Annual Meeting notes



Trustees present: John Wilkinson (Chair), Andy Beharrell, Leslie Downing, Bram Van de Have, Peter Hibberd

INTRODUCTION (John Wilkinson)

The Chairman welcomed attendees and outlined the morning presentations.

He stressed the need for everyone to be actively involved with WP and thanked the 60/70 regular volunteers but stressed more volunteers were needed to cover the expansion of operations and reduce individual workloads.

The new operational structure using Committees with specific roles and responsibilities was now in place and the work of these Committees are fed back to the Board of Trustees.

WP is one of the largest Sailability Centres in the UK and in 2016 held 417 sailing sessions, worked with and provided sailing experience to 7 disability schools and 14 disability organisations.

A Wheelyboat (Egret) was acquired last year following a successful fund raising program which contributed over £25k to the cost of purchase. A new hoist (in memory of John Negus) was also installed at Alton Water making boat launching and retrieval much easier and quicker.

Finally the Chairman thanked all the major supporters of WP during 2016. These included RHYC, Woolverstone Marina, Fox’s Marina, Royal Hospital School, Alton Water Sailing Club, Mayhews Farm (storage facility) a number of sailing and Rotary clubs and those who subscribe to the Friends of WP scheme.


FINANCE (David Bolton)

The following financial statistics show the outcomes for 2016.

Grants received £9000 – £6000 revenue and £3000 capital (2015 – £27,250)
Other donations £15,287 – (2015 – £27638 figure inflated by donations for Wheelyboat)
Other Income £18948 – includes Friends subscriptions £1700 (2015 – £15070)
Total £43235

Capital expenditure £26942 (2015 £32,295)
Operational Expenditure £28907 – (2015 – £31310)
Overall cash deficit £12614 – (£8354 net of an unrealised gain on investment account and also offset by 2015 surplus of £8000 when carried forward)

There are reserves in place to cover at least 6 months operation costs and for the ultimate replacement of boats.

There is a progressive history of reducing operating costs year on year. However, for 2017/8 operation costs are forecast to increase to £32,000 which includes sums for running the Wheelyboat.

The Treasurer then took questions from the audience.

FUND RAISING (John Wilkinson)

To meet the forecast operating costs in 2017 approx. £12000 is expected from sailing fees. Other sources of funds include subscriptions from Friends, donations from collection boxes, surplus from events including coffee mornings, sponsorship especially for the Wheelyboat, and more specifically ticket sales for Annual RHS Concert.

OPERATIONS (Peter Hibberd – Chair of Committee)

PH felt the new WP operational structure with bespoke committees had removed some of the pressure on the Chief Instructor and given him more time to find additional volunteers which will be mentored by those who have more experience.

The new electric winch has resulted in fewer people required to be actually in the water and created a faster turnaround of boats.

A RYA course has been attended to qualify people in power boat handling and training so further training for the Wheelyboat can now be in house. There are now four Powerboat Instructors.

Finally there is grant funding for Wots Up and the project to run work experience and development programs on their behalf.


REVIEW OF ACTIVITY IN 2016 AND PLANS FOR 2017 (Andy Beharrell)

2016 sailing report:

During 2016 we ran (at both Alton Water and Woolverstone) 417 sessions. This created sailing opportunities for 1350 sailors, 1055 carers and involved 406 volunteers.

The peak month was August when there were 227 sailors, 193 carers and 35 volunteers involved.

2016 boat usage report:

This can be broken down by boat as follows:

  • Access 2.3 – 124 sailors
  • Access 3.03 – 338 sailors
  • Challenger – 20 sailors
  • Venture – 234 sailors
  • Drascombe – 83 sailors

2016 volunteer activity report:

During 2016 there were 60 regular volunteers. These included:

  • 6 Senior Instructors
  • 7 Dinghy Instructors
  • 16 Powerboat Level 2 drivers
  • 4 Powerboat instructors
  • 9 Safety Boat drivers
  • 12 qualified First Aiders
  • 2 disability Awareness Instructors

Our thanks go to all these instructors for the hard work they put in throughout the season.

Other activities:

Two Brandy Races were held during 2016 – one for sailors and one for volunteers.

The Wheelyboat launch on October was incredibly successful with around 150 people attending. Our thanks go to the Royal Harwich Yacht Club for allowing us to use the club for the launch event.

We also took part during 2016 in the RYA try Sailing Day at Alton Water. This was held on a windy day, so our RS Venture was incredibly well used giving people a trial sail. It was sailed for the day by the current 2.4m World Champion – Megan Pascoe.

IT changes

During 2016 and the early part of 2017 significant changes to the IT structure of the Project were made. We switched the DNS to direct Project control and this has enabled us to sign up with Google for non-profits. They offer their services free for registered charities. We therefore now use them for:

  • Email provision
  • Software – Google docs, sheets and so on
  • Google Drive cloud storage of all electronic files and backup
  • Other software provision

This has a number of advantages:

  • Unlimited accounts for all project staff (Chair, Treasurer, Coordinator, Webmaster and so on)
  • 30GB storage for every user
  • Automatic synchronisation of all files between all project users
  • Tight control over exactly which project staff can access which files
  • The ability to simply transfer user access when Trustees and Committee Chairs and so on change over

Plans for 2017

For 2017 from 1st May onwards, the Monday sessions will be split into groups (A, B, C and D). Every 4 weeks one group will attend Woolverstone to use either the Wheelyboat and/or the Hawk as appropriate. There will be 2 sessions – 10.30 and 11.30.

Details of the groups will be on the membership cards and the group sailing at Woolverstone each week will be announced on the phone message (07539 480155).

Membership cards for 2017 will be available from Monday sessions and all members will also be given parking permits which they are asked to display at both Alton Water and Woolverstone.

All sailors are reminded also of the Alton Water phone line – 07539 480155 – and are advised to ring each week to check about the status of sessions.

Wheelyboat – 2017

As well as being used Monday-Thursday for sessions, it is also hoped that the Wheelyboat will be used for a range of special trips. These may be on Fridays or at the weekends or in the evenings. Possible trips being considered include:

  • Swallows and Amazons trip
  • Local History trips
  • Ipswich visits

However, we welcome ideas for possible trips from members and any other groups.


2017 – Powerability

At the national Sailability conference on February 18th (attended by three Trustees of the Project) a new RYA scheme called Powerability was launched. This will be an equivalent scheme to Sailability for powerboating.

It will be delivered by powerboat instructors and split into Gold, silver and bronze levels in line with the Sailability schemes.

To deliver the scheme a centre will need to be recognised powerboat training centre. The Project have expressed their interest in this scheme to the relevant RYA staff and will explore further the practicalities of offering it through our Wheelyboat and other boats.

Key dates for 2017

  • Commodore’s Dinner – March 24th
  • Drascombe maintenance – March
  • Woolverstone Challenge Cup – April 22nd
  • Brandy Race – 25th September
  • Christmas Party – 11th December


The audience was split into 5 groups with the task of identifying what changes and improvements could be made to the project over the next five years.

Each group fed back from their discussions and the results will be carried forward and discussed by the various committees and Trustees as appropriate.


John Marsh
Date: 22nd February 2017
Circulation: Project Members, Trustees, Committee Chairs