Annual General Meeting 2021

Draft minutes of the third Annual General Meeting of the Crouch End & District u3a held online on 15 April 2021

1. Welcome

The Chair of the Executive Committee, Sally Whitaker, welcomed all those present online to the third Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Crouch End & District u3a (CEDu3a)

2. Confirmation of Quorum

The Secretary, Jackie Langford, confirmed that the required quorum of 72 online participants had been surpassed, with a total of 112 recorded at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting could therefore continue.

3. Approval of previous AGM minutes

The Chair asked participants to approve the minutes of the previous AGM, held on 16 July 2020. The minutes were approved by the majority of participants, with 97 voting to approve and 8 abstaining. There were no votes to reject the minutes.

4. Election of an additional Trustee

The Secretary reminded participants that, in a letter issued to all members on 11th January 2020, they had been offered the opportunity to nominate replacement trustees, with each nomination requiring a proposer and a seconder. There were up to two trustee positions available. However, only one nomination had been received by the submission closing date of 5th February and therefore an election process was not required.
 
The nomination received was for John Hemingway, proposed by Alison Miller and seconded by Janet Sutherland. The Secretary proposed that the nominee, John Hemingway, was appointed as a trustee.
 
The proposal to elect John Hemingway as a trustee was carried by the majority of participants, with 107 voting to approve and 6 abstaining. There were no votes to reject the proposal.
 
The Chair welcomed John as a trustee on the Executive Committee.

5. Financial reports and accounts for 2020

The Treasurer, Andrew Sich, delivered the financial report and accounts for the year 2020. A written report and detailed accounts had already been circulated to all members.
 
Reflecting key themes from the detailed report, he outlined how the impact of Covid-19 restrictions throughout the greater part of 2020 had forced many activities online and reduced the level of outgoings originally planned in the budget for that year. The total income for 2020 had been £29,404 with total outgoings of £11,527. The surplus generated for 2020 therefore was £17,877, making total accumulated reserves of £28,507.
 
As a consequence of the unanticipated increase in reserves in 2020, the subscription rate had been reduced to £15 for existing members for 2021, and £25 for any new members joining. A budget had been drawn up for the current year that assumed a part-year effect of restrictions on normal activities.
 
CEDu3a funds were currently held across two separate banks, Metro and Natwest, because the former offered an online service that is sufficiently flexible and the latter offered lower exposure to risk overall. There is a possibility that Natwest may begin to offer a more flexible online service in the near future, in which case we will revisit arrangements.
 
An annual Gift Aid rebate on subscriptions would be sought from HMRC for 2020, as it was for 2019 when a rebate of over £1,500 was received.
 
As in previous years Paul Soper, one of our members and a qualified accountant, had provided an independent examination of the accounts and expressed no concerns to report. Both the Treasurer and the Chair thanked Paul for his input and also thanked Anne Hutchings, who had acted as book-keeper throughout the year.
 
Participants were offered the opportunity to ask questions on this item but none were forthcoming.
 
The proposal to approve the financial accounts was carried by the majority of participants, with 110 voting to approve and 5 abstaining. There were no votes to reject the proposal.

6. Annual report

Looking back at 2020
 
The Chair presented key points from a written annual report that had been made available to all members before the meeting. She began by reviewing the activities and achievements in 2020, against the extremely challenging background of the pandemic beginning in March 2020, with the periodic lockdowns and ongoing restrictions on meeting face to face.
 
The Chair reported that despite restrictions, regular Executive Committee meetings had continued online and officer trustees met more frequently in order to ensure that the charity was well managed. The AGM went ahead online and was well attended.
 
Although member numbers dropped during the renewal period at the start of 2020, they increased again to around 800 in-year and a total of 87 interest groups were offered and listed online. The pandemic meant that not all groups continued to meet, however a significant number of conveners and members were quick to move online while others kept in touch using emails, Facebook, WhatsApp and telephone.
 
Some groups met outdoors when this was permitted and a small number of new groups were started up online.
 

Monthly meetings in the Union Church had to cease, so from June two talks per month were arranged online via Zoom, covering a wide range of subjects which had been well received with attendance often over 100 members. Unfortunately some meetings planned, such as the Open Day, had to be postponed but limited social events, such as quiz night, were able to be held online. Some new volunteers were recruited to help with IT support, group convening, the news bulletin and newsletter content.
 
On the communications front, the excellent website was kept up to date throughout the year providing vital information with regular updates on the current state of play regarding the restrictions, groups updates, online talks and information from the national office of the u3a. The news bulletin continued to be distributed to members each month. In May a newsletter News@… was launched which was well received and will be published three times a year. Telephone support was maintained for non-internet user members and hard copies of news bulletins, the newsletter and official papers were posted throughout the year.
 
A special thank you was given to all who helped to deliver these actions.
 
Priorities for 2021
 
All activities possible will open up, whilst Covid restrictions allow. CEDu3a will fully restart all groups, social and other activities whenever possible to maintain and develop the interest groups, supporting and enabling conveners and members to participate. Monthly talks will continue either online or in person, or possibly a combination of both, with a range of speakers.
 

The regular communications methods will continue and a recruitment campaign is planned to raise the profile of the u3a and increase membership numbers.
 

As well as continuing to manage the charity’s business efficiently and effectively, we aim to address any equality issues and increase the diversity of our membership. We will also complete a skills audit of Executive Committee members and undertake succession planning for all essential roles, in part to inform the development of a training programme for all trustees, officers, conveners and other volunteers where beneficial.
 
The Chair acknowledged that it was still not certain when CEDu3a will be able to resume full activities, remaining guided by the law and government and national u3a guidelines. However we have done very well in comparison with many other u3a branches, by embracing online activities, social media, keeping in touch by post and telephone at an early stage.
 
Thanks were expressed to the Executive Committee officers and other trustees and advisers, our conveners, our volunteers, and all other members. Their adaptability and supreme commitment made it possible for ongoing activities to happen. The Chair also thanked Carl Parker for providing technical support to the online talks and the AGM.
 
Participants were offered the opportunity to ask questions on this item but none were forthcoming, other than a request for the CEDu3a website address.

7. Closure

The meeting closed at 11.27 a.m. after the Chair had thanked all the participants for attending.