Annual Report and Financial Statements 2016-17

ESSEX GARDENS TRUST

Registered charity No. 1057876 Company No. 3233796

President: The Lord Petre

Vice President: Marion Swetenham

TRUSTEES’ ANNUAL REPORT & FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30th JUNE 2017

Registered office Cobblestones

Chelmsford Road

Felsted

Essex CM6 3EP

ESSEX GARDENS TRUST

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2017

The Trustees present their annual report and financial statements for the year ended 30th June 2017.

OBJECTIVE

The object of the Essex Gardens Trust is to promote the education of the public on matters connected with the history, arts and sciences of garden land, and to preserve, enhance and recreate, for the education and enjoyment of the public, garden land that exists or has existed in Essex.

REVIEW OF THE YEAR

The Essex Gardens Trust has had a successful year thanks to the support of the members and a team of volunteers. With the finances in a healthy state it was decided to join with the Friends of Historic Essex to bid at auction for Humphry Repton and son’s panoramic drawing of the improvements planned for Riffhams, Danbury, hoping to acquire it for the Essex Record Office. It was signed and dated 1815 and had been in a private collection. The Essex Gardens Trust pledged monies from reserves and a combined auction bid was placed. The auction house estimate was £1,000 to £1,500 and the sold price was £4,400, which unfortunately was beyond the means of both our organisations.

The Trust now has a lively web site (www.essexgardenstrust.org.uk) and we are fortunate to have one of our trustees, Jane Palmer, managing the site and keeping the information up to date. Jane has also set up an Essex Gardens Trust Facebook page (www.facebook.com/essexgardenstrust) and this promotes not only the Essex Gardens Trust events but gives information on other events around the County: there are also photographs and other snippets of information – do take a look – ‘like’ the page and invite your Facebook friends to do so as well.

Michele Freeman has been liaising with the Education Officer at the RHS Garden Hyde Hall to offer Essex Gardens Trust sponsorship for local school children in under privileged areas to have the opportunity of attending a workshop where children experience a day of practical activities. Michele is also liaising with The Beth Chatto Garden where an education trust has been set up to carry forward Beth’s passion for plants and ecology with a school programme linked to the National Curriculum. The Essex Gardens Trust is keen to sponsor a school visit and arrangements for both these ventures are on-going.

The Programme and Planning Group has again organised a varied programme of lectures and visits for members. The year theme has been Nurseries and Seed Merchants and was introduced at last year’s AGM by Andrew Sankey with an inspiring talk on the early plant nurseries and the sourcing of plants since the mediaeval era. Ailsa Wildig followed this in December with a fascinating talk on plant hunters and their links to nurserymen, with many illustrations from her own expedition to China. Twigs Way, in January, gave an enlightening talk about the development of nurseries and plant retailers from the 16th to the mid-18th centuries. The visit to Kings Seeds, a leading seed supplier since 1888, was fully booked and members and guests enjoyed a talk and guided tour with Peter Miller followed by refreshments. Charlotte Power masterminded a workshop at Writtle on the identification of trees in the landscape and another successful coach trip took place in July, this year to Peter Beales Roses, with an informative talk on rose propagation and pruning followed by a guided tour of the rose gardens. The day continued after lunch with a visit to the fascinating gardens at East Ruston Old Vicarage. The invaluable work of the Programme and Planning team has ensured that these visits have been very successful.

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2017 (cont’d)

The Trustees are delighted to report that Stephen Ogle joined the Board of Trustees as Honorary Treasurer in January 2017. Stephen is a retired chartered accountant and is ideal to manage the

financial administration of the Trust. Michele Freeman, on a temporary basis, had continued to efficiently manage the accounts since our last report in October 2016 and we owe her an enormous debt of gratitude for taking on this role alongside her other commitments. Essex Gardens Trust’s finances have had a successful year with royalties generated from allowing the Capability Brown Festival’s website to publish a synopsis of information from Lancelot Brown and his Essex Clients. We were very sad to hear of the death of long time member Jean Beale, but immensely grateful to her family for making bequests to the Essex Gardens Trust.

We received some more sad news at the end of July when we learnt of past Chairman Gareth Gunning’s unexpected death. Gareth initially joined the Board of Trustees in 1998 as Conservation Officer and continued in this post for several years. Gareth joined the Board again in 2009/10 and took on the role of Chairman in 2012 until 2015. Gareth was an excellent Chairman and under his calm leadership the Board worked effectively. Gareth always gave wise counsel and had a sound knowledge of the Trust’s work. Although no longer Chairman and in the absence of a new Chairman, Gareth still offered his wise counsel which was not only appreciated but extremely helpful. Gareth will be missed enormously and our thoughts are with his wife, Ros, who has also been a great supporter of the Essex Gardens Trust.

In his role as Conservation Office, David Andrews has been keeping a professional eye on conservation issues affecting designed landscapes and areas of local importance. The Essex Gardens Trust has objected to an excessively large extension to North Lodge, Great Warley (located within the grade II registered garden associated with the former Warley Place): it is a significant Arts and Crafts style cottage that complements the garden and is worthy of being treated as an undesignated heritage asset. An objection has also been made to the large proposed development which would enclose the grade II registered garden at the former Thorpe Hall (now The Lifehouse), Thorpe-le-Soken. An objection was also submitted for the construction of a 38 bay overflow car park at New Hall School where the layout would adversely affect the registered landscape setting.

Membership Secretary, Patricia Sinclair, has been tirelessly working to ensure that membership information is kept up to date and that renewal fees are paid on time. Patricia’s administration has ensured that we have an excellent set of membership records.

Tricia Moxey has stepped down as newsletter editor due to pressures from her other charitable works and the Trust is grateful to her for the high standard she had maintained under her editorship. Without a new editor waiting in the wings and as our newsletter is the main platform to inform members of the work of the Essex Gardens Trust, Michele Freeman produced an A4 double sided news sheet at the end of May to send to all members. Another news sheet will accompany the AGM papers and the Trust’s normal form of newsletter will be produced in the New Year.

Members of the Research Group are continuing to research sites in the Borough of Brentwood as part six of their inventories of districts in Essex. All copies of Essex Gardens Trust’s book Lancelot Brown and his Essex clients, published to commemorate the tercentenary of Brown’s birth, have sold out and our thoughts have turned to Humphry Repton. Nationwide celebrations will be taking place in 2018 to celebrate the bicentenary of Repton’s death and although the Essex Gardens Trust published a book Repton in Essex in 2000, this book has been out of print for several years. The Research Group is planning a reprint to include any new information that has come to light since 2000. Wanstead Park is one example as Repton’s Red Book for Wanstead was sold at auction in 2002 having been in private hands for almost one hundred years and had been thought to be lost.

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2017 (cont’d)

The trustees wish to thank Gill Payne and Cassy McCleave for their enormous support over many years. Both are standing down as trustees for personal reasons: Cassy is moving north and we wish

her success with the move, but we are fortunate that Gill will continue in her role as a member of the programme planning team. New trustees to be elected will be our treasurer, Stephen Ogle, our

membership secretary, Patricia Sinclair, and new to the Board, and extremely welcome, Thadian Pillai.

The Trust has been functioning without a Chairman for two years as well as with a fairly small Board of Trustees. If any member would like to become a trustee, join the research team, or help in some other way, we would be delighted to hear from you (jillplater@hotmail.com). Also, please let us know what you think the Trust does well and what you might like to see us do differently.

FINANCIAL REVIEW

Income for the twelve months ended 30th June 2017 exceeded expenditure by £1,092 compared with an excess of expenditure over income of £403 in the preceding twelve months.

Income benefitted from receipt of donations in memory of the late Jean Beale for which the Trustees are very grateful. The Trust also received £400 by way of royalties for the use of the material on Capability Brown landscapes produced in the previous year by the EGT research group.

Membership fees remained at a similar level (£1,630 compared with £1,667) but gift aid accounted for in the year fell because the estimated sum recorded in the previous year turned out to be overstated by some £200.

The costs of the AGM and the associated event exceeded income by £ 126 but other events during the year produced a surplus of £69. The final visit of the programme to North Norfolk took place after the year end.

All categories of costs fell in comparison with the previous year. There was one less major newsletter, reduced website costs, and the previous year had included the costs of printing the Capability Brown research.

Reserves

The Trustees consider that the Trust should hold reserves at least equal to two years’ average costs, which would amount to around £9,000. At 30th June 2017 the Trust held reserves of £17,423. The additional reserves will enable the Trust to invest in new research or outreach activities.

RISK REVIEW

The Trustees have considered carefully the risks which face the Trust in particular in relation to organised events and research activities involving visits to private property and have put in place measures to mitigate them.

STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT

The governing document of the Essex Gardens Trust is its Memorandum and Articles of Association. Its Trustees are elected by the members in general meeting. The Trustees may co-opt persons to the board; any person so co-opted must stand for election at the next Annual General Meeting.

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2017 (cont’d)

The Trustees, who have held office during the year to 30thJune 2017, are:

David Andrews (elected 15th October 2016),

Isobel McCleave,

Patricia Moxey (elected 15th October 2016),

Stephen Ogle – Treasurer and Company Secretary (co-opted 21st March 2017),

Jane Palmer (elected 15th October 2016),

Gillian Payne,

Gillian Plater,

Jonathan Jukes (resigned 20th September 2016),

Sarah Nicholson (resigned 20th September 2016).

PUBLIC BENEFIT

The Charities Act 2011 obliges the Trust to demonstrate public benefit in the work that it undertakes.

The Trustees believe that the work of the Essex Gardens Trust demonstrates public benefit by its activities on behalf of the public concerning the garden land of Essex

STATEMENT OF TRUSTEES' RESPONSIBILITIES

Company law requires the Trustees to prepare financial accounts for each financial year, which give a true and fair view of the state of company's affairs as at the end of the financial year and of the profit or loss of the company for that period. In preparing these accounts the Trustees are required to:

 select suitable accounting policies and apply them consistently;

 make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;

 follow applicable accounting standards, subject to any material departure disclosed and explained in the accounts;

 prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to assume that the charity will continue in business.

The Trustees are responsible for maintaining proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the company and enable them to ensure that the accounts comply with the Companies Act. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

The Board of Trustees approved this report on 19th September 2017

Signed on behalf of the Trustees by:

Stephen Ogle

Company secretary

Independent Examiner’s Report to the Trustees of Essex Gardens Trust

I report on the financial statements of the company for the year ended 30 June 2017 as set out on pages 7 to 11.

This report is made solely to the charity’s trustees, as a body, in accordance with the section 43 Charities Act 2011. My work has been undertaken so that I might state to the charity’s trustees those matters I am required to state to them in this report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, I do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the charity and the charity’s members as a body, for my work, for this report, or for the opinions I have formed.

Respective responsibilities of trustees and examiner

The charity's trustees (who are also the directors of the company for the purposes of company law) are responsible for the preparation of financial statements. The charity’s trustees consider that an audit is not required for this year under section 144(2) of the Charities Act 2011 (the 2011 Act) and that an independent examination is needed. The charity is required by company law to prepare accrued financial statements and I am qualified to undertake the examination by being a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Having satisfied myself that the charity is not subject to audit under company law and is eligible for independent examination, it is my responsibility to:

 examine the financial statements under section 145 of the 2011 Act;

 to follow the procedures laid down in the General Directions given by the Charity Commission under section 145(5)(b) of the 2011 Act; andto state where particular matters have come to my attention.

Basis of independent examiner’s report

My examination was carried out in accordance with the General Directions given by the Charity Commission. An examination includes a review of the accounting records kept by the charity and a comparison of the financial statements presented with those records. It also includes consideration of any unusual items or disclosures in the financial statements and seeking explanations from you as trustees concerning any such matters. The procedures undertaken do not provide all the evidence that would be required in an audit, and consequently no opinion is given as to whether the financial statements present a ‘true and fair view’ and the report is limited to those matters set out in the statement below.

Independent examiner's statement

In connection with my examination, no matter has come to my attention to indicate that:

 accounting records have not been kept in accordance with section 386 of the Companies Act 2006;

 the accounts do not accord with such records:

 where accounts are prepared on an accruals basis, whether they fail to comply with the relevant accounting requirements of the section 396 of the Companies Act 2006, or are not consistent with the Charities SORP (FRS102)

 any matter which the examiner believes should be drawn to the attention of the reader to gain a proper understanding of the accounts.

Date: 20th September 2017

Paul Conway FCA

Conway Fielden Gough – Chartered Accountants

Innisfree, 27 Acacia Drive, Maldon, CM9 6AW

ESSEX GARDENS TRUST

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES

FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH June 2017

Unrestricted funds

2017

Unrestricted funds

2016

Note

£

£

Income

Income from:

Grants and donations

492

2

Membership fees

1,630

1,667

Gift aid

154

417

Research activities

2

664

585

Events

3

1,101

3,050

Bank interest

20

35

Total

4,061

5,756

Expenditure

Expenditure on:

Communication and administration

4

1,563

2,157

Research activities

5

0

570

Events

6

1,158

3,019

Governance costs

7

248

413

Total

2,969

6,159

Net income/(expenditure)

1,092

-403

Other recognised gains/(losses):

Other gains/(losses)

-

-

Net movement in funds

1,092

-403

Reconciliation of funds:

Total funds brought forward

16,331

16,734

Total funds carried forward

£17,423

£16,331

 

 

The company is entitled to exemption from audit under s477 of the Companies Act 2006 relating to small companies.

The members have not required the company to obtain an audit in accordance with section 476 of the Companies Act 2006.

The directors acknowledge their responsibilities for complying with the requirements of the Companies Act with respect to accounting records and the preparation of accounts.

These accounts have been prepared in accordance with the provisions applicable to small companies subject to the small companies regime and in accordance with FRS102 SORP.

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Trustees on 19th September and signed on their behalf by:

Gillian Plater Stephen Ogle  

 

ESSEX GARDENS TRUST

Notes forming part of the Financial Statements for the year ended 30th June 2017

1. Accounting Policies

The principal accounting policies are summarised below. The accounting policies have

been applied consistently throughout the year and in the preceding year.

(a) Basis of Accounting

 

These accounts have been prepared under the historical cost convention and in accordance with the provisions applicable to small companies subject to the small companies regime and in accordance with FRS102 SORP.

(b) Fund accounting

 

Unrestricted funds are available for use at the discretion of the trustees in furtherance of the general objectives of Essex Gardens Trust.

(c) Incoming Resources

All incoming resources are included in the Statement of Financial Activities when Essex Gardens Trust is entitled to the income and the amount can be quantified with reasonable accuracy. The following specific policies are applied to particular categories of income,

Voluntary income is received by way of grants, donations and membership fees and is included in the Statement of Financial Activities when receivable. Grants, where entitlement is not conditional on the delivery of a specific performance by Essex Gardens Trust, are recognised when Essex Gardens Trust becomes unconditionally entitled to the grant.

Donated services and facilities are included at the value to Essex Gardens Trust where this can be quantified. The value of services provided by volunteers has not been included in these financial statements.

Investment income is included when receivable.

(d) Resources expended

Expenditure is recognised on an accrual basis as a liability is incurred.

Charitable expenditure comprises those costs incurred by Essex Gardens Trust in the delivery of its activities. It includes the direct costs of such activities

Governance costs include those direct costs associated with the constitutional and statutory requirements of Essex Gardens Trust including the costs of the independent examination of the financial statements.

(e) Stocks

No monetary value is attributed to stocks of publications for sale or held to support research activities. 10

 

ESSEX GARDENS TRUST

Notes forming part of the Financial Statements for the year ended 30th June 2017 (cont’d) Note

£

£

2

Income from Research activities

Sale of:

Living landscapes

10

10

Rooted in Essex

15

23

Historic designed landscapes

0

5

Paper landscapes

0

5

Capability Brown – book sales

239

542

Capability Brown - royalties

400

0

664

585

3

Income from events

AGM event

585

2,260

Other events

516

790

1,101

3,050

4

Communication and administration

Newsletter, printing and stationery

552

1,054

Website costs

94

480

Postage and telephone

445

125

Insurance

190

174

Subscriptions

238

236

Bank charges

40

0

Donation

0

50

Other costs

4

38

1,563

2,157

Essex Gardens Trust has no employees.

No trustee received any remuneration in the year and no travel or other costs were

reimbursed. No trustee had any personal interest in any contract or transaction entered into

by Essex Gardens Trust during the year.

5

Research activities

Printing of books

0

570