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Swanage Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Rumpole, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    On a point of order, there is a difference between restricted funds and appeals. Appeals can be repurposed as you suggest (the alternative is that every donor affected needs to be written to); a restricted fund is a more restrictive arrangement.
     
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think (I am not a lawyer) that one thing that would be allowed would be to use restricted funds to pay staff wages of people working on the objective for which the reserved funds were held. That sort of scheme might be what is meant by "some restricted funds would need to be used to keep the railway solvent" (since that would be the effect).

    As an example, suppose you had paid workshop staff who were normally employed on maintenance activities paid from revenue. You could get them instead to work on an overhaul of a historic vehicle for which there was money in a restricted fund, and their wages could then be paid for by the charity (along with materials needed). In essence, the charity would provide the company with a grant to carry out work covered by funds in a restricted fund, and the company would use that grant to progress the work with its paid staff. The effect of that would be essentially a grant covering some of the company's wage costs, which would typically be a significant outgoing.

    The limitations would be:
    • You could only do that if you have suitable project! (And for as long as the project or funds last).
    • In the short term you could probably cope with the impact of deferred maintenance, but in the long term that isn't sustainable.
    • The charity funding the work would have to be convinced that they in turn were using their funds in an effective manner, since they have an independent duty to use their funds wisely.
    Disclaimer again: I am not a lawyer; and also don't know the detailed context.

    Tom
     
  3. 80104

    80104 Member

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    As I said in my brief summary of the AGM, the Trustees tried very hard to give an accurate picture of the size of the challenge faced by SRT SRC whilst at the same time not scaring everyone to the point that members would assume it is a lost cause.

    The reality - as I see it - is that there is a chronic shortage of cash which is needed now (or at least over the next 6 months) so that the SRC can pay its bills throughout this winter. Once Spring arrives services resume and the cash starts flowing in again. I am making the assumption that the cash generated by Polar Express is already factored into the equation but nb that the Polar express organisers collect the cash and then hand over the agreed fee for operating it to the SRC at a later date presumably on performance of the agreed service.

    The Trust Treasurer did imply that where legally permitted all funds would be tapped to ensure that bills were paid.

    To me there are two "heart breakers" in the accounts: (1) the aggregate monies paid on making staff redundant (2) the monies paid to owners for contracted loco hire / lease given those locos have not turned a wheel in revenue earning service.
     
  4. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Without overstating what may be the financial situation or any knowledge of the charity rules, it would be a very strange person who insisted their donation is only used for a shed that may not have a working railway attached to it by the time it is built.
    I for one would have no problem with my donation being used to keep the line going, which is far different IMHO to say using it for a turntable or water column to name two other random projects.
     
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  5. 80104

    80104 Member

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    At the AGM the Treasurer commented that one Trustee had investigated the potential liability for Trustees who agreed the "loan" (in the absence of the correct word) of funds from the Trust into the operating company. The impression was very much given that if the company subsequently folded or could not repay the loan, the Trustees could be held personally liable for the loss of those monies from the Trust.

    I am no lawyer and do not know as Tom says the detailed context but this appears to me to be one of those areas of law where very specific advice would be required. Charities Law exists very specifically to protect those donating monies in good faith. Whilst I am sure that many donors to the Trust would expect and indeed wish monies donated to the Trust to be used to ensure the survival of the company, the Trust and Company are separate entities and just "doing the right thing" must not be assumed to be "the legal thing".
     
  6. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Good job nobody built the loco crews a spa then.;)
     
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  7. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Charity Law doesn't recognise that. At church, the Fabric Fund is legally separate from the General Fund, and moneys in the Fabric Fund cannot be transferred to the General Fund even if, as you suggest, donors might prefer the church to stay open than close. Processes do exist for transferring moneys from Restricted Funds, but they are deliberately and IMHO rightly onerous - this is about the public benefit, not just a book keeping entry. As a church, we also run "designated funds"; these are ringfenced in our accounts for specific purposes but lack the same legal protections as Restricted Funds. This does leave scope to make changes if required.

    It's why I have respect for the argument that donations to xyz restoration appeal may be of limited value to the railway that they are given to, as that money is then unavailable for reuse for other, more pressing, matters. At the same time, I'm aware of how strongly potential donors feel about the use of their money (especially legacies), and that the implication of refusing to accept money into a Restricted Fund may result in no donation at all.
     
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  8. cg

    cg Well-Known Member

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  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    You really have about four options for "donations" that have increasing levels of restriction as to how they are used:
    1. You could buy something from the company with no intention of using it. For example, if you've got a spare £25 burning a hole in your pocket, just go online and buy a ticket. The company would be running the train anyway, so the marginal cost they would have to bear is pretty small (likely just the online transaction fee); meanwhile the company gets £25 (minus fee) of income to use as it pleases. Probably even better, go to the ticket office and do likewise.
    2. Buy shares in the company (subject to their being available) - that is more onerous in financial terms for the company because they have ongoing admin to keep up with, but in the short term the company gets an injection of cash it can use as it sees fit.
    3. Donate to the Trust, but make your donation unrestricted. That has the advantage that the Trust can potentially reclaim Gift Aid which makes your donation more valuable, but within the wider railway family, it can only be spent on objectives permitted to the Trust
    4. Donate to the Trust in a restricted fund. As option 3, but with additional restrictions on how it is spent.
    Obviously many donors have a particular desire for a specific outcome, and so will go down option 4; but there is nothing really preventing any of options 1, 2 or 3.

    Tom
     
  10. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I guess this is as sort of number 3 Tom

    https://swanagerailwaytrust.enthuse.com/saveyourrailway#!/
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes, looks like setting up a standing order to the Trust (so charitable and Gift Aid recoverable) but (unless a specific fund is asked for later in the form) to go into the unrestricted fund.

    Tom
     
  12. Cuckoo Line

    Cuckoo Line Member

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    One of the problems I believe with restricted funds is that if you want to use the money otherwise you should contact the donors to ask their permission.

    I am involved in a smaller charity and we have decided to try and avoid restricted funds but we do use general and designated funds which are easier to manage. But remember Trustees whatever are accountable for how funds are used and the Charity Commission will investigate if concerns are raised.
     
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  13. twr12

    twr12 Well-Known Member

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    The sum in the Herston Carriage shed restricted fund, is less than the cost of construction.
    One day, the shed will be built with funding topped up by general SRT funds.
     
  14. Southwestern

    Southwestern New Member

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    When the appeal closed there was enough money. Such has been the delay that inflation has taken its toll. A friend of mine who made a generous donation is so upset that no progress on construction has been made that he told me that he will never d give money to any future appeals
     
  15. 21B

    21B Part of the furniture

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    I think you could just give £25 to the company. There is nothing to prevent this altruism albeit the company would normally want that channeled via the charity for tax reasons. On another southern railway I know of legacies even being made specifically to the company and not the charity, not tax efficient, but at that moment quite useful for the company cash flow
     
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  16. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Very heavy rain showers continued to be a feature of Purbeck today. In between the showers or during them, it was unfortunately not a great day for time keeping. The T3 image approaching Harmans Cross (passing some very wet sheep) was the 14:25 departure from Swanage, although my camera tells me it was taken at 15:53.
    Manston, back from its Sussex holiday was working the normal service trains, seen departing Harmans Cross.
     

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  17. Andy Moody

    Andy Moody Member

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    It was the 1545 ex Swanage or if you like the combined 1425/1545 trip. We all did try our best today!
    But a nice refreshing change to be able to work Harmans Cross box today, I seem to get Swanage box a lot these days, and I did not get wet once today!
    Nice set of photo's.
     
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  18. Tom02

    Tom02 New Member

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    Why does it seem like the T3 smokes sooo much compared to any other loco on the branch? Is it its simply working harder as its less powerful overall or abit of finding out more efficient firing methods ect ect. Looks very impressive
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    If it were working harder, you'd expect less smoke, all else being equal.

    Lots of the videos I've seen show it blowing off a lot. I'd be interested in a first hand comment about how it is being fired, but I've wondered if it needs a thinner fire than it is being given, which would be more controllable and should also lead to less smoke when the regulator is shut.

    Tom
     
  20. 80104

    80104 Member

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    Hopefully @Rumpole will be able to give us the benefit of his experience.
     

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