FRIENDS OF ST LAURENCE CHORLEY COMMITTEE MEETING SATURDAY APRIL 13 2019, 10.30 at ST LAURENCE, Standish Room Minutes Present: Rev’d Fr Neil Kelley (President); Michael Welsh (Chair/Project Leader); Bernard Oakley (PCC Representative); Paul Lengden (PCC Representative); Marjorie Hayward; Alistair Morwood; Jane Morwood (Secretary); Becky Gilbert – Rule (representing Website and Social Media Team) Apologies: Mark Baybutt (Treasurer); James Laidler (PCC Representative); Margaret Shackleton; John Davies; Anne Wray. Cc: Jackie Gemson (Rector PA)
1.Chairman’s Opening Remarks
Michael hoped that having completed the initial launch phase of the ‘Project’, we would build on the current momentum and carry our aims forward, so that in future years people would reflect positively about the achievements of the Friends Organisation.
2.Minutes of Previous Meeting, Feb 23 2019
These were accepted as a true record, with a correction in ‘Website and Social Media’; the initial social media postings had involved stories supplied by David Thistlethwaite.
3.Launch Event – Feedback – All, led by Michael Welsh
Overwhelmingly positive feedback had been received from attendees, citing the warm atmosphere created by the excellent musical entertainment from Mezzo Soprano, Danielle Thomas and Tenor, Nick Hardy, including piano accompaniment by Father Neil. Also, the fine supper supplied by Bees Country Kitchen followed by an excellent jazz swing band, contributed positively to the evening.
Principal Guests included Bishop Philip; Local MP, Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lady Cath Hoyle; Mayor of Chorley, Margaret Lees and Consort, Roy Lees; Leader of Chorley Council and his wife, Alistair and Vanessa Bradley.
The Launch Event was a ‘sell out’. It was not the aim to use the event as a Friends fund raiser and currently the financial returns from ticket sales showed a small deficit, however it should be noted that there was a small amount of money from late payers outstanding.
Thanks to the Principal Guests for their attendance and also to the Mayor of Chorley for allowing the free use of the Lancastrian Room, for this occasion.
Michael thanked Father Neil for his contribution to the Launch Event and also those hosting tables. A third of attendees were members and two thirds were guests. Karen Pemberton was warmly thanked for organising the Launch Event. It was noted that starting early when planning such events was pre requisite to a successful occasion.
Father Neil was very pleased with the event and noted that people had asked how they could become Friends and Associates of St Laurence’s.
One pledge had been received since the Launch Event and a donation of £50.
4.Team Reports Secretary’s Report – Jane Morwood reported: No communications had been received this month. The List of Friends numbered 81 members, with one group subscription, although some pledges remained unfulfilled at this time. 3 reservations had been made for Friends to attend a Chorley Community Funding Evening on May 14 at Chorley Town Hall 17:45-20:15. At present Jane Morwood, Paul Matthews and Mark Baybutt had been invited to attend. There were a small number of unfulfilled pledges. One Friend had left the Parish, the remaining four would be approached with sensitivity to ask if they wished to fulfil their pledge and to remind them of the monthly payment option. Treasurer’s Report – Michael Welsh reported: A summary of the Friends Bank Account Statement was submitted by the Interim Treasurer, James Laidler. Income £3233; Expenditure £50; Balance £3183, all at 8 April 2019. Some money from Launch Event ticket sales was outstanding. Michael provided a verbal financial update which showed a slightly healthier balance following receipts from ticket sales. Website and Social Media Platforms – Becky Gilbert - Rule reported for Anne Wray: Just Giving, for the Windows and the Organ, stood at £10 and £320 respectively. The initial projects with targets of £33,000 and £27,000 had been previously been identified by the PCC. The facility to apply for Associate Membership through the website was ‘work in progress’. Prior to the Launch Event the social media posts were receiving 3 – 4 likes per post. The Church’s stained-glass images were particularly popular with older followers, while strong imagery and humour were more popular with younger followers. In the week following the Launch Event, visits to the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts numbered 403. There were 662 ‘clicks’ to the website and Just Giving. There is good referral from St Laurence’s website and Google. Engagement is brilliant and there is a ‘community’. Becky explained how ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ a post sends out notifications to social media friends which builds more interest in the post, increasing its views. The Video shown at the Launch Event was well received and could be reused and put on a continuous play loop on the Friends website. It could also be ‘slowed down’, if required. A suggestion was made that the link to ‘Just Giving’ should appear ‘later’ in the website visitor’s experience. Maintaining Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram costs $29 monthly. The Committee agreed to fund. Future posts would include the Myles Standish Connection with Myles Mondays and Standish Saturdays. There would be a meeting on 27 April to set up a Paypal Account to be linked to the Website, for donations and subscriptions. Find the theme on Instagram, to view images. Michael suggested a link with Tony Christopher’s ‘Myles Standish’ website, which receives 3000 ‘hits’ daily. Becky to discuss this with Anne Wray. Extending the reach of the Friends locally, to engage new communities in Buckshaw and Astley, was a target for the Friends. Social Media attracts younger followers on Instagram and older on Facebook. Strategies were discussed that would attract users, building on the currently popular themes of the Stained-Glass images and the ‘Myles’ connection. Possibly use colour as an inspiration. Membership and Recruitment – Marjorie Hayward reported: Michael thanked Marjorie and her group of helpers, for efficiently distributing the recent newsletter. The question now is how to reach out to a wider ‘audience’ and with what messages; to attract new members to the Church community, from Astley and Buckshaw Villages? The use of general leaflet drops across Chorley, to promote the aims of the Friends of St Laurence was discussed, which highlighted difficulties of resourcing distribution across a wide area and the cost of printing v returns, which Paul suggested might be as low as 2%. Targeting an area in Chorley, for a leaflet drop, was considered. Again, returns were thought to be poor and Father Neil commented that in his former Parish leafletting had ceased for this reason. Marjorie felt that her group had the capacity to distribute a leaflet. She suggested that a pilot area be identified which might offer a good response. The content of such a leaflet would be discussed at her next group meeting in early June. This leaflet could be distributed at future events such as the Summer Fair and also the Chorley Flower Show. Father Neil suggested that there was potential to combine with the Summer Fair promotional leaflet; to be held at end June, and that this would be distributed by Marjorie’s group, within the boundaries of the Parish. The Committee agreed that Tom Wray would be asked to design a leaflet, which would be costed by Paul. Funds were available for printing. Michael indicated he would like to come along to the next meeting of Marjorie’s group; and also, would discuss the Summer Fair, to be held on 7 July, with Betty Kelly, with a view to Friends hosting a stall at this event. Alternative promotional suggestions, including an article in local newspapers were considered. Marjorie indicated that the Chorley Guardian/Citizen newspapers were not seen as a successful way of attracting new members, with editorials focussing on photographs rather than text. Both Michael and Marjorie agreed that the promotion of the Friends of St Laurence through the website was the overall preferred medium for publicity, and Marjorie would also liaise with the website/social media group, to post her group’s feedback. Paul posed the question of how we measure success, through increased membership and/or £60,000 income pa? And should the focus for attracting funds be through increased Membership Income or Crowdfunding? Marjorie reported that Joan had been working through the registers, with a view to attracting membership. Numbers were low for marriages with Baptisms offering slightly more interest. This project was ongoing. Local Affinities – Alistair Morwood reported: Alistair had commenced letter writing to Chorley’s voluntary organisations, focussing initially on historical societies, introducing the Friends and the possibility of working together in promoting the heritage assets of the Town. No responses had been received. Through a third party, Michael had been asked to remove an outdated partner post from the website. Chorley Building Society’s Chief Executive, who had attended the Launch of the Friends Event, spoke positively with Alistair about supporting the Friends initiative and had passed on the Pledge card to their Charities Section. He expressed interest in the organ and window appeals. There was the potential for a reasonable financial contribution. Also, the CBS sought venues for it’s AGM, for up to 50 people. Alistair suggested that the upstairs room would be a good venue for such a use and also Father Neil offered the use of the Church for larger gatherings. Alistair queried the makeup of the Mayflower 2020 Committee, and whether we could exploit this for the benefit of the Friends. Alistair felt there could be some benefit if his role could be incorporated with Anne Wray’s website/social media group, as he felt there was overlap. This was agreed. Potential for an article in Lancashire Life? Local Business and Sponsorship – Michael Welsh reported: Priority to be given to a local Chorley Trade Directory, similar to that found in the Parish Magazine, using the website. For a small fee a local business could advertise, possibly in both the magazine and the website. A ‘page’ on the website could be dedicated to ‘community interest’ adverts. To be discussed with Alan Winstanley, publisher of the Parish Magazine. 5.Progress Reports Charitable Status – Jane Morwood reported: Simon Robinson of Kevill’s Solicitors had now completed a draft for the Foundation Charitable Incorporated Trust which would allow the Friends of St Laurence Church, Chorley, Charitable Trust to apply for Charitable status. The Trustees would be ex officio officers of the Church, including the Rector, 2 Parish Wardens and the Chair of the Friends. The Trustees would delegate fund raising/community activities to the Friends Organisation and together would work to support the PCC of St Laurence’s Church, Chorley. Michael thanked Jane and James Laidler for the research leading to the identification of the appropriate CIO and liaising with Simon Robinson. A meeting of the Trustees should be held, to agree the draft Constitution. Father Neil to arrange this for 24 April, 7pm, Rectory. Michael asked Jane Morwood to be the Secretary of the CIO. Michael indicated that a statement be circulated to the Friends to appraise them of the CIO. Simon Robinson would be asked to review the current Friends Constitution, to reflect the link with the CIO. The meeting expressed warm thanks to Simon Robinson for drafting the CIO. Noted that an application would take 40 days to be reviewed by the Charity Commission. Newsletters – Michael Welsh reported: The next newsletter would discuss the Open Table, and its origins in the Church’s charitable giving of Poor Relief. Michael to speak to Betty Kelly re attending/video. The July Newsletter would introduce the Mayflower Event, commencing 19 November 2019. The script would be all things ‘Standish’. The Council’s 2020 Committee had identified Fireworks, Son et Lumiere, Drama. Friends to start thinking about this event. Father Neil forwarded the most recent minutes of the meeting of this Mayflower 2020 group, managed by the Council, to Jane and Alistair. Projects Update – Mark Baybutt, Jane Morwood reported: Mark had launched the Just Giving sites. Jane was preparing text to support applications to external agencies by Paul Matthews, for funding the identified projects.
6.Round Table – Opportunity for observations and or comments:
Paul suggested an Open Day, inviting friends from around Chorley to look at the Church and explain the problems and also discuss the Church and its relationship to Chorley’s Heritage. Check dates against Summer Fair, Flower Show, Heritage Weekend. Suggestions included David Dickenson’s book about the Stained Glass; David Thistlethwaite’s Church Tours; Potential to develop an Arts and Crafts Group based on the stained-glass images and Cultural Heritage. Becky to explore use of stained-glass images for children’s colouring sheets. Marjorie would check the diary and identify a suitable date for this ‘Open Day’.
Michael reiterated the secular purpose of the Friends, to work alongside each other and support the broader Church.
7.Any other business
None Future Meeting Dates: 25 May - Refectory (Agenda to be issued 18 May) 13 July - Refectory (Agenda to be issued 6 July) 17 August - Refectory (Agenda to be issued 10 Aug) 28 September - Standish Room (Agenda to be issued 21 September) 26 October - Standish Room (Agenda to be issued 19 October) 30 November - Refectory (Agenda to be issued 23 November)
St Laurence’s Church is situated in the centre of Chorley. It is believed that there has been a Church on that site since Anglo Saxon times. St Laurence’s is a unique link with the past providing a vital sense of continuity and local identity.