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Parish Council’s Emergency Meeting Over Effingham’s Recreational Trust Resignations

Published on: 20 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2021

By Chris Dick

The resignation of three trustees of Effingham’s Village Recreational Trust, which administers the King George V Halls and playing fields, has caused Effingham Parish Council to call an extraordinary meeting. The Trust was to be left with only a single member and unable to take legitimate decisions.

King George V Halls, Effingham.

At the extraordinary meeting, held at KGV Halls on Wednesday (November 15), the parish council chairman, Ian Symes, said the trust chairman, Howard Manton, had written to the council explaining that three trustees would be resigning the following month. This action would leave just one trustee, the parish council nominated Robert Hope.

The recreational trust’s trustees showing number of trustees before the resignations take effect. The constitution permits up to seven individuals, four of whom are appointed by the parish council.

Cllr Symes went on to explain that, unless the parish council took immediate action to nominate their full quota of council nominated trustees, the trust would not have a quorum and in effect cease to function.

He said: “If no action is taken the charity will be inquorate in a month’s time.” However, he was unable to comment on Mr Manton’s letter or name those concerned as, in line with many previous recreational trust communications, it had apparently been marked “Private and confidential”. But it appears that trustees Howard Manton (chairman), Sue Morris (treasurer) and Michael Agius, had resigned.

The parish councillors agreed to install three of their own trustees with immediate effect to ensure that the trust could continue to function.

Cllr Symes warmly thanked the outgoing trustees, one of whom was present, and gave a round of applause.

The tenure of the outgoing trustees had been marred by Gypsy and Traveller incursions, lost revenue from closing down the village bar and pandemic closure, and being unable to generate additional funds through firework events and village fetes.

Apart from the efficient day-to-day running of the venue through the pandemic, the volunteer trustees are viewed as having done a commendable job overseeing the introduction of a new children’s playground, a marked-out exercise track, new security measures, and an excellent 3G all-weather playing field.

The next day outgoing chairman Howard Manton said: “I was aware of the EPC [Effingham Parish Council] meeting on Monday night and the nominations of new managing trustees to EVRT [Effingham Village Recreational Trust].

“The recent resignations of three current trustees were for personal reasons and I am pleased that new trustees will continue the running of the charity for the benefit of the residents of Effingham. There is an excellent team in place to manage much of the day-to-day activity and residents should not see any changes to the facilities at KGV.

“The Charity Commission is urging all unincorporated charities to convert to Charitable Incorporated Organisations and, during the last year, the trustees have been taking legal advice on the conversion process. A draft constitution has been prepared and the objective is to put the charity on a sound footing for its future wellbeing. I expect the incoming managing trustees will wish to review the process and latest draft to satisfy themselves that everything has been done in accordance with expert legal advice.

“I have been privileged to work with some excellent colleagues over the past few years and wish the charity and its managing trustees every success for the future.”

Apart from the “personal reasons” explanation given by Mr Manton, the resignations appear to be connected with the concerns the parish council has regarding the trustees’ desire to change the status of the charity to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

See relevant parts of previous Guildford Dragon NEWS articles:

Effingham Eye: Parish Council Openness, Traveller Incursions Plan, Berkeley Homes Saga Latest

Effingham Eye: Environment In Focus, Councillors Prefer Zoom, Orchard Looks Wonderful, Trustees’ Explanation

The parish council also issued a statement: “Effingham Village Recreation Trust, the charity that runs the KGV Hall and Fields, has three new parish council-nominated trustees, who were appointed at an Extraordinary Meeting of Effingham Parish Council on 15th November.

“The Parish Council was notified on 5th November of the resignations of three out of the four trustees then in post, and took urgent action to appoint new trustees to ensure that the EVRT Board remains quorate and the charity can continue to operate.

“The new trustees, parish councillors Paula Moss and Charles Thorne and experienced former trustee Chris Hogger, have been appointed for a one-year term.”

Ian Symes, said: “We very much regret the resignations, and I have thanked the departing trustees on behalf of the parish council for their hard work over several years.

“They have not only kept EVRT going through the difficult years of the pandemic, but also commenced the task of transforming the governance of the charity to ensure it has a sustainable future.

“The new trustees have agreed to take up their voluntary roles for an interim period of up to one year, so that EVRT can continue its work to restructure the charity. The aim is to secure the future of the KGV Hall and Fields, and to ensure the residents of Effingham can continue to benefit from these wonderful facilities.”

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