The Guild Charitable Trust had a lively and enjoyable meeting at its recent AGM, which was attended by founding members including Peter Bullen and Godfrey Brown.
Trust Chairman, Stephen Howe reported that the Trust had been very active in 2010, providing both financial help and support to Guild members and their families.
Several financial awards were made; some small and designed to alleviate short-term problems, others larger and involving more considered investment to help with life-changing decisions.
“Just as important were the communications and conversations that have taken place over the past year to provide help and re-assurance,” says Stephen. “Sadly, we were asked to contact many more members and their families last year after others raised concern for their well-being. But that should not come as a surprise given the age profile of the Guild and the uncertainty that has beset some sectors of the agricultural media in recent years.”
Fortunately, 2010 saw a slight improvement in returns from the Trust’s financial reserves, which continue to be held in dedicated Charitable Trust investment accounts. These have proved to be less vulnerable to the fickle financial markets existing for the past few years.
“Indeed, your Trust’s savings portfolio has grown over the past year from just over £66,500 to nearly £76,000,” says Stephen. “This is a reflection of both increased investment from surplus revenue and a small improvement in the rate of return.”
Cash reserves, which are retained to draw down in emergencies to pay beneficiaries, have also increased, giving the Trust total net current assets of more than £85,000 compared with just over £74,000 at the end of 2009.
“Such financial stability is thanks to the efforts of trustees and prudent, day-to-day financial management by your Trust’s Treasurer, Diane Montague,” Stephen emphasises. “Nevertheless, despite the current healthy financial situation, your Trustees are mindful that given the continuing economic uncertainty and age profile of the Guild, the call on its resources may not always be sufficient to meet the demand for its services.
“It is for that reason that we will continue to look for ways of raising funds,” he adds. “We remain grateful for the support provided by Guild members and friends of the Guild, in particular through the raffle, which takes place at the Harvest Lunch, and the sale of 200 Club Shares and Christmas cards. This year’s raffle will have some exciting prizes – and, of course, there will be the auction for two tickets to Wimbledon.”
Trust funds have also received a welcome boost in the past year by legacies left by Guild members. The most recent was a very generous donation from Ronnie Fraser – see separate News item.
“Ronnie was a real gentleman and always had the Guild at his heart, becoming Chairman in 1971,” Stephen recalls. “He was rightly made a Fellow of the Guild because of the encouragement he gave to others. Indeed, he set many a good example and his legacy to the Guild will be a lasting one.”
See the Charitable Trust page to see how members, colleagues and friends can contribute to the confidential work of the Trustees.