Trustees Annual Report September 2023


The northern part of the recreation ground in North Street, Bere Regis, Dorset, BH20 7LA, came under the ownership of the ‘National Playing Fields Association’ (now known as ‘Fields in Trust’) by means of a conveyance in 1929. That ‘conveyance’ remains the governing document of the charity, along with the current version of the ‘club rules/constitution.’ In October 2019, the three trustees became the named ‘owners’ of the southern part of the recreation ground, previously leased. Both plots of land have now been vested with the Charity Commission Official Custodian and are ‘restricted’ by the terms in a Deed of Dedication agreed between Fields in Trust and the trustees of the charity. The objects of the charity (as defined by the Bere Regis Sports Club rules/constitution) are for the benefit of the public, “the support of social, recreational and sporting activities in the village of Bere Regis and the management of the Bere Regis Recreation Ground and properties entrusted to the club.”

The current trustees are Peter Cheeseman, Alan Green and Andrew Kent. Trustees are elected by the management committee and serve for an unspecified term, while the management committee is elected at the AGM.

Statement regarding reserves

Overheads continue to rise, particularly against the background of the highest inflation figures for several decades. Income, particularly from lettings, has slowed as the ‘cost of living’ forces people to consider their spending on non-essentials and thus leisure activity. Experience has also shown that potential funders are more likely to fund organisations which are able to demonstrate sustainability. Mindful of all this, as well as the potential costs associated with not just maintaining, but updating club buildings and facilities when necessary, the Trustees and Management Committee have resolved to maintain cash assets as high as possible, both in order to continue operations in the event of any further downturn in activity. Considering the cost of some major pieces of equipment, both within the club buildings and for field maintenance, the trustees and committee continue to hold the opinion that it is prudent to keep a minimum of 4% of the value of club buildings reserved for maintenance/potential replacement purposes and current estimates put this figure alone above £30,000. Much of our hardware and equipment is reaching an age where maintenance costs will rise and potential need for replacement increases, in an economic climate where grants cannot always be relied upon as a source of finance.

The trustees remain confident that the charity is financially viable in the short-term, but any major outlay necessary as a result of the pressure mentioned in the previous paragraph, could threaten that viability.

On a brighter note, higher interest rates have enabled us to take advantage of our existing cash assets in line with our policy that a considerable proportion of those cash assets should maintain high liquidity, enabling the management committee to respond quickly to changes in circumstances, as well as be in an advantageous position to take opportunities to upgrade facilities further should external funding become available which requires a certain degree of self-funding. With this in mind, some cash is currently held in a 12-month bond and some in a 200-day notice account. The trustees remain open minded about using other methods of investment in the future, should suitable opportunities arise.

Annual Report

The trustees are pleased to report that the recreation ground and associated buildings have again been maintained to good standard throughout the year and that regular maintenance has been undertaken, including a check of all electric wiring and equipment.

The trustees continue to keep in mind possibilities for further developments, including the building a Multi-Use Games Area which could be used for both our own training sessions and for hire to other groups. At this point in time though, no major developments are planned for the immediate future, although some smaller projects may be possible should grants for such be awarded.

We continue to keep a close eye on the development plans submitted by Godwin Developments for the field opposite the Shell filling station, as well as potential housing development in the immediate area. The trustees objected to the initial plans for a ‘service station’ style development because of the conflict between our own objects as a charity and those of the fast-food outlets being proposed, as well as the potential car parking issues likely to be caused by local customers not wanting to drive around the by-pass and to avoid access via the roundabout and the increased security risks posed both by the increased amount of traffic to the north end of North Street and the apparent elevated position of the proposed development overlooking the recreation ground.

Our role within the wider community is well established a continues to grow, but a severe downturn in income generated by the use of the old clubhouse is the consequence of several regular user-groups discontinuing, leaving on the rainbows/brownies group and the Women’s Institute as regular users now. The expense of maintaining the old clubhouse is greater than income generated from it, a situation which we must carefully consider. Attempts to rectify this by finding new regular user groups are being made, but without success to date. Should that remain the situation over the longer term, an alternative strategy may become necessary.

The trustees are pleased to once again, report on an organisation in a healthy state and one which is continuing to achieve its aims and objectives as a community-based organisation, although a close eye must be kept on the potential risks listed above.

Andrew Kent

Peter Cheeseman

Alan Green

Trustees, September 2023