Foreword by Carol Cooper, Chairman
2010/11 was another busy and successful year for the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust.
The year saw the completion of our fabulous new timber framed highly sustainable new office and volunteer base in July, which went on to won 3 awards, including overall winner at the Shropshire LABC Building Excellence Awards. The move has meant that the Trust’s staff are able to carry out their professional roles even more efficiently. Trustees finally have a dedicated meeting space which has already been put to excellent use in training our wonderful volunteers, as well as being used by the Shropshire Community Health Service and other groups.
As with everyone else, SGCT is not immune from the severe financial downturn in the economy and our core income from rental properties has been severely affected this year. With sound financial management and reserves which have been carefully built up over many years, SGCT has been able to produce a balanced budget. My thanks are due to Kate Chetwood, our Finance Officer, who works so hard behind the scenes with the rest of the team to professionally manage the Trust finances. The Trust has also managed to trim its annual costs through more efficient working, though this has meant Trust staff taking on more workload, which we will keep under review.
The Telford Access to Nature Partnership continues to flourish, thanks to an excellent Partnership which we Chair and to Cadi’s very hard work, together with Bryony Carter, Matt Beech, Cliff Hallam and Helen Howes. The targets have been exceeded in the second year of the three year programme and 18 sites and their local people throughout Telford have benefited.
Within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site we have been taking this Community Development Work to the next level, with SGCT volunteers taking an increasing role in biological surveying, managing the sheep flocks working with local graziers Harry and Gill Pettit and Rob and Allison Littlehales. They are also taking an increasing role in managing Maws and Shakespeare meadows cutting the hay by scythe the traditional way.
This will be my last introduction as I am stepping down as a Trustee after sixteen years service, the last five as Chair. I have greatly enjoyed working with the Trust and would like to wish its Trustees and Staff every success for the future.