At the end of 2018 an approach to our current chairman was made by the Coddenham Parish Council to set up a charity to acquire the Coddenham Community Hall, and manage its future sustainability.
The approach was initiated by a long standing obligation under the terms of building the new hall in 2003, to transfer the asset to charitable status.
In May 2019, the charity was created and the transfer effected in November of that year, rebranding as ‘The Coddenham Centre’. The details of formation, can be found at the Charity Commission here.
The transfer was deemed as ‘unencumbered’ , with responsibility for historic liabilities and public financing decisions made by the Parish Council, not to be transferred.
The transfer of ownership was accompanied by the existing cash reserves held by the Council, the remainder of the budget and a commitment that the existing annual precept (contribution through ‘rates’) would continue to support the Centre. The new Trustees voluntarily expressed confidence that the Centre could be more sustainably managed and they would aim to reduce the dependency on the community by 50% within five years.
Our 2023/24 Budget – Update
In February 2023, we agreed our budget for the forthcoming financial year, including the contribution from the Parish Precept with Coddenham Parish Council.
The cost to the Centre of estate/green space management has been re-instated as a Parish Council responsibility, in line with the original agreement with both parties.
In real terms, the precept contribution is now £4,250 p.a. some 67% below the level at transfer, far exceeding our original voluntary target to half it in five years. In 2023 it represents the cost of a cup of (community shop) coffee per household every 2 months.
This has been achieved against a background of a global pandemic, major essential repairs, the beginnings of an economic down turn and colossal rises in costs, including utilities.
Over £200,000 has been raised by the Centre to achieve greater resilience, community value and environmental benefit. Nearly £60,000 of this has been required for legacy repairs and replacements, that under the previous ownership would have fallen to the community. An unacceptable additional £20,000+ per annum, that would have been unlikely to have been met and have led to closure of the Centre.
Our fund raising and investment in renewable heating energy and in 2023, solar power, will protect the Centre from rising costs. Defence so far has been through our astute tariff fixing in 2021, which comes to an end this year.
We will almost double our already substantial, Carbon Savings.
We have provided this update to offer clarity to our many supporters, who alongside our volunteers & staff continue to work with Trustees who also give their time freely, to grow, protect and maintain the Coddenham Centre for the benefit of all.