St Mary’s Priory Development Trust
Charity Number 1077446
Annual Report 2013
The under-mentioned were the appointed Trustees during 2013:
Sir Trefor Morris (Chairman)
David Yendoll (Vice Chairman)
Ms Elizabeth Powell (Secretary)
Mr John Williams (Treasurer)
Mr Christopher Cotterill
Mr Geoffrey Ellis
Mrs Glenys Holland
Mr Vernon Lewis
Mr David Marsh
Lord Rowe-Beddoe of Kilgetty
Rev. Mark Soady, Vicar of Abergavenny
Mr John Bartlett
Mr Timothy Pratt
Mrs Rosemary Carter
Mr George Williams
Mrs Sheila Bevan
Mrs Sheila Davies, Vicar’s Warden
Mrs Janet Battersby,
Mr Robin Smith, Church Treasurer
(Mr Clive Jones, former Church Treasurer passed away in the early part of the Year after serving the Development Trust since its formation).
There are 40 Life members of St Mary’s Priory Development Trust and a further 16 members who pay their subscription on an annual basis.
Scheduled meetings of the Trustees took place on the dates shown:
3rd April (AGM), 1st May (plus volunteers), 16th July, 2nd October, 4th December—Review of year.
In addition there were extra meetings throughout the year of the Learning Services Group.
The Annual General Meeting for the year 2012 took place on 23rd March 2013, at St Mary’s Priory Church. Trustees, Members and invited guests were present. The officers, as listed above were duly elected to their respective posts. At the AGM, I paid tribute and thanked all those who had given service over the years
2,and particularly those who had served from the inception of the Trust in 1999. Given the longevity of the Trust, change in Trustees is inevitable. Special tribute is given of the service of Clive Bowker Jones who passed away in the early part of the year.
The audited accounts for St Mary’s Priory Development Trust for the year 2013, were presented to the AGM by the Treasurer, Mr John Williams and duly accepted. They have been submitted to the Parochial Church Council and a copy of this report and the accounts will be submitted to the Representative Body of the Church in Wales and the Charity Commissioners. The Chairman paid tribute to Mr Williams who had brought his considerable influence and expertise to the successful financial management of the Charity over the years.
Report of the Chairman to the AGM
Sir Trefor reminded the meeting of the relationship between St Mary’s Priory Church, (which had formerly enjoyed charitable status within the Church in Wales, but now had that status in its own right under Charity number 113771), and St Mary’s Priory Development Trust (Registered Charity number 1077446), which had been formed in 1999 by the Church specifically to bring to fruition the complex Tithe Barn Project. The Priory House Company Ltd had been formed as a service company to run the Church site as a whole and was owned jointly by the two Charities. The reason for restating this position is the matter of the levy of a Business Rate on the whole of the Tithe Barn being made by Monmouthshire County Council and HMRC in the early part of the Year, backdated to 2010. As mentioned in my previous Annual Report the matter centred on the fact that Monmouthshire County Council and HMRC had now raised the matter of a business rate being applied to the whole of the Tithe Barn premises including those parts which are wholly and entirely used for charitable educational purposes. Negotiations proceeded with the Company being advised by Cooke and Arkwright, who have expertise in the field. The matter was resolved in the latter part of the Year with allowance being made for the charitable status of the Development Trust relief of 80% was given.
In 2008, when the Tithe Barn Project was nearing completion, discussions took place with officers of the Charity Commission, myself, as chairman and Father Jeremy Winston together with our Solicitors and Accountants. The relationship between the various elements of the Church (as above) were considered and it was resolved that the St Mary’s Development Trust, rather than the Church would assume responsibility for any payment of additional taxes which may arise from the “business” part of the building in the Food Hall. The Development Trust has contributed £2500 to the outstanding sum, the remainder sourced from the Priory House Company Ltd and the former Franchisees
The appointment of Father Mark Soady as Vicar of Abergavenny in January 2012 has meant that his unbounded energy, enthusiasm and organisational skills have been a considerable asset to the Development Trust as well as the Church in general. The remarkably supportive group of volunteers who run the Learning Service throughout the have continued to bring understanding of the heritage and history of the Priory and Town to schools and families through the Tudor and Mediaeval workshops and there has been a substantial increase in the schools attending to one each week. The Mediaeval Fair continued in 2013 and was a great success with enhanced displays of arts and crafts, ‘hands on’ workshops and opportunity for involvement of children and their families, all managed without an entrance charge. Donations were given and remarkably it was the Vicar who had most success by as a ‘victim’ placed in the Stocks. Fortunately the missiles were wet sponges.
As ever the band of Church Stewards and Tapestry Ladies welcomed, assisted and informed our many visitors to the Priory Church and Tithe Barn, to present our
heritage treasures and in addition in 2012 there were many specially arranged guided tours of all manner of Societies and groups, including those from the U.S and Europe.
The Learning Service of the Development Trust has now settled into a well organised pattern for welcoming schools and families who attend a variety of workshops covering the Mediaeval and Tudor Periods. Not only do our group of volunteers run the Learning Service, they also maintain and develop the Abbot’s Garden and Courtyard Gardens. In addition a further group engage in making and stitching mediaeval clothing, using original materials as part of the Learning Service. Perhaps we could be used as an exemplar for the Government’s initiative of the ‘Big Society’.
The Tithe Barn, Priory Centre and other facilities are run by the Priory House Company Ltd, which is a ‘service’ company, with the shareholders being the St Mary’s Priory Trustees (51%) and St Mary’s Priory Development Trust (49%).
The facilities in the Tithe Barn and Priory Centre are widely used for meetings and conferences by voluntary groups and official bodies. The number of visitors and Tourists to the Tithe Barn and Church, either individually or in organised groups continues to grow and thanks to the hospitality as well as the welcome from the volunteer stewards, indicate they have a most enjoyable visitor experience
The Chairman closed his address to the AGM by paying tribute to the work of all those who give their time voluntarily to assist the Development Trust in particular and St Mary’s Priory in general.
(Sir)Trefor Morris, Chairman.
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