14 October 2015

Union Chain Bridge Friends Annual Report

The Trustees present their Report and Financial Statement for the year ended 30th September 2015 The provisions of the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) “Accounting and Reporting by Charities” (March 2005) amended 2008, is used in preparing this Annual Report and Financial Statement, so far as it is applicable to the Trust’s circumstances.
The Friends of the Union Chain Bridge is a registered charity in England and Wales (registration in Scotland is pending) constituted as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) under a Constitution dated the 4th May 2015. The conversion of the charitable trust into a CIO was approved at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the members of the charity held in the Village Hall, Paxton on the 29th January 2015.
The Objects of the Charitable Trust
The objects of the Trust are:
1. To promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical, natural and man-made environment by promoting the historical and architectural heritage of the Union Chain Bridge (“the Bridge”) in the parishes of Horncliffe, Northumberland, England and Hutton, Berwickshire, Scotland and of the natural environment in which the Bridge is situated.
2. To advance the education of the public, in particular in relation to the history and architecture of the heritage of the Bridge by developing public interest in the architecture, history and heritage of the Bridge by means of publications, public lectures and exhibitions and co-operation with schools and other educational establishments and other bodies and societies.
All the activities of the Trust to date have been in full accordance with the objects of the Charity. Statement of Trustees’ Responsibilities
The law applicable to charities in England and Wales requires the trustees to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the charity and of the incoming resources and application of resources of the charity for that period. In preparing these financial statements, the trustees are required to:
 select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently
 observe the methods and principles in the Charities SORP
 make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent
 state whether applicable accounting standards have been followed, subject to any material
departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements
 prepare the financial statements on the ongoing concern basis unless it is inappropriate tom
presume that the charity will continue in operation

It will be appreciated that, as the charity is in its infancy and, particularly, as yet without investments and/or investment income , the financial statement set out on page 5 is basic and that the majority of the methods and principles set out in the SORP are as yet inapplicable to the charity’s accounts. The trustees are responsible for keeping proper accounting records that disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the charity and enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Charities Act 2011, the Charity (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 and the provisions of the trust deed/constitution. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the charity and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.
The Trustees meet in accordance with a meeting calendar; they currently meet on a monthly cycle but additional meetings are arranged as required. Their business is conducted in accordance with the Constitution dated the 5th may 2015. There is no formal committee structure but ad hoc committees and working groups are appointed from time to time to deal with specific aspects of business delegated to them. The vast majority of business, however, is dealt with by the full Trust body.
Review of Progress and Achievements for 2014/2015
In the sixteen months since the formation of the Trust at a public meeting held in Paxton House on the 25th June 2014, the Trustees have been active in promoting the interests of the Trust in furtherance of their principal objective – namely, the full repair and restoration of the Union Chain
Bridge in advance of its bicentenary in July 2020.
As is mentioned earlier in this report, the charity’s first Constitution was replaced by a more comprehensive trust document earlier this year, following approval at an extraordinary General meeting in January. The perceived role of the Charity had changed fundamentally since its formation as an unincorporated body. It became clear that it was expected to play a significant part in attracting grant funding and NCC indicated that they expected that local charities involved with projects such as this should have incorporated status for various financial and legal reasons.
Accordingly, the membership agreed to convert the charity to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (effectively the same as a limited company but within the control of the Charity Commission rather than Companies House) and this conversion was completed on the 5th May. The charity is now registered as a charity in England and Wales and application has been made to register with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
Although the Bridge is the joint responsibility of Northumberland County Council (NCC) and Scottish Borders Council (SBC), the former authority is the lead authority for purposes of day-today maintenance of the Bridge and for taking forward the repair and restoration project towards completion before July 2020. A close and co-operative working relationship has been established with the principal NCC officers involved with the project – James Fell, Heritage and Events Development Manager and Simon Rudman, Highways Asset Manager – and with their SBC counterparts. Trustee representatives are to meet James Fell and Simon Rudman with the Leader of NCC and SBC representatives at Northumberland County Hall on October 27th, to discuss the role
of the Friends in the project and to elaborate on the specific initiatives which they see the Friends undertaking; a verbal report on the outcome of this meeting will be made at the AGM.
Trustees have also been involved in meetings with the representative of the Scottish Culture Minister and the two national heritage bodies involved with the Bridge; Historic England (formerly English Heritage) and Historic Scotland both of which have expressed concern at the continuing deterioration of the structure. One of several anomalous situations arising from the Bridge’s unique geographical situation is that each body is concerned with only that half of the Bridge falling within its national jurisdiction; and while Historic England consider that the state of their half warrants it being placed on their Heritage at Risk register, the Scottish half is not on Historic Scotland’s equivalent Buildings at Risk register - an anomaly that may be resolved on review this year.
One of the principal reasons for the formation of the Friends body, was NCC’s desire to have in place a local community heritage group to assist it in its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for grant funding towards those parts of the project which would qualify for assistance from that body. NCC have appointed consultants, Consult Robinson, to prepare and submit funding applications to HLF. The Trustees were involved with the consultants during the preliminary stages of the submission and expect to assist in the Stage 1 application which is to be submitted before the end of 2015.
The Trustees were pleased to be able to arrange a meeting, in August, with the newly-elected MPs representing the two riparian constituencies; Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and Calum Kerr, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk. The two MPs were able to set aside political differences to commit themselves to the project and we look forward to their continuing support, along with that of John Lamont MSP, who had previously signified his support.
Important links were established during the year with two iconic bridges; two Trustees visited the Tees Transporter Bridge at Middlesbrough in January when they received a detailed briefing on the local authority’s experiences with the HLF bidding process and funding control; and two Trustees visited the site of the new Forth Crossing, to seek to forge a link between the newest and the oldest Scottish vehicular suspension bridges. Considerable and continuing interest in the restoration project was generated by that meeting.
It is a principal function of the Friends to promote and publicise the Bridge’s unique engineering, architectural and historic heritage not only locally but also further afield. Amongst the 400+ individual membership are Friends from all corners of the British Isles as well as from Japan and the Americas. A corporate membership scheme, aimed at encouraging local businesses to support the project has also recently been launched. For the second year, the Trust participated in Heritage Open Days on the 12th and 13th September with an information stall on the Northumberland side.
Despite mixed weather, the stall attracted over 60 visitors. Other promotional media include the Trust website at www.unionbridgefriends.co.uk, an active facebook page and membership newsletters.
An education outreach to first/primary and middle schools in the area has recently been launched and it is intended to structure Bridge visits by participating schools to fit within the National Curricula.
Finally, to ensure that the Friends remain within the public eye in their local community several social and cultural events have been organised. A successful and well-attended ceilidh was held in Horncliffe Memorial Hall in September; a charity Dinner and Auction is to be held in Paxton House on the 7th November; a piano recital by Harris Playfair and Heather Cattenach is to be given in Paxton House on February 26th 2016; and a performance by the music department of The Berwickshire High School is to presented within the school concert hall on February 19th 2016.
Membership Renewals
Membership renewal notices will be issued on a calendar monthly basis, starting shortly. Members’continuing support for the work of the Trust will be greatly appreciated.


Incoming Resources
Membership Subscriptions (individual) £1143
Membership Subscriptions (corporate) £510
Miscellaneous contributions and donations £3311
1982 Total incoming resources £4964
Resources expended
Printing and stationery, postages and
Miscellaneous items £719
669 Total resources expended £719
1313 Net Incoming/(Outgoing) Resources £4245
1313 Net Movement in Funds for the Year £4245
-- Total Funds brought forward £1313
Total Funds carried forward £5558

09 October 2015

Friends of Union Chain Bridge AGM

The Second

The Friends of the
will be held in
Horncliffe Memorial Hall
Main Street, Horncliffe
at 6.30pm

The formal business will be followed by a talk by Linda Bankier, Berwick Archivist, on
The Bridges of the Lower Tweed

All Welcome