July 2018 Newsletter

1024 611 Sally

Issue 45
July 2018


Dear Friends

Welcome to this year’s newsletter.  We held our AGM on the 25th of March this year and 23 members joined us.  We tried a shorter meeting format, followed by lunch and then an informal discussion.  Quite a few people stayed on after lunch to talk and share their views about various things going on at Higham, from amusing ways to sponsor a fire alarm to planning issues regarding the courtyard.

We introduced a Friends of Higham Scholarship in 2017. The Scholarship was awarded to Kay Leech, she has used her scholarship to attend several courses at Higham on a geological and artist theme, you can find out more in Sally’s interview in the Newsletter.

I asked Ann, the Friends Treasurer, to review the new General Data Protection Regulations 2018 in respect of Friends of Higham compliance, as all organisations must do.  Ann’s article on what it means for the Friends is in this Newsletter.

Click here to see the Friends new Data Protection Policy document.

In preparation for the new Data Protection Law and to comply with new requirements of the Charity Commission in respect of Registered Charity and Not-for-Profit status, we have updated the Friends Constitution, our governance document.  I am pleased to say that the Friends organisation complies perfectly with all three Standards.

It has been an interesting and exciting year for the Friends.  I’d especially like to thank the core team for all the hard work they have put in over the year to make it possible!

Best wishes
Rob Ives
Chairman – Friends of Higham




28th July at 3pm, Open Air Shakespeare
The Winter’s Tale performed by The Festival Players
Open from 1.30pm for picnics.  Tickets: £13.50, school children £10

4th Aug at 8pm
Informal Jazz Concert with Alan Barnes and the Higham Jazz Players
Tickets: £7

11th Nov at 2pm, Talk & Tea
Project Presentation by textile artist, Kay Leech, Winner of the 2018 Friends of Higham Scholarship

11th – 30th Nov from 10am to 5 pm, Textiles Exhibition
Connections – Kay Leech’s solo exhibition of mixed-media textiles about the geology of the Cumbria
Meet the artist: 17th/ 20th/ 29th Nov.  Free entry

presented by Rob Ives at the 2018 AGM

Friends of Higham has been a registered charity since 1993. We have an approved constitution, submit an annual report to the Charity Commission, support Higham Hall College Educational Trust, show public benefit and inclusion by providing bursaries and a scholarship, are non-profit making and can claim Gift Aid.

The Friends Committee has eight members who meet four times a year at Higham. All are nominated and elected at the AGM to serve for one year.

We communicate with members via this annual Newsletter, four News Updates, the AGM invite and www.friendsofhigham.org. Rob has updated the Friends website so it is now responsive across all devices. It also has a PayPal donation page for anyone who would like to donate online. The Friends leaflet has been refreshed and it’s new Gift Aid Declaration form meets HMRC’s approval.

Bursaries in 2017
We reserved £2000 for bursaries. Last year £1714 was actually awarded to nine people to attend a variety of Higham courses from Propagating Plants to Painting with your iPad. Friends bursaries are applied for through Higham’s Assisted Places Scheme.  People who are aged 18 to 25 OR are receiving certain state benefits are eligible to apply to Higham for an Assisted Place on a course and can be considered for a Bursary at the same time.

2018 Friends of Higham Scholarship
In 2017 the first Friends Scholarship was awarded to recognise a talented student and enable them to advance their education with courses at Higham.

The scholarship sets the Friends firmly in support of Higham as an Educational Trust. It promotes the excellence of Higham Hall College and the charitable support of the Friends. It meets the requirement the Charity Commission have of Registered Charities for ‘public benefit and inclusion’ by providing opportunities to people which they would not otherwise have.Open to anyone over 16, the award is a place on three or more Higham courses taken within 12 months and can include further elements. The winner is required to present their completed work to an audience at Higham.

The scholarship was promoted in the summer through flyers, letters (to tutors and schools) and the website.  Applicants were asked to describe themselves and their proposed project, to send previous work examples, and give two referees.

Five people were selected for interview at Higham by an Independent Selection Panel of four people, two Arts Society Chairs, an ex-Principal and a Trustee. The criteria for selection was strength of the project idea and relative experience. The Panel chose Kay Leech from Penrith as the 2018 winner. Kay proposed a series of artworks making connections between geology and art .

Kay was awarded a programme of nine courses, chosen in discussion with Higham’s Principal, George Cooke. Funds from the Friends covered the full cost of the award which was £1738.The focus of the Friends has changed over the years. We began by helping to equip the college, we played our part in supporting Higham’s bid for independence, promotion of Higham came next, and now we are helping to provide educational opportunities.


Election of the Friends Committee
The following members were elected to the committee at the AGM:
CHAIRMAN – Rob Ives, DEPUTY CHAIR – Fran Flower, SECRETARY – Sally Alexandre, TREASURER – Ann Pilkington, MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY – Jean Geater, ORDINARY MEMBERS – Vron Spencer, John Slater and Ian Turnbull.


Membership in 2017
presented by Jean Geater at the AGM
Membership peaked at 357 people and 26 of those people were new members.  Thanks to your generosity, income from membership, donations and gift aid was the highest ever received.

presented by George Cooke at the AGM

George said ten years of independence is proof of Higham’s success. This achievement comes from sticking to Higham’s core values where good tutors and courses come first. George said Higham is firmly independent, yet works well with groups such as The Festival Players and The Waterloo Society. Recently local theatre group Workington Playgoers used Higham as a film location.

George has shared what he’s learnt about making a success of independence with Knuston Hall College in Northamptonshire.

George emphasised the importance of the course brochure to promote Higham and invited everyone to take away some new business cards to help spread the word. He also said how important it is to attract new members to Higham’s two support bodies, the Trustees and the Friends.Higham is well prepared to meet the challenges of the future, from increasing pension contributions to replacing 200 fire alarms at a cost of £50,000.

The Friends Scholarship was praised. George said ideas from across the curriculum are influencing Kay’s work and her ideas are filtering back through the college, benefiting other students.

A plan is being developed by George and the Trustees to make the main building easier to access from the Studio, to create a more multi-functional space and improve the courtyard.

What General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR) means for Friends of Higham

I reviewed what the new Data Protection Regulations are, why they are being introduced, how Friends of Higham meet GDPR requirements and actions we must take to comply with the new law effective from 25th May 2018. It was an interesting task during which I received invaluable help from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

GDPR 2018 focus is strengthening the law to keep individuals personal data safe and secure by introducing new requirements to the Act of 1998. It applies to all organisations, great and small, has clear structure and explicit requirements that all must comply with. GDPR definition is ‘Personal Data relates to a living individual who can be identified from data of name, address, telephone number and email address’.

Friends of Higham has always operated ‘best practice’, adhered to its Constitution, complied with requirements of the Charity Commission, Not-for-Profit and HMRC, keptmembers data confidential, but not had documented policy and procedures which describe and evidence its system of personal data management.

To comply with Data Protection Regulations 2018 the Friends must have a documented system of Personal Data protection that reflects the new law. We must have: a Data Protection Policy stating how we meet the principles of compliance with GDPR 2018; a Privacy Notice stating what personal data we hold, where it comes from, whom we share it with, which must be visible on our public documents; documented procedures describing how members personal data is recorded, how kept, by whom. Members choosing to receive items by email instead of post must sign a Consent Form allowing us to share their personal data with an emailing company.

These requirements are being implemented. The Friends have a simple clear documented system of personal data protection.

by Ann Pilkington – Treasurer


Friends of Higham values your privacy.  We safeguard your personal data.

Friends of Higham use the information you have put on your membership application form to post to you correspondence relating to membership, annual newsletter and AGM invitation. If you require these items emailed to you we need a written consent from you.  We do not share your personal data with anyone unless we have your consent.

Spotlight on Kay Leech

Kay has become a familiar face at Higham, having attended eight courses in eight months. We met up with Kay in June to find out a bit more about her and the work going in to her first ever solo exhibition.

Although she’d done a few embroidery kits and A-Level Art at school, Kay got in to art having retired from a career in training.

For a number of years Kay lived on The Wirral and fondly remembers going to exhibitions at Voirrey Embroidery and Cajoba, both of which ran day courses. In the 80’s, now with her own children to take care of, she did a couple of these courses “as a break from being mother”. It was at this time she saw an inspiring textiles exhibition of work by Birkenhead City & Guilds students and thought, “I wouldn’t mind doing that in the future”. This thought wouldn’t resurface until 30 years later.

Having lived and worked all over the place, Kay and her husband, Roger, felt they had no particular ties as to where they would like to spend their retirement. They chose Cumbria where they had enjoyed walking on holidays and to live in the Eden Valley, that was both beautiful and affordable.

In the two years it took to sort out the house, Kay visited Farfield Mill, a textile and heritage crafts centre near Sedbergh. She spoke to Mary Taylor, one of several textile artists in residence, who recommended attending a City & Guilds course. In September 2010 Kay began her Certificate in Stitched Textiles (Embroidery) at Carnforth. By 2014 she had completed her Diploma, along with a tiny, silk background that had been waiting, half-finished, for three decades.

Kay joined her local art group, Culgaith Artists, to meet people with similar interests and share ideas. Not long after she’d joined, she was hosting creative textile workshops in the Village Hall and at home.
Kay has exhibited her work locally alongside other artists from the Eden Valley and was highly commended at the 2017 Scottish Quilt Show. She has recently become a member of Northern Threads, a group of 30 textile artists covering a range of disciplines who meet in the North East. She admires the work of Pauline Burbidge, Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney.

The Friends of Higham Scholarship has given Kay an ideal opportunity to produce a significant body of work for her own exhibition. She was sure her project would be made from stitched textiles, while the subject matter of geology came from an interest she shares with her husband. An interest that’s taking over their house, due to an ever-expanding mineral collection.

Kay has used the Higham courses to explore Geology in depth and in a wider context. Her project, ‘Connections’, tells the story of how the Cumbrian landscape was formed using textile pieces. Each one displaying a different kind of fabric manipulation. Following one geology course, Kay was brimming over with fabulous new words like ‘graywacke’ and ‘fossiliferous’. She is now incorporating these terms in to her artwork.

In thinking about how her work has been influenced by her courses, Kay said, “because it’s a project, it has made me think about what I was doing, as opposed to just carrying on doing what I have always done.” She has tried new techniques, talked to lots of different people and looked at her own work afresh.

‘Connections’ on display 11th – 30th of November. Kay will be an artist in residence at Higham available to talk about her work on the 17th, 20th and 29th of November.

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