustees have kept in mind the Charity Commissions Guidelines on public benefit.

Objectives and Activities

Summary of the purposes of the charity as set out in its governing document

1.  To promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Allen’s Cross and neighbourhood without discrimination on the grounds of gender, disability, political opinion or race.

2.  To provide opportunities for people to advance education and to provide facilities and services in the interests of social, recreational and leisure time occupation, with the aim of improving the quality of life for the inhabitants of Allen’s Cross and neighbourhood.

3. To manage and maintain Allen’s Cross Community Centre for activities in pursuance of those aims’.

Summary of the main activities in relation to the above purposes for the public benefit

The association continues to manage a thriving Community Centre which delivers a range of activities for the benefit of all ages and backgrounds.  During the year 2018 – 19 these have included.

  • Allen’s Cross Older People’s Support and befriending service.
    This includes a twice weekly lunch club for socially isolated elderly residents, a volunteer befriending service, weekly friendship club and carers support a group.

Our friendly Volunteer day centre assistants and befrienders provide valuable care to vulnerable elderly and housebound people and their carers living in Northfield and surrounding areas, helping individuals with advice, practical tasks, and emotional support for as long as it is needed.

We are pleased to report that our new facility; the ‘Stronger Together’ network is now up and running.  The network offers valuable support to small older and disabled peoples groups in the area and works to provide additional activities for local people to attend. Affordable accessible transport is included if required. Activities this year have included a community lunch on 23rd May 2018 and a very successful after Christmas party on 25th January 2019.

Comments

My mother really loves coming to the Day Centre it’s the highlight of her week. 

You provide a wonderful service; the staff are really friendly and helpful I could not manage without you – Thank you”,

“The staff are very friendly; it’s a pleasure coming to it.  It’s very relaxing and gets me out of the house.

  • Community Garden ( Working in Partnership with Eco Birmingham)Supported by The Big Lottery Fund our thriving community garden provides a space for people of all ages and abilities to come together to join in growing good food, to enjoy the fresh air and to make friends.  The garden achieved the maximum Level 5 (outstanding) RHS Britain in Bloom award again this year. This is the second year running that the garden has achieved the maximum level and our volunteers can be justly proud of themselves.

 ““What a delight to visit this wonderful garden again, Jackie Careless and various volunteers continue to ensure this garden develops and changes each year” quotation from the RHS assessment committee

Comments

What a wonderful space, you have created a fantastic atmosphere.  I will certainly recommend that more volunteers come along” Sue Waldron Selly Oak Job Centre Plus

“Coming here is giving me confidence, I feel much happier” Derick, Garden Volunteer

Annual open day and events throughout the year
We hold a number of events throughout the year that are open to the general public.  This year they have included: – Spring festival, volunteer open event, Harvest Fest, A Remembrance service commemorating 100 years since the end of WW1 and our popular Carol singing in the garden. In addition, monthly social activities for adults that are arranged by the 30/30 club are open to visitors as well.


Other activities included
St John Ambulance, Childminders support and Mother and Toddler Groups, Friendship Club, Karate and Mixed martial arts, Amateur Theatre, Dance groups, Bingo, Training, Church and faith groups, and monthly councillor’s surgeries.

The association also lets out rooms for hire within the community centre. This provides an important source of income.  There is a reduction in hire charges for members of the association living within the area of benefit.  

Contribution made by volunteers
We are always in need of great volunteers who are hard-working, organised, and get along well with others. It’s only with the assistance of local volunteers that we can continue to meet the challenge of managing a thriving community centre today. We are extremely grateful for the hours spent by our team of dedicated volunteers in helping us carry out many of the activities and services mentioned above.  Thank you all we could not do it without you.

“Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and satisfaction; I enjoy meeting people and the companionship of working with others.   Geoff Garden Volunteer

Volunteering gives me pride and the satisfaction of a job well done” Shirley – Little Sunshine’s

Achievements and Performance

Our vision is to improve the quality of life for residents living in Allen’s Cross and surrounding neighbourhood.  It is this vision that drives our ambition to provide excellent services and facilities for all individuals living within our diverse community.  

As we look back over the achievements of the year, some of which are described in this report, we can be tremendously proud of the work of all of our staff and volunteers in helping us achieve our goals. The difference we have made over the past year is shared in the words and experiences of the individuals who have benefitted from our work.  We have included in our report quotations from residents and volunteers who have benefitted from our services at Allen’s Cross this year.

Highlights for the year

Community Garden

The garden has come a long way since its commencement four years ago and thanks to the support of Eco Birmingham staff and our wonderful team of volunteers it is now a delightful space that is enjoyed by the whole community.

This year we were invited by gold medal winning landscaper, Hannah Genders to be a part of a show garden, Eco Green and Growing, at the Malvern Spring Show:  showcasing urban community gardens.  It took a lot of preparation and planning to produce an adequate garden and it turned out to be a magnificent accomplishment for Jackie our team of our volunteers.  Well done all.

Volunteer Awards Night

On Tuesday 19th June we held a midsummer garden party /volunteer awards evening to celebrate the selfless help and support provided by the association’s volunteers.

Singer, Ian Casey provided excellent entertainment and 30 volunteers were presented with medals and certificates of achievement by the councillor for Allen’s Cross, Eddie Freeman. It was a lovely evening and something the organising committee should be very proud of.

National service of remembrance

On Sunday 11th November Sheila, our community worker and I were invited by the Heritage Lottery to representvolunteers who had taken partin the Voices of War project at the National Service of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey, commemorating 100 years since the armistice.

Members of the Royal family, and religious and political leaders were joined by members of the public who have contributed to the Centenary on a national, regional and local level. It was a wonderful event and it was an honour for us to be able to represent you.

Looking forward

The past year has been a challenging one, the present officers of the association are coming up to retirement and we were conscious of the need to attract quality volunteers to carry the association forward in the future.

In response to the challenges we faced, we have been seeking to form partnerships with new organisations and have recently been working with Northfield Arts Foundation.  They are keen to form a new partnership with Allen’s Cross Community Association and will take on responsibility for managing the association and community centre after the AGM.

Building and strengthening this partnership will enable us to share our knowledge and expertise to help others and we will work with them to help them deliver quality services for local citizens in future.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the retiring officers for their dedication, hard work and commitment over the past years and to wish the new committee every success in the future.

We thank you for your interest in our work and look forward to you supporting us as we embark on the next chapter for our important and ambitious journey.

A  Harris
Chairman

Financial Review

There was a slight drop in profits before investment of £2643.00 for the year. This can be attributed to a slight drop in income from lettings of 28.7% and an increase in expenditure of 7%.  However the community hall remains very popular and we have been fortunate to retain some well-established groups which bring a regular source of income. 

Approximately 47% of total incoming resources were generated directly by income from lettings this year but Association continues to rely on grants to help sustain its core services. It therefore remains important to raise the profile of the centre and to continue to increase the percentage income received from room hire.  The proposed merger with the Northfield Arts Forum will provide an opportunity to increase use of the centre and we are hopeful that income from this source will increase by 25% by the end of 2020.

Policy for holding reserves

The reserves policy of the association takes into account the nature of the income and expenditure streams and the need to provide against the uncertainty of grant income. Certain funding has restrictions which mean that by law it must be held in restricted reserves until it is spent in line with the funding agreement.

Reserves are needed to:

  1. Meet contractual liabilities should the organisation have to close including redundancy pay and amounts due to creditors.
  2. Meet unexpected costs like the breakdown of essential office machinery, staff cover re illness, maternity leave, parental leave and legal costs defending the association’s interests.
  3. To replace equipment
  4. To ensure the association can continue to provide a stable and quality service
  5. To provide working capital when funding is paid in arrears

Since the instance of all of the above events happening in one year is unlikely reserves in the band of 15% to 25% of current expenditure would normally be considered prudent.  However because of the high level of uncertainty concerning the continuation of grant income the trustees consider it sensible to set aside a greater level of reserves at this time. We have therefore set a target of £22,000.00.  In the event of reserves dipping below the target we will aim to restore our reserves by at least 3% of expenditure per year over the next 5 years.  This could be achieved by increasing earned income and/or reducing expenditure.

Amount of reserves held

Current reserves are £22,351which is in line with our target.

Principal sources of funds

Grant Funding
A high proportion of the funding received by the Association includes grants totalling         £47,325.00. This includes £30,491.00 from the Big Lottery towards the running costs of the community garden and £16,834.00 from Birmingham City Council towards Day Centre costs. Both of these income streams are restricted. The Trustees remain very grateful for the high level of support received from our grant funders.

Income from lettings
Income from lettings including affiliation feesfell slightlyby compared with the previous year. However, as mentioned above, the Community Centre continues to be very popular and we are fortunate to have a number of long standing groups who bring in a regular source of revenue.  The proposed merger with Northfield Arts Forum (NAF) will bring more groups into the centre with the estimated potential of increasing income by 25%

Fundraising events
Fundraising events and appeals generated income of £183.00 A variety of successful events were held during the year, details of which are highlighted on page 3 of this report the association was also pleased to receive membership subscriptions of £44.00

The Association plans it’s fund raising requirements in advance having a twelve month view of cash flow.  Any surplus funds that are not likely to be needed to pay for activities or general running costs are placed on deposit to earn interest.           

Principal risks facing the charity
Every year an organisation-wide risk assessment is conducted by the Trustees which includes assessment of governance, operational activities and calculated risks.  The following explains the most significant risks and uncertainties faced by the Association:

Need to widen our reach

The Community Centre continues to be popular but we need to extend the reach of our services amongst local residents, to attract and retain good volunteers and to encourage and enable people to take on key management roles.

The main focus of our work next year will be to promote awareness of the community centre amongst local residents and to actively encourage their involvement.

Financial risks
Two major grants are due to cease in the next year, the City Council grant for the Day Centre which expires in September 2019 and the Big Lottery Grant for the Community Garden which comes to an end in March 2020.  We are working hard to explore other avenues to replace these very important funding streams but recognising the period of transition and the uncertain funding climate we face at present it is considered prudent to retain a high level of reserves at this time.

Ability to demonstrate impact
As an organisation it is important for us to demonstrate impact in order to attract grant income, improve access to services and to ensure we can demonstrate to major funders such as the City Council and Big Lottery that we are fulfilling their requirements. In order to lessen this risk we are capturing the experience of members, volunteers, and visitors to demonstrate and ensure that we are providing the best quality service.


Structure, Governance and Management

Description of charity’s trusts:
The association holds the title deeds to the freehold land and premises at 24 Tinkers Farm Road Northfield which was given to the association to hold on behalf of the community. The exact value of the premises is unknown. 

Constitution
Allen’s Cross Community Association is a registered charity (Reg. charity no 522842). The Constitution and related standing orders is the governing document that sets out rules and requirements relating to Association Members; terms of office and election of Trustees and Honorary Officers; disqualification of Trustees; and proceedings of the Board.

All Trustees are required to be members of the Association. 

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees (the Board) is the governing body of the Association. The purpose of the Board is to agree the planned direction of the Association and to ensure the organisation delivers on its plans and objectives as set out in the governing documents. The Board is accountable to the Management Committee and is responsible for the Association’s compliance with regulation and legislation as well as ensuring that the values and reputation of the Association are upheld. The Board also supports the Chairman and officers in carrying out their executive responsibilities. There can be up to 7 Trustees on the Board (with a quorum of four). The Board is the employer of all of the Associations staff. The Board meets monthly and is the final decision-making body for new policy, strategic planning and approval of financial budgets.

Appointment of Trustees
Appointment of Trustees is by election at the Annual General Meeting by all members present aged 18 or over and with the power to vote. They may also be or co-opted by the Board until the following AGM. There is a term of office of one year following which they may be re-elected. The number of re-elections is not limited.  Members aged 18 years and above only are eligible to be elected.


STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The law requires the Board to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Association and of the profit or loss of the Association for that period. In preparing those financial statements, the Board is required to:

· Select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently

· Make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent

· Present regular financial statements to the management committee

The Board is responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Association. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Association and for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

Induction and training of trustees
Trustees have a core induction programme supported by induction activities tailored to their role.  All Trustees have training in the following policies and procedures:

  • Constitution and Standing orders
  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • General Data protection Policy

Remuneration Policy
The Association’s pay scales are reviewed regularly by the Board of Trustees and staff are remunerated in accordance with them.  All new employee job descriptions, and substantive changes, are subject to evaluation to determine the appropriate pay level.

Trustees and management committee members do not receive any form of remuneration for their roles.

Organisational structure and wider networks
The Chairman is responsible for the leadership of the Association, which with the assistance of the executive secretary, involves supporting the Board in determining the vision and plans for the Association, and for ensuring effective achievement of those plans.

Leadership

Officers
The Association’s officers are comprised of:

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Executive secretary

Officers have powers to make decisions within the approved budget, operational plan and the Association’s policies and procedures.  They meet monthly and are responsible to the Board of Trustees and the Management Committee.

Management Committee

The management committee consists of:

  • The officers of the association
  • A representative from each affiliated user group
  • A local Councillor designated by Birmingham City Council

Full members of the association from within the area of benefit are also entitled to join the management committee and are entitled to vote at General Meetings. Appointment is by election at the Annual General Meeting by all members present aged 18 or over and with the power to vote.  Associate members from outside the area of benefit are entitled to attend general meetings.  They are not entitled to vote but may elect one person from within their number to vote on their behalf.

The management committee makes representations to the board and has authority to approve policies, which are then ratified by the Board.

The Association works closely with a number of other organisations within the Northfield area to ensure that its services are widely advertised and meet the needs of the local community.  These include:

  • Northfield Stakeholders Group
  • Northfield Town Centre partnership
  • The Stronger Together Older Peoples Network
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Local Councillors

We are currently working in partnership with Eco Birmingham in order to deliver the very successful ‘Growing Neighbourhoods’ community garden project.  The project is sponsored by the Big Lottery and is now in its fourth year.

Audit
All of the current Trustees have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken to make themselves aware of any information needed by the Association’s Accountant for the purposes of their audit. The Trustees are not aware of any relevant audit information of which the auditors are unaware.

Reference and Administrative details

Charity name Allen’s Cross Community Association

Registered charity number
522842

Charity’s principal address Allen’s Cross Community Centre,
24 Tinkers Farm Road,
Northfield,
Birmingham B31 1RH

Chairman                              
Arthur Harris

Treasurer                              
Christine Gregory

Vice Chair                             
Susan Hughes

Board of Trustees
Arthur Harris
Christine Gregory
Susan Hughes
Janice Boyett
Edward Freeman

Executive secretary
Sheila Hall

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