Annual General Meeting 2010 

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 24 March 2010
held in The Orangery, Holland Park

1. Welcome by the President: Sir Angus Stirling welcomed all present.
2. Approval of the minutes of the AGM of 1.4.09: the minutes were approved.
3. Chairman's Report for 2009 (Nicholas Hopkins): a lighting system for the tiles had been switched on by Cllr Paget-Brown in December. Almost £2,000's worth of equipment had been donated to the Ecology Centre. Conservation of Holland House and the main gates had been completed; it was hoped that more work would be done to the terrace in the autumn. Despite opposition from FHP and others, the developers of the Commonwealth Institute site had obtained planning consent. The Council had concluded the sale of the Holland Park School playground site; building of the new school was to be completed in September 2012. FHP and others would try to limit the impact of the new residential blocks on the Park. FHP had objected to the building of a single dwelling against the boundary wall of the Park in Park Close, and planning consent had been refused. Gratitude was due to Ian Thomson for his Bird Nature Walks. A bird survey by David Darrell-Lambert had indicated a healthy population in the Park. The Art Exhibition, in which 85 artists had exhibited, had raised £1,400 for FHP; it had been organised by Mrs Andy Walker for the first time. Mr Hopkins described the events of the year and concluded by thanking the FHP trustees.
4. Election of the Trustees: all existing officers and trustees were re-elected, and Debbie Newbury, co-opted in January, was elected as a trustee.
5. Treasurer's Report: a Report of the Trustees incorporating accounts and the Report of the Independent Examiner had been circulated. Mr Jeffreys commented on some of the figures. There was a credit balance of over £68,000.
6. Election of the Independent Examiner: Leslie Du Cane was re-elected.
7. Secretary's Report: Mrs Wood said there were at present 780 members and more were due to renew. Volunteers might be needed for leaflet drops in May. Photos taken by Friends would be welcome for possible inclusion in the newsletter. Mrs Wood thanked all who had helped with the Art Exhibition.
8. Outlook for the year 2010 (Nicholas Hopkins): FHP were now looking to a potential professional designer/maker for the wall-hangings in the cafeteria. It was still hoped that a booklet on the social history of Holland House would be published. Another might be published on the history of the gardens of Holland House if enough material were found. FHP would continue to lobby for permanent landscaping of Holland House terrace so that it could be opened to the public. The building of a new Ecology Centre next to the Adventure Playground was still uncertain. Pigs had been placed in the arboretum to help restore a wild-flower meadow. The Art Exhibition this year included a mini-market for items up to £40. In February John Watkins had given a talk on the gardens at Kenilworth Castle. In July there would be another "Pimm's in the Park" party. In October there would be a talk by David Darrell-Lambert. The Tallis Chamber Choir would give a Christmas Concert in December. FHP now had a licence to sell tickets for events to non-members.
9. Any other business: questions from the floor, largely about the introduction of pigs into the arboretum, were answered reassuringly by Mrs Wood and Mr Hopkins.
10. Close of official business: Sir Angus having had to leave the Meeting at 8.30pm, Mr Hopkins declared it closed at 8.36pm.

Report of the Trustees for the year ended 31 December 2009

Legal Structure
The Friends of Holland Park ("The Friends") is a registered charity (registration number 281348) governed by its constitution and rules. The constitution (with the exception of the clauses relating to Objects, Dissolution and Amendments) can only be amended in relation to the charity's name and application of income and property by the assent of not less than two thirds of the members present at a general meeting and in relation to the remainder of the constitution by the assent of a majority of members present at a general meeting.

The president is Sir Angus Stirling.

The trustees who held office since 1 January 2009 were:

R D N Hopkins (chairman)
N J W Brockmann
D Newberry (from 19 January 2010)
K E Hall
D A Jeffreys (treasurer)
P Kennard-Bent (to 1 April 2009)
A Musso (to 1 April 2009)
J E Puritz
A M Walker
R M Wood (secretary)
C L Wynne (died 2 July 2009)

Objects and Policies
The objects of the Charity are for the public benefit to secure the preservation, protection and improvement of Holland Park as a place of historical and ecological interest and beauty; to promote the conservation of the natural plant, animal and bird life of the Park and, in particular, its retention as a natural woodland habitat for wildlife; and to educate the public in the history, natural history and other aspects of the Park.

Management and Organisation
The officers of the charity are the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The officers and committee are elected by members at the AGM. The trustees do not receive any
remuneration or benefits from and no staff are employed by the charity.

Review of Activities and Achievements during the Year
The Friends' wish to have the forecourt of Holland House opened to the public moved yet a little closer following The Royal Borough's successful work to conserve the remains of Holland House, which was completed in spring 2009. A planning condition imposed on Opera Holland Park required the forecourt to be landscaped after the opera season ended in September. However, little progress had been made on site by the end of the year.

An appropriate lighting system to illuminate the conserved ceramic tiles under the cafeteria arches was sourced, installed and paid for during the year. However, efforts in seeking the design and production of wall hangings for use in the cafeteria to reduce noise levels again proved fruitless. The agreed donation of equipment and educational aids to The Ecology Centre was completed early this year.

The owners of the Commonwealth Institute site on the Park's southern boundary applied for and were eventually granted approval for their proposed scheme of redevelopment despite strong local and national opposition, including that of The Friends.

The provision of children's toilets adjacent to the Adventure Playground remains an unresolved issue.

The twenty-seventh Annual Art Exhibition in March was supported by 85 artists, whose sales' commissions and entry fees raised £1,400 for the Friends. This was a considerable improvement on the previous year and a good result in the prevailing economic climate. Other fundraising and social events for members included two illustrated talks: 'The Birds of Bray' in February and 'A House Reborn' in October.

The Friends again co-operated with Park management to run a Holland Park Open Day in June. Also during the summer, The Friends reinstated a 'Pimm's in the Park' party, which
was held in the grounds of the Youth Hostel. The annual Christmas Concert was again given by the Tallis Chamber Choir.

The Friends' AGM was held on 1 April. The Friends' Committee met on six occasions and four issues of the newsletter were produced during the year. The Friends were represented at each of the bi-monthly Holland Park Liaison Committee meetings and at The Royal Borough's three Holland Park Advisory Group meetings. The chairman was also invited by the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environmental Management and Leisure to attend one
of his regular meetings with Officers. Good relations are the norm between the Council and The Friends with general agreement over objectives for the Park.

Future Developments in 2010
The Friends will continue to monitor the Royal Borough's plans for the Park and any planning proposals, which in the opinion of the Trustees may adversely affect the Park and the public's enjoyment of it. If the Borough's approved plans to redevelop Holland Park School do go ahead, The Friends will seek to achieve improvements to the residential block once a developer has been appointed.

It is fully expected that this year, when the opera season is over, the terraced area in front of the House will be landscaped, and hopefully opened to the public, though there are some safety and security issues to be resolved.

Providing the necessary approvals can be obtained, it is hoped that an alternative approach to designing and producing the proposed wall hangings for the cafeteria will make better progress this year. Plans are also afoot to have two new benches designed and presented to the Park and there is the possibility of work being done on a couple of new publications.

The annual Art Exhibition will run as usual this year and in addition to the normal  February and October events for members the reinstated 'Pimm's in the Park' party will be repeated in July. The annual Christmas Concert will take place in December to round off the year.

The Trustees consider that the present resources of the Charity are adequate to meet its obligations.

Risk Management
A comprehensive review of the risks faced by the Charity was undertaken and the trustees believe that, where possible, measures are in place to reduce or mitigate the risks identified.

Reserves Policy
The trustees consider that the Charity should hold a minimum reserve equivalent to 50% of annual expenditure to ensure that the quarterly newsletter can continue and other necessary expenditure paid if due to unforeseen circumstances the projected income is not received. Any reserves in excess of this are held pending expenditure on, or donations towards, projects related to the Park in accordance with the Charity's objects.

The Charity currently has substantial reserves because:

• Park projects, which the Charity has indicated a willingness to support, have not yet received final approval from The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
• Projects, which the Charity has definitely committed to fund, have not yet been

If all these commitments and indications are fulfilled, a substantial proportion of the reserves would be expended.

Trustees' Responsibilities
Charity Law requires the trustees to prepare financial statements for each financial year. In preparing those financial statements, the trustees are required to:

• select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;
• 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 going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Charity will continue in business.

The trustees are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which 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 1993. 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.

Nicholas Hopkins (chairman)
10 March 2010