Sep 22 2015

Kenya Project – Position Statement

There was a question at the County AGM about the Kenya project funds and there have been subsequent speculative comments on Facebook which appear to have been based on assumed or partial knowledge.

This statement will therefore set out all the decisions that have been taken regarding the Kenya project funds and also identify those matters which have yet to be decided by the County Executive Committee.

The people who are directly affected ie the young people who were due to go on the Easter 2015 trip, their parents and the adults who were to accompany the trip have all been consulted with and fully informed of the decisions as they have been made and each has had all the information needed to understand their personal position.

Kenya Project Funds

From the start of the project, it has been clear that funds raised in the name of the project were aimed at building and decorating a new build for the Good News Children’s Home. Monies raised were placed in a restricted fund within the County accounts.

The County Executive Committee is responsible for all decisions about expenditure.

Under Charity Commission rules, money in a restricted fund can only be used for the purpose designated.

The County Executive had agreed that funds would be deployed in two ways – some would be transferred directly to the trustees of the children’s home so that they could pay for local labour and materials; some would be used to pay for young people and adults to go to Kenya to assist with the build process.

Participants in each Phase were asked to raise £3,000 each.  Whether money was raised by active fundraising activity, by contributions from local Scout Groups/Districts or by personal contributions, all monies paid into the Kenya Project fund were treated as donations to the overall project effort.  Gift Aid was claimed on many of those donations.

Individuals did not have entitlement to a ‘share’ of the pot and it was made clear to everyone (through the application form that was signed) that withdrawal from the project at any stage would not result in a return of any money.  The precedent was clearly set in previous years.

Expenditure from the overall fund was based on an agreed build programme with the children’s home together with agreed travel plans over the three year period. Although income would be the same in each year, spend was expected to vary in each year with there being an overall balance at the end. Budgets were agreed with the Executive Committee and spending was managed through reviews at the quarterly Finance Sub Committee. Reports were made at all stages to the full Executive Committee.

Following the decision in March 2015 to cancel the 2015 trip, the Executive Committee came to a decision at its April meeting that a future trip to Kenya held a level of risk that the Committee were not prepared to accept and therefore agreed that the project would effectively be closed.

The question of the remaining funds was considered.

Under Charity Commission rules, if it becomes impossible to use the money in a restricted fund for its original purpose, then the Trustees may make a decision to spend the money on another project that fulfils the same purpose. At the April meeting, the Executive Committee agreed that the funds for Phase 3 that were to be spent on enabling young people to fulfil the build activity (ie the travel costs) could be redirected to an alternative project.

There were surplus funds from Phases 1 and 2 which were partly due to planned contingency and also as a result of lower than anticipated costs.  Spend in Phase 3 was expected to be higher and would be off-set by surpluses from the earlier phases. In the event of overall surplus funds at the end of the project, the original intention had been to identify further projects within Kenya at the children’s home and to send the money to Kenya to enable local fulfilment. No commitment was made as to an amount.  This remains the intention. The Phase 3 building money had already been sent out to Kenya when the trip was cancelled and has been used for the project as planned with local labour.

In consideration of the fact that the young people and adults from Phase 3 did not have an opportunity to visit the project in Kenya, it was agreed with them that they would contribute to the decision making process on which additional projects should be supported. When the final position is known, the mechanism for this process will be agreed with the County Executive Committee.

The Committee was also asked to consider whether the surplus from Phases 1 and 2 might be used to support the alternative trip in part should the insurance claim fail.  The Committee agreed that this would be an appropriate use of funds subject to there being a residual amount still being available to send to Kenya.

Alterative trip arrangements

All the young people and adults who had been due to go to Kenya at Easter 2015 and who had raised funds were involved in a process to identify an alternative trip. Three people from the original Kenya trip did not have to raise funds – as core team members they were funded by the project as their experience of having been on the two previous trips was deemed necessary. They were therefore deemed not entitled to an alternative trip funded from the project. Notwithstanding this, all three people did take part in fundraising activity, the money from which became voluntary contributions to the overall funding ‘pot’.

Everyone was given a commitment that an alternative trip would be funded up to an amount that was the equivalent of the travel costs of the Kenya project.

Everyone was given an option of either joining the group event or opting for an individual or separate trip.

Following a process of consultation with the young people, parents and adults, the overwhelming majority of young people and their parents opted for a trip to Ghana at Easter 2016 offered by African Adventures  – a company experienced in organising trips for young people in Africa. 24 out of 27 young people have opted for this.  4 of the original adults have also opted for this trip.

The cost per person of the Ghana trip is £1,820. This is within the budget on a per person basis of the total amount that would have been spent on the Kenya trip.

The County is currently recruiting 2 additional leaders who will be expected to raise funds up to £1,000 to participate.

A number of the original adults did not want to participate in this trip and they have been assured that they can have an alternative trip, funded up to the equivalent amount per person that meets criteria set down by the Executive Committee.

For those (young people and adults) who have not yet made alternative arrangements, the county Executive will be asked at its October 2015 meeting to consider how long we should retain money within the restricted fund to cover the cost of an alternative trip after which time the money will be designated for its original purpose (ie supporting the children’s home)

Available funds and Insurance Claim

We have £49,940 available from refunded costs.

We have submitted an insurance claim of £24,735.00 and are awaiting a decision.

There is currently around £18,000 of funding from Phases 1 and 2 in the fund. Up to £16,000 of this has been deemed available by the County Executive Committee to be used to supplement funding of alternative trips if necessary.

Decisions still outstanding

How long to retain money in the restricted fund for alternative trips?

This will be considered at the October 2015 Executive Committee meeting

How much of the surplus from Phases 1 and 2 will go to Kenya?

This will depend on whether any of the money is needed to support funding of the alternative trips.

Once the result of the insurance claim is know, the Executive Committee will review the situation.

What should the final balance of money going to Kenya be spent on?

The process for deciding this will be determined by the County Executive Committee.  It will provide an opportunity for the young people and adults who were due to go on the Easter 2015 trip to contribute their views.  Ultimately it will be a decision of the County Executive Committee as per POR.