Presented by Colin
Lauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DJ
Annual Report 2006
I have to report a year which has always been interesting, in that, once again, the Trust moved forward on a number of fronts, but which has not been without its frustrations.
As noted in the Secretary’s report, we lost Audrey Charleston and Sarah Whitley at the AGM of 2005, and Joanna Wood hit a spell of ill health which resulted in her resignation quite recently. However the Trustees took the opportunity to strengthen the overall experience of the Trust—particularly in the field of Education-- by appointing Anne Claveirole and Eilish Garland as new Trustees, and we welcome their involvement.
During this year, the Trustees have given thought to matters of Governance, to the requirements of Charity Law, and to the duties which are beginning to be enunciated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Essentially, it has been important that the Trustees recognised themselves as Directors of the Trust, with all of the attendant responsibilities this brings. In practical terms, the requirements of OSCR bring little difference to the manner in which the Trust operates, but a degree of risk - both financial and professional - is frequently a factor of our work, and it is in the Trustees mind to try to identify this, in a structured manner, as we plan our future activities.
The Trustees are very content to recognise the success – and the popularity - of the Edinburgh Conversations, and to look forward to both their continuation and to their inevitable evolution. The conversation in May, which celebrated the centenary of Jock Sutherland, was a particular success. The Trustees were also delighted with our first excursion into the Edinburgh Book Festival, with the size of audience attracted by Jill and David Scharff, and with the exciting presentation and discussion by the Scharffs, together with Alexander Broadie, the eminent Scottish Philosopher, who chaired the event.
The Funding provided by the Gordon Small Trust continues to be a magnificent enabler to the Trustees, and it is very gratifying that we will have the support of the Gordon Small Trust for a further 3 years. It is this financial backing which has allowed us to venture into the new fields described briefly in the previous paragraph.
We are a dynamic and creative Trust, and the Trustees well recognise that the success of our endeavours — however that is recognised — will never be absolute. Additionally, we know that not all of the subject matter with which we work will catch the imagination of a large paying audience. Nevertheless, the essential pattern of our work needs a flow of funds from financially successful events to support our Awards Scheme, as part of our effort to contribute to the development of young minds.
One of the frustrations I mentioned earlier lies in the comparative lack of success of our March lecture which, to our surprise, attracted a small audience, and only just covered its costs. We had needed a good attendance to contribute towards funds for the Awards Scheme in 2006/7, and will now need to address this gap elsewhere. A post mortem of that lecture revealed that our marketing of the event was not effective enough, and this is one of a number of areas to which our new Development Worker will be focussing her attention.
Having said that, I take great pleasure in the fact that the Awards Scheme is now once more at work, and I must thank the Co- Convenors of the Awards Committee, Jill Ford and Steve Tilley, together with their committee, whose work has re - established the Sutherland Trust in this area. The Trustees look forward to developing the financial base of the Scheme, and to its strong contribution to assisting students within our field of work.
Jill Ford’s contribution has been all the more significant this year, in that she stepped into the breach and took on the role of Treasurer – at quite short notice – for a 12 month period, until a more permanent appointment could be achieved. Her agreement to do that was greatly appreciated.
I also need to thank Sally Thomson, our retiring Development Worker, for her efforts on our behalf, and, of course, to welcome Jo Hilton, her successor, to her new work.
June Nelson continues to oversee the detailed organisation and administration of the Trust, and is now a fount of knowledge about many things. She acts as a kind of Trust solicitor, and ensures that we do not stray from our essential duties and that we observe Charity Law. She is an essential part of our organisation.
In this, my last report as Convenor of the Trust, I would like to thank Lesley Boyd, my Vice Convenor, for her wise counsel during my period in this role. She has ensured that all or any of my momentary flights of fancy are either well grounded, or are seen off the premises with alacrity. She is also willing, after due reflection, to change her mind, in my view, a real attribute, which is lacking in much of today’s management.
I have enjoyed my period as Convenor of the Trust, and now move on with what I hope is a sound legacy to my successors, and joint Convenors, Sheena Blair and Colin Kirkwood.
Brian Atwell (Convenor)
|© The Sutherland Trust 2010|