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Minutes of the AGM February 2019

Canterbury Cantata Trust

AGM Minutes

11.00 am, Saturday 9thFebruary 2019 @ St. Paul’s Church, Canterbury


Present: Grenville Hancox (GH) (Artistic Director), Roshna Ahmad (RA) (Chair), Jo Heath (JH) (Treasurer), Dr Wendy le Las (trustee), Andrea Hepworth (Administrator) Matt Shipton (STBP )


  1. Apologies/Declarations of Interest

Apologies were received from Blair Gulland, Laurence Green and Dr. Sarah Montgomery. A declaration of interest was declared from Blair Gulland who is also a trustee of Kent Community Foundation . A number of apologies were also received from members of Amici choir (please see attached appendix for these).

  1. Previous Minutes

The minutes of last year’s AGM were approved and signed off as correct by RA.

  1. Matters Arising

a)Chair’s Report (Roshna Ahmad)

RA thanked all volunteers for their hard work and dedication in keeping the activities of the Trust running and she also thanked Grenville Hancox for his tireless energy in devoting his time to the same. Thanks too went to Matthew Shipton for his work in pitching for new grants and securing funding for Sing to Beat Parkinson’s (STBP). His efforts had enabled significant expansion in the work of the Trust over the last year with new STBP groups forming and becoming associate members of CCT.

It was disappointing that last year’s ‘Singing on Prescription’ petition did not receive enough signatures to warrant a response from Parliament. However, another attempt will be made  with greater momentum behind the initiative.

RA drew everyone’s attention to the newsletter which details all CCT’s main activities and initiatives in the past year; including grants, STBP news, Aldeburgh, Morley and Derby developments, etc. It has been an exciting year particularly in the growth seen on the STBP side. Alongside this, all the core groups of CCT continue to thrive. Monday Music now has circa 75 members and Amici, 110.

  1. b) Grants 2018 (Matt Shipton)

January 2018 was the official launch of STBP, under the umbrella of the Trust. In October, CCT pitched for five years of core funding for the STBP project and can now report that this bid was successful with a major grant from Oak Foundation of £30K, to be followed by funding to expand the groups over the next five years , totalling 250K. This money will be released to CCT over the next five years and will be used as a platform for setting up and securing the STBP project. The money will continue to support Matthew Shipton’s position, facilitator training (including Nicola Wydenbach; our Director of Training) and the ongoing administration of the groups.

This funding will also facilitate longer-term strategic planning; the main aims of which are to develop training (with regional training centres in Folkestone, London’s Morley College, Aldeburgh and Derby). Demand for training has also been identified further North. In addition, it is hoped to get our training officially accredited as there is a clear demand for quality practitioners and Gold standard training.

A grant of £8K has also been secured from the Bernard Sunley Trust. This will support eight new start-up groups this year as well as providing financial assistance to those groups who are finding it difficult to establish themselves; with a long-term view to them becoming self-sufficient.

Looking ahead longer-term, Sing to Beat (StB) is the new brand CCT is aiming to roll out. This is an extension of the STBP concept, the objective will be the establishment of singing groups to support a range of conditions; COPD, mental health, dementia, etc.

CCT have also been commissioned by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health to oversee a new singing and health group. This will be a randomised control trial, based in Medway, led by Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent and will focus on singing to support COPD.

Long-term, CCT’s goal is that no individual is more than 20 miles away from accessing a singing and health group. This is achievable and a good marketing line but obviously requires many people to facilitate and support these groups. If successful, the intention is to roll out this model in other regions.

  1. c) New STBP groups
  2. i) Monday Music StB (Grenville Hancox)

GH began by reiterating that CCT’s USP that sets us apart is the special relationship we have with our members and supporters – a group of people coming together and supporting each other. This whole ethos of ‘Caring through Singing’ spills over into all of CCT’s groups and underpins all that the charity does.

A bid has been submitted to Kent Community Fund to set up a group modelled on the concept of Monday Music, in Folkestone. It will be called Monday Music Sing to Beat, be held at Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone and will start on Monday 11thMarch. Its purpose will be to reduce isolation and offset chronic illness; specifically (but not exclusively) for older people. This venue has a very strong relationship with the Rainbow Centre which monitors issues such as homelessness and food bank uptake, etc. Nicola Vella-Burrows will be taking over the responsibility of facilitating this after an initial steering period with GH at the helm.

Monday Music (Canterbury) now operates completely independently of GH and is run by Phil Self. GH praised Phil for his amazing musicianship and said what a joy it was to see him working.

  1. ii)            Medway Skylarks (Martin Naglar)

Martin spoke about the latest developments regarding Medway Skylarks. He said the group already had a good representation of different neurological conditions but the aim was to broaden its scope further to include other neurological conditions.

It has now been established for two years; facilitated by Trish and Nicola Vella-Burrows, Ben Insall and Phil Self and meets on a Saturday morning during term-time, with a group of about 15-20 participants. A voluntary donation of £3 is charged to each participant to cover the cost of the venue hire. He stated how the focus was not just on singing but rather adopting a more holistic approach through a series of exercises designed to engage the brain and improve hand/eye co-ordination, etc. He explained Trish Vella-Burrows’ involvement as a researcher with the aim of obtaining an evidence base and quantifying the benefits of the sessions for a wide range of neurological conditions but emphasised the fact that anecdotally, the evidence was significant.

Medway Skylarks has performed on a variety of occasions and have secured grants including £1,040 from their local CCG and £1K from Aviva Insurance. He also said that the Medway Neurological Network were very active in campaigning for social prescribing and have been having appropriate discussions this week.

  1. d) CCT Core Groups
  2. i) Canterbury Skylarks (Roger Clayton – President and Founder of Canterbury Skylarks)

Roger thanked the volunteers at Canterbury Skylarks, particularly David Jones. He said Skylarks will be 9 years old in September 2019 and celebrations should take place accordingly. About 25 people attend each session.

He also spoke about a national survey that he conducted some years earlier which assessed the demand for singing groups such as Canterbury Skylarks. He found about 60 such groups but not all of them had trained facilitators and not all combined vocal exercises with movement exercises, etc.

  1. ii) Amici Chorus (Anthea Daniels)

Anthea said that Amici was a very successful and lively choir which is going from strength to strength and that all members were very supportive of each other. The Messiah concert was a great success. It has also been a successful year in terms of fundraising, which saw the choir design Christmas cards for the first time and Anthea has completed a ‘swim the Channel’ fundraising event. Their Christmas concert netted a profit of £108. Amici has two people attending who were referred via social prescribing and both were made to feel very welcome. Rehearsals are currently underway for a performance of Brahms Requiem soon.

iii)            Monday Music (Maggie Smith)

The Monday Music concept is expanding as GH outlined earlier. Maggie said that Phil (Self) has a wonderful rapport with David Jones. She spoke of how they advertised for new members through notices in supermarkets etc. and had acquired a further 14 members this year. They sang at The Beaney last year to a small but appreciative audience.

  1. iv) Amici (Tony Eldridge)

Tony stated how he was a Freemason and proud to sing with Amici. His lodge, the United Industrious Lodge No. 31 will be making a donation to CCT of £1K. This donation was unconditional and unrestricted under the Caring through Singingbanner.

  1. v) Canterbury Cantata (Emily Renshaw-Kidd)

Emily spoke of what a great honour it was to take over stewardship of Canterbury Cantata from GH. She said she feels lucky to have the opportunity to direct the choir in performing repertoire that is challenging. They performed their first opera (Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas) a few weeks ago which was a great success. For the first time, the soloists were taken from the choir.

Emily is also Head of Music at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys. She spoke about the concept of singing as an alternative to traditional medicine and how this idea could be linked to the Langton Boys’ ethos of raising the next generation not only to be intelligent but altruistic members of society. The hope being that these potential ‘leaders of tomorrow’ would use their intellect for the greater good of society. Senior management at the Langton Boys support this concept.

She also spoke of other initiatives in the pipeline: the building of a new music school at the Langton Boys (GH is on the steering committee for this project and it is supported by CCT) which would be used by the whole community; Melody for Me – a restoring memory through music initiative and Tone Sight, all of which are exciting new initiatives.

  1. e) Aldeburgh update (GH)

GH said that Snape Maltings provided an outlet for some extraordinary music-making and that its solid community links underpinned all that it did. The Foyle Foundation are to renovate and adapt some redundant buildings on the premises to facilitate the establishment of a creative campus which will provide opportunities for artists worldwide. Going forward, this important concept of ‘music and health’ is now firmly embedded at Snape.

CCT has just completed its fourth year of facilitator training at Snape Maltings with 30 participants in attendance. This was a very encouraging and exciting two days which had a large geographical spread in terms of where participants came from. CCT will maintain and develop this training at Aldeburgh as well as at Morley College and Derby which will also enable the expansion of the StB ethos.

2021 marks 20 years since the publication of ‘The perceived benefits of singing: findings from preliminary surveys of a university choral society’ in 2001. GH stated that 357 publications have since cited this and celebrations will take place to mark this occasion. Matthew Rose and Mark Padmore will be a part of these celebrations. Matthew Rose has said that he will be delighted to take part.

  1. f) Derby update (GH)

CCT have established a link with the Clinical Centre of Research in Parkinson’s at the Royal Hospital in Derby. GH had earlier attended a seminar there with a view to establishing a new singing group at the hospital to be held on Fridays. This new group will be primarily for People with Parkinson’s (PwP) and their carers but will also support participants with other neurological conditions. A team of health care professionals (speech and occupational therapists, etc.) will also support this initiative. This project is under the auspices of Rob Spinner who will oversee the project and firmly supports the idea of singing supporting PwP. The singing group currently has circa 20 people as members; this includes 14 PwP plus supporting staff of HCPs as outlined above.

  1. g) Morley College (GH)

The next Morley College training session will be held on Sunday 16thJune 2018 where we will be welcomed at no cost by the Principal, Dr. Andrew Gower.


  1. Financial Summary (Jo Heath)

RA thanked JH for all the work she does. All present were given a copy of the CCT Annual Report and Financial Statements for year ending 30thNovember 2017 and a summarised sheet which disseminated the same information into ‘choirs’. All 2017 accounts are now on Sage and this makes financial reporting at lot easier.

As CCT’s accounts are submitted in August each year for the previous financial year (i.e. August 2018’s submission was for year ending 30thNovember 2017), it is the latest submission that will be discussed at today’s AGM (i.e. 2017 not 2018 accounts).

JH went on to discuss aspects of the accounts in more detail as they related to 2017’s Statement of Financial Activities and Balance Sheet. A few noteworthy points:

  • unrestricted funds can be broken down into choirs (and will be for 2018).
  • JH gave a breakdown of membership fees for each choir together with a comparison with 2018’s (as yet unconfirmed) figures.
  • Direct costs for each choir include facilitator costs, rent, musicians’ fees for concerts, etc. plus supporting costs to enable to Trust to sustain itself. These include: professional fees (e.g. preparation of accounts), administration, insurance, etc. and normally equates to about £5.5K each year.
  • Total costs (final column highlighted in pink on the summary sheet) correspond to the accounts submitted to Companies House and agreed by the trustees of the charity.
  • Until the end of 2017, because the cost came in on one invoice, Amici was covering the cost of the hire of St. Paul’s. From 2018 onwards, this is now able to be broken down according to which choir uses it.
  • Capital items – Roland harpsichord purchased in 2016 needs to be depreciated. (GH stated that this is housed at Simon Langton Boys’ Grammar School and is used as a shared resource.) A laptop was also purchased to run Sage.
  • The summary sheet shows Amici having a surplus of £8,968 and Cantata with a surplus of £10,701. This is not a true reflection of the reality due to misallocation. In reality, Cantata ended up with a surplus of c. £2K and Amici with a surplus of c. £3K. Skylarks is shown to be operating at a deficit although its activities are supported and sustained through donations or through other areas of the Trust.
  • 2017 shows an overall deficit of -£227 for the year for the Trust as a whole (bottom right hand corner of summary sheet). 2018 looks to be about the same but cannot be confirmed until JH has met with the accountant. However, most choirs are now able to be self-sufficient. To address this small deficit, JH said that they may raise membership fees for Cantata and continue with fundraising across the board.

Questions raised from those present:

A member asked why there was a figure of -£6,025 at the bottom of the Amici column on the summarised sheet. JH said this was merely an adjustment to help her due to earlier stated misallocation.

GH asked if there was a reserve fund as charities were expected to hold this. JH said she would need to check this with the accountant.

A member asked if the accounts should be adopted by the AGM. RA said this set of accounts (for y/e 30thNovember 2017) have already been submitted and passed by the Trustees.

JH finished by acknowledging that this is a lot of information to take in on one sitting and encouraged all present to email her with any further queries.


  1. Future Plans (GH)

Reiterating what GH had outlined earlier during the AGM, RA said future plans were focussed on continuing the expansion with Derby and the Sing to Beat singing groups.     

Work will also continue on improving the Canterbury Cantata Trust website over the next few months.


  1. Any Other Business

Members’ attention was brought to the appointment of new Trustee, Dr. Sarah Montgomery, whose experience as a GP, health authority commissioner and international health worker will potentially enhance considerably the interface between the Trust and NHS practice.

An audience member paid tribute to GH and his devotion to the Trust and its activities. She also commented on the exciting potential of social prescribing, particularly in view of general wellbeing markers, such as isolation and low self-esteem, etc, linking this to Dr. Sarah Montgomery’s comment in the latest CCT newsletter. The same person suggested that the principle of harnessing singing for wellbeing could be applied to help rough sleepers.

A member of the audience mentioned Whitstable’s Red Zebra and asked about the potential for Red Zebra to promote our social prescribing practices in the future. RA mentioned that this could be useful in the future for helping to achieve our aim of everyone having access to a singing for health group within a 20-25 mile radius. GH said he had already liaised with Wye GP practice with a view to providing just this sort of opportunity.

JH has received a letter from Chris Page from Canterbury City Council proposing double yellow lines in the area (around St. Paul’s Church) which would suspend the current free parking, particularly on Sundays. Attention was drawn to a website link where members can write and petition against this. However, the closing date for this petition is 15thFebruary 2019.

Tony Lord asked if Canterbury Skylarks could participate in more performances around the country.

GH said CCT are intending to hold a celebratory event in Colyer Fergusson – bringing all the singing groups together. He also spoke of the ongoing thriving relationship with The Beaney (as part of their Sounds Beaney project).

Tim Kidd gave a vote of thanks for the Chair, Roshna Ahmad, for the huge amount of time and energy she devotes to the Trust.


  1. Date of next AGM

To be advised. RA suggested that it might be more practical to change the date of the AGM to tie in more closely with the submission of CCT’s accounts each year in August and, as such, proposed that the date was changed to September or October. All present agreed this was a good idea.


Minutes taken and transcribed by Andrea Hepworth.


Appendix – apologies received from Amici members:


Cherry Barnes

Jonathan Barnes

David Broadbridge

Deborah Broadbridge

Sarah Bryant

Hugh Carson

Penny Carson

Kate Darson

Jenny Devonish

Liz Gregory

Joan Hill

Maggie Holt

Peter LeTouze

Susan LeTouze

Alison Maybin

Janet McBride

Janet Pitt








message from Kerry

Dear Amici
I am looking forward to singing with you all again in the Summer – we will be working on Rutter’s The Sprig of Thyme, a collection of Folk Song arrangements which I think you will really enjoy. 
I wanted to also let you know about an event at the Shirley Hall on Saturday 30th March involving around 200 female performers – it promises to be a very exciting and uplifting evening and all funds will be used to establish the Canterbury Vocals scholarship fund for talented young female musicians.  Tickets are available as follows:
Sending best wishes and encouraging thoughts for your Brahms events and looking forward to seeing you again soon!