No.81 - Winter - 1999/2000
|Thanks to you ...
We never cease to be amazed by the generosity of members, supporters and organisations with their time, effort and money. Here are just some of the ways in which you have contributed - or can contribute - to our continuing success.
How it all started ...
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust owes its existence to the Camborne Natural History Society, which called a meeting - in 1962 - at Truro Museum to which it had invited a guest speaker from one of the earlier county Trusts to be set up. This meeting chose a committee, with JK Williams as its Secretary, Colonel Almond as its Chairman and Rennie Bere as Vice-chairman, and between 30 and 50 members enrolled that night. To start with, Ken and his wife Margaret ran membership, but it was soon clear that the Williamses were too busy with the Trust organisation to take on membership too, and Mrs Muriel Tregenza took on the job.
Towards the end of the 60s she had too many family commitments to carry on and Rennie Bere persuaded a North Cornwall member, Mrs Stanley, to take it over. Membership grew steadily but slowly at first - people were less conservation conscious then - until in 1974 the Trust branches were set up, with local committees. This, I think, speeded up recruitment.
In 1976 Mrs Stanley disagreed with Trust policy - over hunting I believe - and resigned, and I was asked by the Secretary whether I would take on the job. I agreed, as long as someone could be found to take over the sales, which my husband and I had run since the first batch of Christmas cards in 1963 and which I had continued to do since his death in 1975. Luckily the Duchy Forestry Officer, Brian Wilson, took it on with great enthusiasm and expanded it enormously, so Mrs Stanley sent me the ledgers and papers. By now we had about 500 members, so I started a card index, which worked quite well for the next ten years, by which time we had just over 1,400 members. At this point we made a great technological leap as Nick Tregenza presented the Trust with a computer, teaching me to enter all membership particulars and even to print out labels for the circulars to all members.
However, having just passed my 70th birthday I felt that someone younger should replace me - although it then took a couple of years to find anyone prepared to cope with the computer. Eventually Mr and Mrs Greaves took it on, but again family commitments intervened and it was decided that, as Allet was now running with full-time staff, all membership matters should be dealt with at HQ.
I still have a little finger in the pie! Three times a year Andrea's computer at HQ spews out hundreds of labels, which are sent to me, and I have a group of "label licking ladies" to lunch - before which they attach the labels to envelopes. We have come a long way since 1962.
Membership administration from HQ was managed for several years by the late and sadly missed Barbara Dale. Barbara passed her knowledge on to Paul Horak who in turn gave way to the present Membership Secretary Andrea Toy ....
The story continues....
I joined the Trust in June 1992 as Administration Assistant, helping Mark with education, including Fox Club, as well as providing general support for the other sections of the Trust. I left in November 1994 to have my first daughter and returned as part-time Membership Secretary in March 1995, taking over from Paul Horak who became full-time Fund-raising Officer.
I have been the Membership Secretary for nearly five years, with a brief break in September 1997 to have my second daughter. I have seen many changes since I came to the Trust, not only in the general expansion of staff and equipment but also in the increase in membership, which currently stands at just over 7,300.
I must take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who have helped me, from those at the "label sticking parties" - thank you Mary - to those who organise and deliver membership magazines. Last but not least I would like to thank my band of volunteers who assist me on a Saturday morning three times a year with the membership packing - whilst drinking tea and eating a well-deserved biscuit! If you would like to become actively involved, please contact me and we will make you very welcome!
A brief history
In 1963 Mary Johnson - still volunteering at the Penzance shop today - was in charge of sales. After the decision to have RSNC Christmas cards was made, yielding a profit of around £20, the decision to expand into calendars the following year was a difficult one lest any remained on 1st January. From this point on, sales began to expand into other stationery, tea towels and even local pottery dishes with the CTNC butterfly logo on them. Other branches of the Trust held coffee mornings. Consignments of goods were packed up and sent for collection at the WI headquarters in Strangways Terrace - we should be very grateful to the CFWI for many years of help.
In 1976 Brian Wilson and partner took over. With the introduction of a Trust caravan, sales were mobile and Brian took the caravan to events for many weekends of the year. After Brian came Liz Tregenza in the early eighties. During Liz's time, the branches became more involved in running their own events and attending shows such as those at RAF St Mawgan, Stithians and Trelissick.
In 1985 Carol Simpson arrived from Dorset and quickly became involved with the Trust. When Liz gave up sales, Carol persuaded Eva Watkins to work with her until she found she had too many other commitments.
Carol began our first shops, one of the earliest being in Falmouth in about 1988. There were others in Truro - two or three - and St Mawes. The Caradon Branch opened several - Dave and Cynthia Curtis were the moving force there. We sometimes had stalls in other shops - Mallets in Truro one Christmas, for example - or at various art exhibitions. Betty O'Neill was involved with the ones at Five Acres. Other key events were the Royal Cornwall Show, the CTNC Fair and, increasingly, the Flower Show. Small branch events still accounted for around half of the annual turnover at that time. Brenda and Ken Isham not only did a lot of branch sales but also kept the shop at Five Acres running for several years.
Annual turnover on Carol's arrival was around £3,000. By the time she handed over to Lorna Crewes - around the time of the 1991 Spring Flower Show - it had risen to around £20,000, with profits of about £8,000. Lorna took sales figures up still further, with a great commitment to finding and setting up shops. The shop's many moves through the early nineties didn't affect sales profits: turnover rose to around £42,000 in 1994, with a £10,000 profit.
I arrived in April 1995 as part-time Sales Assistant to Lorna at 3 Market Place, Penzance. In December 1995 Lorna began growing native plants, shrubs and trees for the Trust and, although she has now left the Trust staff, she remains one of the shop's most vital suppliers through her Bosilliac Wildflower Nursery. In 1996/7 turnover was at £65,000. Pippa Cass joined the sales team as part-time Sales Manager's Assistant in December 1997 and in 1997/8 turnover went through £75,000.
As well as running the shop, now at Causeway Head, Penzance, we still attend various events throughout the county. The Royal Cornwall Show is always the biggest but there are also new events such as the South-West Bird Watching Fair at Roadford Lake, now in its second year, which was attended and manned by Brian Stringer, Jackie Ellis-Martin and other members of the Launceston Branch. Gail and David Cory worked overtime for the summer of 1997 and 1998 at the Caradon Branch, and Paddy Perring continues to run successful sales events for the Tamar Branch. Gina Cooper - now deceased - not only manned stalls for the Trust but also made crafts to sell at them. Jean Smith has run a stall at the Trust AGM and other events for many years and Alan Reynolds took care of the sales accounts for some time. There are many, many more of you not mentioned here who have been dedicated to the sales operation, including the current shop volunteers who number over 25. Thanks to you all and let us hope that sales and profits continue to rise into the next millennium.
Making it happen
The Trust has benefited over the last 18 years from the dedication and commitment of a great many individuals across Cornwall. People have given generously in time and goodwill as well as through membership fees, donations, legacies and other gifts, for which we are very grateful. We have also valued the support of a number of organisations in this time, developing long-standing and supportive relationships. The well-publicised grants which we have been awarded recently have been achievable only with this matching contribution provided by our members and supporters.
Personally, I became very aware, as a branch committee member before I joined the Trust's staff, of the time and commitment given through voluntary effort. The many thousands of hours given by volunteers over past years have resulted in direct and substantial improvements to our reserves and to conservation and education programmes. Volunteering also helps us to maximise our scarce resources through matched funding. The next decade is likely to see an influx of money to Cornwall, giving opportunities to promote and support our habitats and wildlife, but also opportunities for considerable damage and loss. If we are to rise to the challenge, your voluntary support will be more important than ever. You may be familiar with the PARC (Practical Action on Reserves in Cornwall) scheme but skills in project development and management are also badly needed, as well as help in basic administrative tasks. All are equally valuable. If you are interested in finding out how you can help, please contact me on (01872) 245514.
Legacies and gifts
Since the Trust was founded in 1962, many people have chosen to support our work for Cornwall's habitats and wildlife in their wills. The Trust now manages 47 nature reserves covering over 1,500 hectares. Many of these wild places would have been lost to development or ploughed under without the foresight of Trust benefactors. It is still the case that such bequests enable the Trust to continue to make a significant impact throughout Cornwall.
We are constantly made aware of the tremendous and continuing rate of change taking place in the countryside and the loss of lovely and valuable habitats. By making a bequest to the Trust, you can help to ensure that a part of Cornwall's natural heritage is safeguarded for future generations. By remembering the Trust in your will today, you will eventually ensure that somewhere special can be protected - what more precious gift can we bequeath to future generations than a world full of life and natural beauty? For those who love Cornwall's beautiful countryside and coast, there can be no better way to be remembered than by association with a special place.
We are very indebted to all those people who have left us these generous gifts over past years. An example known to many is, of course, the bequest of Five Acres at Allet, our current headquarters, by Mr and Mrs Allsop, which provided the Trust with a base which was badly needed and which has served us well since 1989.
We are also grateful to those who have left instructions to be remembered by friends and relatives through the In Lieu of Flowers scheme, and for the welcome donations that have ensued.
Of course, many individuals have also supported us throughout their lifetimes, with contributions ranging from many small donations to a number of large and most generous gifts - all equally appreciated. There are too many who have supported us through donations and legacies to name here. Some have chosen to remain anonymous, while others have wished to leave a personal connection with a special place or project. Our thanks go to them all.
Throughout the Trust's history appeals have been launched to meet specific and urgent needs. In recent years we have been able to multiply donations from members and supporters through the help of grant-giving organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund. In this way our continuing Habitat Appeal, launched in October 1996, has already secured over a million pounds for land purchase. On a smaller scale, our current Marine Life Appeal has raised nearly £8,000 so far.
We have been successful in our applications to a number of different funding bodies, notably the Heritage Lottery Fund. The HLF has enabled the Trust to purchase four important new nature reserves over the past few years. In addition to this, a capital grant of almost half a million pounds was received in 1998 for carrying out nature reserves improvement works under the Wild Cornwall project - this grant allowed us to employ two new members of staff. Reserve management has also been given a major boost through funding from English Nature under its Reserves Enhancement Scheme.
The Trust is an enrolled environmental body under the purposes of the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 and is able to receive funds from landfill operators under the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. Trust projects approved so far include a major programme of wetland work supported by the Pennon Group - parent company of South West Water and Viridor. A number of smaller projects, such as the school grounds redevelopment at Bishop Cornish in Saltash, have also been made possible thanks to Landfill Tax funding.
The Trust has gained from support by various organisations and companies over the past few years, which has proved beneficial and rewarding to both sides. We would like to acknowledge and thank the following:
Thank you also to B&Q, Datasharp and Tesco for sponsorship received in the last year.
By the time you receive this magazine we should have actively launched a more extensive corporate programme. We believe that these relationships should be long term, viable and mutually beneficial. Corporate membership enables a company to make an important statement about its commitment to Cornwall's environment. In addition to sharing in our achievements in conservation, a company's staff and valued customers will be able to benefit from opportunities such as tailored events, staff or client trips and site visits, and our consultancy expertise.
Contents - Wild Cornwall - No.81 - Winter - 1999/2000
Index Wild Cornwall Magazines
Five Acres, Allet, Truro, TR4 9DJ
Tel: (01872) 273939 or (01872) 240777
Fax: (01872) 225476