NEED TO GET YOUR VOTES IN BY 5PM THIS FRIDAY (15th May)
Oh god not more voting I hear you moan!
Those regular readers of this site will know that my personal view is that the Trust has suffered significant loss of reputation and only changes of management will address this in the long term. In your dealings with the Trust I suggest everyone to continually remind themselves of the membership cutoff ploy which tried to deny the people of Stratford a fair vote by using extremely slippery tactics. This move, possibly not even legal, was probably what put the final nail in the coffin of this development and led to a humiliating climb down. Remember also that legal fees were spent defending this strategy – or to really focus the mind, money that could have been spent on charitable endeavors was spent on legal advice trying to thwart the will of the people of the town. Think about that for a second.
Behind the smiles those running the Trust were prepared to trample over our democratic rights in order to sell a much cherished town asset for £7 million for, er, the ‘good of the town’ despite almost total opposition from the town.
Hiding behind the mantra of a “legal obligation to maximise charitable income” sounds plausible until you realise that the Charity Commission has never prosecuted a single charity for not maximising income. It’s a directive in spirit rather than something that needs to be slavishly adopted at the expense of everything you stand for – like the people you are purported to serve. This single-minded bureaucracy terrifies me because there is almost nothing that can stop it once the wheels are in motion. You could see the set-jawed determination to proceed with this development at all costs during the consultation evening where the managers and key trustees stood shoulder to shoulder with architects and developers who were all about to make a killing in the face of almost unanimous opposition. The people of Stratford were an annoyance, like flies to be swatted away.
The Trust is part of the fabric of the town and much loved and appreciated by many. I personally know people who’s life has been dramatically changed by the organisation so my beef isn’t with the charity itself but with the direction it has taken recently.
Anyway, as we’ve been reminded this week we live in a democracy and things can change and next week sees a big opportunity to put the Trust back on track with pending election to elect a new trustee.
I’m backing Quentin Willson – I’ve seen him in action for the past 6 months on this campaign and he’s a driven individual. As a Stratford resident of nearly 20 years he’s a bona fide local. Professionally The Trust is severely deficient in PR know how (the heavy duty security guards at the consultation event tells you all you need to know) and his profile as a broadcaster will help keep a light shone on what has to many become a secretive organisation. I’m not saying the others aren’t suitable and certainly two of them I have had interactions with and they seem like good eggs. If any of them want to stick up a post I’m happy to provide a platform if they want to contact me.
I hope subsequent elections will result in a fresh intake and we can get more sensitive, Stratford oriented folks with a finger of the pulse of the townsfolk running this organisation. We all took our eye of the ball with the Town Trust and our collective ignorance allowed this to happen. Let’s bring it back!
For more information on the vote follow this link : http://www.stratfordtowntrust.co.uk/news/new-trustee-to-be-elected/
All the best
Editor, The Welcombe Hills