Singleton Spaces is a charity – an independent trust with a board of volunteers. It was formed on 2 November 2018 with a Declaration of Trust and is registered with the Charity Commission (number 1180577).
The header photo shows, left to right, Aniko Szocs (resigned), Malcolm Wiffen, Philip Rogers, and Carolyn Perring with John Alexander, the Centre manager. The three further trustees are Jennifer Tippen, Peter Walkden and Donna Sowerby.
The trustees provide a wealth of experience from local government, ecological consultancy, global business and are hands-on with many aspects of achieving the charitable objectives.
Singleton Spaces has been operating Singleton Environment Centre from 11 March 2018 on behalf of Great Chart with Singleton Parish Council (GCwSPC). The building and grounds are owned by Ashford Borough Council and are leased to GCwSPC for a peppercorn rent.
Malcolm Wiffen, chair
Carolyn Perring, secretary
Philip Rogers, treasurer
Peter Walkden (from 3 October 2022)
Donna Sowerby (from 27 July 2023)
Thomas Ackrill (resigned 3 October 2022)
Aniko Szocs (resigned 25 November 2022)
Centre Manager – John Alexander
Footprints Cafe and Bistro – Susie Farrant, Candy Gibbs & Fred
Peter Walkden, who was previously the Parish Steward, brings his skills and expertise to the Centre grounds.
The trustees and staff are supported by a wide range of volunteers in running activities for the local residents. These activities are also supplemented by other local environmental organisations.
The Singleton Spaces annual accounts are audited by Magee Gammon Chartered Accountants.
The Centre Manager and trustees also receive day-to-day pro bono support from Ian McClintock and Angus Willson.
The objects of the charity (‘the objects’) to be carried out in Singleton and the neighbouring communities of Washford Farm, Brisley Farm, Stanhope, Chilmington Green and Great Chart (‘the Area of Benefit’) are:
1) The preservation, protection and improvement of the natural environment for the public benefit, in particular but not exclusively by promoting and supporting the creation and maintenance of green spaces within the area of benefit.
2) Advancing education for the public benefit in conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment.
Specific ways the Singleton Spaces will achieve this outcome
For the Annual Reports and Accounts see this page >
For further information on Singleton Space’s finances and Singleton Environment Centre read here about Funding.
Taken from the Business Plan (March 2018)
This background and a document with operational details was prepared by John Alexander for Great Chart with Singleton Parish Council (GCwSPC) dated 25 July 2017.
A business plan and 2018/19 financial year forecast scenarios were established in response to The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) activating its breakout clause and withdrawing from the Singleton Environment Centre (SEC) by 11 March 2018. It highlighted the financial viability of the Centre and, of equal or greater importance, how much growth potential there was under new stewardship. The decision taken by TCV to withdraw from SEC related to the charity not securing a major funding project to support its core activities and its lack of desire to diversify its income stream on a short term basis until its main goal was achieved.
The plan highlighted the financial viability of the Centre and the options open to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) and GCwSPC in finding new stewardship – a willing main operator. The plan was broken down into various sections from current operational issues, dilapidation and a successful handover processes, to future community events and revenue growth strategies.
SEC was recognised as a special venue which serves both local residents and businesses alike. It was proposed that the best option for the SEC is for an overall operating structure with a new organisation to develop all areas and aspects of the Centre, to the benefit of all communities and organisations.
It was critical for the vision to clarify that all stakeholders, partners and tenants were working toward the same goal. There was a great opportunity to streamline aspects of delivery to the benefit of all parties. It was proposed that the remit set out in the original partnership agreement between ABC and TCV (see below) remains the same. All programme activities can then be carried out with this in mind. Keeping the original vision for the Centre will help promotional efforts target the local corporate market in relation to donation and sponsorship opportunities, further benefiting the communities of Ashford.
Aims and objectives
The original aims and objectives of the Centre (as per 3.1 of the original ABC/TCV partnership agreement) were to:
Current influencing factors and assumptions
The July 2017 Plan concluded “The Singleton Environment Centre is financially viable as a successful environmental and community driven resource. This is dependent on receiving business rate relief or exemption by ABC which would be afforded a registered charity.”