(held Tuesday 21st September 2021 in the New Leaf Restaurant,
Carsington Visitor Centre at 7pm)
Committee attendees: Gary Atkins (Publicity/Indoor Meetings)
John Follett (Treasurer / Membership)
Chris Lamb (Field Trips Organiser)
In the absence of a Chairman, John Follett agreed to take the chair
Apologies were received from Rob Chadwick and Roger Carrington.
MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING
The Minutes from the previous AGM (in February 2020) were accepted as an accurate record (proposed by Sue Jones, seconded by Dave Horsley).
There were no matters arising from the previous Minutes that would not be discussed at the latest meeting.
TREASURER’S / MEMBERSHIP’S REPORT
A copy of the Club’s 2020 Accounts was made available to those members attending the AGM.
The year ended 31st December 2020 saw Accumulated Funds increase by just one penny to £5827.65 with income of £775.44 exceeding expenditure by this amount. Government restrictions resulting from the Covid pandemic had a significant impact on both total income of £775.44 (previous year £1105) and total expenditure of £775.43 (previous year £1443).
Carsington’s site closure, limited access and closed hides meant it was not possible to continue with bird feeding and, as a result, lower bird food costs of £126.79 for the year (£332 in 2019) was offset by donations of just £75 (£213 in 2019), without the DOS donation towards winter feeding of £180 in the previous year.
The necessary curtailment of indoor meetings saw speakers costs at just £55 (for one meeting!), compared with £369 in 2019, while door receipts of £93 (for two meetings) compared to £288 for the previous year.
Other items of expenditure included a £15 increase in the cost of the Annual Report to £275, higher postage and stationery costs (£270.70 against the previous year’s £217) and higher website hosting fees (£47.94) due to a change to a new site and partial rewrite required to overcome operating problems.
Adoption of the 2020 accounts were proposed by John Bland and seconded by Hilary Hodkinson.
Though unsure of the potential continuing impact of the pandemic, the finances for the current year are expected to result in a modest overspend. Income is expected to improve to 2019 levels if not better.
Membership income will be similar to previous levels with numbers holding up well throughout these difficult years with any losses being offset by evident interest in the club that has resulted in a good number of joiners. We are also able to report that a donation of £275 was received from existing member Patrick Lawless which was to cover the printing costs of the 2020 Annual Report.
However, expenditure is forecast to be higher as the club will incur costs associated with indoor meetings with £120 venue hire (for four meetings to December 2020) in the Mainsail Restaurant and also the expected need to purchase a projector screen for future presentations.
In the absence of Roger Carrington, no Recorder’s report was received.
This is a very different report to that delivered at the last AGM in February 2020, when we were on the very verge of the global pandemic that has since affected our lives at every level – including our ability to enjoy the wildlife around us, and the club’s ability to support comprehensive recording, one of our key roles, although this has picked up again as Covid restrictions eased.
While Covid remains a spectre in the background, we do now see some light at the end of the tunnel as the nation seems to be accepting it’s something we’ve got to live with … and, in that sense, a level of normality has returned. Meanwhile, the club has soldiered on and done what was possible when we were able, including trips, learning new skills like Zoom (which delivered talks last winter via DOS and RSPB) and, today, the relaunch of our indoor meetings in the company of other club members.
Our membership has remained remarkably steady in the face of Covid. It’s been gratifying to note a steady influx of new members, and the feel of solidity as a wildlife-loving community.
With regard to the committee, it was a rather turbulent 2020 as we lost two committee members as the Secretary and Recorder resigned their posts, and were down to just four for much of the year – the necessary quorum, but only just! In recent weeks in 2021, however, there has been a bit more positive news, and AGM attendees will hear shortly when confirming the election of officers.
I would like to thank everyone for sticking with us, and particularly the club officials – together with webmaster Richard Pittam – who have kept various administrative elements and events ticking over. Let’s hope that we can now pursue the planned indoor season of entertaining talks here in the restaurant, and manage to get a couple of trips and walks in before the next AGM.
We started 2020 with high hopes of maintaining our recent record of organising two trips for club members in the year, plus having a springtime walk at Carsington Water in the company of one of our expert recorders to help with birdsong identification. With Covid restrictions coming into place from March, all our plans had to be shelved, of course, and no group trips or walks were possible.
As we moved into this year and the restrictions started to be eased in the spring, we were pleased to be able to have an outing to Middleton Lakes RSPB Reserve at the end of May. Our next trip will be to Frampton Marsh RSPB reserve on Sunday 3rd October. Hopefully as we start to look ahead to 2022, we will be able to hold our usual range of activities.
Meanwhile, and for the same reasons, our last AGM and indoor meeting in February 2020 turned out to be the last time we were able to gather as a club for some 18 months. All our indoor meetings and talks for the remainder of 2020 and the first half of 2021 unfortunately had to be cancelled. Thanks to the wonders of Zoom technology though, and the kind invitations of both DOS and the Derby RSPB Group, our members were able to join their online meetings and enjoy a variety of talks on birds and other wildlife from the comfort of their own homes.
We are so pleased now to be able to restart our indoor meetings again, and look forward to a varied programme of talks during the 2021-22 indoor season. With the help of New Leaf Catering, we have been able to secure the use of the Mainsail Restaurant for our meetings for the time being. This will enable people to spread out much more than in the smaller Henmore Room which have traditionally used.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS OF THE CLUB
After the last AGM we lost the services of our then Secretary and Recorder, but recently were delighted that Rob Chadwick agreed to pick up the Recorder’s duties, working closely with the crop of regular experienced site birders. Ahead of this meeting, Gary Atkins also accepted the long-absent position of Chairman, while Chris Lamb kindly agreed to take on a second element of managing club events, and will organise indoor meetings taking place in 2022-23.
John Follett underlined the continuing goal of recruiting more people to the committee, both to fill still-vacant key posts (notably Secretary) but also to share the load and, importantly, to inject some new blood and fresh thinking into the management of the club.
On the night, the following members therefore stood for election / re-election:
Gary Atkins – Chairman and Publicity Officer
John Follett – Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Chris Lamb – Events Secretary
Rob Chadwick – Recorder
Roger Carrington – Ex-officio
The election of this Committee was proposed by Dave Armitt and seconded by Louise Sykes.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business raised.
The meeting closed at 7.41pm