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Chair’s Report June 2024


Hudson House Annual General Meeting 11 June 2024
Chair’s Report

You are no doubt wondering why the AGM is 3 months early this year. During Covid in 2020 we moved the date by 3 months as permitted by our articles of association but have now reverted to the normal date 6 months after the end of our financial year.

We have had a busy year in Hudson House undertaking a wide variety of activities and initiatives creating a stable platform for further projects. They include:

1. Anchor Hub Status:

Hudson House and Reeth and District Community Transport was awarded a grant of £15k a year for 3 years as part of a ‘strengthening communities initiative’ by North Yorkshire Council. We targeted the younger and older members of our community and have used the grant this year to support activities for older people through RDCT and for young people by supporting a ‘wrap around care scheme’ at the school that allows working parents flexibility in how they can accommodate work with school hours.

As part of our strategy, we have undertaken an open evening and open day in Hudson House for people to come and tell must they wanted from us. Although attendance was limited a number of useful ideas came forward resulting in the recent classes for online banking, mobile phone and computer use. These have been very successful, so much so that NYC have organised courses again starting from Mid- September onwards. My thanks go to Penny for organising these classes.

We welcome further ideas from the community for other projects.

2. Information Centre and Shop:

Hudson House has taken over the former National Park Visitor Centre and has rebranded it as an ‘Information Centre and Shop’. We have placed the emphasis on Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, equipped the centre with a new PC and really ‘easy to use’ till, and are in the process of building up new stock using local suppliers and products where we can.. We have set the Centre up as a separate company wholly owned by Hudson House. I must thank, firstly, Jill May for the work she has put into getting the Centre up and running and for setting up the new till, the staff of the National Park for the smooth transition, and to our Volunteers who are the key to a successful Centre. It is, of course, too early to judge the financial success or otherwise of the Centre but visitor numbers are starting to increase although people seem reluctant to spend money these days.

As always, we need as many volunteers as we can get so if you are interested or know anyone who is, please put them in touch with us.

3. Reeth Filling Station:

As you will be aware Hudson House has spent a lot of time over the last three years looking at the viability of reopening the Filling Station. Regrettably the owner increased the asking price dramatically in 2023 to a point where the project would have been financially unviable. We had been in contact with other interested parties who after running the figures themselves came to the same conclusion. The project has now been closed down from our point of view. My thanks must go to Tony Oldershaw, Mike Evershed and Mike Keenan for all the work they did to try to make the project work.

4. Premises Matters:

We have a new tenant, although a previous tenant, in The Barn.

The Dales Centre Units are fully occupied. We understand that North Yorkshire Council are reviewing all their property assets but that the results of that review will be some time off. Whether this affects Hudson House, and our management role in the long term is not yet known. We are however taking on a new 5 year agreement with NYC so the foreseeable future is stable.

We are having ongoing discussions with Together Housing about the maintenance of the main building and estate.

Last year we replaced the oil tank which had come to the end of its life. Thanks go to the Reeth Community Orchard Group for their assistance with this work.

We are getting a generator and UPS supply for Hudson House so that we can run our telephone system which runs through the web in the event of a power cut. This will allow contact once the domestic telephone service runs off Wifi. It will enable us to be a Hub if needed for information but not a formal Resilience Hub.

As part of the Information Centre project we will be replacing the external signage on the building, upgrading the information and generally improving the frontage of the building. Look out for new bright feather flags as well.

We continue to support our partner, the RCOG, in any repairs needed in the garden area including last year mending the benches. My thanks go to Wilf Bishop for his work there.

Lastly the Gallery still causes us concern as part of the window frames are rotting and will require work over the summer.

Financially Hudson House is stable at present despite the loss of some income from the National Park from the Visitor Centre, but the medium term may well provide challenges for us.

So, for next year our priorities are:

• More projects for the Anchor Hub please.
• Achieving a successful Information Centre and Shop.
• Concluding discussions with Together Housing.
• Seeing what happens about the Dales Centre.

As usual we welcome ideas from our Partners and our community of what Hudson House can offer.

Thank you.

Nick Caldwell (Chair)

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