Chairman’s Report

  Chairman’s Report

              2015/16

The Charity

The Friends of Chichester Harbour is a registered charity founded in 1987. The charity is

managed by elected members of the Executive Committee in accordance with the rules

of its constitution.

Aims & Objectives

To help maintain and improve Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

and its amenity area, to protect the countryside and wildlife, and to promote education

in relation to this area.

Public Benefit

The Executive Committee confirms that it has regard to the Charity Commission’s

General Guidance on Public Benefit. It has conducted the affairs of the charity in

accordance with its aims and objectives, for the benefit of both present and future

generations of the public.

Activity

The Friends have three main streams of activity that help us achieve our aim: financing projects, providing work

parties, and being represented in harbour governance. Where there is a clear consensus

we also bring our membership lobbying power to bear on issues that might adversely

affect Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Our achievements in 2015/16

I am pleased to report that the Friends of Chichester Harbour have had another very active and successful year. I would like to set out our key achievements under the following headings:

  • Financial
  • Project Support
  • Terror
  • Work Parties
  • Harbour governance
  • Events
  • ModernisationOur financial statement was set out on the back of the AGM notice, and at the AGM, Richard Evans, our treasurer, will give a commentary. So I will not go into details here, but I am pleased to say that we are in a strong financial position, enabling us to continue to fund a wide range of projects. This year we made total grants of £30621 to projects run by the Conservancy. The projects supported included:
  • Project Support
  • While money is not everything, it really does underpin all that we do. As well as a regular stream of subscription income from you, the members, I am heartened at the flow of one off donations we receive, from members and non-members. And of course we also receive legacies. All of this really does make a difference.
  • Financial
  • Young Harbour Rangers: To assist visits to the harbour by students with special educational needs from local schools and by adults from the Wrenford Centre.
  • Kit for Conservation Work parties: to provide additional equipment.

 

  • Junior Conservancy and Get Afloat: continued support for existing projects working with young people.
  • New Keels for Solar Heritage – for urgent work to strengthen the existing steel hulls of the vessel. Anticipated installation is winter 16/17.
  • Renovation of Nutbourne Farm SSSI – this important site was in an unfavourable condition. With the efforts of Natural England and the Conservancy, agreement has been reached to graze cattle on the land, a key step in its renovation. We provided the funds for new fencing.

In addition to the Conservancy led projects, we also provided further funding to the Friends of Nore Barn Wood for the final phase of their excellent sea defence work.

 

Our support to the Solentmet Support Group, which operates Chimet and Cambermet, continued.

 

Terror

Under the second year of management by Friends of Chichester Harbour, Oysterboat Terror has had another successful season taking paying passenger on trips around Chichester Harbour from its base at Emsworth Yacht Harbour.

For 2016 the Terror Operating Committee increased the number of sailings from 59 in 2015 to 82 in 2016 and the result was not only more people enjoying time afloat in this beautiful 125 year old boat, but also a considerable increase in income.

In 2015 a total number of 202 passengers were accommodated, whereas for 2016 the total was 309. Ticket sales income for 2015 was £3622 and for 2016 £6356. We do not yet have the final accounts for Terror for 2016, but we are hopeful that once again she will cover her costs. She is a huge asset to the Harbour and the Friends are delighted to continue to operate her for at least another year in 2017.

Our thanks go to Chichester Harbour Conservancy for their continuing support of Terror and to Alison Wakelin, Neil Brooke and Lorna Tiffany at Emsworth Yacht Harbour who not only provide the berthing for Terror, but also handle all the bookings.

 

Work parties

One of the unique aspects of the FoCH is that in addition to financial support, we provide effort on the ground by way of the work parties. These are organised by the Conservancy and overseen by their rangers. They continue to be extremely well supported. This year’s efforts can be summarised as follows:

  • 36 conservation work parties took place involving about 1,800 hours of volunteer time
  • Range of tasks included habitat and woodland management, beach cleans, fencing, footpath improvements and repairs to sea walls
  • Biggest and longest project: helping the Cobnor Seabank Partnership to strengthen the sea wall protecting a popular 850m footpath at Cobnor. This is a community led project, requiring 8 extended work sessions and involved working with a contractor, Conservancy Rangers, volunteers from Cobnor Estate and two of the landowners.
  • Work party with most impact: improvement to the walkway in Fishbourne Meadows – this project used a new material that looks natural, is non-slip and waterproof, and has provided a robust, long term solution to the wooden walkways that rot over time. More of the walkway will be replaced with this material over the coming months.
  • 2,480 hedging plants and trees were planted around the Harbour in early 2016
  • 2 seasonal celebrations: a winter celebration at Sandy Point Nature Reserve and summer celebration at Dell Quay Education Centre and Beaky’s Wildlife Area.

 

Our Volunteer Ranger programme has continued to be a great success. Their support for the Conservancy Rangers at the Work Parties is very much appreciated and they are available on call for additional work when needed and have responded numerous times this year.

 

Harbour Governance

We continue to play an active part in the governance of the harbour. I have continued as a member of the Advisory Committee, but have now handed over that role to Oliver Chipperfield.

Events

Our events programme, which is intended to provide a benefit to members, has continued to excel, with a number of new events taking place.

Friends’ members continue to be able to get discounts on some of the activities run by Conservancy.

 

Modernisation

Last year I reported that we had embarked on a programme to update our IT system and database. In particular, we want to allow members to join and renew their membership online, paying if they wish by credit card or PayPal online. And we want them to be able to book and pay for Friends Events online.

A secondary goal is to make the administration easier for our Membership Secretary, Treasurer, Events Manager and Events Administration team, all of whom are volunteers.

I am pleased to report that our membership database is now live on the new system. I have been given access and have been able to look at my own membership details and amend them if necessary! This functionality will be made available to all members when final testing has been completed.

The first publicly visible sign of progress was the launch of our new website earlier this year. I am sure you agree with me that this is a huge improvement on the old one, giving us a much more contemporary look and feel. We are now able to much more easily keep it up to date, so over time we hope that members will use it regularly as a source of information. It is also designed and ready to be the route for members to update their details, pay subscriptions and book events.

You will recently have received the Autumn 2016 newsletter. This has been completely redesigned, to give a similar look and feel to the website. It looks tremendous: much more professional. Equally importantly, the new format is designed to be much easier to read online. Once the new IT system is live, you will have the option of receiving an email link to the newsletter rather than a hard copy. It will be your choice, but we hope that many of you will take it as the print costs are rising year on year.

Finally, you may not be aware that we have a Facebook page which is kept regularly up to date.

Put together, these developments mark a significant modernisation of our image and infrastructure which will stand us in good stead in the years to come.

I am indebted to Richard Evans for the many, many hours he has devoted to the IT work, and to Sarah Newman who has so effectively shaped our new image: website, newsletter and Facebook.

I hope from this summary that you will agree with me that the Friends of Chichester Harbour continues to make a real contribution to the continued maintenance, protection and access to the Harbour for the enjoyment of all.

 

Thanks

Firstly, my thanks go to the Harbour Conservancy staff with whom we work. Our relationship with the Conservancy is key to all we do. I was personally delighted this year when Richard Craven was appointed Director and Harbourmaster.

On your behalf I would like to thank my Executive Committee for their continued sterling work.

I make a point of not singling out individuals, but this year will make an exception. Richard Evans has decided to stand down as Treasurer after many years in the role. But as you have previously seen he has not been running down gradually: the time and effort he has invested in, and continues to invest, in the IT development is enormous. So my heartfelt thanks to Richard for the years of service he has given to the Friends and to the Harbour. He is an exemplar for us all.

The Friend’s major administrative cost is the printing and distribution of our newsletter and we are very grateful to Southern Water for their sponsorship of the newsletter.

Finally, I owe a huge thank you to all our members and donors. Without you, none if this would be possible. So whether you volunteer regularly on the work parties, or provide financial support – thank you.

As you know, I am standing down as Chairman this year after three years in the role. It has been my pleasure and honour to chair this charity. I am delighted to pass the baton to Oliver Chipperfield who I know will serve you admirably.

 

Mark Stanton

Chairman

October 2016