First, our thanks are due to David Branson who has kindly examined the annual accounts and provided us with helpful advice once again. We are grateful for his ongoing support, his expertise, and for his willingness to undertake this role for us again in a year’s time.
The impact of the pandemic is vividly displayed in the attached Statement of Accounts. For the first time in 50 years, the Circle received no income from our activities because of the suspension of our meetings from 18th March 2020 onwards. As a result, the Committee decided not to charge an annual subscription for 2020/21 and neither did we receive any income from visitors or from our normal fundraising activities.
The only income received was the £0.32 interest from our Business Reserve Account. This was even less than the previous year as the interest rate was reduced at the end of May from 0.2% to 0.01%! The funds in this account are for contingencies.
Fortunately, we had sufficient cash reserves in our current account to meet the more limited expenses we incurred during the year. As you will see, expenses totalled just under £300, compared with over £1,600 the previous year, and our current account balance dropped from £782.96 to £483.03.
Expenses comprised refreshments for our outdoor summer party at the end of August, administration and miscellaneous items including donations in memory of those of our members we had sadly lost during the year, as well as monthly subscriptions to the professional version of Zoom, a version which enables us to have uninterrupted meetings on-line. The final item of expenditure relates to our public liability insurance. Our insurers, Zurich Insurance, extended the period of cover from 12 to 15 months because of the cancellation of our meetings and, when renewal was due, held their premium at the same rate as for the last three years. We therefore decided to renew our policy to take advantage of the continued competitive premium and to provide cover for summer activities and the anticipated resumption of meetings in the autumn.
Looking ahead, with the continuation of monthly meetings for the time being via Zoom and the hope that we shall be able to hire the church hall from September onwards, it is likely we shall incur considerable costs, especially as we have been advised that church hire charges will almost certainly go up. In addition, we shall want to have a lively and varied programme, with visiting speakers from time to time. To support these plans, and bearing in mind our depleted cash reserves, the committee have decided it will be necessary to reintroduce payment of annual subscriptions and Hilary will be writing to you shortly with further details about what is proposed.
David Branson, having examined the accounts for the year to 31st March 2021, has concluded that they are a true and fair representation of the activities of the Circle and I trust they will be acceptable to our members.
If you have any comments or queries, I shall be happy respond. Please just write to me, using the Circle’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jill R Wilson, Treasurer