AGM 2012 Reps Annual Report

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2012 Annual Report

Presented by Freegle Reps

Our first 3 years have provided us with a firm foundation for Freegle. We have a successful organisation which we now need to sustain and encourage to flourish.

The Reps have dealt with the day to day issues associated with running Freegle nationally as well as the important strategic issues facing Freegle as an organisation. We have met regularly via our Yahoo Group but have not had a face to face meeting this year.

To supplement the ageing Yahoo Groups platform we have made improvements and enhancements to Freegle Direct, our bespoke interface. Norfolk Freegle has launched an innovative website for Norfolk and Waveney groups.

We have increased Freegle’s profile with progressive efforts to liaise with national and local government and by the effective use of social media.

Volunteers have continued to support each other through individual help, Freegle Central and working groups.

We have secured sufficient funds to cover our minimum website costs, and are in the very early stages of being able to offer more resources both locally and nationally.

Central finances are healthy, although only sufficient to run a basic and minimum service for groups.

Some notable achievements over the last year include:

  • Opening an account with Unity Trust Bank.
  • Obtaining HMRC registration as a charity.
  • Setting up online donation methods.
  • Providing expenses and resources for central and group publicity work; Freegle is now represented at government level in discussions on the future of re-use.
  • Approving collaboration with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) who have been successful in a £1m bid from the Big Lottery Communities Living Sustainably fund. This will be a pilot project for Freegle income.
  • Liaising with the working groups over the introduction of new Freegle policies and revision of existing ones.
  • Collaborating with researchers at the University of Cambridge and Sheffield Hallam University.

Over the coming year we need to address the challenges that we face with our existing legal structure and our over-reliance on a very small number of volunteers working regularly to run Freegle nationally.

At the moment individuals in unincorporated associations take personal liability and this makes it difficult for us as an organisation to enter into the kinds of contracts which will help Freegle grow without placing volunteers at personal financial risk.

It is estimated that it takes between 1,000 and 1,200 hours per month of work by volunteers working nationally to run Freegle and as we grow this workload may increase. Most national volunteers are also involved in running local groups.

A separate report is being presented at the AGM for discussion on how we might address some of our organisational challenges.

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