Seven Sowers Annual Report

The Seven Sowers Charitable Trust
Registered Charity No. 1151633

Seven Sowers Benefice (Beercrocombe, with Curry Mallet, Hatch Beauchamp, Orchard Portman, Staple Fitzpaine, Stoke St Mary (with Thurlbear) and West Hatch)

Annual Report for 2018

The Seven Sowers Charitable Trust was set up in 2004 with the purpose of having a fund to finance Benefice wide projects to advance the Christian faith, and to receive donations on which Gift Aid could be claimed.

The Trustees during 2018 have been:
The Rector (Chairman, until retirement on 31st October 2018),

Foundation Trustees Alison Horsey (Treasurer) and Clive Hayward (Secretary) serving for periods of three years (AGM 2011- AGM 2014 - AGM 2017 - AGM 2020),

Trustees Lizzie Frazer and Julie Pope serving for a period of one year at a time.

Adrian Stone is Independent Examiner of the accounts.

The Trust has met, only as necessary through the year to administer the funds, to confirm arrangements for financing the Children's Worker and make provision for future Trustees.

The main project of 2018 has again been to provide funds to employ our Benefice Children's Worker, Holly Stevens. Stoke St Mary PCC are Holly's nominated employer and “Stewardship”, a Christian charity recommended by the Diocese, administers her salary for a reasonable monthly fee. Holly's salary is paid from our Youth and Children's work fund, as are her travel expenses (excluding miles between home and the benefice boundary) and she is also reimbursed for the resources she purchases.

As well as going into our 3 schools every week, to take assembly or to help out, and organising children's summer holiday clubs, Holly has again been key in other initiatives for children in 2018.

The Children's' Worker has been central to organising the Hatch Beauchamp Kids youth club most weeks in term time and the monthly Sunday Gang held in conjunction with the Benefice Communion Service for all the parishes.

Summer Holiday club held in Thurlbear School Hall gave children (and helpers) the opportunity to hear, see & reflect on stories about important bible events. Unfortunately there was not sufficient interest to be able to run the club in Hatch Beauchamp.

Messy Church has continued to be held in Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall on Saturday afternoons, with attendance still fluctuating, but generally increasing, with up to 11 families (2017: up to 8 families). Thurlbear School & Curry Mallet Schools have also continued with Open the Book, the team of volunteers acting out a bible story each week during assembly (Curry Mallet increasing from fortnightly to weekly in 2018, with thanks to our willing and able team).

Holly assists at the weekly “Stoke Tots”, and leads the monthly Worship for All services at Stoke St Mary Church. Holly also led the Christmas Day Benefice Family Service, also at Stoke.

All Age Celebration United Sunday services, informal & interactive, designed for families with young children, have continued in 2018 with our three schools and their families invited to take part. All church members were encouraged to attend too. These were planned to engage everyone of all ages and stages in their Christian belief. The plannedSpring service was postponed due to snow (The beast from the east), and became the Autumn celebration at Staple Fitzpaine, which was a resounding success with a real buzz of celebration in the atmosphere, but still offering time for quiet reflection and time with God, and in many cases leaving people wanting to come again to find out more. A large team has been involved in the planning and leading of these services, but Holly has been able to liaise with the schools and guide us on the form and content of the services.

All these initiatives involve teams of volunteers, and we are very blessed to have so many willing and able people in our Benefice.

The trust is still prepared to support training our volunteers who are involved with Children's work when necessary.

FINANCIAL REVIEW

The Accounts are shown on “Accounts Page 1” and are split into 2 categories:

Unrestricted General Funds - money received has not had a restriction placed on its use by the donor.

Restricted Youth Work Fund - money received has been donated for the purpose of financing Youth and Children's Work within our Sevens Sowers benefice.

General Fund receipts for 2017 total £752 (2017 £1,198) and come mainly from donations received at the Holiday Clubs, Messy Church and income tax reclaim (one donor restricts their donation but not the tax on it hence there is a relatively large tax amount in general fund). General Fund costs for 2018 were £931 (2017 £979) and were mainly costs of running HBK, Holiday Clubs and Messy Church.

Seven Sowers Charitable Trust underwrite the costs of Messy Church, HBK and Holiday Clubs: this year Holiday Club did not cover its costs by £122 (2017 £330), and messy church by £73. HBK had a net cost of £245, more than covered by HBK funds transferred to Seven Sowers from Hatch Beauchamp PCC during 2017. Messy Church held 11 times in 2018 had a deficit for the year of £115, reduced to just £73 when gift aid of £42 is taken account of (2017 £180 deficit over 11 sessions). The total deficit on Messy Church and Holiday Club of £195 has been covered by a transfer from the Youth and Children's work fund as shown mid-way down Page 5.

The restricted Youth Work Fund received £15,217 in 2018 (2017 £7,996, plus £8,697 Pay4Day fund in 2017, totals £16,693 for youth work funds in 2017). There is a slight decrease of £1,476 this year, due to a few donors moving away, but this still leaves enough donors to fund the current outgoings, and with the reserves of £20,000, enough to cover any future loss of donors for some time. At 31st December 2018 there was a very healthy £20,495 held in this fund, which, along with the regular standing order donations, will enable the continued employment of our Children's, Schools and Families worker, and the funding of future Children, Youth & Family based activities.
A laptop was purchased during 2018 costing £489, this was needed as the old benefice laptop was over 10 years old and very slow, and is useful for church services and school assemblies.

SUMMARY

2018 has again been a very busy year for the Children's Worker.

The Children's Worker acts as an enabler so that our clergy and our volunteers can take these projects on, and we are fortunate to have employed Holly to continue to dedicate time to spend in the schools, getting to know the pupils and staff and knowing their needs, abilities and limitations; this work clearly shows God's love in action to our children and families in a relevant and understandable way.

We are very grateful to all those who have already donated either with one off donations, or by a standing order - the "Pay for a Day” appeal has been supported by young and old, regular church goers and not so regular church goers, and it has been fantastic to see so many joining together in one unifying mission, to tell of God's love and to show God's love to children and their families.

We are hoping our current donors will continue to support the post, and if you have not yet supported this work but would like to, then please see www.sevensowers.org.uk for details of how to donate.
Holly's 3 year contract runs from Sept 2017 to August 2020, so at time of writing she is almost half way through. Holly and her husband Ant, are due to have their first baby in March, so she is planning to go on Maternity leave in March, and we are currently advertising for a one year maternity cover, so that the good work can continue during Holly's absence.

We are very blessed to have received the financial support, and to benefit from our Children's Workers' presence with us in our group of small rural parishes. May God continue to bless this work. We thank Holly for all she does.

(Chair)
On behalf of the Trustees of Seven Sowers Charitable Trust February 2019

To download the Seven Sowers Annual Report for 2018 press here

To read/download the Seven Sowers Annual Accounts for 2018 press here