Treasurerís update on the current
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.
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?
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.
When do you think the position will improve?
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
That is quite a concern, is there no prospect of
any cash injection other than Asset sale?
Obviously we are hopeful that we might receive a
legacy or other gifts, but they are now few and
What about the sale of the bungalow at Burnham?
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
Has there been any further interest in the HO
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.
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?
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
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.
is reassuring to know branches are looking at
cost cutting during these very testing times.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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.