The Annual General Meeting of Brass Bands England (BBE) was held in Barnsley on the weekend.
It was led by BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy. Nine bands and five associations were represented with proxy submissions from a further 19 member bands.
Up to April 2018
The official content of the meeting covered the 12 months prior to April 2018, the final period before BBE's current funding arrangement with Arts Council England (ACE) took effect.
Speaking about the move to those new funding arrangements for 2018 to 2022, and which have seen significant changes in personnel to meet BBE's aims and objectives, Mike Kilroy said: "Creating the correct platform for our new staffing model was a crucial element of last year's activities, and we are pleased to report that we have witnessed a seamless shift from trustee activity to that carried out by staff.
With the appointment of our first permanent CEO we are now in a position to offer enhanced member benefits delivered through our professional, office-based team."
Financially, total income for 2017-18 was up by 2.7% to £175,586, although expenditure increased by £24,092 (27.1%) to £199,678, to leave the organisation with cash reserves of £63,542.
Treasurer Nigel Morgan stated that the deficit was largely due to unbudgeted staffing changes over the relevant period in question, but also restructuring arrangements in accordance with future ACE funding requirements.
However, he was confident that the organisation was in a financially stable situation as it moved forward under its new structure.
In his report Mike Kilroy spoke about the importance of BBE's ongoing relationship with Arts Council England, as well as its commitment to developing the National Youth Championships and its links with the UniBrass organisation.
However, he also emphasised the importance of maintaining brass banding heritage, with BBE having taken over responsibility for the Brass Band Archive.
Its contents are currently in storage at BBE's Barnsley headquarters pending the outcome of a bid to fund a scoping exercise that will help to determine its ultimate form and destination.
He added: "We have also been strengthening our trustee skill base and will continue to be on the lookout for anyone who can further contribute to this. BBE's long-term aim is to be the body that supports and represents brass bands throughout the whole of England.
To succeed we need to be visible and proactive, and we are delighted that our new team is already achieving this."
During the meeting, trustees Gary Walczak, Shirley Woodward and Max Stannard we re-elected unanimously.
Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Crookston updated delegates on progress since April 2018 — the past ten months seeing a rise in membership from 189 to 277 bands.
An open forum of questions also touched on the current debate on Child Performance Licensing, with Development & Partnership Manager Alex Parker praised for his proactive approach in relaying information on the matter to the wider banding community throughout the UK.
With the appointment of our first permanent CEO we are now in a position to offer enhanced member benefits delivered through our professional, office-based teamBBE Chairman, Mike Kilroy
In closing the meeting Mike Kilroy concluded: "We now have 277 members and over 400 organisations signed up to BandSafe, our web-based safeguarding tool, which a real testament to the team's efforts.
The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) is investigating use of the BandSafe format across other sectors as it rates it so highly, so it is great to see brass bands at the forefront of wide-reaching innovation.
This, along with other initiatives and artistic collaborations, are now seeing the outside world start to take notice of our sector once more."
In order to report closer to the end of the financial year, BBE's next AGM will be held on 28th September, when it will also host a day-long brass band conference. The venue for this will be confirmed in due course.