The 2022 Trustees Report

In accordance with our Constitution, please find the Trustees Report for 2022. We started the year yet again with limitations on gatherings and our New Year day party for ‘Guests’ had to be deferred by a month and even then, we reduced our numbers attending. However, thereafter we returned to running a full list of events although ‘Guests’ and attendees were sometimes reluctant to always turn out while towards the year end, we started suffering from all the economic and financial problems from high energy prices, increased inflation, and additional taxation. However, the good news was that The Puddenecks remain healthy and growing in numbers.

Income for 2022 amounted to £32,147 (gross) while expenditure totalled £32,119 resulting in a surplus of just £28. Income benefited from a successful Golf Day and Race Night; while subscriptions, Gift Aid, a ‘200’ Club, and many generous donations from various sources. These donations came from the Bank of England, courtesy of a member, local Waitrose stores, a Christmas collection organised by ‘Ye Olde Monk’ in Barnet, three members of Totteridge Millhillians Cricket Club (TMCC) whose donation funded the 2022 Christmas party and many smaller, but very gratefully received, amounts from individuals.

The 2021 audited accounts were circulated in March 2022 together with the Committee report and the Chairman’s statement. The AGM was held in April and gave approval to these three documents. Also, at the AGM a new committee was selected and in accordance with the Constitution any member was entitled to stand for office. We had two retirements, Robin Loader, and Keith Embleton, and both were thanked for all their contributions. The existing seven committee members agreed to stay on retaining their respective roles while Greg Kraushar was elected to the committee. Sadly, in July 2022 Paul Kidd resigned, having moved away to West Sussex, and his role as Welfare co-ordinator was taken over by Bernard Woolf and Vic Valoti. Paul was warmly thanked for all his contributions over the past 7 years and particularly his enterprising efforts during the Covid pandemic. The only other committee change was that Greg took on the role of dinner secretary from Bernard. Both Rob Loader and John Connell indicated that they were retiring from running the annual Golf day and both were thanked for their past contributions, but the committee was delighted that Greg Kraushar volunteered to take on this role but with help.

The committee met, in person, six times during the year although a zoom facility was offered for three of these meetings and had an 82% attendance record. Full notes of the meetings, covering all aspects of the Club’s activities were recorded and distributed to committee members with action points clearly labelled. In addition, a summary of these meetings was recorded in the newsletter (six editions plus two news sheets) which were distributed to all members and helpers. The newsletter contains important information about the Club, its membership, and relevant dates, so everyone was fully aware of events. Steph Harrison (a helper) very kindly updates the Club’s WEB page. The Secretary started sending out new sheets (2 editions) when editorial items were low and to ease his role from lengthy monthly new letters.

To conform with all the statutory rules which seem to grow daily, the booklet setting out all the Club Rules and Operating instructions was updated and re-circulated to members in April 2022 following a review of all policies. In accordance with Charity Commission advice, risk management, continues to be taken very seriously and all necessary forms were completed ahead of all the events organised. All risk procedures are clearly laid out in the Rules booklet and are managed accordingly by the committee. In order to ensure this is given a clear focus, ‘Risk management’ is a standing item on the Committee agenda. The Club is very grateful that one of our long-standing members generously paid for printing of our Rule and Operating booklet.  

The Club met for supper on four occasions, February was a fund-raising supper meeting and we had Natalie Cumming talking about ‘The Fiddle’ a very moving and brilliantly told story about her family’s violin and its travels. Although due to Covid problems, the violin could not be present on the evening, there was hardly a dry face in the audience. In June we had our very own member, Paul Griffin, talking about fast and classic cars, another great and interesting talk. These two charity suppers each raised The Club over £900. In April we had our AGM while in October we had a ‘welcome to our new members evening’ and although disappointing in that only three new members were able to be present it was thoroughly enjoyed by all attending.   

At the start of 2022, the Club had 43 paid up and 3 Honorary members. During the year we added 13 new members, but sadly lost 2 long standing members (George Grimes, member 46 years and Derek Purton, member 32 years) while 2 older members decided not to renew:  we ended the year with 51 paid up members and 4 Honorary members (the committee gave Roy Purton, Honorary membership in recognition of his 42 years membership). The average membership age was 72.1 years ranging from 28 to 103 years and the average length of membership was about 12 years with our longest serving member at over 46 years and shortest at less than 2 months. We now have 11 female members, representing over 20% of our membership.

The incident record book was not used in 2022 and we are grateful to St John Ambulance, Barnet Division) who attend all our ‘Guest’ events. Sadly, Roger Hedgecoe, a stalwart of St John, Barnet and great supporter and attender of Puddenecks events stood down from St John in the autumn and we will miss his valuable support for the Club. We still have no-one directly responsible for the Almoner’s role, but it was recorded that three members had been in hospital, but thankfully one is now fully recovered while the other two are recovering and hopefully soon will be fully fit again.

The subcommittee continued to look at ‘One off’ donations and during the year we gave £1,000 to Barnet Citizens Advice Bureau to support their hardship funds to assist ‘Older people’ in Barnet in need. The committee also led a campaign to help ‘Older People’ against a rising level of crime in Barnet and a number of letters were sent to various parties and several meeting occurred between the local Police and councillors, our member of Parliament, and the Spires Shopping Centre management. As part of this campaign, we had a local Community Police officer attend a Monthly coffee morning to give advice. In June, we teamed up with Grimsdell School and took 35 ‘Guests’ to a Jubilee tea party at the school, a huge success for all with the school choir/orchestra enchanting ‘Guests’. This was due to have been repeated in December at Old Fold Manor Golf Club but sadly the weather intervened (snow) and the event was cancelled. We did though arrange for 25 ‘Guests’ to go to the pantomime at the Bull Theatre in December even though again the weather was not kind (rain and very cold).

The Club ran 7 evening events including one meal themed, 2 BBQ’s, a Christmas lunch, a tea party, and a trip to the pantomime, all for ‘Guests’ as well as a Golf Day and Race night for fund raising purposes. In addition, the Club ran two weekly (term time) Movement to Music classes and a monthly coffee morning. The Club also sent out birthday and Christmas cards to all ‘Guests’ as well as delivering birthday flowers. The Club is grateful to all members, helpers and friends who helped, organised, and attended these events to make each one a success. The evidence of our success is clearly seen in the number of thank you cards, smiley faces at doors, welcoming phone calls together with significant positive responses when we have invited ‘Guest’ to events while the financial report clearly shows how successful the fund-raising events have been.

 The Club looked at various items of apparel it could present as a gift for joining to our new members (traditionally it was a tie and scarf) and while we decided to keep with the tie for Gentlemen while stocks last (then they will receive smart ‘T’ shirts), ladies are immediately being offered smart ‘T’ shirts. 

The Club’s accounts have again been efficiently managed by the Treasurer and the 2022 accounts have another a clean bill of health by the auditor, Brennan Pearson & Co. I have already talked above about income accrued and expenditure incurred. Our ‘200 Club’ continues to attract new members and at the year-end we had 150 tickets allocated. Administration and one-off expenses remain low at about 2.6% of total income. Of this percentage, Public Liability and Trustee Insurance was1.4 % and maintenance of our Website, 0.3%. The net impact of the small surplus was that Reserves at the year-end (before allowing for a decline in the COIF shares due to market volatility) amounted to £26,473 (£26,453).

While this level exceeds the Club Reserves policy of around six months expenditure together with an additional £2,000 as a contingency fund for unforeseen liabilities, recent events have made this policy seem very harsh and, by having more flexibility we have been able to continue all our good works throughout 2022 with no cash flow worries, unlike many other Charities. Also, with generous, and numerous donations still appearing it does mean the Club can continue its commitments of help without financial concerns although fully aware that the current economic recession and high level of inflation will impact on our income (negatively) and expenses (increasing) over the coming year. We do though continue to monitor the Reserves level at committee and will take any appropriate action.

The committee has worked well under an inspired Chairman to ensure the Club’s objective of helping ‘Older People’ in the Barnet area has been maintained. He has been helped by a very active President and enthusiastic committee. Although the incumbent Welfare Officer retired in July, the committee are very fortunate that two other members of the committee have taken over very successfully. Also, this year’s major fund-raising golf day will be in new, but safe, hands.

2023 will be another challenging year for The Puddenecks but with 13 new members it can look forward with confidence to another hopefully successful year of helping ‘Older People of Barnet’. As always, our thanks go to all members (particularly the active brigade), helpers, who we could not survive without, and to all friends who support our events.

Hopefully a new enlarged committee will be elected in April incorporating some new, female members, but we will have to wait for the Secretary’s 2023 report to see if these thoughts bear fruition.

Signed on behalf of the Trustees

Roger Moore MBE Hon Secretary                                                                          Date 1st February 2023