Community Fund Allocations 2019

Allocation of Thorner Community Fund Grant 2019

The money received from donations by Thorner residents for Leeds Festival tickets provides the grant fund.

At our annual grant meeting in November 2018 we decided to postpone, at least, the 2019 annual grant round and to carry forward the funds into future years. This would allow time to undertake a review and a re-focus, as well as the accumulation of a larger pot for future distribution.

The decision to pause the annual grant round was communicated to all the village groups in November 2018 and to the village community via the village magazine.

This is an extract of that message:

“We are delighted to inform all villagers that money granted to the village organisations as a result of donations by Thorner residents for Leeds Festival tickets and additional donations received from Festival Republic since the 2003, when the Festival was first held at Bramham Park, has now exceeded £500,000. This fact, as well as the significant reduction in the number of village groups applying for annual grant-funding in the last two years, has led the TCF to conclude that the time is now right to review the annual grant process, to ensure we continue to provide best-value from the grant for the village in the years to come.

In June 2019 we reminded village groups that this year’s grant funding had been postponed and that the funds would be carried forward. However, we felt it only fair to be sure that there were no groups feeling in urgent need of funding. We said if they felt that was the case we would, exceptionally, consider such bids. As a result we received and considered three bids.

The grant meeting was held on 15th October 2019.

It was attended by the Thorner Community Fund (TCF) committee: Wayne Young (Chair); Annette Carr;

Katie Coppock; Mark Darley; Gillian Riley and Nick Tucker.

As in previous years, the committee spent time, both individually and collectively, assessing the bids. We again used the scoring system that we have used successfully for the previous two years but, crucially, added in a measure to check if the bid met the 2019 requirements.

The findings were ratified by Melvin Benn, Rachel Lane Fox and Alister Turnbull, members of the TCF Extended Committee that normally meets once a year to decide on the grant awards.

The following is a resume of the rationale applied, the decisions made and the amounts allocated.

Art Group (Thorner and District).

Bid purpose – Parish Centre hire (for one term and for the weekend of their exhibition)

Amount requested – £420

Grant Awarded – £0.

The group currently has 17 members and uses the Parish Centre for its weekly meeting.

Once a month they have a visiting tutor. The loss of seven members over the last three years has given them concerns about the viability of the group, particularly if they lose more members.  Given that their membership is largely older people they are not confident that they will gain new members. The group’s bid stated that they felt their need did represent an emergency. The TCF committee sympathised with their concerns regarding the viability of the group going forward. However, the TCF committee has had similar bids from the group over the years and has supported a number of these, whilst rejecting the last two in 2015 and 2016. The Art group is in a less financially stable state now than it was then, but the group itself stated in its bid that it has a contingency plan for the coming year, to decrease expenditure and increase subscriptions, which the TCF committee felt if put into operation, should ensure that the group remains viable. In particular TCF felt that the subscription cost per term could reasonably afford to rise even more than the Art Group was proposing in its contingency plan. The group had not undertaken any fundraising in its last financial year but if it did so going forward, this would also contribute to further stability in its finances.  TCF’s view is that our village groups need to self-finance to a level that ensures their normal activities can function without relying on the TCF grant to top up regular expenditure.

No TCF grant funding was awarded.

Scouts, Beavers and Cubs (Thorner and Scarcroft group).

Bid purpose – The purchase of a general purpose trailer.

Amount requested – £2,646

Grant Awarded – £0.

The group has 80 members. Their activities program is largely based outdoors, including overnight camps and events, all of which involve considerable amounts of equipment. The group wishes to purchase a trailer to give them independence, as currently they rely on the goodwill of their supporters to provide the transportation. Whilst in a normal grant year this bid may have been supported, the TCF committee did not view the bid as meeting the 2019 grant requirement of needing “exceptional consideration due to an urgent need for funding”. Had we decided to support this bid we would have wished to know more detail from the group, for example – we would need three quotations (only one received); would a boxed trailer be more suitable to their needs, which vehicle will be used to tow it, where will it be stored, will it be insured, will it be available to other Thorner groups?

We felt that with a bigger push on fundraising and a top up from their own existing funds the group could afford to purchase the trailer without the need for TCF support.

No TCF grant funding was awarded.

Christmas Tree Display Group

Bid purpose – Purchase of Christmas Trees for Main Street

Amount requested – £550 (half the costs for the 2019 display)

Grant Awarded – £0.

The annual display was established in 2008 and at the outset was allocated what was considered a one-off grant by TCF to purchase the hardware required to support the trees. For many years the trees were paid for by each resident who hosted a tree and in more recent years, also by other residents who responded to invitations to contribute. Last year the annual tree/lights display was funded by the Parish Council as well as by funds raised through a justgiving page. This year a bid was submitted to TCF for half the cost of the 2019 display – to purchase 54 trees, some replacement lights and 20 Hi Vis vests. The Parish Council had again been asked to contribute and the leader of the group also plans to set up another Justgiving page.

The bid was received after the closing date, but never the less was discussed by TCF. The bid was found to be non-compliant for a number of reasons: the group is not a formal group, having had no accounts or bank statements it could provide; the Christmas Tree display is an annual event and as such this is the known regular funding to the group, which is the type of funding that TCF doesn’t normally support.

No TCF grant funding was awarded.

We agreed to a request from the new Thorner Fireworks group that has taken over the running of the annual Thorner bonfire. They asked for a short-term loan to provide a cash float for the night of the 2019 bonfire. This was approved and was repaid straight after the event.

The TCF Committee would like to thank the village groups for showing restraint this year in support of our desire to pause, to allow space to review how the grant funds are distributed in the future. So far our progress has been limited to fact-finding and formulating some initial thoughts, moving towards the creation of a new strategy. Our aim is to ensure funds are being used to optimum effect, ideally with broad and long-lasting benefits. We will share our thinking with the village community in the coming months.

Thorner Community Fund Committee.
November 2019.