Board Annual Report 2016

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This report has been updated to cover June-October 2016.

IPS Registration: 32410R Registered Office: Weaver’s Field, Loud Bridge, Chipping PR3 2NX Registered in England

Freegle Ltd was registered as an Industrial and Provident Society (Registered Society) on 13 June 2014.

Society Details




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 serving this year have been: Christian Brenninkmeijer, John Carroll, Cat Fletcher, Edward Hibbert, Andy Ludlow, Ollie Clark and Andrew Trusty


  • Under rule 56, the Board co-opted Jo Fisher, as an independent director, for a term of one year.
  • Under rule 57, the Board co-opted Sheila Little, to fill a casual vacancy until the 2016 AGM.


Chair - Edward Hibbert Company Secretary - Andy Ludlow Director of Finance - John Carroll


  • Health and Safety Officer - currently vacant
  • Media Director - Cat Fletcher (part of this, social media activity, is a paid contracting role)
  • Chief Technology Officer - Edward Hibbert


Book-keeper - Jane Loveday Returning Officers (temporary) - Alison Redway, Jacky Barrett Ombudsman - Kathy Stanley-Quist, Emma Shane Volunteer Support - Mhairi Gordon-Preston. This is a paid contracting role for 1 year.


At this AGM, Edward Hibbert, Ollie Clark and Christian Brenninkmeijer have stood down. Edward and Christian have stood for re-election. Sheila Little has also stood for election after filling a casual vacancy.


Freegle policies and procedures are held on the Freegle Wiki. They are reviewed as and when required by the Board and the Development working group.


A risk register is maintained by the Board Chairman. Risk assessment is a standing agenda item. The key risks at present are:

  • We can maintain our platform over the next year, but we cannot expect to improve or evolve it.
  • We have reduced national media coverage compared to earlier years. This is in part due to a reduced capacity, as well as it being harder to gain coverage as we are no longer new.
  • We are too highly dependent on key individuals, who risk burnout, and without whom Freegle would be in deep trouble.

More generally, while Freegle is and must remain a volunteer-lead organisation, it is clear that the there are certain key skills which we cannot obtain to the level we need on a purely voluntary basis. If we are to survive or thrive, we need to secure those skills - and this requires funding.

Therefore fundraising is likely to be a key focus for the Board over the next year.


The Board has held regular meetings. All minutes can be accessed at:

Minutes 2015 Minutes 2016


We currently have 118 Members, 33 of whom have been added since the last AGM.

All volunteers are eligible to become Members, and the Board encourages people to do so. More details can be found at here.


Group Affiliation

GAT has been relatively quiet this year due to the decrease in the number of applications for new groups. This has allowed the GAT team to clear the backlog and work on mapping issues.

The GAT team would welcome new volunteers.

Their monthly reports can be found here

The Board would like to thank the GAT team for their continued hard work.


There has been lots of activity during this period. Freegle has paid Edward Hibbert, in a contracting role, to develop a new platform. This is now live, and by the end of 2016 will allow hosting of groups independently of Yahoo Groups. This removes a key risk for Freegle, as Yahoo Groups is increasingly less relevant or reliable, and Yahoo as a company is in decline.

Freegle has also contracted Chris Cant to provide a new mobile app. Unlike the previous version, this has the same look and feel as the website, and is based on a shared codebase, and therefore should be easier to maintain in future.

During 2017 we expect to be able to maintain this new system, but we do not expect to be able to significantly evolve it, as this would require funds which we do not possess, and which we are not actively raising.

Our hosting kindly provided for free by Bytemark continues to be excellent for our purposes.


Results for Financial Year 2015/16

We had a total income of £40,393. The majority of this was a £35,218 win from Microsoft ($50,000). The remainder included £891 from Give As You Live, £516 from advertising and £3,768 from donations from Freegle volunteers and local group members.

Expenditure was £11,972. The biggest cost was £6,333 on development of the new platform FDv3. Other costs included media/publicity £1,593, a £1,000 contribution to the re-use depot in Brighton, IT costs of £2,289 including £1,000 on the mobile phone app, £320 on a laptop computer and Public Liability Insurance £371.

This left us with £28,421 and we had a surplus brought forward from last year of £10. The assets of Freegle UK were transferred to Freegle Ltd during the year – this was a total of £20,329 and is covered by a separate report and accounts. Freegle Ltd therefore ended the year with £48,760 reserves of which £3,190 is restricted funds (see note 3), leaving £45,570 as unrestricted funds.

Income Forecast for Financial Year 2016/17

The Board has prepared a financial forecast from June 2016, which can be found here. This anticipates an income of approximately £9200, largely from individual donations. It does not yet include the likely win of £3K from the eBay competition.

As mentioned above, fundraising is likely to be a focus for the Board over the coming year, and this forecast may well change.

Expenditure Forecast for Financial Year 2016/17

The forecast plans on us spending around £2500/month, split between platform maintenance, social media, and volunteer support. The effect of this will be that by November 2017 our reserves will have dropped back to around £20K.


This year we have continued an active and successful presence on Facebook and Twitter (Cat does this as a paid contract), though it is proving harder than in previous years to grow it.

We have not had capacity to get significant coverage in national broadcast media, but Cat has done a huge number of speaking events (see detailed report).

We need more volunteers to retweet, and we also need people to volunteer to promote us on Instagram and Pinterest. Please contact if you can help.

A detailed report is available here


The Mentor team have had a busy year. Caring for an increasing number of groups, whose owners have decided to give up moderating. They have worked hard to try to ensure these groups are kept going without group members being inconvenienced, while they look for new local owners.

They have also helped several groups with recruitment and updating files and homepages.

The monthly mentor reports can be found here.

The Board would like to thank the Mentor team for the effort they have put into caring for these groups and for the help they have given to other moderating teams.


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.

The Board would like to express its thanks to the people who participate in those groups, and also the coordinators who keep them running.


There are two national contact addresses that members of the public and others can email for help - and

Info and Support

There has been a change in traffic between these two mailboxes since the launch of the new website. Support@ is now very busy, dealing with technical queries. Info@ deals mainly with general queries from outside Freegle, which have declined in line with less national exposure. All queries get a response within 24 hours, the vast majority considerably quicker than that thanks to the small, conscientious and hardworking mailbox teams.


Edward Hibbert, for developing the new platform and providing technical support for Freegle. Chris Cant for the Freegle App, and other great geek activity. Andrew Trusty of Trashnothing for providing an alternative interface which is popular with members. Mentors and other support volunteers who help moderators in times of crisis or need and buddy new volunteers. Central Mods team, Ombudsmen, Returning Officers and others who work for the national organisation in a variety of capacities.

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.

Edward Hibbert Chairman 1st November, 2016