Chairman’s Report on 2014 presented to the Annual General Meeting of the Chard & District Museum Society (Registered Charity No. 270186) held on 25th March 2015
For the Charity Commission reporting requirement CC15b the Society is an unincorporated association established as a trust for the foundation of a charity by deed dated 30th May 1974. The address remains at Chard Museum, Godworthy House, High Street, Chard, TA20 1QB; the property is leased from South Somerset District Council and the holding trustees of the lease are Messrs. R. Kibble-White and D. Ricketts. On 19th March 2014, the elected trustees were Mrs Dee Manley, Mrs Linda Vijeh, Mrs Gwyneth Jackson, Mrs Margaret Ridley, Mr. Roy Kibble-White, Mr. Peter Manley and Mr. David Ricketts. These trustees met in committee five times during the year. Under the museum’s constitution trustees are (re)elected annually with ten positions related to specific roles to be filled. The roles have been identified as those necessary to manage the museum effectively. Trustees may be elected subject to satisfying their eligibility within Charity Commission and Chard Museum committee requirements. Other volunteers can be and are co-opted to assist the trustees in carrying out their roles and responsibilities.
Full Accreditation status awarded by the Arts Council England in October 2013 is valid for three years and evidences the professional management of the museum in all aspects by its volunteers
The Society’s banker is Lloyds TSB, 27 Fore Street, Chard and the independent examiner of the accounts for 2014 is Brian Elphick of Brutton Way, Chard. The financial situation is satisfactory and explained elsewhere.
I wish to begin my summary of 2014, as in gratitude I must, by thanking all our scores of volunteers headed by the trustees for the time and effort they devoted to the museum last year. To account for all the responsibilities and tasks undertaken by each individual would extend this report considerably and possibly cause offence by omitting some worthy mention. Quite obviously the museum could not be kept open without them; open now from the first Monday of the schools’ Easter holiday to the last Saturday of the schools’ autumn half-term each year. The museum has also remained open with the financial help of Chard Town Council, many local organisations, our hundreds of Friends on whom we increasingly rely and many hundreds of visitors who paid for entry and gave donations much of which was gift aided.
Comparing our objectives with our activities, I can confirm that the museum trustees, in carrying out their responsibilities, have complied with their duty to fulfil the public benefit requirement of the Charity Commission. The educational objective was fulfilled by hosting more school and local organisations’ visits thanks to our allocated trustee, loan of the resource boxes to schools, and fund raising talks given to interested organisations. Numerous history related queries were again dealt with by the curator.
2014, though quiet, was still a successful year in so far as the museum remained in the black financially. Paying visitor numbers and income continue to decline. The museum raised the adult admission charge at £4. Out of area advertising was maintained and local advertising was increased but the latter produced minimal response. The financial outcome can be seen in the treasurer’s report and accounts. However, the museum is kept back from much development because it does not have the full complement of managerial resources required.
New displays included a WW1 cabinet and a travelling Somerset county exhibition in April. A roads, railways and canal exhibition stand was added in the barn. Our Chard Carnival display furnished by Mrs Doreen Toms continued to be remarked upon and will continue into 2015. Thank you to the display and maintenance teams for the museum’s overall presentation and thank you to the collections team for supervision and care of our artefacts. A £500 grant from Arts Council England bought much needed conservation materials. It all enables the museum to offer something special around the unchanging core of local history.
The museum hosted a number of highly entertaining fundraising events and sincere thanks go to the ladies concerned for their efforts which raised hundreds of pounds. The profile of the museum was raised in the town by participation in the July festival and a June D-day event attended by veterans and schoolchildren. Sadly the sponsored Health Walks in August were not supported locally unlike previously. The museum remains the major attraction for the town and its visitors.
Our constitution allows for ten trustees; we had only seven. The museum needs those vacancies filled because of the demands of the business operation that the museum has become. This is now an annual and urgent plea. Insufficient number of appropriate managers is now our biggest problem for a sustainable future.
The challenges of previous years remain and the trustees continue to address them.