For the year ended 31st March 2016, the charity generated a surplus of £231,759 after gains and losses.
This was, for a second year running time, an exceptional surplus, arising from a further large donation received in April 2015 intended for (but not restricted to) the second boat, the first tranche of a capital grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust toward the second boat, and a major restricted donation for the refit of Thames Venturer.
The underlying movement in funds – excluding those directed at the second boat – was a surplus of £56,759, thanks to a substantial legacy received just before the end of the financial year.
The strength of our balance sheet at the year-end, standing at just over £636k (see page 18) has called for careful review of our reserves in alignment with our anticipated needs over the coming two to three years and our reserves policy.
These needs include:
- maintenance of an adequate working balance in the General Fund, in line with our reserves policy, to meet the cost of salaries, winter maintenance on Thames Venturer and other expenses during the ‘low season’ months (usually October to March), when our income from fees and charges is much reduced. This sits at £22,387.
- construction, fitting-out and equipping a second boat, for which spend is now under way. The Directors approved a total budget of £450,000 for this project, to be made up of monies taken from the Designated Development Fund (DDF), the restricted fund for this purpose, and future funding from a capital grant from the Veolia Environment Trust plus a matched funding agreement that is in place (to be drawn down as the build project progresses). This budget includes all costs, including project management, vessel equipment and a large contingency we hope not to draw on.
- refit of Thames Venturer to upgrade and re-fashion her primarily as a residential and educational resource, due to start once we have fully integrated into operation the second boat – probably 2018. We are setting aside £75k from the DDF for this purpose which, with a £25k restricted donation received in 2015/16, will meet the anticipated £100k spend required for the refit.
The remaining monies in the DDF (currently anticipated to be £45,000), plus any further income generated for development purposes in the future, are intended for piloting of new programmes and activities that extend the work of the charity – in particular those that it may be difficult to attract grant funding for, due to the lack of a ‘proof of concept’. We are also aiming, longer-term to develop additional charity facilities – in particular land-based education and administrative facilities, but have not yet started to plan for these.
The £100,000 donation received in 2015-16, as mentioned above, has been attributed entirely to the DDF, together with the Gift Aid that we were able to reclaim on the donation and a further £40,000 transferred from the General Fund.
In summary, we expect the current balance sheet to show significant changes over the next 2-3 years as these projects reach completion and our reserves are spent.
Other restricted funds are detailed in the notes to the accounts.
The company can claim exemption from audit under the special provisions of Section 477(2) of the Companies Act 2006. The statements that the directors are required to make in such circumstances are attached to the Balance Sheet. Jon Blythe, a registered chartered accountant, has conducted an independent examination of the accounts and a copy of his Report is attached to the accounts.