The Douglas Centre Trust

AGM 2019 – Minutes

AGM of the Douglas Centre Trust (operating as the cornerHOUSE)

5th April 2019, 7.30pm

The Chair, Jeremy Thorn, welcomed those attending the AGM which he explained was for the calendar year 2018 which is our financial year.


Jeremy Thorn (Chair), David Itcovitz (Treasurer), Barbara Thorn (Minute taker), Ken Lowes, Bob Hurworth, Jenny Hurworth, Lynne Dean, Emily Newton, Nicky Newberry, Jane Grove, David Lawson Lean, Andy Keane, Joan Scriven, Denise Rocard, Meta Rocard, Lesley Wilson, John Wilson, Sheila Conrad, Ian Davies, John Rutter, Peter Brooker, Hilary Gander, Su Collins, Gill Davies.


Elaine Blackmore, Phillip Cooper.

Minutes and Matters arising from last year’s AGM

Jeremy Thorn ran through the minutes of the previous year briefly – these had been circulated to attendees by email immediately after the last AGM.  No matters arising were raised.

Chair’s report for the calendar year 2018 (electronic copy attached with minutes)

Jeremy reported a busy and successful year, with increased emphasis on expanding our diversity in programmes and in the audience and users we can attract.  Grateful thanks were given to all volunteers and in particular to our benevolent landlords, St Matthew’s Church and Sloane Winckless & Co. our auditors.

Treasurer’s report

David Itcovitz reiterated that our financial year is the calendar year 2018.  We are required to submit our accounts to the Charities Commission and to Companies House.  Anyone can check the previous year’s accounts online.  He explained that section 476 of the Companies Act meant that we are not required to submit our accounts for auditing.  However, we do have our accounts checked by the accountants, Sloane & Winckless, to ensure their accuracy and correctness.  The treasurer provides monthly reports to trustees for scrutiny and to help with planning.

The total income  for 2018 was £53,383 – an increase on the previous year.  This included a grant from Love Kingston of £3000.  Box office income was £3000 higher than in 2017 and productions such at the Panto (a sell-out) and the One Acts Festival were great financial and dramatic successes.  Centre hire rose by 15% – which was good as we had been concerned about a dip in centre hire in 2017.  Thanks were expressed to those who had sought and engaged new hirers. Bar income went up considerably, thanks to increased usage and footfall.

Expenditure totalled £35,825.  Utility bills had risen (both price-wise and as a result of greater usage for events).  David warned that insurance costs would be greater in 2019 as a result of improvements made to the building.  He explained the need for our reserves – in order to maintain the building in the event of temporary closure and to ensure that we can pay for maintenance and emergency costs.  He said that we are running the centre in a business-like fashion so that we don’t have to rely on grants or fund raising.


Andy Keane asked how far away from having to have an audit are we?  We are a considerable distance from that limit and have limitations on becoming busier by possible times for hire and finding volunteers to staff more events.

John Rutter moved that the accounts be adopted.  This was seconded by Ken Lowes and passed unopposed.

Report from the Artistic Committee given by Denise Rocard

Denise Rocard explained that the team meet with would-be hirers and offer assistance, guidance and support with shows.  Many of these are linked by being in previous shows but new shows are also attracted.  She told us that the 30th panto was staged in 2018 and was a sell-out.  The One Acts festival had sold 550 tickets also.  Other successful shows included Honour Amongst Thieves; Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons; Miscast and many others.  Others events included choir performances, the Korean Ballet school, acting workshops for adults, masterclasses for young musicians in conjunction with Thames Philharmonic, Outside the Box comedy nights and community carols.

Visual Arts – Nicky Newberry

Nicky spoke about the poetry evenings which took place in 2018 and the new acoustic evenings Out of the Corner as well as the visual arts exhibitions.  45 artworks had been sold as well as one commission being given during the 10 exhibitions.  A great deal of money had been donated to Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness. (around £1825).  The Meet the Artist nights had become more successful thanks in great part to Simon Hancock for his assistance on the audiovisual shows. A highly successful drawing event had been held in the summer.  Nicky thanked Ian Davies for his support.

Film Club – Joan Scriven

We have been able to offer people the opportunity to come along for a social afternoon or evening with films.  We are not allowed to advertise films except to the membership of the film club. There are approximately 80 members of the club.

Regular Hirers– David Lawson Lean

David spoke about the wide range of hirers of the building during the day, the performances they regularly put on and the holiday workshops they offer.  He read out a particularly grateful and supportive message from Rachel Nye, the head teacher of the local infant and junior schools who use the building throughout the year.

Crafty Afty – Gill Davies

Gill was asked to mention the monthly craft activities work group.  This is a free group which helps people to get on with their own craft work in a supportive environment.

Report from the Internal Team given by Ian Davies

Ian spoke about the three areas covered in the remit of the team – infrastructure, volunteer organisation and bar.  The building is around 100 years old.  In 2018 we had to remove pigeons who were nesting in the roof (because of their droppings in the foyer); we had to remove a tree which had grown into a drain; we had to replace the work surfaces around the sink area which were rotten.  The notice boards outside had been re-framed and bike racks installed.  Much of the general maintenance work takes place on a Wednesday morning with a summer maintenance week for larger projects.

Volunteers are used throughout as workers on box office, bar, duty management and front of house.  In 2018 there were 90 events and we used 409 volunteering slots.  Janet and Jenny have revolutionised the props store and hire props to outside companies.

Questions and Discussion

The meeting finished at 8.35pm.