The 2020 Trustees Report  

In accordance with our Constitution, I present the Trustees Report for 2020. This year was a very exceptional and sad year for while all started well for the Club with two supper meetings and two ‘Guest’ events, Monday 23rd of March 2020 was a date which will never be forgotten when the Country was put into total lockdown as the rapid spread of the Covid19 virus turned into a pandemic. Every activity had to ceased immediately including all our events and this stayed that way until July when some National easing was allowed only for the Country to go back into lockdown again in the Autumn and effectively stay there until the year end and now beyond into 2021. Despite the severity of the lockdown and subsequent Tier restrictions the Club accrued some £14,650 of income (see below) and delivered about 1,200 meals to elderly people.  

For 2020 Puddeneck’s income amounted to £14,666 (gross) while expenditure totalled £18,092. This income accrued from subscriptions, gift aid, many generous donations from varying sources (over 50%), a ‘200’ Club, and three fund-raising events: (a fund-raising speaker supper in March and two Blue Badge Guide lectures in the Autumn). All our usual fund-raising events, golf day, the Spires collection and race night had to be cancelled. The Club’s expenditure total included our annual New Year party in January (78 ‘Guests’ in attendance) and a Bingo evening in February (70 in attendance) but thereafter with everything cancelled, the Club embarked on looking after ‘Elderly Guests’ on our register by regular phone calls and offering them, initially, meals twice a month and then from the autumn, monthly. The Committee had to make painful decisions about which ‘Guests’ to help and decided to concentrate on those living on their own rather than being in care homes or sheltered accommodation. This effectively reduced our register by about 50% to leave us with around 120 ‘Guests’ to care for. The Club is indebted to the effort of Paul Kidd, our Welfare Officer for organising this help and to supporters of the Club who ensured we maintained regular contact through phone calls and delivered the meals. In total, by the year end we had delivered about 1,200 meals to between 100/115 people on 11 different dates throughout the year. We also provided other help when the need arose such as shopping for vulnerable people who had to self-isolate. In addition, we provided goody bags, ran a free Christmas raffle, and issued newsletters, quizzes, books, and magazines. All this could not have been possible without the welcome increase in the number of volunteers who support us.

The Club also gave, in June, £500 to the John Trotter Trust for their Open-Door Centre so they could reorganise their kitchen and start providing meals for Elderly Barnet residents.  

In addition to members and supporters helping us maintain this important regular contact we also have to thank members of the Totteridge Millhillians Cricket Club (TMCC) for their support and use of their premises and particularly the kitchen. This allowed Karen Yearley, whose husband is a former Puddenecks member and Chairman of TMCC to cook three meals, in May, June and July, so we could deliver an alternative to ‘Fish & Chips’ on these dates. This was not only well received by our ‘Guests’ but it saved the club considerable expenditure as Karen prepared these meals at cost price. Then again in December we owe her more thanks for, together with two TMCC members she cooked 110 delicious Christmas dinners with all the trimmings. This together with minced pies (donated by Waitrose) and cream (London Dairies), tins of Quality Street (by yet another TMCC) and a fascinating booklet of games, quizzes, and amusing stories (put together by two TMCC members) all helped make this a bumper and fully appreciated Christmas offering to ‘Guests’. The cost of this Christmas lunch was paid for by three generous members of TMCC. We also widened our delivery to include some blind and partially sighted members of ‘TORCH’. The Club would also like to thank the three Fish & Chip shops we used to collect the seven meals we delivered from them over the year.

We also had to suspend our two Music to Movement lessons although Jack Williams did get his class back for one week in October and he has kept in regular contact with his participants by newsletter offering members both exercises they can do at home and health quizzes.

While the 2019 audited accounts were circulated together with the inaugural Committee report and the annual Chairman’s statement, a live AGM (normally in April) was not permissible under lockdown rules. However, the new committee took office in May after approval was agreed by the membership by email. In accordance with our Constitution any member is entitled to stand for office although it is traditional that the Vice Chairman assumes the role of Chairman the following year and the Chairman assumes the role of President. Initially the committee had eleven Trustees, but this dropped to ten from October following a resignation. The committee met five times during the year, once in person and four by Zoom conference calls and we had an 94% attendance record. Full notes of the meetings, covering all aspects of the Clubs activities were recorded and distributed to committee members with action points (not many) clearly labelled. In addition, a summary of these meetings was recorded in the newsletter (only ten editions due to lack of activity) which was distributed to all members. The newsletter contains important information about the club, its membership and how it has been helping in the lockdown, so everyone was fully aware what was happening and the actions the Club was taking. With the help of one supporter and one club member, the Club’s WEB page was updated and hopefully this will now be ongoing. However, the site does need modernising and discussions are underway.

In order to modernise and conform with statutory rules, a booklet setting out all the Club Rules and Operating instructions was circulated to all members in April 2020 and this will become a regular feature for all new members to receive. The printing of this booklet was kindly sponsored by one of our long serving members. It was also agreed, by the committee, that all sections of this booklet will be reviewed annually and updated, as necessary. Risk management, as always, is taken very seriously by the committee and all necessary forms were completed ahead of the few events organised. All risk procedures are clearly laid out in the Rules booklet and are managed accordingly by the committee.

Sadly, the Club could only meet in person on two occasions for supper meetings, one business meeting in January which was poorly attended and the other a Charity dinner evening in March when 74 members and guests attended to listen to Baroness Richardson talk about her life as a Methodist minister. Thereafter Club meetings were put into hibernation. However, we did manage to have two fascinating Zoom talks by a London Blue Badge guide in the Autumn and this brought many members, supporters, and friends back into contact.

At the start of 2020, the Club had fifty-one members but during the year it suffered five retirements/resignations while one member received an Honorary membership, having gained the magic age of 100; with no new members we ended the year with a membership of forty-six, four being Honorary. The good news for 2021 is that we gained a new member on the 1st of January 2021 but that will have to wait until this year’s report. The average membership age was 75.9 years ranging from 66 to 101 years and the average length of membership was about 15.5 years with our longest member having served the club for over 46 years and our newest members completing just some 15 months. We have five female members.

Unfortunately, we again had to use our incident record book when one of our ‘Guests’ had a vomiting attack at the New Year party, but this was efficiently dealt with by St John Ambulance in attendance; we organised transport home, phoned her son and within a few days the lady concerned was back to normal. We still have no-one directly responsible for the Almoner’s role, but it was recorded that three members suffered from Covid19, one early on in March (the Secretary), and two contracting the virus in hospital, one who happens to be our oldest member following a fall at his home and the other who was in hospital for heart problems. Thank goodness all have/are recovering back to full health. Also, sadly one member had ongoing health problems and spent some time back in hospital during the year and of course we all gained one extra year.

The Club received a complaint about the behaviour of one of our members at a ‘Guest’ event in the early part of the year. In line with Club rules this was investigated by a subcommittee, reported back to the committee, findings recorded in a private minute and the agreed recommended action implemented to the satisfaction of the complainants. Hopefully, this will be a definite one-off.

 A subcommittee was formed in February 2020 to look at how we could reduce our Reserves by making possible one-off donations however, due to the virus this was quicky put on hold and the subcommittee turned its attention to what the Club could do to help our ‘Guests’ get through the pandemic and came suggested many positive ideas. The co-ordination and co-operation of the workshop for 16 local Charity organisations set up in 2018, had to be put on hold for the whole of 2020 although our Chairman kept in touch with many of the Charities throughout the year seeking common ground, suggestions, ideas to combat loneliness, sadness, anxiety amongst older local People.     

 Organising drivers and helpers to make regular phone calls to our ‘Guests’ was the main role for our Welfare officer in 2020 which he organised brilliantly. Again, the Club is indebted to our ever-expanding list of helpers who ensured that we could keep regular contact with our ‘Guests’ to check they were well, not needing any help and that they received the meals organised for them throughout the year. On several occasions we had to organise for essential food and medical items to be delivered where our ‘Guests’ could not get out and for one person, where life was getting very difficult, we were able to make sure Social Services became involved in providing help. Sadly, we still have to rely on helpers to fulfil our commitments, as many members remain shy of helping, with many reasons given as to why they are unavailable, not helped by the age profile of the Club putting many into the vulnerable bracket and many reluctant to drive at night.  However, even just making regular phone calls from their homes to ‘Guests’ was not that popular.

The Club’s accounts have again been efficient managed by the Treasurer and the 2020 accounts have been given another a clean bill of health by the auditor, Brennan Pearson & Co. I have already talked above about where our income accrued from and where expenditure was incurred. The committee decided that with no raffles as we had no ‘Guest’ events we would ask if any ‘Guests’ would like to join our ‘200 Club’ and as a result we start 2021 with over twenty new members. Administration and one-off expenses continue to remain low at under 7% of total income even though the Club did incur some one-off costs relating to printing a news sheet for ‘Guests’. Of this percentage, Public Liability and Trustee Insurance was 3.2% and maintenance of our Web site, 0.7%. The net impact of the deficit of £3,035 (after allowing for an increase in the COIF shares) was to Reserves at the year-end to £25,717 (£28,752).

While this level still exceeds the Club Reserves policy of, around six months expenditure together with an additional £2,000 as a contingency fund for unforeseen liabilities, in the light of the pandemic and relaxation on Reserve levels being considered by the Charity Commissioners the Committee may need to review this policy later in the year. The Club’s high level of Reserves did mean though we could continue with all our good works throughout 2020 with no cash flow worries unlike many other Charities. Also, as mentioned above, the subcommittee looking at reducing our Reserves level, quickly concentrated their concentrated efforts on how we can help our ‘Guests’ through the pandemic and several good ideas have been forthcoming and initiated. As a result of these actions, the committee’s decision to carry on providing monthly meals until at least the summer of 2021, and another lack of some fund-raising events returning will probably result in the Reserve level seeing a further decline in the current year. However, generous, and numerous donations keep appearing which will mean we can continue our commitments without financial concerns.

The committee has worked well under an inspired Chairman and a well organised Welfare officer and in very difficult conditions has produced significant results in ensuring the Club’s objective of helping Older People in the Barnet area has been maintained. Despite not having physical meetings, Zoom has worked well for the committee and regular emails has meant everybody within the Club has been aware what was occurring and how situations were being responded to. The evidence of this success has been clearly seen in the number of thank you cards, smiley faces at doors, welcoming phone calls together with many small donations all coming from very grateful ‘Guests’.     

Signed on behalf of the Trustees

Roger Moore MBE Hon Secretary                                                                               Date  1st March 2021