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Reports for Rottingdean Whiteway Centre AGM on Thursday, 2nd April 2020

1. CHAIRMAN’S  REPORT     (Peter Hewetson-Brown)

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the AGM of the Rottingdean Whiteway Centre. It gives me the opportunity to review the last year and look a little over the horizon at the future changes in personnel.

Trustees to resign are

  1. Colin Campbell, former chair and now secretary and Acting Treasurer, retiring after ?? years on the Management Committee. He is being replaced as Treasurer by Gersha Newnham, a local accountant.
  2. Richard Bosworth, Education Finance and IT manager, retiring after ?? years on the Management Committee. His Education Finance role is being taken on by Laura Rodriguez. His IT role is being taken on by Roland Myers.
  3. Mike Gregory, Education Course Organiser, retiring after three years in the role and on the Management Committee. He is replaced by George Bradbury.
  4. Katie Campbell, Education registrations, retiring for work and family reasons. She is being replaced by Jo Newman.
  5. Philip Sugg, Publicity officer, retiring to pursue other interests.

I give my very grateful thanks to those who are moving on for their excellent and dedicated work during their times in office. They have done great work for the Centre and for the village.

Terry Peat, a long-standing caretaker, who retired through ill health, died in June 2019. His genial character and excellent care of the Centre will be sorely missed. His job as the lead caretaker was taken on by Terry Woodley, returning to the Whiteway from retirement which he found too stressful! Peter Slattery retired in February 2019 and was replaced by Anthony Stunt.

Improvements

a. Completion of the new kitchen which gives us more cupboard space and further surface area on which to prepare food for functions

b. Sanding and redressing of the Main Hall floor during the holiday maintenance window in August 2019

2. Fire Drills were carried out through the week of 25th February to 1st March. Another week of drills will be carried out 16 – 20 March 2020

3. The Education programme has had another excellent year steered so well by Mike Gregory whose enormous contribution has led to the courses being enjoyed by more people than ever before. His wise contributions on the management committee will be sorely missed. I give George Bradbury every good wish in his work as Mike’s replacement.

4. The electronic registration system has now been in use for a couple of years now and I urge everyone who has access to a computer to use it if they can instead of the paper form. It makes the job of the registrations officer so much simpler and more efficient. Only about 50% of our students use it so far and it is hoped that as it becomes more widely known about more students will pay their course fees by this method. Likewise, the BACS system of payment on line has worked remarkably well and I urge everyone to use it as their standard method of payment if they can rather than using cheques.

5. As always, I give my most grateful thanks to our tutors, the caretakers and the volunteers who give so much of their time to this vital village resource. The tutors are invariably popular and give interesting lectures which are universally enjoyed. The caretakers continue to give tremendous service in sometimes difficult circumstances.

6. Finally, I commend the volunteers on the management committee for their work, commitment and dedication. They are all volunteers and give up their time to keep the Whiteway running for the benefit of the village. The Whiteway does not run itself. It only exists because of the dedication of its volunteers and it would give me so much pleasure if more people would help as well. If you are interested in volunteering then please contact me or any member of the committee.  


TREASURER’S FINANCIAL REPORT    (Colin Campbell)  Link to detailed Accounts

Treasurer’s Report: Rottingdean Whiteway Centre, Year End 2019

1. Expenditure

Running costs for 2019 totalled £74,619 this figure was under budget by 2,981.

The good performance against budget partially reflects the fact that unusually no significant improvement projects were undertaken in the year, the most significant expense being the cost of sanding and resealing the main hall floor. Costs for PAYE tax was higher than budget due to paying five quarters in the year following a late payment in first quarter.  The Centre continued to reap the benefits of low utility charges for gas and electricity due to rates negotiated in previous two years, indeed both came in at lower cost than back in 2016.

2. Income

Income exceeded budgeted predictions across most main income areas, total income was £94,595 exceeding budget by £7,795.  In particular education income at over £66,000 was higher than the target which mainly reflects an excellent increase in student numbers, though some of the gain is due to the fact that more students than previously are paying before year end for courses to be held in the following spring term.  This has the effect of bringing forward future income into the current year.

3. Surplus

We finished 2019 with an overall surplus of £19,975 and reserves totalling £103,264

 RWC offer a basic low cost pension scheme to caretakers and tutors through The People's Pension. Currently, RWC is not required to auto enrol nor contribute to the pension of any member of our payroll. To date none of our employees has joined the pension scheme.

4. Financial Stability and Reserves

 RWC is financially stable and again finished the year within overall budget and with a healthy surplus. We have reserves of around £103,000 and an agreed policy that we should keep reserves at a level of approximately 6 months turnover - this leaves £50,000 available to spend on modernisation.













































EDUCATION OFFICER’S REPORT    (Mike Gregory)

2019 was a very good year for enrolments on adult education courses, with the total up on the previous year’s: 820 compared with 799. In the Spring Term, there were 315 enrolments, compared with 282 in the preceding year; in the Summer Term there were 150 as against 178 in 2017; and then in the Autumn Term there were 355, up from 339 the previous autumn. The budgeted figure for course fee income for the year was exceeded by a significant amount.   We offered a total of 84 courses over the year, of which 9 were cancelled when it appeared that the cost of tuition was likely to exceed the fee income owing to low enrolment numbers, and 4 were cancelled when the tutors withdrew for health or other reasons.

The standard fee for a 10-week course was kept at £84, which is still significantly less than most  other adult education providers in the area.  75 students chose the option of paying straight off for a two term course starting in September, with a discounted fee of £160. A bursary scheme to help those who might have difficulty paying course fees was introduced from September 2019. So far, two people have taken advantage of the scheme.

As in previous years, questionnaires were distributed to students during the Spring Term;  there were 335 enrolments at the time and 205 (65%) completed questionnaires were returned. In regard to course content, 189 students (92%) pronounced themselves ‘Very pleased’, 16 (8%) ‘Fairly pleased’ and none ‘Disappointed’. 92% is lower than the 95% in the Spring Term 2018. In regard to delivery/mode of tuition, 191 (93%) were ‘Very pleased’, 14 (7%) were ‘Fairly pleased’ and none was ‘Disappointed’. Again, 93% is lower than the 95% in 2018. The slightly lower ratings may be at least partly explained by a firmer insistence on our part that the tutors were not to collect the completed questionnaires from the students. The majority of the comments about the courses praised the excellence of the tutors, in particular how knowledgeable, lively, enthusiastic, good-humoured, patient, and encouraging they are. Other frequent comments mentioned the interesting and stimulating content, the good pace of the courses and lessons, and the good atmosphere in the classes. Some of the students who stated they were only “fairly pleased” with content or delivery either wrote no comments to explain why or only wrote positive comments.

Students are asked to make suggestions or requests for new programmes. Most of the requests are for more of the same, or for new topics within the subject areas which interest them, but  astronomy and yoga were both requested by several students, and both were then offered and are running in the 2019-20 programme.

Most of the comments about accommodation and facilities were very positive. Most of the students simply wrote “excellent”, “very good”, “good”, “fine”, “OK”, “satisfactory” or “adequate”. Several students commented that the Centre is clean and comfortable, and several students commented positively on the new kitchen.

Other positive comments included:

The main complaint, made by 10 of the students, was about inadequate heating on occasion in the Main Hall and GB Room. A year ago, after problems with the central heating, 49 students complained about cold rooms, so it is hoped that the big drop in complaints reflects the effectiveness of the repairs.

Other complaints included:

Other comments included:

“Well-organised centre”

“Like the friendliness of the place”

“Would like to see more photographs/art work on the walls, represented by local artists”. This point has now been addressed: Philip Sugg arranged with our art tutors and the camera club that art works would be loaned by them and these are now displayed on the walls of three of the four teaching rooms.

As regards the administration of the educational provision, there was a change at the start of the summer term when Mike Gregory took over the course enrolment role from Katie Campbell, who had done an excellent job and introduced a number of improvements to the enrolment process. At the end of the autumn term, Mike Gregory gave up the Course Organiser and the Special Events Organiser roles and George Bradbury took over from the beginning of the Spring Term this year. Richard Bosworth continued to look after tutors' pay and the Centre’s IT equipment and audio-visual aids, though Laura Rodriguez has now taken over responsibility for tutors’ pay.  Brian Knight continues to manage the website, which included setting up the online course enrolment facility, and in his publicity role Philip Sugg continued to help with the printing and distribution of the termly prospectuses.  

While the successful operation of the Centre’s educational provision owes much to our outstanding tutors, we must also give credit to our ever-helpful and hard-working caretakers: Terry Woodley, Richard Haynes and Anthony Stunt.

In addition to the regular courses, 8 Whiteway Mornings and 2 Whiteway Mornings were offered on a range of topics as an extension to the Education programme.  One of these was cancelled due to the low number of bookings, but the others were all well attended. Four of the Whiteway Mornings were joint events with the Sussex School of Archaeology, with which we continue to have a close and fruitful relationship.

2020 has started well, with 378 spring term enrolments compared with 315 last year and no course cancellations.





BUILDING REPORT (David Wilson)

During 2018 a complete uplift was carried out in the main kitchen. Minor completion works were carried out during 2019.

The main hall floor was sanded and re-sealed.

Within the main hall and youth hall the operating controls for ceiling fans were relocated to a lower level to ease operation by building users.

The heating boiler has been tested and serviced.

The centre’s fire alarm and emergency lighting systems have been tested and certified safe by our contractors.

Letting report for 2019

As in previous years the centre has been used on a regular basis by user groups from local societies, commercial users, and the pre-school. The rooms are also booked for single events such as parties, AGM’s and MP’s surgeries. Single and occasional bookings are handled by the letting officer, Jo Newman, and regular bookings by Lynn Hutchinson, the User Group Secretary.

Regular Users

Whilst regular user groups have largely remained unchanged for several years, 2019 saw some changes starting the year with 14 members and 5 commercial users and ending with 15 user groups and 4 commercial users. We gained a book club but lost one of the oldest groups, Rottingdean and Windmill WI.

Income from the commercial and regular users was £19958, slightly down from 2018 due to some changes of rooms and dates. Room hire charges remained unchanged for 2019 but have been increased, along with the setting up charge for 2020.   

One Off Lettings

There were 106 one off lettings with 7 cancellations: compared to 74 lettings last year. The income total was £ 3,482.00. This is about £500 less than last year. One explanation could be the increased use of the Youth Hall over the Main Hall: the proportion of bookings for each room this year is roughly the same whereas last year there were twice as many bookings for the main hall compared to the YH.

The amount of money taken is NOT the amount of money banked. People pay for bookings in advance so some of the money for this year’s bookings will have been banked last year.

The breakdown is:  


















Including

We had a number of bookings from Brighton Buddhist Centre – hence the increase in meditation

There have also been a few bookings from people who are doing good things and therefore claim to be non-commercial but they are charging people to attend their courses. I am not sure what we can do about this. As we have seen in the past, a number of small commercial users simply disappear when their ‘introductory discount’ comes to an end.


We have had some lovely regulars – including Leonie and her very popular craft days and Leo with what I thought was Lindy hop but turned out to be Shamanic meditation: Eagleswing


There were also some cancellations, which have been included in the count.
















What


%


Where


%


Slot



Day



AGM

11

10.4


YH

33

31.1


am

23


W/end

45


Training

5

4.7


MH

35

33


pm

21


Day

61


Workshop

4

3.8


RR

13

12.3


2 sessions

18





Meeting

20

18.9


GB

25

23.6


eve

43





Class

13

12.3






3 sessions

1





Party

15

14.2












Event

6

5.7












Therapy

1

0.9












Course

3

2.8












Rehearsal

5

4.7












Wake

1

0.9












Meditation

19

17.9












Commerce

3

2.8