Skip to main content | High contrast version

Stretton Focus Limited AGM 2016

STRETTON FOCUS LIMITED


MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

HELD ON 8th August 2016.


In attendance: Richard Fillenham, Richard Hickman, Barrie Oxtoby, Pat Oxtoby, Bronwen Taylor, Ian Dormor, Geoff Taylor, Mike Edmunds, Patricia Thomas, Graham Ogdon, Nigel Strachan, Rowland Jackson, Amanda Twohig, Ian Midgley, Yvonne Beaumont, Sandie Johnson, Christine Harvey, Tom Beaumont, Chris Moores

1. INTRODUCTION AND APOLOGIES

The Chairman welcomed the members to the meeting and thanked them for attending. The Chairman asked the Secretary whether any apologies for non attendance had been received and the Secretary notified the meeting that apologies had been received from:

Jackie Banfield Barbara Vickery Lesley Richards Barrie Raynor Richard Carter Gloria Carter

Janet Martin Eileen Roberts Sandra Davies

In addition apologies were submitted at the meeting on behalf of: Liz Strachan Gwen Fillenham

Proxy Forms had been submitted empowering the Chairman to vote on behalf of the following members had been received at the company's registered office:-

Margaret Voller June Smith Mrs K Johnson Janet Bromley Mary Smith Mrs R Leadbeater

A proxy had also been duly registered by Janet Martin in favour of Amanda Twohig

The proxies were duly noted and the apologies accepted by the meeting.

2. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2015

The Minutes having been made available to the members prior to the meeting, the members confirmed that they constituted a true record of the proceedings at the meeting. The minutes were signed by the Chairman.

3. MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising.

4. CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

The Chairman reported that it had been another successful, vibrant and challenging year for the Focus team. The magazine continues to evolve and develop as a high quality publication. There had been several changes in the team personnel but he was pleased to report that the team was back up to full strength and working well together.

One of the highlights of the year had been the success in winning the Queen’s Award for voluntary service. The Chairman thanked all those who had been instrumental in or had contributed to the winning of this award. The bestowing of the award was recognition of all the hard work put into Stretton Focus by all the volunteers over many years and the publicity arising from the presentation of the award had raised the reputation and prestige of the magazine throughout the county.

The website working group have put a lot of effort into the design and prospective functionality of the a new and revitalised website and are working closely with Source in Shrewsbury, who are our selected partner in this endeavour, to bring the project to fruition.

The Chairman informed the meeting that 2017 is to be a landmark in the history of Stretton Focus as the magazine will be celebrating 50 years of publication. A special celebratory edition of the magazine will be published in February.

5. FINANCIAL REPORT

Richard Fillenham, Treasurer, presented his report on the previous financial year and the 2015/2016 accounts were presented to the meeting.

Overview

Another year of solid financial performance. The profit before taxation (PBT) was £6,557 upon which a sum of £2,163 was paid in corporation tax leaving a profit after tax of £4,394.

Overall income rose by 1.8% and costs, not including the payments made under the Community Award Scheme (£4,262), rose by 4.2%.

Reserves have increased by £4394 to £61,075 with funds in the form of cash standing at £92,501 as at 31 January 2016.

Income

Income from sales declined in the year: subscriptions by 1.7%; sale/return by 7.4%;

Advertising income overall increased by 7.6% - block advertising by 6% and occasional adverts by26.5%.

Overall income rose by 1.8% to £35,431 excluding bank interest.

Expense

Overall expenses, including the sums paid out under the Community Awards Scheme reduced by 6.6% to £28,853 but there was a 4.2% rise in core operational costs mainly due the increased costs of printing additional pages in the magazine. These printing costs increased by £759 to £19,558 and this represents 80% of the operational costs.

The remaining 20% of the overall expenditure arises from general administrative costs of £5,033 and this represents a 4.6% increase.

Capital Expenditure

There has been £802 spent on capital items, £222 for additional RAM for the production team’s desktop Apple computer and £580 for a dedicated Treasurer’s laptop computer.

Depreciation

Depreciation is estimated to be £628 with the net book value of all assets at £1,144.

Stretton Focus Financial Resources

The 2015/16 balance sheet is in a strong position with £61,075 of Reserves (in the form of accumulated funds) at 31 January 2016. The combined bank balance from our two bank accounts plus £113 cash in hand is £92,501 as at 31 January 2016. This includes cash received in advance for the following year’s subscription sales (£8,149) and block adverts (£23,180). Banked funds will therefore fall until 2017/18 sales income is collected at the back end of this year (2016/17).

Forward View

Banked income for the year ahead (recorded at 31 January2016) is healthy with block advertising up an impressive £3,300 compared to the same time last year. However, subscription sales are down £585 in the same period. It is anticipated that 2016/17 should be a financially “sound” year for Stretton Focus in its core activities

Richard was thanked for all his work in preparing the accounts and his comprehensive and comprehensible report and a short discussion ensued regarding the level of reserves. Richard was able to outline a prudent strategy that would enable the company to continue to operate the Community Award Scheme without compromising the overall security of the company. There was sufficient capital to cover the costs of essential equipment like a replacement for the main Apple computer used by the production team. At present, however, the computer is working well and there is no immediate requirement to purchase a new one. In response to a suggestion that possibly the company might pay key staff if it was becoming difficult to recruit people to fill certain posts, Richard firmly rejected this idea. The company is built on the principle of volunteer staff. The reserves have been built up over a long period and must be used with care. Payment of staff would dramatically increase costs not only directly but in the associated administrative and accounting responsibilities.

6. APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTORS

Due notice had been given to all members of the company entitled to attend the meeting of the board’s decisions arising out of a corporate governance review. The board had given an undertaking to the membership to consider the composition of the board and to make recommendations as to its future development. At the heart of its decisions was a desire by the board to ensure that it could determine for itself the skills and characteristics required in any new director from time to time. The Rules of the company had therefore been amended to set aside those provisions allowing external bodies, the Town Council and Churches together, to have an automatic right of nomination to the board.

Under the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles requiring directors to retire by rotation both Tom Beaumont and Sandie Johnson stepped down but, as permitted, offered themselves for re-election.

Tom Beaumont was re-elected unanimously save for one vote against.

Sandie Johnson was re-elected unanimously save for one vote against.

Due notice having been given of the nomination of Christine Harvey and Graham Ogdon as additional directors of the company:

Christine Harvey was unanimously elected

Graham Ogdon was unanimously elected.

7. APPRECIATION AND STAFF CHANGES

The Chairman offered his particular thanks and appreciation to:

Ian Midgley – for all his work in taking on the role of advertising manager and making such an efficient and effective job dealing with all the potential advertisers and bringing in the revenue.

Pat Oxtoby – for stepping in when needed and giving such sterling assistance to the proof readers.

The distributors – the unsung heroes of the company who, without great recognition or fanfare trudge the streets of the Strettons ensuring that subscribers receive their magazine on time.

Steve Lunt and Christine Harvey – who had each been so instrumental in ensuring the success of the bid to gain the Queen’s Award. Steve Lunt had written an extremely effective letter in support and Christine Harvey had done all the work in preparing and submitting the application.

8, COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

It was noted that the School Journalist initiative had been a resounding success. A great deal of positive feedback has been received arising out of the articles submitted by this years students. Shirley Tart had been so impressed that she had invited them to visit her at Shropshire Magazine. This scheme is popular with our readers, maintains a link with the secondary school and provides an opportunity for younger residents to air their views. The board will continue to facilitate and encourage this initiative.

Some important awards to community ventures had been made throughout the year under the Community Awards Scheme and it will certainly continue for the forthcoming year but the number of applications has reduced. The board will be looking at ways to revitalise the scheme and to continue to contribute to projects that benefit the community.

9. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Mike Edmunds took the opportunity to express his appreciation of the way in which the magazine has developed but said he was saddened by the decision of the board to remove the requirement for external bodies to be involved in the appointment of board members. His view was that these provisions ensured a continuity and involvement between the town and the magazine. He added his disappointment to see so few people attending the AGM.

In reply the Chairman agreed with him that it was sad that there was not a greater local interest in the activities of the company and that the AGM was the opportunity for local residents to come and make their views known about Stretton Focus and how it was meeting their needs. However, on the issue of appointments by external bodies, the Chairman pointed out that both he and Richard Hickman had become directors through the auspices of the Town Council nomination. The board appreciated this link and had expressed the view that both of them should continue as directors in their own right in the light of the skills that they brought to the board. Christine Harvey, although not a councillor, was bringing great skill and local knowledge to the board, because of her long service as Town Clerk. The important thing that the board wished to stress is that they put great store in Focus being the “voice of the community”. The board wishes to encourage other local bodies and organisations to put their views on the future of Focus and how it is run and to become involved. These rule changes should be seen as encouraging local participation not as a means of the board cutting itself off from local involvement.

The meeting closed at 2.50 pm

Editor's Pasteboard

Find out more about the next issue of Focus

read more >