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Annual Members’ Meeting

 Thursday 15th June 2023 at 7.00pm

at St Leonards Church, Green Lane, Yarpole HR6 0BB

  1. Welcome

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the AMM. Forty members attended.

  1. Apologies

17 apologies were received.

 Approval of the minutes of the AMM held on 9th June 2022

Andrew Praill proposed the approval of the minutes, seconded by Vivien Mitchell and passed unanimously.

         4. Matters arising from the minutes of the 2022 AMM

No matters arising. Marketing will be mentioned later in the meeting.

         5. Chairmans Report

The Chair, Jon Pitts (JP), thanked the members for attending the AMM and presented his report:

It has been a fairly quiet year and hopefully we have now seen the back of Covid. We did not win the Countryside Alliance award this year, but having won it twice before, were not too disappointed. St Leonard’s Management (SLM) building management group agreement has been approved and signed. We are able to make community grants available again this year due to a shop surplus. There have only minor technical issues through the year. The Marketing strategy is in progress.

The major area of work this year has been reconfiguring the finance roles amongst board members in anticipation of David’s retirement from the Board. That complex piece of work is now almost complete.

The chair also thanked Rowena and Kate; all volunteers from front of house to bins, via papers and all; to our sub post ‘persons’ Richard, Linda & Jonam; and by no means least colleagues on the board over the last year and beyond; and most importantly to members for being loyal customers, shareholders and supporters of our shop.

        6. Report on the state of membership and the membership strategy

Total membership currently stands at 395 which is up slightly on this time last year (390). We continue to promote share ownership through leafleting new residents, etc. The take up by new residents is very encouraging and in particular over the last year new people stepping forward to join the board. The quorate challenge remains so this coming year we will undertake some housekeeping, as our rules allow, as we have lost contact with some members and this will reduce the quorum requirement making it easier to achieve.

         7. Receipt of the Financial Accounts for 2022

The Treasurer, David Cheshire (DC), presented the 2022 accounts. DC reported that 2022 was a good year overall with turnover up by 3%. This enabled us to make a surplus of £3492 to distribute back into the community thus fulfilling our obligations as a Community Benefit Society. DC compared 2022 figures with those of 2021 and advised that the gross margin had decreased by 1% which reflects the absorption of increased supplier’s costs. Transactions increased by 1.1% but spend per transaction reduced by 6.3%. Customer account sales reduced by 10.5% but credit card sales rose by 14.2%. The Post Office income decreased slightly despite improved tariffs. Admin costs continue to rise largely due to rising energy costs and wages being paid in line with the Living Wage Foundation rate which is higher than the government’s living wage. Fixed assets have reduced due to depreciation and shop reserves may be needed to replace items such as chiller/freezer. Debtors totalling £17,000 include Mortimer Community Benefit Society (MCBS) loan of £10,000 which has started to be repaid quarterly; and customer accounts. Creditors of £12860 are mostly to suppliers, unpaid grants as work incomplete, tax, VAT and EPOS. A change of card payment processing agent is being evaluated with a view to reducing the commission paid on card transactions.  For payment of shop accounts BACS remains the most economic option.

The first 5 months of 2023 are showing an increase in transactions, sales, spend per transaction, account sales and card transactions on the same period in 2022. PO income is not covering its costs. The current challenges are sourcing products, energy costs, competitive pricing vs cost of living increases and market penetration ie adding new repeat customers.

The full accounts are available on the website and a copy has been lodged in the shop.

    Question from a member: Should the shop be paying more than £1 in rent to PCC in view of increasing running costs of the church building? DC responded: We have a Licence to Occupy which sets out the rent until 2034. The Building Management Group (BMG) recently became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and was renamed St Leonard’s Management (SLM). BMG/SLM has always been responsible for the running of the church building and operating within a balanced budget where possible.  It relies on income from the Gallery Café, from the PCC, and from hirings and fundraising events.  The shop supports the community and returns any surplus to the community and reinvestment in the shop. The shop has provided over £20,000 in community grants, of which a large proportion was given to SLM/PCC. The shop was also able to give the BMG £500 per month for 6/12 during the pandemic due to a large increase in sales.

  Question from a member: Asked for clarification on how the church building is administered. Sue Russell responded that SLM will be holding a public meeting in the Autumn to meet the team and answer any questions. There has also been an article in The Parishioner explaining the set up.

  1. Acceptance by the members of the 2022 accounts

Acceptance of the accounts was proposed by Jane Praill, seconded by Helen Edwards and passed unanimously.

  1. To agree that the 2022 accounts may be prepared without an audit and presented with an accountant’s report

DC proposed the continuing independent examination of the accounts without the extra costs of a full audit. This was agreed unanimously.

  Question from a member: Do the accounts need to be audited at some point? DC responded that they do not.

        8. Appointment of Accountants for 2022

DC proposed continuing with the accountants Kendall Wadley as they have developed an excellent working relationship. This was passed unanimously.

       9. Election of the Management Board

The following Board Members are standing for re-election:

Jon Pitts - Chair 

Lindsay Slade - Company Secretary

Paula Drurey - Bookkeeper

Toby Slade - Payments, Payroll, VAT, HMRC, etc.

Steve Drurey - currently delegated but could become full board member - Alcohol licensing and Technical ‘Fixer’.

There is a new nomination from Gordon Ewing who has shown interest in marketing.

JP suggested all standing for re-election be voted for en masse unless any objections. This was proposed by Christine Cheshire, seconded by Angela Barnett and passed unanimously. There was then a second vote to appoint Gordon Ewing (who had met the proposal and seconder requirement on his application). This was also passed unanimously.

10. Shareholder vote to distribute a portion of surplus funds to community projects

The following applications have been received, all of which can be funded; therefore, a vote is not required.

Brian Mitchell: Yarpole Mens’ Shed - for constructing a movable base for the sheds - £450.00.

Maggie Brown: Parish Council - Lucton Village Defibrillator - provision thereof in Lucton (part of the Parish) - £1000 requested out of total cost of £1555.

Sue Russell: St Leonard’s Management - Gallery Cafe Improvements - purchase and installation of new hot water urn - £500 out of a total cost of £528.54.

Maggie Brown: Parish Council - Community Meadow Picnic Table - 4-seater table with attached seating for the new village green - £452.

Julian Stokes: Yarpole Website - 2 years funding for new .org website - £150.

Details will be published in The Parishioner and on the website

Before closing the meeting, the Chairman expressed a heartfelt thanks to David Cheshire and Alex Jenkins who are standing down as board members tonight. Both have been vital to the continuing success of our shop over a number of years and we owe them a huge debt of thanks. Both have also offered to continue supporting those assuming their roles after they stand down. JP presented each with a gift from the Board.

The meeting closed at 7.55pm.