The Othona Community
The Othona Community is a registered charity and is governed by a Board of Trustees. There are currently 10 trustees all of whom are also members of the Community and have personal experience of spending time at one or both of the Centres.
In addition to their responsibility for managing the finances and the assets of the Community, the trustees have overall responsibility for the life and mission of the Community and for the welfare of the paid staff at the two centres.
Brief report from Sheila Maxey on the Othona Trustees meeting of 12 June 2012
Present and future shape of the Trustees Meeting
Four new Trustees have been recruited through the recent invitation to members to make proposals. Roo Bull, Colin Hodgetts and Elizabeth Sayers were welcomed to this meeting and Roger Neville will start at the September meeting.
Jan Marshall, John Watters and I will be standing down at the September 2012 AGM, Louise Heatley and Bob Whorton will stand down at the January 2013 meeting, and Rupert Bragg has indicated he intends to stand down at the September 2013 AGM. Please continue to consider suitable names – members or non-members – bearing in mind the particular gifts and experience we will be losing over the coming year or two . Please use the proposal form to be found on both Centre web-sites in the ‘Othona-wide’ section.
Although both Centres are in very good heart (see their web-sites) neither has been able to keep within budget and the central operational funds are also depleted. As the Centres begin their life of greater financial independence it was agreed that, in addition to the £30,000 already transferred from the old reserves fund, another £10,000 would be available to each Centre as working capital.
It was also agreed that now Othona was wholly responsible for the long track down to the Bradwell Centre (as a consequence of the sale of the farm) it should be significantly upgraded. As a one-off that upgrading would be paid out of central funds but its upkeep would be a Bradwell cost. Strutt and Parker (and the bird watchers) would be asked to contribute to this upgrading.
It was recognised that the above decisions would mean calling on some investment capital.
In the light of the various changes agreed earlier in the year, the Trustees are working on Agreed Procedures for the Community. They will be ready in time for the AGM.
As part of the formal move from a Trust Deed to becoming a not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee we are working on a revision of the Objects of the Othona Community to more closely reflect our current mission and purpose and in language of today. The next step is to test our current revision with the Charity Commission.
Community Secretary role
The role of Community Secretary, so crucial in earlier times, has to a large extent been taken over by the Trustee Secretary and so it seems sensible at the September AGM to discontinue the role. Roo Bull, the current excellent holder of that office, is now a Trustee. She will, as a Trustee contribution, continue to arrange the AGM and to keep the Trustees informed of Charity Commission developments.
Membership and the new database
This is still work-in-progress. In due course (we hope by next March) all members will have been contacted, far more email addresses collected, a more regular way of paying annual or monthly subs put in place, clarity gained about which Centre (or both) members want to be mailed from and be able to give all kinds of support to. Further down the line is greater ease in booking and building up a Friends network for each Centre. Ali Tebbs and I will work with Christine Cox on this transition.
Alan Hounsham has been coming to both centres for the past 8 years and his wife, Teresa (formerly Bean) has been coming since 1970. Alan brings a wide range of useful skills such as experience of responsible roles in other charities and a background in both buildings and financial management.
Elizabeth Sayers was Chair of the Burton Bradstock committee for many years and took a full part in the recent Othona 2010 and beyond process. She will be one of the Othona West Dorset Centre-based Trustees. Elizabeth practises in the Buddhist tradition and lives in Bridport.
Ruth Bull (Roo) continues to be Community Secretary until September 2012. In that role she took a full part in the recent Othona 2010 and beyond process. She will be one of the Othona Bradwell Centre-based Trustees. Roo first came to Othona in the 1960s, now lives in Bradwell, and is a Quaker.
Colin Hodgetts was Warden at Othona Bradwell in the 1970s and since then he has often been a speaker or theme leader at both centres. He founded and was a Director of Refugee Action and is still a Trustee. Colin is an Anglican priest and a musician and writer. He lives in Devon.
The Trustees of the Othona Community - November 2011
(Front row) Pat Price-Tomes, John Watters, Bob Whorton, Jan Marshall, Fran Jones and (Back row) Ali Tebbs, Rupert Bragg, Louise Heatley, Sheila Maxey... but see below for picures of recent new members!