1. Status Report from Chairman
Ray Pioli gave an update on developments which had taken place during 2017 and the financial position at the end of the year.
Ray reported that the actions taken at the start of Q4 had delivered the planned improvements with the result that 2017 had been a highly successful year for the Club:
The Club’s financial position has been greatly strengthened.
The Club has generated an operating profit of £8.8k from which we have donated £6.3k to Christ the King Parish, redecorated the Club, improved facilities and promoted our activities whilst still being able to boost our reserves by £2.2k.
Membership numbers have increased (Geoff Gill confirmed that we now have 170 members).
The Club was now on as sound a financial footing as a small organisation such as ours could be.
As he would be standing down as Chairman and from the Committee, Ray took the opportunity to thank everyone who had helped turn around the Club in what had been a challenging period during his tenure in office.
John Quinn enquired whether the turn round in the Club’s position had been solely due to VAT Deregistration to which Ray replied that whilst there were other factors, such as volunteer staffing – particularly from Fraser – the VAT Deregistration was probably the step function change which triggered the other improvements.
2. 2017 Annual Report and Financial Statements
Ray also presented the 2017 accounts including the Treasurer’s report.
In particular, he highlighted the courageous decision which the Committee had taken to put the Club’s Corporation Tax position on a correct footing with HM Revenue and Customs. It may not be generally appreciated that even the activities of small clubs such as ours fall within the Corporation Tax regime. However making the necessary disclosure to HMRC gave rise to a possibility of back taxes, penalties and interest which the Club probably would be unable to pay forcing the Club to close.
In the event we were able to reach a satisfactory conclusion under which HMRC confirmed that the Club's activities were subject to CT but that the CT commencement date would be deemed to be 1 January 2017. Therefore, there was a CT liability in respect of 2017 and future years but there is no tax liability in respect of earlier periods.
In response to a question on the details of the accounts, Ray explained that the drop in Cleaning Costs was due to the fact that formerly the Club paid all the Porch House cleaning costs although the Club itself was cleaned by Club staff. This practice has now ceased as part of the new arrangements agreed with the Parish.
A motion to accept and approve the accounts (proposer: Geoff Gill, seconder: Gill Gilroy) was unanimously approved.
3. Minutes of the last AGM
The minutes of the last AGM on 22 March 2017 were considered. Matters arising were:
#4: E-cigarettes – Joe McHugh confirmed that the Parish had adopted a policy to prevent the use of e-cigarettes in Porch House.
#6: Promoting and Maintaining Custom: Ray confirmed that various promotional initiatives had been implemented in 2017 including production and distribution of flyers and ads in Thornbury magazine. It is not clear whether these had had any effect but certainly the level of bookings in Q4 2017 and Q1 2018 were very strong. Also Valerie Quinn had devised arranged the Dance the Night Away supper dance which in addition to raising £650 for Macmillan Nurses had generated good bar takings on the night. Ray thanked Valerie for her effort and Valerie volunteered that she had an idea for another event.
The minutes of the last AGM in March 2017 were considered and approved (proposer: Paul Crowley, seconder: Valerie Quinn).
4. Appointment of New Committee & Chairman
Turning to the appointment of a new Committee, Ray indicated that all current Committee members other than himself and Dennis Lawler had indicated a willingness to remain on the committee.
Ray also asked whether there were any other Club members who wished or were prepared to join the Committee. Paul Crowley, who had been co-opted onto the Committee during the last year, indicated that he was prepared to join the Committee as an elected member.
There being no other nominations the following were duly appointed to the Committee:
Turning to the question of Chairman, Ray stated that since being co-opted onto the Committee, Paul had been carrying out the role of Chairman Designate effectively shadowing the Chairman’s role. Ray therefore proposed – seconded by Fraser – that Paul be appointed Chairman. This motion was unanimously accepted.
At this point Ray handed over the conduct of the meeting to Paul.
5. Price List
Paul indicated that it was not ideal that his first duty as the new Chair was to advise members that Bar Prices had been reviewed and new prices would come into effect at the end of March.
The Committee had done its best to keep the increases as low as possible but the increases were necessary not only for all the usual reasons – increases in suppliers’ prices and increases in the National Living Wage – but also because of the new sugar tax, a global shortage of wines and the devaluation of Sterling. The new prices represent about a 3% increase overall against a 5% increase last year.
6. New Chair’s Remarks
Paul stated that he was pleased that his next task was something more pleasing as he was able to thank Ray on behalf of the Club and Committee for his work in placing the Club on a sound footing and he presented Ray with a fine Macallan Gold whisky and glasses. Ray received the gift with thanks and appreciation as this was his favourite tipple and he would use it to unwind from his role with the Club.
Paul then explained that he recognised that the Club needed the support of the members to remain on a firm footing and he encouraged everyone to consider whether they could make more use of the Club’s excellent facilities or promote its use by others in particular if we could extend our reach to a slightly younger demographic group than we have currently. Paul reminded everyone of one of the benefits of being a member i.e. One free hall hire a year for a friends or family function.
Whilst noting that there had been no other nominations to the Committee, Paul pointed out that there was currently a vacancy for a Secretary and hoped that someone could yet volunteer and that the role was not that onerous.
Our focus this year would be to maintain our profitable position whilst looking for other ways to include the club in the life of the community.
Paul then concluded by saying that the Committee was always open to new ideas and that people should not hesitate to bring them forward as there was no such thing as a bad idea.
7. Any Other Business
Geoff expressed thanks to Margaret Costello for her commitment to chasing membership and collecting dues and Valerie thanked Lesley Morrissey for her work for the Club (and the Parish).
Meeting closed at 9.00pm for cheese and wine.