HASTINGS TRUST: Trustees Statement on Members Voluntary Liquidation

March 2016

At its board meeting on 27 January 2016 the Trustees of Hastings Trust agreed to recommend to members that the organisation be put into members voluntary liquidation.

The Hastings Trust was created to improve Hastings for public benefit and since its inception in 1991 has played a vital role in the regeneration of Hastings and St Leonards. In April 2013 the trustees concluded that it would be prudent to embark on a gradual wind-down process as the then business model was no longer viable.

In March 2014 following a strategy review and after taking expert advice the trustees decided that the charitable objectives of the Trust could be achieved by making a fresh start. We aimed to stabilise the trust’s finances and fit the organisation for the future.

At an EGM in October 2014 we reported some positive progress including improvements to the Trust’s property and looked forward to entering into a new stage of consolidation and development. Since then the trustees, together with a small dedicated paid part-time team of two, have dealt with a range of issues and explored ways to develop the Trust. We have been successful in improving the estate generally; in particular the addition of two thriving retail outlets in Robertson Street which are contributing to the improvement of the America Ground.

But with limited resources to pay staff, concerns over current cash flow predictions, and reliance on a handful of trustees who can no longer continue to commit long hours to the Trust, we have concluded that it is not viable to continue. It was not an easy decision and only taken after seeking expert advice. We still have considerable assets and embarking on a voluntary liquidation managed by experienced Brighton- based insolvency practitioners White Maud enables us to embark on a responsibly managed wind down and closure.

We wish to assure the Trust’s tenants who are not in arrears that their interests will be unaffected and we intend that there will be a smooth transition for all.

In accordance with the Trust’s governing Articles and Memorandum of Association, any residual funds remaining will be passed on in due course to other charitable organizations in the town with similar aims, the decision regarding this allocation will be made by the members.

While Hastings Trust will then cease to exist, the trustees hope and desire that all the best aspects of its vision, energy and achievements will be a legacy that continues to benefit the town.

The Trust would like to thank the thousands of residents who have contributed to its work over the past twenty five years and wish them luck with their continuing efforts to make Hastings and St Leonards a better place for all.

Members Meeting 23rd March

Notice to Members

General Meeting Wednesday 23rd March

Dear Member

We are notifying you, as a member of Hastings Trust, that there is to be a General Meeting at 2.30pm on Wednesday 23rd March at 17a Silchester Road, Silchester Mews, St Leonards on Sea, TN38 0JB to approve the Board’s decision to embark on a solvent liquidation.

The trustees have concluded that the objectives of the trust would be best served by closing the organisation and passing on its assets and legacy to other charitable bodies with similar aims. We are being advised by Hastings Voluntary Action.

A formal notice of meeting follows. If you would like to nominate someone to attend on your behalf please complete and return the proxy form.

Notice of meeting

Proxy form

Appendix 1

Yours sincerely

Trustees:
Vicki Duffey
Christine Francis
Tracy Jones (vice chair)
Dean Morrison
Maureen Nelson
Nick Wates (chair)

Trustees’ report for Hastings Trust Extraordinary General Meeting

Trustees’ report for Hastings Trust Extraordinary General Meeting
Hastings Trust Progress Report
30 September 2014

During 2013 and 2014, the Hastings Trust has undergone big changes and we thought it was time to provide members and partners with an update on progress.

INTRODUCTION
Hastings Trust exists to improve Hastings for public benefit. It is one of many charities and community organisations that play a vital role in the regeneration of Hastings and St Leonards. It was formed in 1991. Initially it focussed on building conservation but it then expanded and became involved in a wide range of activities funded mainly by central government grant schemes. It also acquired and managed several properties. The Trust owns 34 & 35 Robertsons Street, Silchester Mews, 12 Cambridge Gardens (freehold only) and has the head lease on three railway arches in Braybrooke Terrace.
In April 2013 Trustees came to the conclusion that the business model of the Trust was no longer viable and, to avoid risking insolvency, embarked on a wind down process.

The staff team (of over 20) was disbanded and a start made to sell or pass on the Trust’s property assets and loan fund. But in March 2014, following a strategy review and expert advice from Locality and Community Land Use, it was decided that the charitable objectives could be better met by having a fresh start. Community Land Use was contracted to provide an executive function for 6 months (from April to September) with Jon Aldenton, an experienced practitioner, appointed as Development Officer.
We aimed to stabilise the Trust’s finances and make the organisation fit for the future. We are not quite there yet but here is a summary of progress made to date:

PROGRESS SUMMARY:
The property is managed better
• Repairs are being done promptly and improvements made;
• The estate is almost fully let;
• 34 Robertson Street is being refurbished as a Trust office/gallery with workspace in
the basement;
• The former resource centre at No 35 is being leased for retail.
• The upper floors of both 34 and 35 are being converted to residential.

Governance is better
• Membership is now free and tops 150.
• A new website has been established www.hastingstrust.net .
• Office records spanning 25 years filtered, archived or disposed of.
• New smart administrative systems being established based on digital media.
• Financial system improved and simplified using the Online Quickbooks system.
• Creditors and debtors being dealt with.
• Accounts are being audited up to date.

Loan Fund developed
• Debtors being chased.
• Interest being added to outstanding loans so increasing value of the fund.
• Discussions opened with financial institutions with a view to ending the freeze on
new loans.

New Projects
• Wildflower seeds give away – launched April 2014.
• Hastings – the Future? exhibition held in shop from June to August in partnership
with Hastings Urban Design Group to stimulate and record people’s ideas for
improving the town.
• Scoping being undertaken on possible future projects to be determined by the
membership and revitalised board in due course.

NEXT STEPS
Following phases of Wind down and Rescue, we are now entering a phase of Consolidation and Development. Over the next few months we intend to complete the stabilisation of the trust and to work with partners to determine what role the organisation might play in the future. This will include scoping projects and business planning with a view to embarking on a new programme of work from mid 2015 onwards. By then the Trust’s asset base of over £1 million should be in good shape.
It has been a difficult transition period for the Trust. We would like to thank all those who
have helped us through it and sympathise with those who have been inconvenienced in any way.

We now have a great executive core team:
• Sally Lampitt, Coordinator and Communications Manager.
• Rhonda Ellard, Loan Fund Manager.
supported by:
• Kim Zanes, Bookkeeper.
• John McCart, Architect

And we intend to appoint a dedicated property manager shortly.
We are particularly keen to welcome new members, volunteers and potential trustees.

The trustees:
Vicky Duffey
Christine Francis
Tracy Jones (vice chair)
Dean Morrison
Maureen Nelson
Nick Wates (chair)

Hastings Trust Open Meeting – all welcome

Hastings Trust Open Meeting – all welcome

18.00 for 18.30 Tuesday 30 September 2014, Assembly Rooms, East Ascent, St Leonards-on-sea, TN38 0DR

The Hastings Trust is holding an open extraordinary meeting on Tuesday 30 September to bring members up to date with progress and seek their ideas and suggestions for the future. All members and potential members are welcome to attend.

The open meeting will be followed at 19.30 by a seminar organised with the Hastings Urban Design Group on ideas arising from the recent So Create a Difference (SOCAD) and Hastings; the Future? exhibitions.

Free refreshments will be provided and there will be a pay bar until 22.00.

For further information

01424 446373

www.hastingstrust.net

 

 

 

Hastings- the future gets serious!

34 Robertson Street, new home of the Hastings Trust, is hosting an exhibition of architects’ ideas for the town and encouraging visitors to contribute their own.

Proposals so far include a 20mph limit for the seafront and lively uses for Bottle Alley. More strategic ideas include better mental health services and tackling corruption.

Now local professionals with something to say are leading a series of Tuesday evening seminars about the future of Hastings.

On Tuesday 22 July we welcome Jess Steele of the White Rock Trust.

Entry is free and the discussions are open.

Hastings the Future is open Tuesday- Saturday from 12- 5pm, with a later opening on Tuesdays until 8pm at the Hastings Trust 34 Robertson Street TN34 1HT

Hastings – the future?

Hastings The FutureThe Hastings Urban Design Group is staging its exhibition of architects’ and designers’ visions for the future of Hastings in our shop from 12 June – 12 August, Tuesday – Saturday from 12-5pm, with late opening every Tuesday ’til 8pm.

The exhibition has been organised by the Group under the So Create A Difference initiative of the Royal Institute of British Architects South East Region and was first displayed in Priory Meadow in April.

IMG_0500

IMG_0499Visitors will be asked to contribute their own ideas for the future of Hastings and these will be carefully recorded.

Hastings The Future Exhibition

The Hastings Trust
34 Robertson Street TN34 1HT

Until August 12th 2014
Tuesday-Saturday 12.00- 17.00
Late opening Tuesday to 20.00

Paid internship ‘Hastings – the future’

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST HAS NOW BEEN FILLED AND WE ARE NO LONGER SEEKING APPLICANTS

Enthusiastic person, with interest in design and civic affairs, wanted for 8 weeks from 14th June, every Friday and Saturday 12-5pm

Hastings Trust and the Urban Design Group are holding an exhibition of designers’ ideas for the future of Hastings and encouraging people to contribute their own.

The intern will staff the exhibition for 10 hours each week, working with Trust volunteers and encouraging participation in thinking about improvements in the town. There may also be opportunities for research on the forthcoming alternative guide to Hastings.

Pay rate will be national minimum hourly rate +20%.

To apply, send a cv to info@hastingstrust.net

For more information contact:

Hastings Trust  01424 446373
Jon Aldenton    07970 265966
Sally Lampitt    07751 250398 

Hastings Trust helps young gardeners go green

GREEN-FINGERED youngsters joined Mayor Alan Roberts and a group of guerrilla gardeners on Wednesday (April 23).

The pupils from Robsack Wood School planted seeds on land in Catsfield Close, in Hollington, St Leonards.

Residents in the area also prepared the semi-derelict site by removing rubbish and raking the soil.

The Hastings Trust is giving away wildflower seeds to residents and a brand new BMX is on offer for the best photograph of the flowers when they have grown.

People can collect free seed packets from the trust’s office, which is based in Robertson Street.

Nick Wates, chairman of Hastings Trust, said: “All the species in the seed mix are native perennial wildflowers and we know how environment friendly local people are.

“Everyone can find a space to plant seeds and at most they need a rake to do it.

“It’s a way for everyone to be involved in environmental improvement.”

Trust aims to get Hastings wilder!

WildFlowerA6flyer5Guerilla gardeners launch scheme

The Hastings Trust is giving away wildflower seeds to local residents and a brand new BMX is on offer for the best photo of the flowers when they’ve grown.

A bunch of anonymous guerrilla gardeners will be planting seeds on Wednesday 23rd April at 2pm on land in Hollington at Catsfield Close TN38 9AJ, in the company of Hastings’ Mayor, Councillor Alan Roberts

Local residents have been preparing the semi derelict site by removing rubbish and raking the soil.

Residents of Hastings and St Leonards can collect free seed packets from the Trust’s office at 34 Robertson Street TN34 1HT and get the place a bit wilder.

“All the species in the seed mix are native perennial wildflowers,” says Trust Chair Nick Wates, “and we know how environment friendly local people are. Everyone can find a space to plant seeds and at most they need a rake to do it. It’s a way for everyone to be involved in environmental improvement.”

Note to editors

The species in the seed mix are:
Ox-eye daisy, Musk Mallow, Belony, Wild Carrot, Lady’s Bedstraw, Ribwort Plantain, Field Scabious, Cowslip and Yellow Rattle

The Hastings Trust is the local charity that has a 25 year history of improvements in the area.It helps improve the social, economic and physical environment of Hastings and St Leonards.

For further details contact Jon Aldenton 07970 265966