First, I wish to thank David Branson for examining the annual accounts for us once again. I am very grateful to him for being willing to undertake this task and much appreciate his helpful suggestions. David has offered to examine the accounts for us again this coming year and I suggest we accept his kind offer, assuming you all agree.
Looking at the Statement of Accounts you will see that after a very atypical year the year before, revenue in the year to 31st March 2022 totalled £1,386 and expenditure £1,185. Most of our revenue comes from subscription income and, with 42 members, this totalled £1,050, but useful contributions were also received from fees paid by visitors and fundraising activities. The three main items of expenditure were for hire of the church hall, payments to speakers and administration. This latter item is higher than in the past, but this is because, in addition to gifts and donations, it now includes payments for Zoom and for our website (£14.39 per month and £34.95 per quarter respectively).
In examining the accounts, David and I once again agreed that Mr Micawber would have been happy seeing that we ended the year with a small profit amounting to £201. It is never our aim to make a large profit, it’s rather a question of maintaining a fine balance between profit and loss.
As if to underline this, the increase in the annual subscription last year brought in an extra £210 in revenue. Without this, we would have ended the year with a loss of £9!
Your committee are not recommending an increase in the annual subscription this year, but we shall need to monitor our finances extremely carefully as the year progresses. Our aim is to provide a programme which you will all enjoy, but we are conscious that our costs are likely to go up significantly.
For example, the Church have advised us that their hire charges will increase in September from £42 to £46 for each meeting. Should we wish to hire the main space too, as we are planning to do for our Fête de Noël, the cost will be £72. Our insurers have charged us the same premium for the last three years, but it is unlikely that they will be able to keep the premium at this level indefinitely.
Against this background, in developing the programme for the autumn and beyond, we are planning to alternate between having social evenings and those where we have a speaker. We shall also need to generate revenue from fund-raising activities such as raffles, and sales at an autumn fair we are hoping to hold. Revenue from visitors is also very helpful, so please do all you can to encourage those you think would be interested in the Circle to come along.
It does seem likely that we shall need to raise subscriptions again in a year’s time, but much will depend on subscription income, and the frequency with which you would like to have visiting speakers as well as musical entertainment from time to time.
Does anyone have any questions arising from the accounts? Are you happy that we agree and adopt the accounts?
As usual, I shall be happy to receive your subscriptions for the coming year immediately after this meeting as well as payments for the Fête Estivale. Having had to cancel this event for the last two years, we are delighted to be able to return to The Hare & Hounds at Layer Breton once again and the good news is that they have the same chef as before! You will see from the menu that one can have the buffet only at £22 or the buffet plus a dessert at £25, and that Vegans and Vegetarians are catered for, and Sally will be making a note of everyone’s choices.
To streamline our administration, we are not planning to issue membership cards, or tickets for the Fête Estivale, but we shall rely on keeping a careful record instead. As the issue of membership cards is mentioned in our Constitution, we shall need your agreement to doing away with this requirement.