As I write to you from the depths of our 3rd lockdown, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and to give you all some very good news.
We are delighted to announce that the final total for our donation to BirdLife International, with respect to Birdfair 2019 will be £168,719. We are very pleased that this is a substantial sum and will make an enormous difference to the Western Siem Pang Wildlife Sanctuary and Critically Endangered Birds in Cambodia, the chosen beneficiary project for 2019.
A number of factors have meant that this donation is smaller than those in previous years:
- Bad weather during the 2019 event led to reduced visitor numbers and additional costs were incurred to make attendance in the wet weather safe.
- The Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (“PTR”) left several of our regular sponsors unable to commit to Birdfair in 2019, which led to a reduction in the amount of money raised from sponsorship. Also, the legal impact meant that Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust had to ensure that the event itself and individual exhibitors were compliant with the new regulations. This required a significant amount of additional staff time, and costs were incurred to obtain specific professional advice on the issues involved in complying with the regulations.
- When the 2020 Birdfair event had to be cancelled because of COVID-19, the costs from January 2020 until after the cancellation process in April 2020 had to be included. This was the first year in the history of Birdfair that the event had to be cancelled and no precedent had been previously set for this.
In previous years, the donation has been made at a public event during the spring of the following year. In 2020 this had to be cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, instead we announced our donation, along with our partners the RSPB and beneficiaries Birdlife International, at a webinar in July. A payment of £102,000 was made to Birdlife in March 2020 and a further payment of £25,000 in September 2020. After our accounts were complete and we had held our AGM, we made the final payment in December 2020.
All Birdfair accounts are audited as part of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust’s audit process and completed by our Auditors RSM UK. Our accounts are submitted to Companies House and the Charity Commission.