Chairs Report 2014

Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31/12 2013.

Charity number : 1151531

Company Number : 8328547


Charity name : Westbury Arts Centre

Charity Registration number : 1151531

Company Registration number:8328547

Registered office and Operational Address :

Westbury Farm
Foxcovert Rd
Shenley Wood
Milton Keynes

Board of Directors:

Mr A Bates ( Chair ) to April 2014
Ms C Malone (Chair) from April 2014
Mr L Fennell (Treasurer)
Ms Jess Rost
Mr M Compton
Mrs K Holuj
Ms Helen Dendulk (from June 2014)

Executive Support

Julie Le Fevre to May 2014

Joan Gomez from June 2014

Bankers :

Milton Keynes Branch
501 Silbury Boulevard
Saxon Gate East
Milton Keynes


Our Charities purposes set out in the objects contained in the Company’s memorandum of association are :

‘To promote, maintain, improve and advance education and appreciation of the arts in all forms among the people of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area .’

Westbury Arts Centre

Review of accomplishment 

We review our aims, objectives and activities each year. This review looks at what we achieved

and the outcomes of our work from April 2013, when we became a Charity, to the end of December.

We assess each key activity and the benefits they have brought to those groups of people we are set up to help.

The review also helps us ensure our aim, objectives and activities remained focused on our stated

purposes. We have referred to the guidance contained in the Charity Commission’s general

guidance on public benefit when reviewing our aim and objectives and in planning our future

activities. In particular, the trustees consider how planned activities will contribute to the aims and

objectives they have set.

The focus of our work

The strategies used to achieve our Charitable objectives, the advancements of the arts at both professional and local level, included :

  • Studio provision – providing studios and workspaces for artists and the general public in accordance with our published eligibility criteria;
  • residencies for 2 graduates awarded by panel – 2 x 3 month residencies;
  • education – Providing a programme of workshops and educational courses for the public;
  • events – Providing a programme of free events , including exhibitions and performances , all open to the public. Two of the exhibitions were done in collaboration with FE/HE institutions;
  • through these activities an overall encouragement of high standards within the arts.

How our Activities deliver Public Benefit

Our main activities and who we try to help are described below. All our charitable activities focus

on the making the arts more accessible to the public and on fostering the development of a creative hub for this purpose and to encourage and develop creative activities in Milton Keynes as a whole.

Who used and benefited from our work?

The maximum number of studio spaces is 19, although this can be increased when users share studios. Studio usage has been maximised by the adoption of agreed assessment procedures and eligibility criteria assessed by a panel. Members of the public who are not formally qualified are encouraged to apply for studio spaces, as well as graduates. Studio artists meet regularly and are asked/invited to contribute to the annual programme. They are also able to carry out their own programme of workshops – for example, two potters run very successful raku workshops throughout the year. Studio artists receive a regular newsletter and participate in public events such as Buckinghamshire Open Studios and the Christmas Fayre. All the studios have been occupied and the floating spaces or starter studios have been fully used with some artists making successful applications for full-time studios after their 3 month starter studio contracts.


A full program of workshops and educational courses in arts and crafts were provided for the public between April and October. These were unique to Westbury within the Milton Keynes area, including raku pottery firing, calligraphy, painting with masking fluid, observational drawing, experimental metalwork and many others. These were advertised to the public by different media channels, our website and a mailing list developed during the year. Regular newsletters are sent to subscribers as well as Facebook and Twitter news items to keep subscribers updated. Visitors were invited to sign up for the mailing list and also asked to review the events. All workshops and courses were evaluated.

External lecturers supplemented the existing skill base of resident artists, enabling an exciting and attractive program to be presented – for example, a stone carving weekend.

Funding assistance was provided by Milton Keynes Community Foundation, sponsorship by local companies and donations.

There were 263 attendees at 10 1-day, 1 half-day, one internal weekend and one external weekend workshops and educational courses during the year. 6 of these attendees were under 16 years old.

Exhibitions and events

The main exhibition space on the premises (The Barn Gallery)is unsuitable for use in the colder months, nevertheless we hosted several exhibitions during the year, all free of charge to the public, attracting over 500 visitors:


  • Photography Exhibition by Milton Keynes College Level 3/HND students – the Barn Gallery
  • Light Photography by Kate Harrison
  • Westbury Artists Group Exhibition – the Barn Gallery
  • Shack to City – works by Cathy Read and Sally Brooks
  • Graduate Exhibition – the Barn Gallery
  • Photography by Simon Bradford – the Barn Gallery
  • The History of Westbury Farm by Sally Brooks

The 17th Century farmhouse hosted a Heritage weekend in September, including a Shakespeare Festival, with performances all open to the public free of charge

A Christmas fair was held in November, with over 100 local residents visiting to see the work of the artists and visiting craft makers/ stallholders.

Questionnaires issued to visitors were analysed and used in developing the programme for 2014/15 – for example, there were more events suitable for families and young people in the 2014/15 programme. In addition it was agreed that there should be a Summer Fair as well as the Christmas Fayre during 2014-15.

Approaches were made to local schools including a local Academy in order to discuss possible collaborations – the Academy agreed to consider undertaking a Young Roots project to look at the history of Westbury Farm. Discussions were also held with a neighbouring Retirement Village to consider possible collaborations which have resulted in the woodworking group in the Village undertaking to make signs for Westbury. These discussions and work to link to community groups and to participate in the Western Expansion of Milton Keynes are ongoing and include regular meetings with MK Arts & Heritage Alliance, MK Council Arts & Heritage Department and with the team leading ADD Oxley Park/106.

Activities in 2014

The 2014 programme built on the feedback from attendees at the 2013 workshops and events so was broader in its remit including a wider range of activities such as yoga and a women’s independence day as well as more workshops suitable for families. The early part of the year was slow as the financial position was weak after initial funding bids were unsuccessful.

There was also some disruption as the new Chair, Caroline Malone, took on the role after Tony Bates resigned in April 2014 and the administrative assistant effectively left in May 2014. By June 2014 the situation had stabilised as Westbury welcomed a new administrator, Joan Gomez, who is able to come in every morning and is rapidly gaining control of our day to day activities and proving a valuable resource for artists and Board alike.

A successful funding bid to Milton Keynes Community Foundation has enabled us to advertise our programme more effectively and workshop attendance has improved since July. New workshops will be added to the programme for September to November.

Oil painting workshop 2014

A new annual event, the Summer Fair, was launched in July 2014. This was successful despite poor weather and will be repeated next year with changes agreed on after an analysis of the first event.

Summer Fair 2014

Annual events included:

  • Bucks Open Studios
  • MK College HND Photography
  • Graduates exhibition in August featuring the work of 6 graduates including the two successful graduate residences awarded for 2014.

There is a further exhibition scheduled for September featuring a local artist, Lesley Humphries, and the annual Heritage Weekend with the Shakespeare Festival will take place on 13/14 September and is fully funded and the annual Christmas Fair.

Westbury Arts Centre is a partner in the Lottery funded Great War Milton Keynes project with a project focussing on messages and signalling. A trio of dancer/choreographers and a textile artist have been appointed to lead the project and will work with community groups ranging from schools to the British Legion to put together a dance performance based on signalling/messages and a display of individual flags, both based on research into WW1 communications both public and private and on individual research into family and local histories. The project will work alongside 8 other projects across Milton Keynes for the next year.

Westbury is working to achieve even better community outreach with community partnerships for the GWMK project, a bid to install raised beds for allotments in the grounds in partnership with a local retirement village and a further bid to build disabled toilet facilities.

The use of facilities by external artists and groups has increased and two MK Adult Continuing Education courses will be hosted at Westbury in the autumn (life drawing and pottery).

The next major step is a funding strategy to establish further projects from key funding bodies such as the Arts Council in order to increase WAC’s profile and enhance chances of success with a major funding bid for core funding to pay for a Development Manager, who will work towards a capital funding programme to develop the site, restoring the existing listed buildings and adding newbuild to provide workshops and other facilities. 

 Financial Review

 Principal Funding Sources

 The Charity receives no core funding from any external source, making it heavily reliant on income from studio charges, which are fixed on a service charge basis, covering utilities, repairs and refurbishment and administration costs. We try to keep annual charge increases to a minimum consistent with financial sustainability, and the need to encourage the public to apply for studios.

Without external project funding, it would not be possible to sustain an educational arts program at the level provided this year, and continuing efforts will be made to apply for and obtain external sources of funding, from all possible sources.

We received a total of £5814 in total from project funding, sponsorship for specific events and donations.

Reserves Policy

The charities lease ends in June 2014, and we have been engaged in negotiations with the landlords in the hope of a new lease when the current one expires.

Due to the uncertainty, and the need for a contingency sum to cover vacating the building and any repair liabilities should a new lease not be offered, the charity aims to maintain a reserve of £……., and ended the year with a reserve of £……….

Plans for Future Periods

Subject to satisfactory funding arrangements, the charity aims to maintain its current program of activities indicated above.

It intends to participate with Milton Keynes Arts & Heritage Alliance in the HLF grant aided provision of several local artistic initiatives to commemorate the centenary of the First World War and to seek funding for further projects.

Expansion of Workshops and Exhibitions is limited by the facilities available, and we intend to seek external funding to secure improvements to the premises we occupy and to employ a development manager and full-time administrator, if a new lease can be negotiated.

NOTE: At the time of submission a new 3-year lease was under negotiation with a MOI for a longer lease should our planned funding activities be successful. MK Council Arts Department is assisting the Board as WAC is part of the Milton Keynes Arts & Heritage Strategy.

NOTE: The negotiations for the lease have been put on hold as a difficulty over obtaining rates relief arose which is still the subject of considerable work by the Board. At the time of submission the Board is seeking reassessment of the premises through the Valuation Office, having been refused charitable relief on the grounds that the activities of artists within the studios that form a significant part of the premises does not constitute charitable activity. The Board will therefore be seeking to reassess the studios as business premises and to apply for small business rates relief.

Structure, Governance, and Management

Governing Document

The organisation is a charitable company limited by guarantee, incorporated on12 December 2012

and registered as a charity on 6th April 2013. The company was established under a

Memorandum of Association which established the objects and powers of the charitable company

and is governed under its Articles of Association. In the event of the company being wound up

members are required to contribute an amount not exceeding £10

Recruitment and Appointment of Trustees

The directors of the company are also charity trustees for the purposes of charity law.

There were three Directors between April and December. They gave their time voluntarily and received no financial benefit from the charity. A procedure is in place which requires directors to declare any interest which may conflict with that of the charity. Some individuals also advised the Board on as volunteers during the year, but did not vote on charitable matters. These advisory roles served as a form of orientation and familiarisation with the charity. Attempts to recruit directors by external advertisement were not successful with the exception of a person with financial skills for the finance director role. It is intended to recruit further directors to provide a broader range of skills and experience, and to work with external agencies to provide induction training and familiarisation with management in a charitable context, including:

  • The obligations of board members.
  • The main documents which set out the operational framework for the charity including

the Memorandum and Articles.

  • Resourcing and the current financial position as set out in the latest accounts.
  • Future plans and objectives.

Organisational Structure

The Board meets monthly and publishes minutes available for public scrutiny. All meetings were quorate and took place appropriately.

Apart from an Administrator engaged for two days weekly, and a part time Artistic Director funded with the aid of externally sourced Grants, there was no other organisational structure at executive level.

The existing structure is insufficient to provide adequate support to the board and the charity, and compares unfavourably with similar charities which receive core funding. We will seek to secure funding for organisational development, recognising that our organisational structure requires substantial strengthening to enable us to develop our charitable services.

Risk Management

Internal financial controls are under review and a financial code of practice will be implemented as next year.

Procedures are in place to ensure compliance with health and safety of volunteers, contracted service providers, and visitors. All events are risk assessed beforehand.

A risk register will be developed depending on success in developing the organisational structure.

Responsibilities of the Board.

Company law requires the board to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of the affairs of the charitable company as at the balance sheet date and of its incoming resources and application of resources, including income and expenditure, for the financial year. In preparing those financial statements, the board should follow best practice and:

  •  select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;
  • make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent; and
  • prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is not appropriate

to assume that the company will continue on that basis.

The board is responsible for maintaining proper accounting records which

disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the charitable company and

to enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 1985. The

board is also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the charitable company

and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other


Statement of Financial Activities (including Income & Expenditure Account ) for the year ended 31st December 2013.

Note      Unrestricted    Restricted           Total

                                                                           Funds        Funds        Funds                  


£                 £                £


Incoming Resources from Generated Funds

Investment Income                              4                            9                  –                 9

Incoming Resources

from Charitable Activities                  5                     38,074           235         38,309

Voluntary Income                                6                         189                771              960

TOTAL INCOMING RESOURCES                         38,272           1,006         39,278



Costs of Generating Funds

Charitable Activities                         7                     18,975           1,006         19,981

Governance Costs                             8                        9,581                  –           9,581


TOTAL RESOURCES EXPENDED                         28,556           1,006         29,562


NET MOVEMENT IN FUNDS                                 9,716                  –           9,716



Surplus/(Deficit) for the Year                                  9,716                  –           9,716

  9,716                  –           9,716


Total Recognised Gains and Losses

The Company has no recognised gains or losses other than the surplus for the periods above.




                                                        Note                                  2013                                            

                                                               £                         £                                     




Sundry Debtors                                        9                   2,146

Cash and Bank                                                               9,138





Creditors: amounts falling due

within one year                                    11                        1,568


NET CURRENT ASSETS                                                                9,716


TOTAL ASSETS                                                                               9,716 




Unrestricted Reserves                                                                                   9,716

Restricted Reserves                                                                                            –