Plunkett’s Annual General Meeting 2021 opened with an introduction from Stephen Nicol, chair of the Trustees, who outlined the format of the meeting and agenda for the session. Apologies received for the AGM were noted, and the Minutes of last year’s meeting were approved by member poll (90% of members approved; 10% abstained from voting).
Next came Matters Arising from the Minutes of the AGM 2020, in which Stephen explained that at last year’s AGM (2020) a resolution was passed to amend the Articles of Association (Item 8 in the AGM minutes of 2020). Advices were duly lodged with the Charity Commission, but Stephen explained that due to severe delays in processing enquiries, the amendments to our Articles are not yet showing on our file on the Charity Commission website. He confirmed that we have written confirmation from the Charity Commission that the amendments have been accepted and we will continue to track the matter to ensure that the amendments appear on our file on the Charity Commission website.
Stephen then gave his Chair’s report for the year. He acknowledged the changes and challenges brought by Covid-19 and the dramatic increase in enquiries fielded and support delivered through Plunkett during 2020. He reflected on the launch of Plunkett’s Training Hub and Information Hub, as well as the increased level of media interest in community business in recent months. Stephen then identified future opportunities for Plunkett’s work:
- to spread the model even further, especially into communities where there is a need to level up;
- to work with community businesses new and old on building a more environmentally sustainable future including further development of local food systems; and
- to continue to work with our various partners in ensuring a loud and coherent voice and effective delivery of services to community business.
Stephen also stated that the Board recognises the need to expand, and therefore will be recruiting for new Trustees later in the year.
The Chair’s report was followed by James Alcock’s Chief Executives report, which began with an overview of how the community businesses we support have been affected by Covid-19; but also how they overcame challenges, through local sourcing, revitalisation of the volunteer network, and investment in digital technologies, such as online ordering systems. James thanked Plunkett’s key funders: Cooperative Development Scotland, The Dulverton Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Hopkins Homes, Locality, Post Office Ltd, Power to Change, the Prince’s Countryside Fund, Thakeham and National Lottery Community Fund. He expressed appreciation for our partners, Power to Change, Locality and Co-operatives UK. James also outlined some of the policy and lobbying work we undertook in 2020, including working with DEFRA to raise supply chain concerns, lobbying to make sure the UK shared prosperity fund reaches rural communities, and feeding into the autumn Spending Review, to fight for a fund for community owned businesses. Finally, James recognised that Plunkett is a people-based organisation and thanked the staff, advisers, Trustees and all of our members for continued support and dedication, before looking to the future: “We want to do more to ensure that community businesses and Plunkett are playing a bigger role making rural communities more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive places to live and and to visit.”
The next item on the agenda was the presentation of Plunkett’s annual report and accounts for 2020, summarised by Chris Coe, Trustee and Nicola Cadwaller, Auditor. Members approved the annual report and accounts with 95% for, 5% abstained to vote. To see a full copy of the report, download it here: Report of the Trustees & Financial Statements.
The AGM concluded with two further member resolutions: the appointment of Critchleys as auditors for 2021 (88% for, 2% against, 10% abstained from voting); and the re-election of Trustees due to retire by rotation, Chris Coe, Martin Collett and Helen Aldis (92% for, 8% abstained from voting). Find out more about our Board of Trustees here.