The Rec Trust AGM

We recently attended the AGM of the Rec Trust.

The meeting highlighted the work some of the organisations supported by the charitable work of the trust which was often inspiring and impressive.

However, much of the rest of the meeting served to highlight the unsatisfactory nature of the constitutional arrangement for the Rec and the growing distrust an antagonism between the Trustees and their Bath City neighbours and, in our view, the failure of the Trustees to properly acknowledge or manage these problems and concerns.

The AGM is the only official chance the people of Bath get to publicly question the Trustees about their stewardship of the Rec or their decisions about how they pursue their charitable objectives.

Questions were raised about the basis of decisions about how charitable funds were being spent and the trustees priorities. We for instance questioned an apparent assumption that there was little or no poverty in the city centre either in absolute terms or in terms of access to sport and recreation.

However, many people had come to question the Trustees about their role as neighbours and custodians of one of the cities most inportant green recreational asset.

Responses to these question fell into roughly two catagories:

  1. Anodyne legalistic responses which often failed to ackowledge either the legal issue raised or the concern that the underpined them
  2. Assertions that such questions where not appropriate at the AGM.
This latter catagory raised further concerns about the constitutional arrangements. People naturally asked if their questions where not approprite to this meeting which meeting would be appropriate. The answer to this seems to be the AGM of the company that manages the charity. The catch here being that you can only attend that meeting if you are a member of the company and the only members of the company are the Trustees. 
How then do you become a Trustee? Well you apparently apply to the existing board of Trustees and then they and they alone decide if you are a suitable candidate.