The Annual General Meeting of Cherry Lodge Cancer Care was held at Howard House, 23 Union Street, Barnet on Tuesday 14th May 2019.
Proceedings began with a warm welcome from Margaret Clark, chairman of the CL Board of Trustees. Her audience comprised CL members, volunteers, therapists, staff, trustees and others – all with a common interest in our charity’s affairs. Reference was made to last year’s AGM (the minutes of which were formally agreed) and to the talk by Janet Doyle Blunden. The 2019 AGM would follow the same format as previously, this time to be followed by a talk on ‘Power of Attorney’ by Lorna Joussain from Duffield Harrison.
Margaret then drew attention to the 2018 Annual Report (available on the night and via the website) and picked out a selection of topics for special mention. During 2018, the number of visits made to Cherry Lodge by people affected by cancer (mainly those with a diagnosis themselves but also some family members and carers) approached 5,000. This figure included visits for information, support, therapies and other activities, not only at our centre in Barnet but also at outreach venues in the west of the borough, where life for some can be very challenging. We have also increased the availability of our services by keeping our centre open on Tuesday evenings, to provide therapies for people who are unable to attend during the day. Last year’s very successful Summer Soulstice festival was immediately followed by the burglary, which wiped out the entire day’s cash takings. However, the resilience and support of the Soulstice crew and the incredible generosity of members of the public, who took part in crowd funding and ancillary events, meant that Cherry Lodge did not lose out. We still received a cheque for £38,000 from Summer Soulstice – as well as a lot of good publicity.
Margaret drew her section to a close by saying that although Cherry Lodge continues to grow, everyone involved – including staff members, trustees, volunteers and members – is part of the same big ‘family’. She also paid tribute to Harriet Copperman, a founder of the North London Hospice, who inspired Margaret and was a great advocate of teamwork. The ‘stage’ was then handed over to Andrew Geary, the Cherry Lodge auditor.
Andrew began by telling his audience that his daughter had pressed him to tell us why his face looked splodgy. He has recently received treatment for non serious skin cancer – evidence, he said, of his empathy for Cherry Lodge. Turning to the accounts, Andrew told us that 2018 was an encouraging year for Cherry Lodge, with gross income of £497,000 (compared to £396,000 in 2017). After thanking Tina and others for their help during the year, Andrew drew our attention to copies of the Abbreviated Accounts (Summary Statement of Financial Activities for the year ended 31 December 2018), which had been placed on our seats.
Among Andrew’s key points was the fact that there had been increases to each of our three main income streams: fundraising events up from £150,000 to £171,000; shops and merchandising up from £143,000 to £150,000; and voluntary and other income up from £102,000 to £175,000. Tina’s ‘boundless energy’ was referred to in relation to the substantial increase in fundraising income – and generated a round of applause from the audience. Although shop income was up for the year, split more or less equally between the two shops, the picture was less rosy when shop costs were taken into account, especially for Borehamwood, where overheads were higher. In view of this, the Trustees’ made a decision not to renew the Borehamwood shop lease in March 2019 (followed by a large dilapidations bill from the landlord, which has been included in the 2018 balance sheet). The big increase in voluntary and other income for the year resulted from legacies (up from £1,000 to £62,000) and donations (up from £46,000 to £65,000). We also thank regular supporters, the Hadley Trust, for their £20,000 grant.
After taking all costs into account, there was a surplus for the year of £277 – an improvement on 2017, when there was a loss of £48,000. At the end of 2018, Cherry Lodge had cash reserves of £1.7 million, of which £750,000 is invested in low-risk, managed funds and bonds predicted to generate interest of 4-5%. The balance is in bank accounts. Andrew described the overall picture as healthy but with a default position of ‘break even’ to make allowance for the unpredictability of future legacy income.
As is customary, the AGM was followed by our Annual Talk, given this year by Lorna Joussain from Duffield Harrison on the important topic of ‘Power of Attorney’.
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