Board Annual Report 2015
FREEGLE LIMITED DIRECTORS ANNUAL REPORT FOR 13 JUNE 2014 TO 12 JUNE 2015
IPS Registration 32410R
Registered Office, 4 Welbeck Close, Burgess Hill, RH15 0AU,
Registered in England
Freegle Ltd was registered as an Industrial and Provident Society (Registered Society) on 13 June 2014. see []
The objects of the Society shall be to carry on any business for the benefit of the community by:
- Promoting the keeping of usable items out of landfill.
- Promoting and supporting local community groups working in the area of reuse.
- Empowering and supporting volunteers working for local Freegle groups.
- Informing and educating the public about environmental matters related to the reuse and recycling of unwanted usable goods.
- Promoting sustainable waste management practices.
DIRECTORS APPOINTED BY FOUNDER MEMBERS
Appointments made 21 June 2014
Jacky Barrett, John Carroll, Ollie Clark, Cat Fletcher, Edward Hibbert, Andy Ludlow, Alison Redway, Kathryn Speight, Andrew Widgery
Kathryn Speight resigned on 13th July 2014
Tina Wilcox was appointed by the Board at their meeting of 30th July 2014
Andrew Widgery resigned on 29th October 2014 This vacancy has been held open to the next annual election of Directors.
Elected by the Board at the first Board meeting, held 30th July 2014
- Chairman - Edward Hibbert
- Company Secretary - Andy Ludlow
- Director of Finance - John Carroll
OTHER DIRECTOR ROLES
Agreed at the Board meeting of 30th July 2014
- Health and Safety Officer - Ollie Clark
- Media Director - Cat Fletcher
- Chief Technology Officer - Edward Hibbert
- Volunteer Welfare Director - Tina Willcox
NON DIRECTORS APPOINTMENTS BY BOARD
Non-Director roles appointed by the Board, confirmed at the Board meeting of 30th July 2014
- Board Secretary - Alison Redway
- Treasurer - Jane Loveday
- Returning Officers - Trevor Oxborrow, Paul Thompson
- Ombudsman - Kathy Stanley-Quist, Emma Shane
DIRECTORS TERMS OF OFFICE
In accordance with Rule 55 all Directors stand down at the first AGM. The current Directors will remain in office until the new Board is announced by the Returning Officers.. This is likely to be on or before 23 June 2015.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
The Board has approved and adopted a range of policies and procedures for Freegle Ltd, based on Freegle’s previous policies and procedures, adapted for use in the new IPS structure. They are all uploaded onto the Freegle Wiki, and are listed in Freegle Ltd Adopted Document Summary.
Conflicts of Interest Procedure
A risk register is maintained by the Board Chairman. Risk assessment is a standing agenda item. The key risks at present are:
- Inconsistency of service to members, because of the complex mesh of technologies we use and differences between local groups.
- Loss of key individuals - we remain critically dependent on a handful of people.
- Financial resources - we now have a reasonably steady stream of income, but it is low (we could not afford to pay a market rate for any significant services), and for cultural reasons we are averse to spending what we do have.
The Board held its inaugural meeting on July 30th 2014 and 11 meetings have been convened since then. All minutes can be accessed at:
Freegle Board Minutes 2014 and Freegle Board Minutes 2015
Group Affiliation Report
GAT continue to do their excellent work in affiliating new groups, with 23 caseloads handled in this period (to mid May 2015), bringing the total caseloads since Freegle UK began to 698 and resulting in 402 groups currently affiliated. They would welcome additional volunteers to join the team.
There has been lots of activity during this period:
- The Freegle Direct website has been rewritten, to give it a facelift, accommodate changes required by Facebook, and to make the code more accessible for other potential geeks. This process was a little bumpy, but has settled down.
- The main ilovefreegle.org website is largely unchanged. The split between this “index” website and the sites used to actually Freegle continues to confuse members.
- We have developed a first version of a Freegle mobile app, to make it easier to freegle from your phone. This has had a soft launch in Cumbria.
Our new hosting kindly provided for free by Bytemark continues to be excellent for our purposes.
We could do much more to improve the appearance, function, performance and reliability of the website - but there isn’t sufficient volunteer time to do so. Our current highly active geeks are Edward and Chris, and this remains a very significant risk for Freegle.
That said, it is great that we have managed to modernise significant parts of our service this year.
Freegle Annual Financial Report and Accounts 6th April 2014 to 5th April 2015
These can be viewed here
Prepared by Jane Loveday Treasurer
John Carroll, Director of Finance
Freegle is currently running two bank accounts, one for the Freegle UK before it became an Industrial Provident Society [IPS] and therefore a limited company. Once we have spent the last of the Big Lottery Grant we received for the Sustain Eden Project we will move all funds from the Freegle UK bank account to the Freegle Ltd bank account.
The Accounts for Freegle UK & Freegle Ltd
The detailed accounts for both organisation entities are online here.
Our key sources of income are currently:
- Regular donations, usually from moderators, including the Gift Aid
- Donations via Careicon, usually from members
- Give as You Live [GAYL]
- Grants - with the exception of the CAFS project in Cumbria which has been very successful, we seem to lack the ability to win grant funding as we don’t currently have volunteers to write successful bids.
In FY 14/15 even though we had a great boost from Give as you Live of over £6,000, overall we had around £5,000 less income due to less from individuals, Lottery grants and no repeat of a once-off donation for media work. This was offset by £4,600 less spend as we given free hosting, didn’t repeat spend on a Give as You Live campaign and spent less on items from dedicated lottery grant funds.
Forecast for this Financial Year
Income Forecasting income when we are reliant on donations is very difficult, so here is our view on the likely moves in the coming year. Over the next year, we can expect:
- Donations via Careicon should increase, as significant funding from corporate donors becomes available to be claimed by Freegle.
- GAYL may slow, as their solution does not work well for mobile, and we were an organisation they gave some focus to last year.
- We hope to have sponsorship for the Newsletter to generate Media funds for further promotion
Expenditure will be focussed via the budgeting as described below. one exception being the purchase of a laptop for media work.
Finance Items to note
- We’d like to say thank you to Jane Loveday as treasurer for her work helping to keep all the finances in order, her knowledge of proper procedure, Freegle finance history and guidance given from her professional background.
- The accounts for Freegle UK go through an Independent examination by an external qualified accountant for a very small fee as a condition set out by grant donors. Freegle as an IPS has a statutory obligation to have fully audited accounts unless the turnover is low (as ours is) and the requirement is disapplied by vote at the AGM. The Board has voted to carry on doing Independent examinations of accounts which we hope to again get an external qualified volunteer for to maintain membership confidence in the accounts. however we will ask this AGM to dis-apply the need for full audited accounts due to the cost and time required.
- The Independent Examination report for Freegle Ltd will be included on the FY15 accounts sent to the membership via “FreegleUK-Central”group, when this task is completed.
- The work to transfer some of the funding sources from the Freegle UK account to the Freegle Limited account is ongoing. We will complete this work and transfer any funds to the Freegle Ltd account before closing the older account.
- There are three restricted funds (one donated for making Freegle Sustainable, one for Media work, and the Lewes local group funds) that will transfer with the board agreeing to abide by these obligations on behalf of Freegle Ltd
Moving to Preplanned Budgets
To this point Freegle has spent money as and when ideas come up, with debate happening in the Reps/Board. The Board felt this wasn’t the most effective way of getting funds donated to Freegle used to progress the systems the organisation relies on, the Media to help promote our work and the support of volunteers who keep Freegle running. Therefore there was a vote to move to annual budgets for “Tech”, Media and Volunteer support. As it was likely that some board members would be the same people we may need to do funded work (e.g. Edward Hibbert), we would have budgets owned by those who were not going to be paid for work in that area and reviewed each quarter.
As we have over £18,000 in the bank we initially set an overall budget limit for the coming financial year of £10,000 split into areas:
- Tech - £6,500
- Media - £2,000 of this year’s budget plus any funds generated from future Freegle newsletter sponsorship, plus £664 from previous restricted media funds
- Volunteering Support £1,500
These annual budgets will be reviewed as the new financial year approaches to take into account affordability and what the organisation feels it needs to focus on where expenditure may be required.
Budget Holder and Advisor: John Carroll (Edward Hibbert)
Budget Holder and Advisor: Edward Hibbert (Cat Fletcher)
Budget Holder and Advisor:Tina Willcox (Jacky Barrett)
Full Media Report can be viewed here.
Cat Fletcher, Director of Media, spends on average 10 hours a week maintaining our basic media output and more when required.
There is a lot more that could be done to raise our profile. A lot.
Cat gave 13 presentations (in London. Birmingham, Bath, Warwickshire, Somerset, Brighton and Texas in USA) Attended 6 award events and a 100+ other functions (incl. 3 at House of Commons and Lords) Ran 22 Freegle Open Days in Brighton and many Waste House open days. http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/ease/wastehouse/about
Need to do Instagram and rev up Pinterest. Please get in touch if you’d like to help. https://www.pinterest.com/freegleuk/ Most of our engagement is with middle aged females. Will experiment with paid for promoted posts and different content.
Alison from Middlesbrough ran a weekend stall at the Festival of Thrift in – Thank you! http://www.festivalofthrift.co.uk/
Cat gave a talk at Glastonbury (and supplied 8 tonnes of Freegled goods) and at 6 local festivals.
Most coverage in Cumbria and Brighton. Elle Deco mentioned us in January ‘upcycling’ issue. Need to do more press releases and send them out frequently across the UK.
Best publicity of the year from mentions on Channel 4 Kirstie Allsopp 6 week series last summer “Fill Your House for Free”. Unfortunately not being repeated this summer. In talks with 4 TV production companies as mainstream TV coverage is desirable.
8 BBC regional interviews done
Edward has led on this. Our partnership has raised over £6,000 but we have no future campaigns planned . http://www.giveasyoulive.com/join/freegle
Fotodocument One Planet Living Photography Sponsorship
Freegle sponsored the Zero Waste exhibition at the Brighton Waste House (£1,000). 5,000+ unique visitors have seen it. http://fotodocument.org/essay/zero-waste-sophie-gerrard/
Sadly Freegle did not win any of the 6 awards we entered into. Cat won a few including one from the Prime Minister and the Waste House (Freegle is a partner on the project) has one 10 so far. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/points-of-light-february-2015-winners
Sent out quarterly-ish to 800,000+ Freegle members Currently handled by Edward. Cat will be taking this over and developing an income for Freegle through paid infotorials.
The Working Groups (Growth, Legal, Local Funding, Media, Structure, and Tech) have had varying amounts of work over the past year, with Tech continuing to be the place where volunteers can ask and receive advice about Yahoo, Freegle Direct and the Freegle App.. In the past month it was agreed by the groups and the Board to rationalise the work of Groups, reducing the number from 6 to 3. The current organisation now comprises a Funding Group, Development Group and Tech Group. All volunteers are welcome to join these groups, their remits are available on the Freegle Wiki.
There are two national contact addresses that members of the public and others can email for help - firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
During this year, info@ has had 2641 conversations with enquirers, totalling 13,232 since Freegle UK began offering the service in 2009. Where possible, enquiries from local group members are passed to local groups to deal with directly. Recent changes to Freegle Direct should mean that queries are more often sent directly to local groups.
The support@ mailbox was passed over in August 2013 to the support group, with the aim of relieving our hard pressed geeks from day to day technical queries. This year, they have dealt with 1329 enquiries.. They have also picked up reports from the Hotmail group of mail providers and put in place measures to combat problems due to group members marking mail as spam.
THE DIRECTORS WOULD LIKE TO RECORD THANKS TO:
- The TSW Team, which researched, recommended and guided the Freegle transition from an unincorporated association to an IPS. Particular thanks to Neil Morris and Brian Titley, Ged Devlin of Co-operatives UK.
- Chris Cant for the Freegle App, leading the TSW team, all round great support on geeky stuff, and for being such an active ambassador and advocate for Freegle
- Andrew Widgery of Snaply and Andrew Trusty of Trashnothing
- Mentors and other support volunteers who help moderators in times of crisis or need and buddy new volunteers.
- Central Mods team, Ombudsmen, Returning Officers, Jean, Christian, Richard, Jon, and others who work for the national organisation in a variety of capacities.
- The Freegle UK Reps, who have guided the Freegle organisation from 2009 to the handover in 2015.
and finally, and certainly not least:
- Every local volunteer for giving their time, passion and care to their communities to enable Freegling throughout the UK.
The Directors declare that they have approved the Directors’ report above.
Signed on behalf of the Directors of Freegle Ltd.
Chairman 8 June 2015
Links: AGM 2015