MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Thursday 14th March, 2019 at 11 am
The Four Points by Sheraton, Sukhumvit Soi 15
Apologies received: Scott Chang, Frances Luns, Yvonne Ziegler, Phyllis Duckworth, Dawn Gerson, Jane Rodgers, Betty Stewart, Ann Broadhurst, Marion Causton, Ann McKinnon
Ailsa Kneath, Chairman, opened the Meeting by welcoming the members who were present and thanking everyone for their support of the BWG and the Committee over the past year.
|1.||Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting|
The minutes of the previous AGM held on 15th March, 2018 were distributed to all Members.
|2.||Matters arising from the Minutes|
There were no matters arising from the minutes of the AGM held on 15th March, 2018 and the minutes were approved, proposed by Elizabeth Bryans and seconded by Lynne Musson
- Chairman’s Report – submitted by Ailsa Kneath
Welcome one and all. Thank you so much for taking the time to attend. Before I deliver my report for the last year, we have apologies from our Patron, Scott who has just become a parent for the third time. Erik was born on Friday last week, a good 3.265kg, 20 inches long and everyone is healthy and happy. As he was born on International Women’s Day Scott assures me of him being an honorary BWG member and a strong feminist. To business:-
Having had the honour of taking over as Chairman for the last year , I am happy to report that we have had a very positive ,successful and enjoyable year, also forging our relationships with the other BKK Ladies groups. All of which could not have happened without the dedication and unending support of our BWG committee, who have worked voluntarily and tirelessly on our behalf throughout the past year, arranging and organising all the events. I would like to publicly thank them and all our ladies, who run our weekly activities, for their time and efforts. Not always easy when juggling life, family and travel.
Our coffee team have arranged monthly gatherings and special coffee events such as The Queen’s Birthday, Pink Breast Cancer, Macmillan, Valentines and our excellent Christmas Coffee Morning and have managed the new way, of home and cafe coffee mornings, which have proved a popular new way to meet. I would like to thank Liz Khan for taking up the role mid-year (you cannot have missed all her FB postings) and for being my “head of vice” keeping me and my memory in check.
Lunches this year have made the innovative move to combine with Activities on occasions, which has been popular as it gives the Lunch a new perspective. This may be a way that the other activities will chose to market them in the year to come. One of the most exciting being our whale watching trip which surpassed all our expectations and proved to be a massive hit. Which I am sure will be a popular return event in the coming year. Thank you to Sylvia, Val and Sue Williams and her team.
Which reminds me to mention that to align with our 2016 Constitutional change, (when we allowed Associate Members to sit on the committee and have a vote) the committee has decided that from September 2019 Associate Members should pay the same fee as other members. It still applies that Associate members cannot be officers such as Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary or Treasurer. As this is not a constitutional change, it is not necessary to take a vote.
All our events have been supported by our Raffle Team Amelia and Rebecca who have begged and collected many prizes to surprise and delight us.
We are forever grateful to all our BWG members who unfailingly put their hands in their pockets time and again to help contribute to our Welfare fund. We are constantly aware that we are asking the same people, but know that the charities which we support are enormously grateful for our help, and it does make a difference, as you seem from the Welfare report. You will also have noted that in future we will give in retrospect every 3 months, so that we align our giving with our income. A huge thank you to Gale and her team for their hard work during the past year and the year ahead.
I would like to thank Sue Davy, who has had a challenging year with our online media, as the gremlins kicked in from the start and are still rearing their ugly heads from time to time. All credit to Sue and her patience. She has offered to continue until a replacement member can be found, as she wishes to travel more. So please come forward if you feel you can help.
A huge thank you to Nicky Hughes, our Treasurer, who has done a Herculean and professional job on our annual and monthly accounts, and has kept us on our toes this year. A difficult and time consuming job whilst also running a family. We are indebted to her and wish her well in her new adventures and thank Liz Dobson for taking up the baton. I would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Jane Rodgers who is standing down as Vice Treasurer, and who has given the BWG committee 8 years of her time.
Our Special Events team have guided and arranged us through “Girl’s Nights, Soirées and Embassy bashes” with aplomb and energy. Making sure we all enjoy and socialise with our members, even arranging a Quiz night to see the year out before they hand over. They are also helping out with our very important CWL event which is also celebrating our 50th anniversary which we do hope all our members can attend on May 29th at the Kempinski Hotel – the actual day of our birth. Very many thanks to Lynne, Kelly and Justine.
Last but not least a massive thank you to Claire Llewelyn for producing our online Contact magazine throughout the year, a new venture which she has presented beautifully along with wonderful front covers. Putting together our events photos, articles and Val Scagliarino-Baker’s hard won advertising pages. We thank you both. Unfortunately Claire is leaving us for a new adventure in South Africa, and as yet no one has felt up to the challenge of taking on this role. If we are unable to find someone we will have to resort to FB, Mailerite and web page to post articles and information. Not a problem as such, but it means we will lose advertising revenue which is so important to us. If anyone feels they can fill this position, please let me know, although I am meeting with someone on Monday who may take over. Fingers crossed.
Indeed if any of you feel that you can fill the plus one place available on the committee or the Advertising post, please let us know. We are living in challenging times as Ex-Pat contracts are being terminated at short notice. It is a fun way to meet all members and contribute to the group. The only real attribute necessary is the ability to carry and juggle many carrier bags!
Before I come to the end, I would like to make a special mention and a huge thank you to Laura Smith who is standing down as Committee Secretary after 4 years, to be free to travel with her husband. She has given of her time in a calm, professional, ladylike and über efficient way. Personally without her help in the last year I would have been drowning not waving!
Thankfully she is not leaving entirely as she is adding to her 6 year service by taking over Membership from Phyllis and Tracey, who have done a sterling job this year and we wish Tracey every happiness in her new adventure.
It just remains for me to ask you all to raise your glasses in thanks to our fantastic and energetic outgoing team.
Will the new committee members please come forward ladies please raise your glasses and welcome the vibrant incoming team. Committee please will you raise a glass to our members as a huge thank you for their continued support. Very many thanks. I will hand you over to our Treasurer now, who will take you through our accounts.
- Treasurer’s Report – submitted by Nicky Beardmore
I’m pleased to share with you the financial report for 2018. The audit of our accounts is currently in progress and will be finalised during April.
I took over as treasurer in December 2017 and have hugely enjoyed supporting the BWG in this capacity. In anticipation of some possible changes in my personal circumstances, and, to ensure continuity of accounting support during 2019/20 I will be handing over the role of Treasurer to Liz Dobson. Liz has been working with me on the monthly reporting the last couple of months and I know will be amazing.
A huge thanks to the committee for the support they have given me throughout the year and particularly in our busier periods. Thank you also goes to each and every one of our members and external suppliers and partners who have supported us throughout 2018 insuring another successful and enjoyable year.
In this treasurer report we will provide:
- A brief recap on how we manage the BWG accounts and the approach to events and activities
- A financial overview of January 2018 to December 2018 – Highlights from the year including key activities which took place, what income has been generated, how funds have been invested / donated.
- Final thoughts for 2019
How we manage the BWG accounts and the approach to events and activities
We manage the BWG accounts in 3 areas – General fund, Welfare fund and Cracker fund.
General Fund covers the day to day activities, such as Memberships, Website and Contact, Lunches, Coffees, Special Events and initiatives such as the BWG Memory book.
The majority of monthly events are intended as non-profit making with the aim of keeping costs low in order to attract as many attendees as possible.
- Coffee Mornings make a very small profit each month, which go towards subsidising the much higher cost of ‘special’ Coffee Mornings, such as the Queen’s Birthday
- Lunches cover their costs each month, with just the Christmas Lunch making a profit
- Activities are purely non-profit making and only cover the cost
Income within the general fund is mainly driven through
- Membership subscriptions
- Advertising – which has been challenging in 2018 and I will touch on later
- Special Events such as Embassy drinks, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc where we generate sponsorship and external support in addition to attendance fees
Welfare Fund where income comes direct from Raffles, Alms bowl and the Christmas Appeal. Large scale ‘special events’ such as our Christmas lunch provide additional income into the welfare fund
Crackers Fund which focus on the production, sales and donations of funds raised.
What does my BWG membership fee cover? Annual membership fees are paid by our Members and Associate Members. As of February 2019, we have 34 honorary members who in recognition of their support for the BWG have been awarded honorary status (meaning a fee is no longer required).
As many of you will recognise the day to day running of the BWG is possible because of the exceptional commitment shown by our committee. During 2018 this at times meant some members supporting multiple roles. They give their time, expertise and resources free of charge in order to fulfil their roles.
However, there are many hidden costs which are not necessarily visible which the membership fees cover. These include insurance, storage costs, website and online portal management, new member coffee mornings, gifts for members to recognise notable events, committee meeting refreshments, etc.
Financial Overview of January 2018 to December 2018
Before we summarise the numbers there are just a few things to note.
We record income and expenditure in the month it is received by the treasurer rather than when it takes place. Some examples to bring this to life;
- If a committee member runs an event and is then on holiday they may be a short delay before the paperwork is passed to the treasurer and recorded within our accounts
- Christmas lunch revenues and costs and Christmas welfare donations have a significant impact on the annual financials. Because the lunch takes place close to our year end the income and expenditure can often spread across financial years, and differ each year which can impact reporting
We transfer money from General Fund into Welfare after some of our big events
- Negative balances are not always a true reflection of the area. E.g. Special events, Lunches
Event costs are often incurred ahead or post events
- The deposit for the anniversary lunch which takes place in 2019 was paid in 2018 e.g. Lunches
Why is this relevant? As you look at 2018 you may see numbers which suggest an unexpected gain or loss. In situations where this is the case I’ll highlight the reasons why the numbers don’t provide a true reflection of the situation.
General Fund income was 1,357,495 with expenditure of 1,340,599. Our three largest income generators are Membership, Lunches (specifically Christmas) and Special Events.
- Membership subscriptions generated 145K Baht which whilst large was 43K Baht lower than 2017. Our membership has fallen from 108 to 88 members which includes 34 members who have either left or not renewed and 15 new members.
- Lunches suggest a negative balance, however, this doesn’t reflect the true picture. In January 2018, profits from the 2017 Christmas lunch supported a 150K transfer from General into Welfare. Our 110K deposit to secure our 50th Anniversary CWL lunch venue was also paid.
- Lunch profits continue to be predominantly generated from the Christmas lunch. Our Dec 2018 lunch generated again a fantastic 198K baht after costs. Sponsorship secured from Gary our wine supplier, high attendance (particularly from non-members) and strong support from our Vendors all contributing to the success.
- Special Events created some fantastic evenings in 2018 and profits supported a 150,000 transfer into Welfare across the year. Embassy drinks, Music on the river and Welcome back drinks were generously sponsored by our partners and raised 70,000 baht.
- A year ago, the decision was taken to move Contact online and therefore the only costs incurred in 2018 were for the final print edition. Advertising income reduced greatly to 80K, a 165.1K baht reduction on 2017. The biggest factor for the reduced advertising income was the changes and vacancy we had within the advertising role on the committee.
- Conscious of our reduced advertising and membership income, the committee kept a tight focus on any sundry costs and a 70K saving was made versus 2018.
Income raised in 2018 for our Welfare Fund was 611K Baht with donations of 545K Baht.
- Thanks to the generosity of our members we raised over 220K baht from raffle tickets. Thank you to those of you who donated raffle prizes and congratulations to Amelia and Becky who did a great job sourcing many donations from local businesses. An extra thank you the team who helped create the Christmas baskets.
- The Christmas lunch raffle raised a record 112K Baht and Christmas coffee over 16K Baht
- Alms bowl continues to be a great source of income with 26K Baht
- 300K baht was transferred from General Fund into Welfare during 2018 – 150K from both Special Events and the 2017 Christmas lunch.
- Our Welfare fund donated to very deserving causes across Thailand and helped many less fortunate than ourselves. Please take a moment to review more detail in Gale’s report and see the great support.
In 2018, the Cracker Ladies again raised a fantastic 90K Baht (after costs) and will be making donations shortly.
Final thoughts for 2019
Advertising and Contact – As you’ve heard already the advertising role vacancy resulted in a significant income reduction. Val is now our advertising lead and doing a great job encouraging companies to sign up. However, we currently have a Contact vacancy. If we are not able to fill this specific role we will unfortunately have to stop Contact production – the impact being we won’t be able to sell magazine advertising. As it stands, we have already received income for 12 month advert blocks so will have to refund two companies in the region of 22,000 baht. Please chat to Ailsa or Claire if you think you may be able to help with the Contact role.
Christmas Coffee – In 2018 the committee provided the Christmas coffee free of charge as a thank you to our members. We know this is a favourite in the calendar and were delighted to see so many of you able to join us. We have many variables over coming months which could impact our revenues, therefore, in September the committee will review funds and if possible look to repeat this for 2019.
2018 has been another strong year for the British Women’s Group and means we are going into 2019 in a solid position financially. With the fantastic leadership of our Chair, commitment of the committee and support of our members I am sure 2019 will be another successful year and create many opportunities for fun and friendship.
- Welfare Report – submitted by Gale Bailey
I will give a brief overview of what welfare has been up to but more precise details are in the pink folder which hopefully you will take the time to read to discover more about where the welfare money is distributed. More details are also found on the BWG website.
Yet again BWG managed to donate a great deal of money all over Thailand in 2018. This is shown on the Annual Giving Calendar where charities we support on an annual basis are shown. These payments depend on available funds which we assess every three months to see if there is enough money in the coffers. We have also donated to other worthy causes – milk for girls in a dormitory in Mae Sot, Project Protein which helps villagers to be self-sufficient, mosquito nets – far too many to name them all but all have made a difference.
Education is essential to improve the lives of all children and we have continued to sponsor students at Human Development Foundation, Klong Toey, vocational students with THEP – Thailand Hilltribes Education Programme, a student at New Life Centre in Chiang Mai and 2 students through Imagine Thailand down south in Phang Nah. The two nurses who are sponsored by the Edith Stewart MBE memorial fund are doing very well and will soon start their final year. Details of ALL students and recent reports are in the pink folder.
The welfare team hold their monthly meetings at Steps with Theera on Ekamai and last year we started to support one of their students, Nicky, a young man with autism, for IT work experience which has given him so much self-esteem. It is rewarding to see the difference it makes! We also paid for another student for 6 months.
There are many volunteering opportunities in Thailand, some of which are shown on the website. Depending on your skills or whether you just want to be hands on, you can make a big difference by teaching English to small children, assisting Thais with administration work in English, accompanying disabled youths on outings, travelling locally or up country with Eddie Haworth of Gift of Happiness Foundation also known as Clown Eckie and Sister Louise is always grateful for help at the Fatima Centre either in the kindergarten or mother and baby home as well as with administration. There is also prison and Immigration Detention Centre visiting.
Volunteering opportunities are on the website and more will be added shortly but if you require any further information or would like to be accompanied on your first visit, please contact us.
One of the best ways to volunteer is to get involved and join your hard working committee who provide us all with the monthly coffees, lunches and activities as well as Contact and special events such as the forthcoming Quiz Night. These things do not just happen but entail a great deal of organising beforehand – British Women’s Group NEEDS YOU!
The welfare team is also a bit thin on the ground at the moment with so many folk leaving so we could do with some new blood and would welcome additions to the team. It is a very informal gathering but also very important to discuss the many new appeals which BWG receive. These requests for money are examined in depth to assess their worthiness before going to main committee for approval or not, as the case may be! We insist on receipts and reports from the recipients as we are very respectful of the money which is made available for welfare purposes mainly through raffles and alms bowl. Mentioning the alms bowl, why not empty your purses and save the coins at home – it will lighten your handbag too. We are also refreshing the books in the Royal Oak so please take a look and make your purchases whilst you have a beer.
Whilst the British Women’s Group Bangkok is primarily a social group it still continues in helping folk who are less fortunate which we see so much of in our adopted home. Thank you for carrying on being so generous as this helps to improve the life and prospects of those less privileged.
- Questions from Members
There were no questions from Members.
- Election of Officers and Committee for 2019/2020
Ailsa Kneath Chairman
Elizabeth Khan Vice Chairman
Susan Williams Secretary
Elizabeth Dobson Treasurer
Gale Bailey MBE Welfare
Elizabeth Dobson Welfare
Elizabeth Khan Coffee Mornings
Sue Davy Online Media
Sylvia Knoss Lunches
Val Baker Lunches
Laura Smith Membership
Amelia Deely Raffles
Susan Williams Activities
Justine Rea Special Events
Clare Nevin Special Events
Elizabeth Bryans General Member
- Any Other Business
There being no further business, Ailsa declared the meeting closed at 11.40 am