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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    It matters not what the National Trust does because, repeating the point, "A restricted fund is a reserve account that contains money that can only be used for specific purposes. Restricted funds provide reassurance to donors that their contributions are used in a manner they have chosen."
     
  2. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    While I sympathise, I do suggest you have some sympathies with those running an appeal. I remember being involved in running an appeal, where we had to face the risk that we wouldn't raise enough to meet the full bill, or might raise too much once any grants we won came in. We didn't want to be in a situation where we had orphaned funds, and that wording was an important part of how we managed that risk.
     
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  3. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    The NT achieve that by running their appeals so the funds are not restricted in that way, and they have the legal cover for putting the funds to other purposes if the appeal fails. Which demonstrates that ring fencing can be achieved without needing to use restricted funds.
     
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  4. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    That's perfectly reasonable but clearly NOT a restricted fund. Ergo .....
     
  5. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    As I said before, the option to maximise free cash reserves doesn't actually exist. The two alternatives are, by and large, coming to the end of a closed season with no ready cash and bills to pay with restricted funds and coming out of a closed season with the same lack of ready cash with no restricted funds. If the funds weren't restricted, they wouldn't be there in the first place. In any case, if you have the restricted funds, you always have the option of going back to the donors and asking for their money to be spent "saving the company" instead, which you wouldn't have if the money had not been donated in the first place.
     
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  6. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    The WSR might be short of cash, but it's never short of spades, at least not for this purpose.
     
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  7. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    I think the WSRA did something similar in their appeal to buy 4110. They stated that if unsuccessful then the money would be used towards overhauling their other locomotives.

    That’s probably one of the reasons their appeal wasn’t as successful as the 4110 group, where donors knew their money would be spent on buying 4110 and nothing else.
     
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  8. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    Maybe, but far more because people were excited and enthused by a new, motivated group starting up. As soon as it went to the WSRA, it was back to the "same old, same old" with the prospect of it being many years before work actually even began...
     
  9. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    Quite. Like I said it probably was one of the reasons, but there were many others too. Not least the way the board seemed to assume that any money pledged to the 4110 group would automatically be given to the WSRA instead.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
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  10. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    If your impression is accurate, what are those projects that have benefitted while the railway as a whole was suffering?
     
  11. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    I suggest it’s inevitable with the current structure that funds will be raised for what the charities can do legally rather than based on the needs of the railway. I know the WSRA Trustees understand that they can only support projects within the narrow confines of the Charity’s objects. The PLC may say we need more general financial support but the Charity is unable to help. That is exactly the situation the S andDRT Trustees were in.
    Whenever what can be funded depends on the public benefit objects of a charity there is the risk that what needs to be funded for the good of the railway will fall outside those objects.
     
  12. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    With respect, I think the WSRA and S&DRT situations were fundamentally different, even if tied up by the same legal constraint.

    The S&DRT purposes are not about the WSR, but much more specific to the S&DJR. While I understand the trustees went a long way to try to help the WSR, there is ultimately a limit to how far they could reasonably go towards general expenditure within the spirit of why the S&DRT exists.

    The WSRA is a rather different beast, where the charitable objects are drawn rather oddly for a body whose purpose - indeed name - is about the WSR. As others have given examples of, with goodwill and creativity, the ability of supporting charities to contribute to "their" railway is actually pretty broad. Arguably, the issue with the limitations on the WSRA lies not in structure, or legislative constraints, but in a more open set of objects - especially if the relationship between charity and plc can be made closer (one reason why I would personally back the use of an existing charity rather than creation of a new one).
     
  13. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Well we may have to disagree. I‘m sure that many would like the WSRA to be a general fundraising charity for the railway but that’s not what it’s narrow public benefit purposes allow.
     
  14. Mel Hillman

    Mel Hillman Member

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    Wednesday 23rd September on-line.
     
  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Thank you. To continue with the hypothetical example and making no suggestions about the WSR. I can understand if say the person responsible for electrical engineering left, fell ill etc, then the chain could be broken.

    How might a system for assessment breakdown, could you explain a little bit more? Would something like poor recording keeping cause a system to breakdown? Or if the system hadn’t been kept up to date with changes? To give an outlandish example would the system for assessing staff breaks down if it is discovered that there was an issue with the colour blindness test. Or are those not the kind of things that would cause a system to breakdown?
     
  16. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    As they are today, perhaps. But these things can be changed.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    By system I mean means of doing things. Lets take a simple one such as track and infrastructure. You might have a competent head of department but he will neither know everything nor be able to do everything. So he must have a system for assessing these, which can (say) include people walking the track at regular intervals (weekly?) people to do more in depth track inspections (say measuring rail wear as an example), people to examine and assess bridges and other infrastructure. Drains is another one. Some will be put out to contract, some done in house. I mentioned track walking , which is fairly regular. Bridge examinations will not be frequent but if your SMS says it is time for it to be done and it isn't done then there is a link of the chain missing.
     
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  18. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I will try to attempt to join up with the WSSRT tomorrow. I support the WSSRT objects, and have considerable interest in the GWR carriages, and should be able to assist with their restoration. An increase in it's membership makes sense all round. I've always liked the Bishops Lydeard Museum as was.
     
  19. 60044

    60044 Member

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    I'm sure I was told that not so long ago the NYMR was able to save a considerable amount of money in interest payments because it bankers agreed in some way to take into account its restricted funds on deposit as reducing its annual winter overdraft. Perhaps Lineisclear could expound on that? If it is the case then it ratherweakens the case against having them.

    If we assume that most railways can only pay, say, 90% of their annual bills from revenue and require fundraising to cover the balance then one answer must be to ensure that the "unpopular items (from a fundrasing point of view) are paid first leaving the popular areas to be covered by fundraising.
     
  20. bluetrain

    bluetrain Member

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    In the case of the PLC Board, I think that the present need is not to remove directors but to add some more, bringing it up to the size typical for such a body. This is not just to ensure that it covers all the necessary specialisms (Commercial, Financial, Engineering, Operations, Communications, Safety, etc). It is also to ensure that collectively they bring a spread of experiences and outlooks, able to take a rounded look at issues. What you don't want is a group of clones who bring only a single perspective. I do get the impression that the current macho approach of the PLC partly reflects a lack of diversity in the Board.


    I think that the above words are entirely logical and entirely correct. It seems bonkers to set up a third WSR charity but leave the other two in continued overlapping existence. Mr Bailey surely needs to find some way in which at least the WSRA (but ideally the WSSRT as well) can be wrapped into the proposed new entity.

    But having said that, I do recognize an issue in that the WSRA has been at the centre of much of the feuding of the past decade, and has as a result suffered significant and on-going reputational damage. It appears that the WSRA membership peaked at 5207 in 2009, having grown rapidly during preceding years, but has since been on the decline. Recent WSRA annual reports do not quote figures for member numbers, but I see that membership subscription income fell from £84,253 in 2012 to £55,837 in 2017.

    So I can see that Mr Bailey's proposed new charity needs to have the appearance of something completely new, even if in reality its initial core components are the present WSRA members, funds and assets. Clearly a need for a new charity name, new branding and some fresh faces among the trustees.
     
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