Penarth Town Council HQ at West House, Stanwell Road

Penarth Town Council HQ at West House, Stanwell Road

Two charities, both with substantial bank-balances, have had applications they have made for cash grants from Penarth Town Council turned down.

All Penarth Town Council’s funding is derived from the town “precept” which is charged to local residents as part their annual Council Tax bill. [The Penarth Town Council precept was raised to a record high in this current 2016/17 tax year ].

The accounts of  both charities were examined by Penarth Town Council’s policy and finance committee last night.

The Barry-based charity “Vale Plus” – which had been given £200 by Penarth Town Council last year and £300 the year before  –  showed that charity had no less than £207,650 in cash which was being  “carried forward” into the current year. Vale Plus said in its grant application that it had  ” recently been examining the possibility of expanding to Penarth” but actually wanted the Penarth grant to go towards buying ” a new minibus”.

Old WW2 gun batteries are within the Lavernock nature reserve

Old WW2 gun batteries are within the Lavernock nature reserve

The accounts of the other charity, the “Wildlife Trust of  South and West Wales Ltd” , showed it had cash totalling  £2,876,746 being “carried forward” into the current year. The trust said it was “working with local communities to manage important areas for wildlife” – one of which is the Lavernock Point Nature Reserve  which includes old WW2-vintage  gun batteries, and wanted to raise £2,000 for a “nature reserve leaflet”.

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell)

Discussing the Vale Plus application Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) noted that the charity was considering setting up in Penarth and suggested offering them £300 when it actually did so. Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) seconded this proposal.

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell)

Cllr Mark Wilson  (Labour Stanwell) agreed – noting that although  Vale Plus (Cymru) had submitted its accounts for the whole of Wales – it seemed as though the charity’s reserves had grown by £6,000 and the total amount carried forward into the current financial year was  £207,650 .  Penarth Council, he said,  could look at supporting the charity financially “when they move here”.

On the Wildlife Trust of  South and West Wales Ltd Cllr Neil Thomas proposed that [rather than a cash grant]  as the charity wanted to publicise its activities, the council could offer  “support in kind”  to the charity by featuring it on its website .  He said that would be “a more helpful contribution than a small amount of cash”.

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)

Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  said “There is no direct activity in the Penarth area is there?” .  It was noted that the nearest activity was in Sully.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines)

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) said “Unless it is a very special case we should not be using our funds to contribute towards printing costs . That said,  surely we should make it absolutely clear that  we are sympathetic to the project”  . He also suggested that a consortium of community councils could contribute towards “something more solid on site ” but contributing to the charity’s printing costs, or its reserves, was “not what we’re here for” .

Cllr Mark Wilson said the  charity’s accounts, showed that it had£1,100,000  in cash at the bank and in hand” and, given their reserves – and the fact only a relatively small amount of money was required for printing – the charity could easily afford to fund the printing itself.

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward and Vice chair of Penarth Civic Society)

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward

Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward)  noted that the Wildlife Trust was “looking to undertake access improvements on the reserve ” . He said “We all know that the Wales Coast Path runs through Penarth and down to Lavernock and beyond.” Cllr Ernest suggested that any leaflet could carry the Penarth Council’s logo on it “to show that we support that”. He said there were not too many attractions at that end of Penarth but the WW2 Gun Battery at Lavernock reputedly had a connection with Churchill.  The site was also associated with the wartime development of rockets.

Cllr Ernest proposed an amendment that the council should give the Widlife Trust £200 on the basis that if the leaflet was produced it would carry the council’s logo on it . His motion was seconded by Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward).

Cllr Roberts however seconded Cllr Thomas’s motion.

Cllr Rapier said the Lavernock site “could be a very important area   given the ongoing discussions in another place about housing development in the immediate vicinity.” The site , he said, was important as a nature reserve ” so we must as a local authority demonstrate that we support the spirit of it ” 

In the end the amendment [for the council to grant £300 for printing costs]  was voted down and Cllr Thomas’s substantive motion was carried  – meaning no money for the Trust.

An application from a third organisation – the Penarth Pentanque Club – for £100, was also considered   Cllr Thomas said this was a club which participated in international competitions. Cllr Wilson noted that the club only held cash assets of £1,800 . The grant of £100 was approved.

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  1. Ron Foxton says:

    Dear Vale,
    Please find it in your hearts to co-fund the future development of access routes toward and from the boundary of my property to the front door threshold. I was hoping that the figure of £88.56 would be reasonable based on the cost of sub-base and topping materials (sand/pavers)?

    My attached bank statement shows a carried forward amount this month of £4.65 after substantial entertaining and taxi usage.

    Thank you.

  2. Christopher David says:

    Firstly why is PTC considering cash gifts? Its not councillors money. Help in kind excellent but cash! Secondly, after looking at a charities balance sheet is to look at salaries. £100,000 PA + benefits appears to be at the lower end for the big charities now. Nuffield Trust pays its CE over £700,000 PA!!! Charity. Salvation army has a huge salary budget. The big ones- those with the multi million pound TV campaigns also suck money from the small ones, they can’t compete. Even Our Mr Doughty reputedly took over £60.000 PA as a regional manger for Oxfam whilst employing free labour in its business rate subsidised shops. The charity sector needs a major national investigation.Big business in disguise. Not all by any means- many genuine ones out there, but caution is required.

    • whatsoccurin says:

      Agree with you-I am always accused of being “stingy” because of refusing to donate to a charity which is a “good cause”. I have no quarrel with the front line collectors who are often poorly paid or volunteers, but the charities are big business who have very generous payment packages to their senior staff, and have very substantial tax concessions.I recently heard a tear-jerking advert for an animal charity “voiced” by Paul O’Grady-no mention was made of whether Paul’s fee had to come out of the donation or whether he was doing it free.

      • Tim Hughes says:

        Fortunately in our free society someone, even a celebrity, can donate their money or their time to a charity without public disclosure. I have no knowledge as to whether Paul O’Grady gave his time for free but given his background I think it is highly likely. Perhaps a tip for the future might be that when seeking to select an example to support your view you choose one that is actually fact rather than use lazy meaningless innuendo.

    • Tim Hughes says:

      Nuffield Trust doesn’t pay its CEO anything like £700k/annum.

  3. snoggerdog says:

    maybe the wildflower trust could extend to penarth,& sow some wildflower seeds around our “gun battery” up on penarth head.

    • jeffrey dyer says:

      Good point.

      I notice the small planting on Pembroke terrace aka Longside Park looks fantastic. Work done by residents I think.

      • Mgg says:

        Yes you are correct Diane organised it with others digging out the slope etc .Yeah it looks amazing well done all involved

  4. Ivor Bagman says:

    Thinking about the Petanque club
    What happened to my suggestion
    Of turning the area to a skateboard
    Park by the sea ?

    • Mgg says:

      Think you will find thats in the North Penarth Parks development plan .keep up old chap

  5. Christopher David says:

    TIM HUGHES. Check before spouting. He’s far far from the only one taking advantage.
    “Nuffield Health chief executive tops sector pay list at £860k” Source:
    You Mr Hughes may be part of the problem.

    “Nuffield Health chief executive gets £140,000 pay rise”
    Finance | Emily Corfe | 8 Jul 2015 Nuffield Health chief executive David Mobbs saw his salary rise to more than £780,000 in 2014. Source the Civil Society

    The number of charity executives paid over £200,000 a year has increased despite efforts to curb pay levels in the voluntary sector.

    A survey of boardroom pay among the top 150 charities found that 32 executives were paid over £200,000 last year, up from 30 in 2013.

    The number of charity leaders paid over £300,000 also increased from nine to 12 in two years, according to research by Third Sector magazine.

    Overall, the median pay level across the top 100 charities in the UK was £165,000 a year – the same as it was two years ago.

    The highest paid executive was at the London Clinic, an independent hospital, where one unnamed staff member between £850,000 and £860,000 a year. Source The Telegraph
    That’s Mobbs Tim Hughes. Comment?

    • Timothy Hughes says:

      Nuffield Health is not Nuffield Trust get your facts right. Your apology is accepted.

  6. Christopher David says:

    Gets worse Tim Hughes. Appears there is another Health charity paying even more that the £700,000+ at Nuffield. Median pay c £160.000. That means “that person” alone costs over £200,000 PA. So the first 40,000 donations PA of a fiver go to pay one person, or over 160,000 donations to keep those at the top in “charitable” luxury. Think on Mr Hughes.

    The top 10 highest-paying charities:

    1. London Clinic £850,000 to £860,000 (On further research not Nuffield after all)

    2. Nuffield Health £770,000 to £780,000

    3. St Andrew’s Healthcare £750,000 to £760,000

    4. Wellcome Trust £590,000 to £600,000

    5. Royal Opera House £566,000

    6. Anchor Trust £420,000 to £430,000

    7. City & Guilds £400,000 to £410,000

    8. Legal Education Foundation* £360,000 to £370,000

    9. Children’s Investment Fund Foundation £350,000 to £360,000

    10. Church Commissioners for England £330,000 to £340,000

    Source: Third Sector magazine

  7. Christopher David says:

    Well Mr Hughes I will certainly own up to some confusion which I corrected referring to Nuffield Health- the charitable trust. But having looked into both trusts and the definitions, is it not true Nuffield Health is a trust? Do you have an opinion on charity / trust sector salaries? These are the salaries of the senior executives of Nuffield Trust (as opposed to Nuffield Health (Trust)
    £90,000 to £100,000 1
    £100,000 to £110,000 1
    £150,000 to £160,000 1
    This means given our notional fiver donation it only takes a minimum of 68,000 donations to pay the three senior executives. Excellent value eh!

    • Tim Hughes says:

      I do not support excessive pay in any sphere; however your approach to this is both lazy and dangerous. You have simply copied a list produced by others and then ranted about it.
      The list you copied has 4 private medical/care companies that shouldn’t, in my opinion, be called charities and are simply there to avoid corporation tax. It also contains 3 large trust funds who do undertake good works, where the sums involved and the importance of getting good investment returns most probably justifies competitive salaries, in the case of the Wellcome Trust the scientific/medical complexity of choosing the right place to spend their money also supports a higher salary. There are also 2 organisations on your list which are really associated with self funded/fees based professional training activities, you have previously identified the Institution of Engineering which is a somewhat similar organisation. I do not believe that ANY on those 9 organisations fits your simplistic £5 public donation model, the only one that comes even near it is the Royal Opera House and I am not even sure that they have volunteers collecting donations.
      So I think this is a complex issue certainly worthy of proper consideration and necessary change. Your contributions however focus far too much on simple headline grabbing and are dangerous in that they may deter the necessary and important funding of our many worthy charities, as exemplified by whatsoccurin’s response.
      I also think that when someone tries to correct you, your first response should be to check what you have written, rather than to abuse them.

      • Christopher David says:

        There is good sense in some of your meanderings, especially your reference to the corp tax dodgers. The fact is though they enjoy charitable status. But its largely back peddling BS that in part restates what’s been said. As for headlines grabbing, this is PDN not the economist. And as for being rude well I’ll admit it, I sometimes overreact to gross arrogance. So sorry for ruffling you up a little to much. I do have the feeling though that point scoring semantics are more import to you than the huge and out of control problem we have in parts of the so-called third sector. Oh by the way- some charities wont make it to the above list as they hide the way board members are remunerated, or use overseas HQ’s for accounting. No Mr Hughes you can’t ask that to try and score a point, you know damn well to mention names would be very dangerous. I could find myself without salvation.

  8. RetailGuru says:

    Running a charity is hugely challenging; in many ways more challenging than running a private sector business, certainly more challenging than the public sector!

    The pressure on managing a volunteer team who can come and go as they please, the pressure of coming up with ingenious ways of sourcing funds from the ever-increasing self-serving public, achieving challenging targets and ensuring enough funds are available to provide essential services.

    If the CEO doesn’t achieve income budgets he hasn’t got unhappy shareholders, he has the worry that services to needy people will be reduced or cut.

    For my part, most of them earn every penny.

    Christopher, you’re concentrating on the high earners – and I understand why. However, the vast majority of charity ‘staff’ earn nowhere near these sums. They fulfil an essential role in society and shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush. We should pay tribute to the fantastic work that they do, especially the ‘unsexy’ charities that DON’T focus on cancer, animals or children!

    As for these charities that have been previously funded by Penarth Town Council; they’re being a bit naughty it seems. Probably approaching fundraising with a scatter-gun approach and hoping that it’ll bring results. A bad idea as it produces bad publicity!

  9. Christopher David says:

    Yes Ret Guru I agree, I’ve made that very point it is indeed very important we avoid the old tarring.(your latter point- there is some contradiction in your post). The biggies are detracting from many many small and worthy causes. So no I’m not concentrating, I’m highlighting a scandal that should be dealt with. If you think it’s fine for the sometimes uninformed public, to be fleeced to the tune of millions, to feather the nests a (comparatively) few individuals then that’s up to you. In my humble view donations should by and large go straight to the front line. No full time staff should be paid more than a decent living wage. If you want to make money fine- go into business (oh I see they have 😉 but stop hijacking charities. In fact I would go so far as to say some charities are operating complex multi layered scams for a few individuals self enrichment. Ps; as for the challenges- charities benefit from rafts of help that don’t put them on a level playing field with (regular) business. To name a few- tax breaks, subsidised business rates and free labour. Heaven.

    • RetailGuru says:

      Although volunteers are technically free labour, there is a great skill in managing them as they often have complex lives and needs – not a skill that everyone has.

      Christopher, I actually agree with you about the various tax breaks (although I used to hold an opposing view) – many of the ‘household name’ charities make over £100k a year from ONE charity shop and pay NO business rates at all, whereas many independent retail businesses pay over £8k a year in business rates and struggle to even pay the staff wages (let alone take any remuneration out of the business).

      Needs looking at.

  10. Christopher David says:

    Yes thanks- but its clear that unlike some here- only some you have experience and think things through. Great skills in personal management aside though, if “managers” and I mean right up to board level are not prepared to be charitable with their fiscal demands, then I don’t see why the public should be asked to donate. There are hundreds of small worthy causes far more honest than the big business fleecers (sic). But sadly even at the small and medium end caution is needed. FOP is a worthy one in case anyone’s interested. No one working for the charity (as opposed to contracted researchers) takes a penny. All volunteers- just as it should be.

Comments are closed.