A Summary of Notes from the Annual General Meeting held on Monday 29th January 2018
At the City of York Council Offices, Station Rise, York.
The Meeting commence at 7 pm.
1. Welcome – The Coordinator Paul Wordsworth welcomed the following people to the meeting: – Names redacted
2. Apologies were received from: – Names redacted
3. Notes from the January 2017 AGM were circulated and agreed as an accurate record of that meeting.
a. Matters arising from the notes – None
4. Presentation of Annual Accounts April 2016- March 2017; having been independently examined and signed.
At of 31st March 2017 the accounts show receipts of £19,758 and payments on projects of £6,064. The balance carried forward is £19,785
Funds received April to December 2017 £8,265
Funds paid out April to December 2017 £5,133
Total Funds at 31st December 2017 £22,917
5. Annual Report of management group – A summary of what Paul Wordsworth said:
Following the AGM in January 2017, the management group met in April, and followed up the recommendation of the Independent Examiner that the organisation should seek charitable status. It was agreed that an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) would be called at which the case would be put to the vote of the members.
The EGM took place in June, and as a result of a 92% vote in favour of seeking charitable status, it was agreed to move towards registering an application. A working group, comprising Michael Worthington, Jane Adam, Paul Wordsworth, and the Chair, Don Phillips, were authorised to begin the process.
The management group meeting in August heard of the application progress, and that it would be ready for submission by September. This report notes with regret the resignation of Don Phillips as Chair in September. He cited a number of reasons, including his concern that our organisation was not yet ready to become a charity. York City of Sanctuary is grateful to him for the time, energy and skills which he brought to our work.
The November meeting agreed to a revised wording of the objects of the York City of Sanctuary charity, to comply with the instructions of the Charity Commission. On December 5th, our application was approved, and registration number 1176094 was allocated to us. This is another milestone in our organisation’s development, and we are grateful to all who have helped us to reach this point.
Over the past year, as indeed for a number of years, our meetings have been hosted by North Yorkshire Police at the Fulford Road Police Station. We are most grateful for such facilities. We thank Assistant Chief Constable and Commander for their attendance and support of the management group.
The group has also included since its inception a number of representatives from other significant organisations, including Refugee Action York, York Racial Equality Network, York City Council, and York Interfaith Group. The 2018 AGM is held in the CYC West Offices, not for the first time, thanks to the arrangements set up by our CYC representative.
Past meetings have always included space for reports from those organisations, so that we shared information and raised concerns about mutual areas of work. The newly formed Board of Trustees will be charged with attending to the business of the charity, and trustees will not be there to represent the interests and views of other organisations.
It will therefore be important to develop a new meeting place where those engaged in areas of work which overlap, and are of mutual concern, can come together and discuss ways of co-operation, collaboration, and the creation of joint developments where needed. This may be a Refugee Forum such as was begun by the City of York Council to assist the settlement of Syrians arriving in York under the Government backed programme. Those meetings have not taken place for some time, and the brief ought to be wider than Syrian refugees alone. York City of Sanctuary will seek to assist and facilitate such an initiative in the coming year.
Activities over the year:
The Welcome to York programme saw groups coming to the city from Bradford, Doncaster, Durham, Middlesbrough, and Hull. This included day trips and weekend stays.
The Compass Programme saw regular visits to Hull, Middlesbrough, Bradford, and Wakefield to take goods for distribution to needy refugees and asylum seekers. Additionally, from funding given to us for use in the region, we provided a grant to Middlesbrough to pilot a series of Dinner events, in which refugees planned, budgeted, prepared, and served to a substantial number of diners. It was a great success and the work will now continue.
Funding from the same fund has been provided for Hull to develop training volunteers to serve the many clients who visit ‘Open Doors’ on a daily basis. We look forward to assisting Bradford and Wakefield with these one-off grants, in our partnership across the region.
The Guardian Newspaper awarded a grant of £4000 to assist our Welcome to York and Compass programme during the year ahead, and commended our regional approach as a model for those communities and cities which have small number of refugees, reaching out to their near neighbours who may be struggling to meet demands.
A Summer Drop In was held at the Theatre Royal during July/ August. The atmosphere was informal and friendly, with English conversation, activities for children, and much laughter. At other times, RAY and Refugee Council have provisions which it is important not to duplicate.
Legal support, and assisting travel costs for people to have interviews with immigration lawyers has dealt with 15 cases; Housing assistance and support, including emergency accommodation, has dealt with 11 cases; and supporting benefits claims has seen 18 cases. A good deal of patient pre-visit preparation is often required with those we are representing so that the facts can be presented in a clear and positive way.
York City of Sanctuary is a member of the Holocaust Memorial Week planning group. The Co-ordinator’s speech at the HMD Civic event (January 28th 2018) is now on the YCoS Facebook page. York became the first city in the UK to be declared a City of Human Rights in April 2017. We are represented on the Steering group which helped to guide York to that point.
Grateful thanks are expressed to the outgoing management group members, to the team leaders, to volunteers, and supporters of our work. This is a pivotal moment for York City of Sanctuary as we move into a new way of working and ordering our activities. It will be challenging, but our charitable status will assist us to be more focused, as we continue to listen to those needing sanctuary, so that we can fully welcome and support them.
6. Motion: The following motion was read out to the assembled members by Paul Wordsworth
“This meeting instructs the outgoing management group to wind up the affairs and dissolve the voluntary group known as York City of Sanctuary, to pay all debts and liabilities, and transfer all remaining assets to the charity (No. 1176094) registered as ‘York City of Sanctuary’.”
The motion was proposed by Name redacted and seconded by Name redacted
Following on from discussions, the vote by show of hand to dissolve “York City of Sanctuary” as a voluntary group and transfer assets to the charitable organisation named in the motion was as follows: –
In Favour 21 – Against 0 – Abstentions 0
A unanimous vote to move to charitable status was made.
7. Next steps
a. The meeting moved to an explanation of the next steps and procedures to be taken.
The current management group will meet in the near future at a date to be defined to wind up the voluntary organisation and ensure all the assets and property of the “York City of Sanctuary” have been transferred to the charitable organisation.
Q – Has the management group walked into the role of trustees?
A – No, the foundation trustees entrusted with responsibility for overseeing the bridge between Voluntary organisation and Charity were Names redacted. They will step down from their roles when the nominated trustees have been elected.
Other trustees who have submitted CV’s and declared themselves to be fit to serve as trustees will be appointed.
b. Any other Business – none
8. Nominations to the York City of Sanctuary Charity Board of Trustees.
The following 9 persons have individually signed a declaration that they are eligible to act as a trustee and are willing to act in that capacity for the above-named charity;
Each person present gave a short address to the meeting
The charity can have a maximum of 12 and a minimum of 3 trusteed.
The trustees will serve in groups of 3, so four groups possible.
The current team leaders will become managers of the “York City of Sanctuary”
Q – Were any applicants unacceptable
A – All applicants were acceptable but from an encouraging number of expressions of interest some potential candidates chose not to return the application form.
Q – Can we change the constitution
A – Yes but it must be in consultation with the charity commission
Vote on the appointment of trustees – proposed by Name redacted and seconded by Name redacted
Following on from discussions, the vote by show of hand to appoint the above persons as trustees was as follows: –
In Favour 21 – Against 0 – Abstentions 0 – A unanimous vote to elect the above persons as trustees was made.
The new board of trustees in now activated and the role of the foundation trustees is ended.
The meeting closed at 20:1