Chair’s Annual Report 2019

Thanks to those who came along to the recent AGM for The Mill. At the meeting, Pete Bowman was re-elected as Chair, Tony Freeman as Vice Chair and Jo Leaning as Treasurer.

Here’s the full text of the Chair’s Annual Report for 2019.

With planning permission now secured, 2019 saw the start of our comprehensive fundraising strategy with a number of hugely successful events taking place over the course of the year.

The starting point for this strategy was our first Fundraising Workshop held at the beginning of March. At a very well attended event, we welcomed people from both villages who had a wide range of skills and expertise to bring to the project, with teams volunteering to organise and run a range of events throughout the year. Alongside this activity, our core fundraising team – Jan and Del Robertson – were busy identifying and pursuing leads from a variety of local, regional and national organisations and businesses. This work has been crucial to bringing the project to the eyes and ears of important potential funders, and we would like to offer our sincere thanks for their ongoing efforts and hard work.

Following the first Workshop, we rebranded the project as ‘The Mill Community Hub’, complete with a new logo created by local designer, Charles Freestone of Wow Design. This would now appear on all subsequent publicity for the project. It also gave rise to the term ‘Millers’, which we use to describe our growing band of enthusiastic volunteers.

One of the first major events we were involved with was the Village Fete, held in July and organised and run by an incredible team of people headed up by Sarah Brant. Despite the undecided weather, there was a superb turnout and the event raised a staggering £6,200 for The Mill project.

As we entered this new stage in the life of the project, it became clear that we needed to change the status of the existing Trust. This was primarily to allow us to employ people, issue contracts in the Trust’s name and secure limited liability for the Trustees. The way forward was to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), which would allow us to do all of these things and more. The move to a CIO was agreed at a public meeting held in August, after which we started the official process of changing over. We were officially granted CIO status in October.

Throughout the year, we have also been consulting with building industry professionals to fine tune initial costings we had obtained for the construction of The Mill, which will now be on a ‘design and build’ basis. This is an ongoing process and we would like to thank all the local and national businesses that have already given us valuable advice and support to help move the project forward. As it stands, we are looking to start initial groundworks by August 2020 as the first phase of the construction programme.

In the meantime, increasing numbers of villagers were continuing to get involved through two more Workshops – the most recent being held in September where a calendar of events for the rest of the year and throughout 2020 was devised. The Mill’s bank balance was further swelled by Del Robertson’s Chilli Bake Off and Seasonal Cookbook, the Christmas card and the Christmas Bazaar, which alone raised over £2,000 for the project.

We are constantly amazed (and humbled) by the amount of effort that people who have got involved with all of these events put into raising money for the project. The ‘thank you’ list would take quite a while to read out, but be assured you have our heartfelt appreciation for all the work you put in behind the scenes.

As far as our finances go, the project’s own cash funds amounted to £13,782.82 (as of 31 December 2019), with £35,990.50 held by Middleton Parish Council (as of 31 December 2019), which is specifically ring fenced for the new community hub.

Finally, I think it’s fair to say that the Trustees have – as always – put in an incredible amount of time and effort to keep this project live and very much do-able. There’s still quite a way to go but, as this past year has shown, we’re getting there.

Pete Bowman
Chair of Trustees, The Mill Community Hub, Cottingham and Middleton

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