The British Polio Fellowship
Worthing & Sussex Branch
Registered Charity no. 1108335

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Berkshire branch correspondence with Head office



Treasurerís update on the current financial position.


I had a nice long telephone conversation with Dawn Grafetsberger at HO about the current position regarding finances today. Here is a brief recap of our discussion set out as list of questions and answers.


Q Thank you for informing me that £5k drawdown was transferred to the Berkshire branch bank account on 28th January. Can we have any further draw downs in coming weeks, even if they are only small amounts?

A Iím sorry to say it is not possible. This is the final drawdown available, no further drawdowns can be made to any branch at present.


Q When do you think the position will improve?

A  The situation is really quite serious. At our finance meeting in December we thought we might have to close the doors on 31 March 2019. That is why we had to implement the Annual Membership Fees without prior warning. We streamlined and cut back spending on everything possible, that together with the income from membership fees, means we have managed to push back the prospect of closing the doors now until 30 September 2019.


Q That is quite a concern, is there no prospect of any cash injection other than Asset sale?

A Obviously we are hopeful that we might receive a legacy or other gifts, but they are now few and far between.


Q What about the sale of the bungalow at Burnham?

A Our estate agent says there has been quite a bit of interest in the property and there is every sign that it will sell reasonably quickly. It will go to Tender in order to achieve the best possible price. The cash injection that sale provides should keep the BPF going on into 2020 provided we stay on the same prudent spending plan.


Q Has there been any further interest in the HO building?

A No nothing at all. The estate agent said that as it is the only Freehold building over £1m in the area there is limited interest from buyers. Releasing funds from this sale is definitely a longer term prospect, especially with the current issues surrounding Brexit.


Q As Berkshire branch now have very limited funds, we will need to use them wisely to benefit the many rather than just a few members, how should we handle Welfare or Holiday Grant requests?

A  Any grant requests should be directed to HO either on the correct form or by telephone where they can be advised how to make a claim. Any requests received will be reviewed by a panel and will qualify on a points award basis before being passed to Aiden for final approval, only at then will payment be made. Welfare grants are covered by the Roosevelt Fund and holiday grants by the Ron Scudamore Fund.

NOTE: Two heating grants of £80 each, were awarded to Berkshire branch members today. HO would usually request a contribution from a wealthy Branchís funds, but obviously that wonít happen at present because Branches canít access their funds.


Q The committee at Berkshire are going to review the planned social activity program at an emergency meeting tomorrow. It is disappointing that we may be forced to cancel our planned 80th Anniversary luncheon, but Iím sure we will still try to celebrate on a lower scale even if itís just a cake and tea.

A  It is reassuring to know branches are looking at cost cutting during these very testing times.


Q The important thing is that we continue to provide fellowship for those members who donít get out and about a lot and rely on branch meetings in order to maintain friendships. If we were to decide to reduce the subsidy given to members for catering at social events, we could continue to subsidise venues and transport for longer. We might also run more raffles etc to raise funds would any money raised remain solely for branch use?

A That sounds like a very good way to make your funds last longer, any funds collected will remain in the branch bank account and be totally available for the branch use. The welfare and wellbeing of our members as a whole is the main purpose of the Fellowship.


Q Since Kripen visited various branches to answer questions and explain the implementation of the Membership Fee have you received a good response by way of payments?

A We have received payment from a fair few members. The Trustees set an amnesty period at the moment and all current members will receive the next Bulletin magazine. After that time, harsh as it may seem, only paid up members will have access to the Fellowshipís services and receive a copy of The Bulletin. We will not turn anyone away if they contact HO for advice or assistance, but we will politely remind them that they need to make their membership payment.


Q Perhaps it would be prudent for our branch to consider limiting our social events to paid up members only too. We could also politely advise them that they should pay their fees in order to take part. Can HO provide us with an updated membership list once the amnesty period has closed?

A It has already been planned that a list of paid up members will be sent out to each branch?


This covered all the questions I felt needed an answer at this point in time. I thanked Dawn for her time and apologised for having to grill her for information, to which she reassured me that there was no need for apology as she quite understands we all need to know what is going on. She invited me to telephone her anytime if we have further points we would like clarified.