The 2023 Trustees Report

In accordance with our Constitution, the Trustees Report for 2023 is set out below.

It was another busy year for the club as ’Guest’ events returned to normal although our membership still seem reluctant to fully participate in club events and several meetings had to be cancelled. Nevertheless, with a growing band of ‘helpers’, The Puddenecks remain healthy and active.

Income for 2023 amounted to £34,205 (gross) while expenditure totalled £34,204 resulting in a surplus of just £1.57. Income benefited from a successful Golf Day; Race Night; raffles organised by ‘Ye Olde Monk’; Subscriptions; Gift Aid; and the ‘200’ Club. In addition, the Club is indebted to Totteridge Millhillians Cricket Club (TMCC) for all their support and to four ‘gentlemen’ who, once again donated £1,500 from their annual Charity Golf day to fund our ‘Guests’ Christmas party. The Club received numerous donations some large, including £1,881 from the former ladies Captain at Hadley Wood Golf Club, £665 from a TMCC member for a cycle ride across the Alps, £560 from Barnet Lawn Tennis Club and £500 from a local Masonic lodge, but we also received many smaller amounts, and all donations are very gratefully received.

The 2022 audited accounts were circulated in March 2023 together with the Committee report and the Chairman’s statement. The AGM was held in April and approved these three documents. Also, at the AGM a new committee was selected and in accordance with the Constitution any member is entitled to stand for office. While Chris Marshall stood down, the existing seven committee members agreed to stay, retaining their respective roles. Two new members had volunteered to join but at the last moment both declined leaving the committee one member short to make it compliant with our Constitutional rules. We were therefore delighted when, one of our newest members, Veronica McGowan, volunteered to come onto the committee and this has proved a very positive move.

The committee met six times during the year and had an 76% attendance record and this would have been higher if Covid had not again come into our lives. 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 (five editions and one newssheet) which were distributed to all members and helpers. The newsletter contains important information about the Club, photos of our activities and relevant dates of events, so everyone was fully aware of events. Steph Harrison (a helper) very kindly updates the Club’s WEB page. We also now produce a year’s calendar so clearly marking out the important times of the year for the Club.

To conform with all the statutory rules which seem to grow daily, all Club policies were reviewed in February 2023 and any changes made to the Club Rules and Operating Instructions booklet were announced to members at the AGM in April 2023.  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 and ‘risk management’ is a standing item on the Committee agenda.  

The Club met for supper on three occasions, February was a fund-raising supper meeting and we had Neil Fox talking about ‘The History of the London Palladium’ which proved successful. April was our AGM and while all the business of the AGM was conducted there was a very disappointing turnout of members while our June meeting had to be cancelled as member’s support was too low to justify the evening. In October Neil Todd talked to us on ‘Some mysteries surrounding murder investigations’ and yet again excellent evening but there was a disappointing turnout.

At the start of 2023, the Club had 51 paid up and 4 Honorary members. During the year we added 5 new members but lost a long-standing member (Roy Nash a member for 37 years) while 8 members decided not to renew so we ended the year with 47 paid up members. We also gained another Honorary member (taking this total to 5) with the committee honouring Andy Heath, in recognition of his 34 years membership and for all the many roles he has undertaken within the Club. The average membership age was 72.0 years, ranging from 30 to 104 years and the average length of membership was about 12 years with our longest serving member at over 44 years and shortest (2 members) at less than 1 month.  Excluding our Honorary membership, the average age declined to 70.1 years and average membership length fell to 9 years. We have 11 female members, representing over 23% of our membership. For 2024 we have lost another two members in January 2024 but that will be recorded in the 2024 Trustee report.

The incident record book was used only once in the year and we are grateful to St John Ambulance, (Barnet Division) who attend all our ‘Guest’ events. Following the incident in the Autumn, the committee had a long discussion about St John in attendance, as it costs the Club £120 per event, and many of the Golf Club staff are First Aid trained, but it was unanimously decided that the comfort St John’s presence brought to members if action was required and that our ‘Guests’ would receive ‘expert’ help made us conclude this was money well spent. We still have no-one directly responsible for the Almoner’s role, but it was recorded that three members had been in hospital during the year, with one now fully recovered while the other two are making a good recovery and hopefully all will soon be fully fit again.

In September we had to say goodbye to Nathan Gilpin, the Old Fold Manor Golf Club manager who, for personal reasons, decided to move back to Cornwall to carry on his managerial role. We will miss him as he was always so helpful on Puddenecks affairs, but we welcome Alex Doran as the new Club manager and already we have started to build up a good relationship.

The subcommittee continued to look at making ‘One off’ donations and during the year we gave £2,500 to Barnet Citizens Advice Bureau, to support their hardship funds to assist ‘Older people’ in Barnet in need. As a result, we now get regular reports from the CAB on how our money has been spent and the benefits it provides to ‘Older People’. The committee continued its campaign to help ‘Older People’ against a rising level of crime in Barnet and several meetings occurred between the local Police and councillors. As part of this campaign, we had a local Community Police officer attend one of our Monthly coffee morning to give advice.

Our two major fund-raising events were again successes, the Golf Day, raising over £9,000, while Race Night made over £2,000. Both events were thoroughly enjoyed by those attending.

The Club ran seven evening themed events, two BBQs, and a Christmas lunch, together with two visits from Grimsdell school, mentioned below, for our ‘Guests’. In addition, we run two weekly (term time) Movement to Music classes and a monthly coffee morning at Wesley Hall. The Club also sent out birthday and Christmas cards to all ‘Guests’. The Club is grateful to all members, helpers and friends who help, organise, and attended these events to make them successful for our ‘Guests’. In May, we invited Grimsdell School to Old Fold (the previous December’s event being cancelled) and over the lunchtime period around forty, Year two, pupils sang and entertained some thirty ‘Guests’, a great success for the school choir and our ‘Guests’. This was then repeated in November and again was hugely successful.  Unfortunately, we had to cancel our April ‘Guest’ event evening due to a lack of drivers which was disappointing as ‘Guests’ so much look forward to being taken out, made a fuss of, and then escorted back home having had a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

 The Club has traditionally offered a gift to members on joining and for many years this was a tie for gentlemen and a scarf for ladies. In 2022 the committee decided to replace these gifts with Polo shirts with the Club’s logo on to all new members and after much sourcing the Club bought 25 Polos shirts of various sizes. Wearing these will enable anyone on Puddenecks business to be easily recognisable. We planned to give these Polo shirts to all new members joining from 2023 (although they were not actually available till late June) but, as you will have read above, a lack of meetings and interest in attending means most new members are still awaiting their present. Plans are though in hand to rectify this in 2024.

The Club’s accounts have again been efficiently managed by the Treasurer and the 2023 accounts have been given a clean bill of health by the auditor, Brennan Pearson & Co. I have already talked above about income accrued and expenditure incurred. The ‘200 Club’ continues to attract new members and at the year-end we had 155 tickets allocated. Administration and one-off expenses remain low at about 1.9% of total income and of this percentage, Public Liability and Trustee Insurance was 1.4% and maintenance of our Website, 0.3%. The net impact of the small surplus was that Reserves at the year-end (after allowing for a very small decline in the value in the COIF shares) amounted to £26,249 (£26,473 in 2022).

While this level of reserves exceeds the Club Reserves policy of around six months expenditure together with an additional £2,000 as a contingency fund for unforeseen liabilities, the pandemic over the past three years have made this policy seem very harsh and, by having more flexibility the Club has been able to continue all its good works throughout 2023 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 climate will impact on our income (negatively) and expenses (increasing) over the coming year. We continue to monitor the Reserves level at committee and will take any appropriate action as thought necessary.

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 a hardworking enthusiastic committee which has ensured both income flowed, and events happened.

2024 will be another challenging year for The Puddenecks but with 47 members and over 50 helpers the Club 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. A major challenge for 2024 is to further strengthen the committee, which is the lifeline to the Club, so we can ensure ongoing success, as we approach our Seventieth anniversary.

Signed on behalf of the Trustees

Roger Moore MBE Hon Secretary                                                                          Date 28th February 2024