6th May 2020 - AGM

In the absence of an AGM this year, we are publishing below our Chairman's and Treasurer's Reports plus Statement of Account for the Year Ending 31st March 2020.


AGM 2020 - CHAIRMAN'S REPORT 2019/20 

I am pleased to present my report for the year 2019 – 2020. As we are in the midst of the Coronavirus lockdown our AGM cannot take place. This, therefore, must be the strangest AGM report in the history of the Anglo-French Circle. It is sad that our meetings came to an abrupt end as membership was growing, enthusiasm was high and we had much to look forward to. We were anticipating our Fête Estivale at the Hare & Hounds and planning our 50th Anniversary Celebrations as well as putting in place an interesting programme for our Autumn / Winter season. When meetings resume we will, of course, reschedule the Anniversary Celebration and re-arrange our speakers but, realistically, it may be a long time before this happens. Following last year’s AGM, we enjoyed a lovely evening at the Hare & Hounds for our Fête Estivale. It was very well attended and the food was excellent – a most enjoyable occasion. We commenced our 2019/2020 programme in the usual way with La Rentrée. The meetings before our enforced lockdown were very enjoyable and informative and, as ever, we are grateful to our many varied and talented speakers. We had a good balance of talks in both French and English covering a wide range of topics. We learnt a great deal about French History, Politics and Famous People from these presentations as well as from the first-hand accounts from Iva Salis and Matthew Duffy regarding their introduction to the French language. Our French Conversation and Bring & Buy evening was most enjoyable and little did we realise that it was to be our last for the time being. I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work of your Committee. Each of them have their unique talents and as a whole succeed in contributing to the success of the Anglo-French Circle. Jennifer Ingham has decided to leave the Committee and we would like to thank her for her hard work over the years – we will miss her. This, of course, leaves a vacancy and so if anyone feels able to help please let us know. My final thank you is to all of you for your support and willingness to help in so many ways – suggestions and ideas from you regarding future events are most welcome. To paraphrase the words of the song “We’ll Meet Again” – I do know WHERE but I don’t know WHEN! Please take care and stay safe.

Hilary Miles - Chairman


AGM 2020 - TREASURER’S REPORT for Y/E 31st March 2020

First, I would like to thank David Branson for his willingness to examine the annual accounts for us once again, for checking the records so thoroughly, and for his recommendations and guidance, all of which has been very much appreciated.

As you will see from the statement of accounts, total income for the year was £1,881.90 and total expenditure was £1,607.35. The resulting profit was £274.55, compared with a profit of £7.47 the previous year, the success of our recent fundraising efforts, as described below, being one of the reasons for the increase. It should also be noted that this year’s profit would probably have been around £100 less if we had not had to cancel the meeting on the 18th March 2020 because of Covid-19. Subscriptions remained the mainstay of our income and came to £950. Encouragingly, membership was unchanged at 50 as, although some members did not renew their subscriptions, we have been delighted to welcome several new members during the year. Payments from visitors, at £179, were slightly down on the previous year, though still represent a useful contribution to our overall income. The reduction was largely due to the fact that, in 2018/19, a total of 18 visitors had attended Gwendal Moële’s musical evening whereas we had to cancel this year’s event, which had been due to take place on the 18th March. The Fête Estivale in June was well supported, and ticket sales amounted to £535. Proceeds from fund raising have been grouped together with donations in the accounts this year, rather than being included under “Events”, as in previous years. This is because the funds raised have been used not only for events, but for our other activities too. Thanks to the generosity of our members, both by providing splendid raffle prizes, donations and supporting our efforts generally, the total under this heading came to £217.90. Turning to expenditure, the principal item was for hiring the church hall. The total cost of £580 was a little higher than in the previous year because of a rate increase from £40 to £42 per meeting at the beginning of September. We paid £84 in advance for the meetings on the 18th March and 1st April 2020 which were subsequently cancelled. However, Christ Church have confirmed that they will hold this money to pay for future hire. This sum is shown in the accounts under the heading “Sundry debtors”. The cost of speakers was £237.95. If we had not had to cancel the 18th March meeting, the total cost would have been comparable with last year’s figure. Throughout the year, the committee continued to monitor our finances very carefully and endeavoured to contain costs by achieving a careful balance between the number of external speakers, talks from our own members and social evenings. Excluding the Fête Estivale, which is largely self-financing, the total cost of events was £78.52. Expenditure for the Fête de Noel was less than the previous year, when we had provided a buffet and had paid a substantial fee to Quire, but attendance had been disappointing. This year, we had an enjoyable evening which was well supported, and at the same time we were able to conserve funds by providing entertainment ourselves and inviting contributions from members for the festive table. The cost of refreshments, administration and miscellaneous was comparable with the previous year.

Having obtained competitive quotes for insurance, we decided to stay with Zurich Insurance, whose premium at £99.31 was unchanged from the previous year. Recognising problems faced by non-profit organisations such as ours because of Covid-19, our insurers have recently advised us that they are extending our period of cover by three months so that our renewal date, instead of being at the beginning of October is being deferred until the beginning of January next year.

David Branson has audited the accounts for the year to 31st March 2020 and has concluded that they are a true and fair representation of the activities of the Circle and I trust they will be acceptable to all our members. Should you have any queries, I shall be happy to answer them. Please use the contact details shown on our website and your queries will be forwarded to me.

Finally, looking at the accounts overall, we continue to “keep our heads above water” and your committee have therefore decided to hold annual subscriptions at their current level, i.e. £20. This amount will only become payable when we are able to resume our meetings. From that point onwards, your committee will continue to monitor expenditure very carefully, aiming to achieve value for money but, at the same time, providing our members with an enjoyable and varied programme and, hopefully, a wonderful celebration of our 50th Anniversary.

Jill Wilson – Treasurer