David Botibol, Sandie Botibol, Christine Moon, Paul Moore, Margaret Polmear, Guy Richardson, Helen Simpson (Chair), Betty Skolnick
Apologies for absence were received from Michael Wilkinson.
1 Chair’s welcome
The Chair welcomed everyone to the first in person meeting since 2020.
2 To receive the minutes of the eleventh Annual General Meeting held on 18 February 2022
The minutes were accepted as a true record of the meeting.
Proposed: Christine Moon
Seconded: Guy Richardson
3 To receive the Annual Report of the Committee of Strings Attached
The report was received.
The Chair drew attention in particular to the challenge of attracting members in the age range 8-25 to coffee concerts despite free tickets being offered to this age group under the Cavatina scheme and significant effort having been expended in notifying schools, colleges and other institutions of the existence of the concerts. It was noted that the Seaford Music Society has experienced similar difficulties, any young people attending its concerts being either the grandchildren of members or the children of the performers. Doubt was cast on whether it would be worth the effort to notify schools, etc about the 2023/24 season.
It was also noted that membership of Strings Attached has declined and that the Covid pandemic was the likely cause. It was hoped that the expected return next season to the refurbished Corn Exchange will result in an uptake. In the meantime, it was suggested that Strings Attached might consider advertising the coffee concert season in local newspapers, an idea the committee agreed to discuss at its meeting later in the day. In the meantime, it was agreed to interrogate the Strings Attached database of members in order to ascertain if there has been any gravitation of members away from Brighton and Hove towards, say, Lewes and Ringmer.
The Chair paid tribute to those who have undertaken work for Strings Attached outside the committee during the past year as follows:
- David Botibol for his overall management of the Strings Attached website and speedy resolution of any issues raised with him.
- Chris Darwin for the production of programme notes and also for managing various aspects of the Strings Attached website including the calendar of events. It was noted that Chris has now relinquished his role in the production of programme notes but that he has generously made available his database of notes for use as required.
- Andrew Polmear for regular newsletters and some programme notes. It was noted with sadness that Andrew had died in September 2022 and that an account of his involvement in Strings Attached had been included in a recent newsletter.
- Michael Wilkinson for taking on the responsibility of being String Attached’s official reviewer of coffee concerts.
The Chair also paid tribute to the work undertaken for Strings Attached since its formation by Mary McKean who stood down as Chair in November 2022. An account of her contribution can be found on the Strings Attached website.
4 To receive the financial accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022
The financial accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022 were received.
It was noted that Strings Attached enjoys a healthy bank balance, some of which it is hoped to fund an additional concert in the 2023/24 season.
5 To agree the annual subscription rate for 2023/24
It was proposed that the annual subscription for the year 1 August 2023 to 31 July 2024 should remain unchanged at £10 (free for students).
Proposed: Paul Moore
Seconded: Betty Skolnick
6 General Data Protection Regulation: data protection policy and register of systems
The Chair explained that Strings Attached is required to present its data protection policy and register of systems for examination at each Annual General Meeting, the documents having been reviewed by the committee at its meeting prior to the AGM. The committee, she said, felt no changes were necessary.
It was pointed out that details of members and their financial contributions should be kept for six years in case our finances are audited by the Charity Commissioners and confirmed that such records are available.
7 To appoint members to the committee
It was reported that all members of the outgoing committee are willing to serve for a further year. All were duly appointed.
Proposed: David Botibol
Seconded: Paul Moore
It was also reported that Michael Wilkinson has expressed an interest in joining the committee but was unable to be at the meeting. He is, therefore, expected to be co-opted on to the committee in due course.
8 Any further issues for consideration
There being no further issues for consideration, the Chair thanked Andrew Comben and his team at Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival and the staff at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) for their help in putting on concerts in the last year.
She also thanked Margaret for hosting the meeting and invited everyone to partake of a simple lunch.