FRIENDS OF ST LAURENCE CHORLEY COMMITTEE MEETING SATURDAY JANUARY 19, 10.30 at ST LAURENCE REFECTORY
AGENDA Those Present: Reverend Father Neil Kelley (President); Michael Welsh (Chairman/Project Leader); John Davies; Mark Baybutt; Alistair Morwood; Jane Morwood; Paul Lengden (representing PCC); Anne Wray; Marjorie Hayward; Bernard Oakley (representing PCC). Apologies: Margaret Shackleton; James Laidler (representing PCC and Acting Treasurer).
1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks Michael welcomed the Committee Members and invited Father Neil to open the meeting with a prayer.
Michael suggested that the Committee would have a fixed schedule of meetings to support the launch and operation of the Friends Organisation. He commented that there wasn’t an existing ‘model’ to help the establishment of the Friends Group, and that the expected route to date had not always been as he had anticipated.
2. Methods of Working Michael set out his view of the purpose of the Committee as a Group. He hoped that Members would contribute ideas for promoting the aims of the Friends, and that these contributions should be shared and discussed in a collegiate atmosphere. It would be important for the Group to be flexible; share the workload; and for every Member, accepting specific responsibility, to assemble ‘functional’ teams both from inside and outside the Committee. The more people that were engaged with the Friends activities, the more successful the outcomes would be. Michael indicated as Chair that he would support and advise all Members, and articulate decisions when required.
3. Division of Responsibilities Although there would be a distinction between the Friends of St Laurence’s and the Parochial Church Council Representatives, it is hoped that the PCC representatives would be fully engaged with the Committee.
Michael had approached Committee Members, to ask if they would take on specific committee responsibilities.
3.1 Appointment of Secretary – Jane Morwood had indicated that she would be happy to take minutes and explore the role further with Michael.
3.2 Website and Social Media Platforms – Anne Wray had indicated she would take responsibility for this role. She indicated that Becky Gilbert - Rule would help fulfil this responsibility.
Michael advised that the website was half way to being constructed and that he would be meeting with Cameron later in the day to finalise the content. He anticipated the website would be ‘up and running’ by end January ’19.
To further support the team, Michael and Anne would approach Runshaw College to resurrect a previously discussed arrangement where 2 IT internships may be offered to students, to assist with the Friends website and social media platforms. Runshaw had indicated that they would engage IT students in a project to assist in the identification of two students with appropriate skills.
It was noted that at the Constituent Meeting someone had indicated their interest in supporting the W/SM team. An appeal would be made to ask if this person could identify themselves to Anne so that they and any other interested person could be invited to join this team.
Other potential contributors may be: * the Parish Communications Group, which also had talent in this area. Neil Kelley offered to arrange a meeting to explore interactive working between that Group and Michael/Anne. * Rowena Prior and Ronnie Semley were identified as potential specialists who may be approached to advise. * Cherry from Brindle. * Mark Baybutt offered to assist the Website/Social Media team.
Anne Wray advised that a new National Parish Communications Group had been established and AW had volunteered the Friends of St Laurence’s as a participant in this National Group. Also, she indicated a Diocese training Course would be taking place in October.
Anne proposed fortnightly meetings for the Website/Social Media team, at her home.
Michael requested that the Committee Members consider what they could contribute to this aspect of the Friend’s work.
3.3 Membership and Recruitment - Michael advised that it had been a struggle to recruit the 50 Foundation Members. He felt that it would be essential to reach out beyond the Congregation to attract more members. He felt the launch of the Friends of St Laurence’s would assist in recruiting Full (£50 single/£75 couple) and Associate (£25) Members.
Other recruitment initiatives were suggested: * Bernard Oakley felt that the ability to pay monthly/quarterly would be viewed positively and encourage recruitment of members. * John Davies was reviewing the registers to identify people/families who had used the Church in the recent past, for them to be approached and invited to become a member. Some sensitivity associated with this recruitment initiative. * Responses to enquiries through Social Media platforms could also ‘signpost’ the membership recruitment part of the Website. * Potential for recruitment interest from National Groups, such as The English Civil War Society. Anne Wray felt that the Launch and topics eg Mayflower, would stimulate recruitment interest and the one would follow the other in a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario. * Paul Lengden suggested that a leaflet could be issued ‘door to door’. The current newsletter sets out the Friends objectives. A flyer would be required for the Launch and Michael suggested that the Membership Group should take responsibility for this. * Marjorie Hayward suggested approaching other Chorley Groups to invite membership/support.
Michael indicated that all aspects of recruitment including mailings should be considered by the Membership Group.
Margaret Hayward was invited to take responsibility for this aspect of the Friends work.
3.4 Local Affinities – this is a key indicator; to have the Friends of St Laurence’s, including the Church, viewed as a Community Asset by Affinity Groups, which would share mutual interests. Michael Welsh had previously approached Groups with a view to partnerships being formed. He had found limited enthusiasm for this, but the success of the project relied on such partnerships being formed.
Taking Heritage as an example of a shared interest, Chorley Little Theatre had discussed a production/drama, about The Mayflower, for later in the year, to coincide with the 400-year Anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival and establishment of the first settlers in the New World.
Of equal importance was the acceptance of the Church buildings as Community Assets, to be used by local Groups such as Waspi (Women Against State Pension Injustice).
It was hoped that partnerships could be formed which would see Affinity Groups linking with the Church, using their website, and creating synergies through social media.
Michael invited Alistair Morwood to take responsibility for developing links with Local Affinity Groups, and AM agreed to meet with him to scope this responsibility.
3.5 Local Business and Sponsorship – Michael discussed approaching local businesses to explain the Friends Project; extending an offer similar to that available to Local Affinity Groups, regarding the Website. Invite business sponsorship, but no direct advertising. For example, invite Business to hold an event at the Church with that Business’s own branding and message etc. and include their sponsorship within such an event; the Friends to operate in a mutually beneficial partnership with this Business.
The job of this group would be to talk to Businesses.
Suggestions put forward included: * Encouragement to use the Website at no cost to promote and support their Business, suggested by BO
It was commented that there appeared to be considerable overlap within the previous 3 groups regarding fundraising/sponsorship. And whilst it was important to understand the specific responsibilities for each group it was likely that the focus of the groups may change and overlap from time to time.
Michael discussed the distinction between the Friends of St Laurence’s and the PCC, here represented by PL and BO. Event Fundraisers could be viewed as raising funds for regular church revenue; and Appeals for specific items requiring larger investment. PL had compiled a list of events (17, including those led by schools). Subscriptions from the Friend’s pledges amount to £3000 pa.
Michael agreed that all kinds of events had a role to play in fundraising; using the Mayflower Anniversary as an example of having the potential to attract donations/gifts. Promoting the Mayflower Anniversary through the Friends Website; and the historical links with Myles Standish’s family may attract significant interest from Americans. The Pilgrimage of the Settlers, sailing on the Mayflower, and arriving at the New World, was a hugely significant event in History. This Mayflower Christmas Tree had recently attracted interest. Heritage trips to view UK ‘Pilgrim/Mayflower’ highlights were costing in region of $12,000 and Friends of St Laurence should take this opportunity of promoting their Community through the internet/social media.
AW asked if it were widely known that St Laurence’s had association with the Mayflower event. MW advised that the Mayflower website attracted 3000 ‘hits’ daily. MB suggested that the Friends website should have a Crowd Funding link and Paypal ‘gifting’ link. MB also mentioned ‘gift aid’ for taxpayers as a way of attracting more funds from HMRC.
(note: Needs a procedure to claim tax from HMRC?). https://www.gov.uk/guidance/gift-aid-what-donations-charities-and-cascs-can-claim-on
Michael indicated that a separate group be established to explore the potential opportunities around the Mayflower theme. He referred to Paul Turner’s skills, who, as a former feature writer, had scripted the earlier Friends newsletters.
Michael Invited John Davies to take responsibility for the Business and Sponsorship Group. John could not immediately agree to this; but may be able to assist later in the year when his existing commitments were discharged.
4 Progress Reports 4.1 Banking Arrangements – The bank account had been processed and would be operational at the beginning of next week (21st January). MW would prefer all Friends pledges to be set up as Standing Orders. There would be facility on the Website for paying subscriptions annually, quarterly or monthly, commencing 31st January. The facility of staged payments was noted and considered beneficial for recruitment. (note: subscriptions likely to be eligible for gift aid) 4.2 Newsletters – Paul Turner was currently developing 3 Newsletters * First, an update of where the Friends are currently positioned and looking forward to the official launch on 5th April. This to be ready for the Website and distribution by Mid-February. * Second, the history of the Vestry 1500s– 1800s, where for 100 years the Poor Law Commissioners representatives distributed Poor Relief to those in need. This to be distributed in May. * Third, a precursor for the Mayflower Anniversary on November 19th with an event organised by the Friends.
500 copies of each newsletter should be printed for distribution although this in itself could be problematical and suggestions for distribution methods welcomed. Social Media will help to extend the reach of the Newsletters.
Use the Church Schools as a communication conduit (in their way).
4.3 Mayflower - In May, start to build up of the Mayflower Anniversary including the links between Myles and the members of the Standish family, buried in the Crypt.
Explore with Chorley Little Theatre a drama on/around November 19 2019; ‘Myles returns to his roots and visits his Standish Ancestors’. Chorley Flower Show – Anne Wray advised that she had contacted Chorley Council to book a stand which would be decorated with a Mayflower theme. A replica of the Mayflower would be built, with thematic flowers representing blue sea flowers for the beach, an allotment and a small boat. The backcloth would be a huge banner. Anne would meet Chorley in Bloom Group to pre order the plants. 4.4 Website – The development of the site was discussed. It was half way to completion. Michael was to meet Cameron later in the day. Unfortunately, It should be noted that Kerry Doughty had resigned, for personal reasons. Cameron had secured paid employment as a website developer but would continue to develop the Friends website. The role envisaged for Kerry would be taken over by Anne Wray’s Team.
5 Launch of the Friends Event Anne Wray showed the Friends ‘Launch’ poster to the Committee. Minor changes were agreed. This would be issued to promote the Launch event, 5th April, which was to be held in the Lancastrian Room of the Town Hall. Michael stated that it was important now to create momentum, and critical to the Friends Organisation that this event was a success. The format for the evening was for a performance of Songs of Stage and Screen by Danielle Louis Thomas and Nick Harvey, with Father Neil accompanying; followed by a two-course buffet supper, followed by an hour of music and dancing, the music provided by students from RNCM. Everyone should be encouraged to help promote the Launch event. Various suggestions including booking a corporate table were suggested; aim for minimum of 150 people attending with a stretch target of 200+. Encourage bookings in a variety of different ways. Encourage Affinity Groups to attend. Encourage sponsors to attend and invite their suppliers. The focus of the event would be to encourage individuals to join the Friends as Members and Associates and explain opportunities for sponsors. Guests would be encouraged to visit the donors page on the website. The Mayor and Chorley’s MP, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, were to be invited. A Launch Coordinator should be identified. Local personalities would be invited to support the event ie Bill Beaumont, Laura Fairclough. MW would invite the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire. 6 Patrons – Suggestions were invited for possible Patrons to support the project, both at the Launch on 5th April and subsequently.
7 Schedule of future meetings Michael suggested that the Committee should meet every 6 weeks but emphasised that the Groups should meet as required. A discussion took place about the best day and time for these meetings. Saturday morning at 10.30am was viewed as suitable by all present.
Note: All Committee Meetings during 2019 to be held at 10.30am at St Laurence’s Church, either in the Refectory or the Standish Room. Items to be discussed at the Committee Meeting should be forwarded to the Friends Organisation’s Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org , one week prior to the meeting in order that they may be included on the Agenda.
23 February - Refectory (Agenda to be issued 16 February) 13 April - Standish Room (Agenda to be issued 6 April) 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)
Launch Event poster changes discussed and agreed. Emphasise the musical activities, supper and dancing. Michael thanked those present for attending and confirmed that he would contact those who had agreed to take on specific responsibilities, to explore their role. He identified that his other actions would include finalising the setting up of the Bank Account and establishing facilities for pledging subscriptions by 31 January. A Group to organise the Launch Event on April 5th would be established as a priority.
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.