WELCOME TO DARNALL FORUM'S COMMUNITY BLOG, with news and information about Darnall and the Forum. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter @darnallForum or subscribe to our RSS news feed by entering your email address in the window at the foot of this page.
Apologies –two apologies had been received. The death of a former member of the Board was reported to the meeting. Condolences had
already been sent from the Board. It was resolved to
send a card to a member of staff who is unwell.
The Minutes of the 2015 AGM were agreed to be a true record.
ACTIONS from last year’s AGM – Zahira was going to try to
arrange a meeting with the person elected to lead the Roma community, and to
the Madrasa and also to the ladies at the Subud Centre about helping to clear
up litter, however she wasn’t present to report because she was at a Council
meeting which had overrun. Lucy did not know who had been elected to lead the
Roma Community but a lot of positive work has happened through Darnall Well
Being (DWB). She is still waiting to hear about continuation funding. Good use
has been made of Darnall Community Development Centre.
The financial report, which is part of the
annual report and accounts for 2015, was
adopted. Neil B was asked what is happening to the Forum’s income in 2016. He said
it is falling, mainly because we have received £21,000 less from the Council
this year but only found out about the reduction in August so it was very hard
to budget for it. The Forum needs to receive upfront payment from the Council
for its remaining contract if it is to be able to cashflow its work and the
councillors have undertaken to ask about this.
It was resolved to contact the chief executive of the council, John Mothersole,
to ask for a meeting. Sylvia Hamilton offered to join a delegation to see him.
The Trustees’ Annual Report for 2015,
including the Chair’s Report was
adopted. The councillors had said that all the local charities based in Darnall
should join together but – although this might some of our operating reduce
costs – it overlooks the fact that each organisation is part of wide networks,
in the NHS, and in local Church or community networks which need a hub where
their network is focused. The councillors have been made aware that
organisations closing will be a loss to the communities they serve but they
have no solutions to offer.
It was resolved that the community be asked to sign a petition to the Council
about the risk to the post office if Darnall Forum has to sell it. Community members
also need to email or text their councillors about their concerns. It was also
resolved to call a public meeting.
Elections & Appointment of Auditors –There are currently
three vacancies for the Board and these were not filled. Sam Nicholson of Nicholson
& Co was adopted as the independent examiner for 2016.
Local issues – Future ownership of the post office: it was noted that
local people are being invited to join the staff in buying the post office from
the Charity. AOB – The AGM of the Family
Development Project is at 4pm on Tuesday 18 October. The DWB AGM is at 5pm on 15
November in the Primary Care Centre. All are welcome. ACTION: Copies of the petition
and the newsletter to be distributed at these meetings.
Sign the petition in the post office. Already more than 300 customers have signed since it was launched this week. We are asking the Council to help Darnall Forum keep the post office safe in the hands of our local community. We are also inviting local residents and traders to buy shares in the post office to help keep it safe, because the Charity can no longer afford to be the only shareholder. (There's a special page on the blog where we explain how you can sign up.) The Charity has had repeated cuts in its Council funding and is having to sell the post office just to stay afloat. But we want to keep the post office safe for the future if we can.
For just £25 residents can help keep Darnall Post Office
For just £100 local businesses and traders can invest in this vital service to the whole community
Six years ago Darnall Forum invested £40,000 to keep the post office in Darnall after it had been closed for eight months, when we all had to go to Handsworth, Attercliffe or the City Centre to use a post office. When the post office reopened, people said it was the best thing the Forum had ever done. In 2010, the City Council gave Darnall Forum £173,530 in grants, including £10,000 to help reopen the post office. Since then the Council has cut our funding every year. In 2015 it was only £64,288 and this year we have been told to expect another £11,000 in cuts. Despite deep reductions in our staff and opening hours, the Forum can no longer afford to keep the post office in community ownership without more help.
The trustees and staff do not want to see the post office close again. We believe the safest way of keeping it open is to keep the community in charge. Because it has been so successful, the post office staff have said that they will buy a majority stake in it. But we need you, the residents and traders of Darnall, to help us. If you are a local resident you can become a stakeholder for as little as £25, or £100 if you are a local trader or business. You can find an expression of interest form at the post office or send us the details we ask for at the bottom of this post.
Even £100 is less than the cost of one visit to another post office each week for a year! If you are able to contribute more than £25 or £100 you will be helping others who cannot afford to help us but still need the post office to stay in Darnall. Any profits will be reinvested in the post office or paid to stakeholders as a dividend.
If we cannot raise the money to keep our post office in community ownership it will have to be offered for sale on the open market. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that a new owner will be found or how long they will be able to keep it open. EXPRESSION OF INTEREST DETAILS Name: Address: Email Address: Telephone No.: I should like to become a stakeholder in Darnall Post Office. I wish to purchase a stake of [delete as applicable] £25 (resident) / £100 (trader) / Insert a figure (multiples of £25 please) Please send this information by post, email or text to The Manager, Darnall Forum, 245 Main Road, Sheffuield, S9 4QD / E email@example.com / M 0780 359 2206
Darnall Forum's AGM will take place at 6pm on Wednesday, in the Forum's offices next-door to the post office. Anyone who lives or works in Darnall, Attercliffe and Acres Hill is eligible to attend.
The meeting will be asked to help keep Darnall Post Office in local community ownership. Forum Manager Neil Bishop said, "The charity has lost more than 60% of its Council funding since we took over the post office and, although it is doing well and has won several awards, we can no longer afford to run the post office ourselves because we're desperately short of money for the other things we do."
The Forum took over the post office in 2010 after it had been closed for most of that year, causing serious inconvenience and hardship to local people. In what was then a groundbreaking move, the Forum became the first charity to take ownership of a post office in a city location, although there are now charity run post offices as far apart as Newcastle and London.
Mr Bishop said, "The trustees don't want to have to sell the post office to the highest bidder because they remember what happened before it was owned by the community and they don't want to risk it closing again - this time for good. Unfortunately, the charity owning all of it is no longer a solution so they are asking local residents and traders to buy shares in the post office. The staff of the post office have already said that they are wiling to invest their own money in it, but we need support from local people too."
Next week we will be writing to 5,000 local residents and traders asking for your help, but the AGM on Wednesday will be the first opportunity to give your backing to a new model of ownership where, instead of being owned entirely by the Forum the post office would become a Fair Shares organisation.