June Newsletter 2019

150 150 Sally

Dear Friends

It is my pleasure to greet you all. This Newsletter tells of both the Friends and Higham’s activities and achievements. Together is good.

We held the Annual General Meeting of the Friends on the 24th of March at Higham. Members were welcomed at a reception and it was good to see old and new Friends. Twenty‐eight members attended the formal meeting. Most stayed to enjoy lunch and, afterwards, joined in the informal discussion, asking questions, suggesting ideas and actions for Friends committee to consider.

The AGM was delighted to hear from George Cooke, Principal, that Higham is now entirely self sufficient. An impressive achievement.

Rob Ives, Chairman since AGM 2016, stood down. The member nominated for election to the Chair decided, at short notice, not to stand. No other member of the committee was willing to be nominated for election as Chairman. As I had been Chairman from 2012 to 2016, I agreed to act as Chairman until a Chairman for the Friends could be found.

The time and commitment given by the committee, all volunteers, is greatly appreciated.

Best wishes

Ann Pilkington
Acting Chairman – Friends of Higham



27th July: Bard in Garden, 3pm
Much Ado About Nothing performed by The Festival Players. Open from 1.30pm for picnics.
Tickets: £13.50, school children £10

3rd Aug: Jazz Concert, 8pm
Higham Jazz Concert with special guests Alan Barnes, Martin Shaw and David Black.
Tickets: £7

10th – 16th Aug: Artist’s Summer School
Artist’s Summer School with Ceri Allen, Michael Stewart, Alex Jakob-Whitworth, Brian Smith and Lionel Playford

23rd – 26th Aug: You The Jury
Having discussed the evidence, You The Jury lay down your verdict. Four, real-life, murder cases have been chosen by Diane Janes for the insights they give us into our social history and judicial system


presented by Rob Ives at the AGM

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

The Friends Committee has eight members, each nominated and elected at the AGM to serve for one year. The committee meets four times a year at Higham. The Chair or Deputy Chair of the Friends attends the Higham Trustees meetings and provides the link between the two.

Communication with members happens via this annual Newsletter, four News Updates, the AGM invite and www.friendsofhigham.org. Members can choose to receive their information by email by contacting the Secretary.

Bursaries in 2018
In 2018 the Friends reserved £2000 for bursaries. £1869.92 was awarded by Higham enabling nine people to attend a variety of courses.

Friends bursaries are a part of Higham’s Assisted Places Scheme which allows people on a low income and receiving state benefits, or aged between 18 and 25, to get up to 20% off the educational costs of a course. A bursary covers up to 70% of the remainder of the course costs.

There is usually a small amount of unused money in the bursary fund at the end of the financial year, which should be returned to the Friends by Higham. Rob proposed that unused bursary money be transferred to Higham’s Assisted Places Scheme, instead of being returned. This simplified system has been agreed by the Friends committee and welcomed by Higham.

Personal Data Protection
The General Data Protection Regulations became UK law in May 2018 for all organisations, great and small, which hold people’s personal data. The Friends successfully implemented a personal data protection system which satisfies all the requirements.

The Friends of Higham Scholarship
The Friends Scholarship clearly sets the Friends in support of education at Higham. The scholarship not only benefits the winning student, it promotes the excellence of Higham and the charitable support of the Friends. It clearly demonstrates public benefit and inclusion by providing opportunities for people that they would not otherwise have.

The 2018 winner was textile artist, Kay Leech, who was awarded several Higham courses. The project concluded with Kay’s exhibition of geology-themed textiles in November 2018.

This first scholarship has been very successful and it has been agreed that Higham will take on the administration of future scholarships. The Friends will reserve £3000 for this, which will be donated to Higham every three years.


Membership in 2018
Membership peaked at 357 people in 2018. 27 new members joined the Friends, keeping the numbers fairly consistent.
Membership Secretary, Jean Geater, recorded the generous donations made by several people, in addition to their annual donations, which came to £402.
Thank you to everyone who donated in 2018.


Receipts and Payments in 2018
£2130.61 ~ Balance from 2017.
£4326.86 ~ Receipts in 2018.
£3053.63 ~ Payments in 2018.
£3403.84 ~ BALANCE at end of Dec 2018.


Election of the Friends Committee
The Chairman, Rob Ives, and Ordinary Member, Ian Turnbull, stood down from the committee. Ann Pilkington was accepted as Acting Chair, while a new Chairman is sought.

The following members were elected at the AGM: DEPUTY CHAIR – Fran Flower, TREASURER – Ann Pilkington, SECRETARY – Sally Alexandre, MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY – Jean Geater, ORDINARY MEMBERS – Vron Spencer, John Slater, Beryl Pryde and Pam Grant.


presented by George Cooke at the AGM

Higham is entirely self-sufficient, the curriculum of courses brings new people in and keeps devotees happy. The social side of Higham, where links are formed via shared interests, is as important as learning.

George said Higham is assisted by its charitable status, which means it does not have to charge VAT on the educational part of the business. Surplus money Higham generates is put back into the building and George has recently installed a flexible wire picture hanging system. Currently on display is ‘The Big Picture’ by Keswick Society of Art.

George said Higham is helped enormously by it’s hard-working staff, tutors and students, many of whom go above and beyond. Higham also supports, and gets support from, lots of local organisations.

Three new members are set to join the Trustees following an advert put on the mailer slip that is posted with the brochure. 6500 Higham brochures go out twice a year. George offered use of this space to the Friends.

Lots of work has been going on to enhance the pond area
The pond area is undergoing a large scale renovation. A very generous private donation has almost entirely covered the cost of this major project.

The Friends of Alston have given £2000 towards a new carpet for the Dining Room. In return George has promised to do his utmost to accommodate the Alston Hall stained glass window.

George thanked the Friends for their support and said everyone should be proud to share their enthusiasm for the wonderful place that is Higham.



Since completing the 2018 Friends of Higham Scholarship, textile artist, Kay Leech, has been very busy making new works and teaching.

In June, Kay helped to organise Textravaganza at Rheged. Two days dedicated to textiles of all kinds with over 30 exhibitors.

Kay recently opened her studio to the public for the annual Art Trail as a member of Eden Valley Artistic Network.

You also have a chance to see Kay’s work on the 20th and 21st of July at Art in the Hills, Dufton Village Hall.




Friends who joined the discussion following the AGM brought up a range of points.

A small saving in administrative costs can be made if members sign up to receive their news from the Friends by email. If you would like to receive any, or all, of your information by email, please contact [email protected]

External funding and the membership donation were discussed. The Friends are not eligible to apply for external funding, as we are not the actual users of the money. The committee feel that it is better to attract more people to become Friends, rather than increase the annual donation from £10. We do not have a project that requires significant extra funds and our membership remains a possibility for many people.

The members were so enthusiastic about the scholarship, they were keen to offer more than one every three years. Those present agreed with the policy of open applications where anyone over 16 can apply. They thought that, with better timed publicity, the scholarship was bound to attract more young people to Higham.

The 2018 scholarship acted as a prototype for future awards. The 2021 scholarship will be administered by Higham and funded by the Friends.


FRIENDS OF HIGHAM – Its History and Success

Recently, Higham’s Principal, George Cooke, gave his report to the Friends AGM. We were delighted to hear that Higham is now entirely self-sufficient.

The accounts balance sheet of the last 7 years is impressive. Surplus income Higham generates is put back into the building, its furnishings and equipment. George thanked the Friends for their support and said everyone should be proud to share their enthusiasm for the wonderful place that is Higham. We are.

Many Friends of Higham will remember Alasdair Galbraith, Principal from 1991 to 2001 who said that looking back he wonders why he took on the job. The magic of Higham, its location, and the whole philosophy of residential adult education, were the big attraction, already Higham was establishing a reputation for excellence. It’s excellence and magic influenced a group of people to establish Friends of Higham.

Alasdair took a major part in the administration of the Friends, keeping accounts, holding the Friends income in Higham’s bank account, and taking part in committee meetings.

This amalgamation of Higham and the Friends in the early days served an excellent purpose. In 1993 the Friends were awarded the status of Registered Charity and set about developing a valuable caring support group to assist Higham. The Friends Constitution states ‘the Object of the Association is to advance the education of adult students at Higham Hall College, an Educational Trust, by providing facilities for education, not normally provided by the Board of Trustees’.

It is interesting that each Chair of the Friends together with their committee teams over the years since 1993, have had an aim which has been in support of the Principal’s aim at the time, which has determined the use of Friends donations effectively. It has been very satisfying to the Friends, over the years, to know they have supported and helped Higham by assisting and providing facilities for education. Looking back through minutes and accounts we can see the focus of it. Records show how the Friends chairmen and committee teams have helped and assisted Higham in its needs.

Friends committee teams have focussed on:

1993 to 2003, building the Friends of Higham Association, assisted in providing furniture and equipment for Higham. Many items are still with us, the library bookcases, stair lift, oak dining tables and chairs, first studio benches, and more.

2004 to 2008 contributed to the purchase of a Grand Piano and surveyor and solicitor costs of Higham’s Independence in 2007.

After independence the focus changed to sponsoring instead of purchasing items.

2008 to 2012 sponsored Music at Higham, British Sign Language Course, course assistants fees, and provided Bursaries.

2012 to 2016 sponsored writing and printing of ‘The Story of Higham’ book now on sale at Higham, and provided Bursaries.

2016 to 2019 sponsored the ‘Friends of Higham Scholarship’, and provided Bursaries.

Most of all, Friends of Higham have always been an excellent marketing team for Higham through their enthusiastic promotion of the place they love.


Ann Pilkington
Acting Chairman
Friends of Higham


Our next AGM is on Sunday the 5th of April 2020
See you at 12pm for drinks

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