Friends of the Centre For English Local History
Annual General Meeting and Accounts
Thursday 21st November 2023 at 7:00pm by ZOOM
1. Apologies for absence
Ann Stones, Carole Perkin,
2. Approval of the Minutes of the previous AGM held on 14 November 2022
3. Matters arising
4. Chairman’s Report
5. Treasurer’s Report
6. Election of Officers and Committee
The Secretary reported that the number of nominations received was such that no election was necessary. The following officers and committee members have been nominated and seconded:
- Chairman Michael Gilbert
- Secretary Mary Bryceland
- Treasurer/Membership Secretary Karen Donegani
- Newsletter Editor Mandy de Belin
- IT Coordinator John Parker
- Programme Secretary Vacant
- Committee Members: Ann Schmidt, Jeremy Lodge
7. Appointment of Independent Examiner:
8. Any other Business
In the last report I described 2021/22 as a difficult time as we dealt with the loss of Marc Fitch House, the challenges facing the Centre and the consequences of the Covid pandemic. I think I would describe this year as both positive and optimistic with much to celebrate. Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects is that the Friends have seen a growth in membership. Although we have worked at providing more events and activities for members I believe it reflects the strong support that exists for the Centre and for the work of the Friends. Our members want to see research into and the teaching of local history at Leicester continue.
We have been able to carry on with our support for the Centre in the development of their new base on the main campus in the Attenborough Building. It is a pleasant environment for the researcher with access to the Centre’s collections as well as newly installed audio-visual equipment. In the coming year it is intended to make increased use of the facility for seminars lectures and other events. I would encourage members who want to work on the campus to make use of Room 101 as an alternative to the library. I would also like to thank Karen Donegani and Mary Bryceland again for all their continuing work in support of Centre staff.
Another major success has been the Friends website and thanks in particular to John Parker in developing and running the site. If you visit the website you will not only see details of future events and Friends activities but more academic information is being made available, such as the details of dissertations and theses of past students of the Centre. We have worked with staff from the Centre and the School to provide placement opportunities for students in the many museums, archives and societies our members are involved in. This year a MA student and an undergraduate from the School had placements with the SGS Museum in Spalding, Lincolnshire. They were able to work on the society’s ‘original collection’ of books and manuscripts from the early eighteenth century as well as researching artifacts from the museum. We intend to build on the success of the placement programme this year and if you feel that any of the organisations you are involved with would benefit from a placement then please get in touch.
In the post-covid world and with the loss of Marc Fitch House returning to face-to-face events has been challenging but this year we have held the Hoskin’s Day lecture in the Attenborough Building in July and a study day in Wallingford in October organised by Anne Coyne. This has been supplemented by a number of online talks and the Local History Quiz Night (thanks to Richard Jones for organising and being the quizmaster). With the availability of Room 101 and the new AV equipment we plan to hold more in-person activities to complement the Centre’s programme of lectures.
With the recent challenges that the Centre has faced the support of the Friends has become increasingly important and with it has come opportunities. We can help with the delivery of the aims of the Centre as well as providing new services and activities for the members. Although these are potentially exciting times success will depend on people to develop and deliver new ideas. We need members to assist with organising events and to work with your committee to build the Friends. If you would like to be involved you would be very welcome and please contact myself or anybody on the committee to discuss how you could participate.
Chair, Friends of the Centre for English Local History
A summary of the draft, unadopted accounts for the year 2022-23 is provided on the AGM page of the Friends’ Website. Printed copies have been sent by post to those members we cannot contact by email.
The year-end value of the Friends’ total assets (including investments at market value on 30 September 2023) is £33,577.94, a decrease of £876.03 (2.5%) of the opening balance. This decrease reflects ups and downs of the stock market. Money in the bank remains stable at £23,251.94 compared to £23,382.39 at the start of the year.
Hoskins Day costs were much reduced this year while the Queen’s Mill Burnley Study Day incurred a small loss. Administrative, AGM and newsletter spending is mostly on printing and postage. We anticipate printing and postage costs will be reduced during the current year (2023-24) as changes to our constitution approved at the last AGM mean that we may now notify members of the AGM by email where possible. The number of requests for student support rose significantly compared to the previous year and over £2,000 was paid out. We continue to validate and review every request and focus on providing grants to offset research costs.
Changes were made during the year to our bank and investment accounts. We now have online banking facilities on our Natwest current account. We closed our CAF Gold Current Account, moving the balance to the Cambridge and Counties Bank to avoid CAF charges and take advantage of much better interest rates. We also moved our investments to a new Charities Aid Foundation ethical investment fund which promises better returns. Our financial position is sound, and we can meet any financial obligations for the coming year. In view of our lack of contractual commitments, we do not have a reserves policy at the present time.
I would like to thank our Independent Examiner, Paul Shipman, for agreeing to review these accounts on behalf of the Friends.
Karen L. Donegani
13 October 2023