Another year gone by – another AGM upon us – another Report to make. In the review of the year it is sometimes difficult to remember the incidents and situations as the business of the ever changing present pushes to the back of the mind those situations that seemed so large or ominous at the time.  Still here goes:-


We are always full with regards to Client slots. In fact there are times when we are overfull, with me seeing more people than I would expect the other Counsellors to ever see, but if I am not prepared to see them then how can I ask others to do the extra mile as well.


Jan, one of our Counsellors, had a fall at the New Year so she has had a most frustrating 3 months with her foot up and not able to drive to the Mill. It has made us very aware that volunteer Counsellors are limited on the ground and we really ought to be inviting others to join us, if willing, to take up the reins as we older folk gradually retire or are incapacitated.  If we have no new Counsellors then how can we continue to Counsel?


During the year we did have a student on Placement working with us, but one of the problems of Administration and Supervision is to have an unobtrusive means of appraisal in order that confidentiality can be kept while a definite monitoring of the counselling work done can take place.   This came to a head when a video of an actual session was filmed of the student and shortcomings highlighted.  Despite an offer of one-to-one help from our Supervisor, Ben Selby, the student not only declined the offer but immediately resigned his placement, despite being in the middle of two Client series.


Things never stay still and another student is waiting in the wings. Let’s hope any problems emerging can be sorted this time round before any damage is done.


On behalf of the Trustees, thank you Counsellors once again for your continued sacrifice of time and expertise. Thank you.


A thank you must also be given to Ben, our Supervisor, who only receives an honorarium that hardly covers expenses and loss of earnings as he gives the monthly supervision sessions. I am sure he is worth so much more, so thanks Ben.


Apart from counselling, massage is still the other main therapy on offer at the Mill and Cynthia is often occupied there giving very value for money, for I am sure she doesn’t charge enough. Whenever I have availed myself of her expertise I realise I am in very good hands – literally.

Note worthy events but not in any chronological order


The yearly repairs to the water wheel took place yet again. This time there was a difference in the nature of the problem, for an increase of water over the wheel one night lead to a damaging incompatibility between electronic governor and inverter that lead to a dramatic over voltage.  This in turn fried everything of an electrical nature that was plugged in at the time.  That was a very expensive experience with one of the Trustees, Ian, coming to the rescue as far as TV, Recorder and various power packs were concerned.  We are not out of the woods yet but at least we can see what needs to be done to avoid a similar occurrence taking place.


The wood management is that constant hard work item but although it takes away time and effort from other necessary tasks we cannot do without it. The sale of the fallen timber is one of the main income streams for the Charity and although we cannot depend upon that forever being in place, or even continuing next year, at the moment it pays for those hydro repairs in the main and takes the anxiety away from the general running of the Mill.


The new animal house still hasn’t been completed. I am aware that when originally embarked upon I was thinking of only a few months to do the job, with the next Christmas of two or three years ago being the target finishing time.  It has almost become a standing joke as to which Christmas I was referring to, and yes it still is not finished.  One day it will be!!



My health has continued to be a problem. There is absolutely no way I can continue to do the same kind of work that I used to do of even a couple of years ago.  Although the brain tumour has been zapped we still do not know if the treatment has been successful and another problem of high blood pressure has reared its ugly head.  Jim, one of our Counsellors, has taken on the lion share of the physical work and Robbie regularly mows the grass.  We are greatly indebted to them both.  Life is change and we need to be vigilant to opportunities and make the most of willing helpers.


This is the fourth year in the Charity’s history that we have not had to panic about finance. We began the year with just over £400 in the account and we finish with only £95, but although that looks as if things are going pear shaped that would be a false picture.  Income is able to cover all normal expenses and we are indeed gradually paying back loans that people have most graciously helped us out with in the past.  The unexpected big bills have been paid and we do have a financial income stream for this current year that should boost our resources, but we still remain dependent upon covenants and donations for the bread and butter expenses.  So once again a very big ‘Thank you’ to everyone who covenants.  Thank you indeed.


Unfortunately Becky Blackford had to resign due to health, work and family commitments but we welcomed Nigel Twinn a couple of months ago to the team. With his great store of varied work experience and expertise, he has much to offer us and I look forward to working with him in the following years.


Concerning the Trustees, last year’s issue of confidentiality and safeguarding was resolved to our satisfaction. In fact subsequent legislation has vindicated our position entirely.  Being such a small Charity it is so easy to be dominated and bullied by such people as Social Services who have their own rules and agendas that are quite different to our own.  The Trustees have a watching brief which cannot lapse and we need to review the Policy Document this year to keep up to date with all the legal requirements, for confidentiality is of paramount importance if counselling Clients can feel safe enough to share their innermost thoughts and Counsellors feel safe enough to help them through the problems.  If confidentiality is not ensured then the work would never proceed to any depth.  Safeguarding applies just as much to the Counsellors as well as the Clients!


I therefore thank the Trustees who have remained true to their original commitment and happily trust them in their watching brief over us.


Thank you.


Life is never dull! Sometimes I really wish it was, however I am glad to report that overall the Charity goes from strength to strength, fulfilling its Constitutional duty and seeing lives changed for the better in so many different ways.





Charity Administrator


Presented at AGM   20 April 2018