This was a long year – we changed our accounting year from 31 December to 31 March to align with HMRC and the financial year. So, we are now reporting on a 15-month year and our income of just over £25,000 reflects this extra period.
This has been the first full year of the Charity under the trusteeship of the Parish Council. At the start of the year, we were projecting a short operating loss, but this projection changed as we worked through the year, with a small surplus of £2,515 at the end of the 12th month increasing to £4,800 by the 31 March. This surplus helps to increase our depleted reserves, essentially to provide adequate maintenance provision for the ageing buildings.
Our staff has been excellent at picking up the challenge of managing the operation – Sue and Mark ensuring that the facilities are clean, serviceable, safe and welcoming and Gabbie running the administration and finances.
We also have a number of wonderful volunteers without whom, we would struggle to provide some facilities. For example, Christine and Colin, who come in on Sunday mornings to clear away tables and chairs after bingo, always early, so that the hall is ready for another booking, should it be required. Sue and Maggie run our Walkers’ Café, which provides hot refreshments for Ramblers on their regular walks through the village. Heather is our Independent Examiner for our accounts, providing an essential service free to the charity. In December, we saw the retirement of two wonderful volunteers, Phil & Maureen, who rang the very popular bi-monthly Quiz night – a fundraising event for the NRCC, which this year generated over £1,600. All the volunteers associated with the Sports and Social Club, which continues to develop are greatly appreciated. There are others, members of various groups, who do running repairs, which provide a great contribution to the enjoyment of others. All of this goes to making the community centre a place for everybody.
Improvements during the last 15 months
Replacement doors to the Sports & Social Club building. Financed by charity funds.
Internal painting of the community centre main hall, kitchen, toilets and lobby, utilising the services of the Probation Services. Installation of new ceiling tiles in the main hall. Financed by charity funds.
Installation of automatic hand-dryers in the community centre. Financed by Dudgeon Community Fund.
A new mechanical floor cleaner, replacing the traditional mop & bucket. Financed by the Parish Council.
5-year electrical testing (as due) was carried out on both the community centre and social club buildings.
Significant upgrades and improvements to our play area, financed by the Parish Council through external grants and precept funding.
New table tennis facility added to the playing field, financed by grants secured by the Parish Council.
New counter top oven to support Lunch Club, financed by grant secured by the Parish Council.
Hall use during 2016 to 31 March 2017
We saw an increase in regular activities during the year with the introduction of weekly keep fit, yoga, dog-training and children’s football training. Our other regular hirers continue, with the exception of the Thursday Club, which unfortunately folded following the retirement of the organiser. Whilst our fundraising quiz is no longer, Necton Little Oaks have stepped forward to run it as their fundraising event and so it becomes a hall booking for us as we go into the new year.
Looking ahead to 2017/18
In addition to continued provision of community facilities, we have some very exciting projects planned this year:
A new Community Garden where people can enjoy restful seating areas and share social outdoor connections;
A summer music festival on 22 July with top tribute bands;
A Christmas Carol, a special adaptation for younger audiences. Free tickets for show in December;
An outdoor boules court, still at research stage, but in response to suggestions from residents;
Improvements to the access track to the Sports & Social Club and provision of allocated parking spaces;
Improvements to the main car park which will incorporate repairs by NCC to the highway drainage facilities;
A new path to school; a path from the main car park tracking along the southern fence to a gate at the eastern fence. This is primarily for schoolchildren, but also provides a facility for people wishing to walk the boundary of the playing field as part of a healthy excise routine.
None of this is possible without the good work of our trustee members, our enthusiastic and hard-working staff, and our volunteers who help run regular groups and events. Moreover, there would be no point to all this wonderful work if we did not receive support from Necton residents who continue to use the community centre, sports & social club, playing fields and play areas.
Chairman of Trustee board, May 2017