As this is my first Chairman’s Report I want to start by thanking all of the members of the committee who’ve regularly attended our meetings and in particular Ray Braziel, who has acted as secretary for many years, Andrew Baker our vice chair and Rod Grealish our treasurer who have led the organisation in my time with the Arts Council. Their work is often very complicated and time consuming and enables chairing our meetings, an easy task.
We continue to give grants to support traditional local societies, which are of a very high standard and often have activities which reach large audiences, we have been particularly interested in events which reach new audiences, children and people who would not usually be affected by arts events.
SDAC awarded grants totalling £11,032 during the financial year 2014/5 to nearly 20 groups within the Borough: Adbaston Community Concert Society, Andrew Baker, Castle Players, Chanteuse Chamber Choir, Dress up Box, Eccleshall Festival, Sustainability Matters, Friends of St. Mary’s, Konnectiv Drama, Musical Youth Theatre, Stafford Folk Players, Stafford Lancers, Stafford Music Festival, Stafford Operatics, Stafford Orchestra, Stafford Photographic Society, Stafford Players, Stone Choral Society, and Unity Fest.
I feel this year demonstrates more than ever that the grants awarded by SDAC are an essential part of the Arts in Stafford. The funding can clearly be seen to be affecting the lives of an ever increasing number of local people. The support for the Arts has a direct effect on the well-being of the community and I hope SDAC can look to the future and continue to develop its role in supporting and encouraging the Arts in new ways and to new audiences.
By demonstrating the impact of the grants which Stafford Borough Council allocates through an independent SDAC we hope we will be able to argue for the importance of our work and to continue for the next few years. Our Service Level Agreement was extended for an additional year, due to the elections in May, and we will be approaching a review with the Council for a new SLA within the year.
We have attempted to drive down costs as much as possible taking on VAST as our independent auditors and reducing expenditure on our website.
Over the last year we have reviewed our policies on our reserves, our constitution which will be up for discussion later in the meeting, and how we deal with Grant Aid.
We are always, as any organisation is, on the look out for new committee members, especially when the AGM comes along. Anyone who sees the Arts as an important aspect of life has a chance to be on the team. Stafford is a very creative place. There are many talented people with new outlooks and interests in new audiences.
Please consider putting yourself forward later on in the meeting and please do spread the word to your members about how they can get involved.