A TALE OF PERSEVERANCE - Mareika Gray - the story of an unlikely musical journey

Issue 6006

ON THE BEAT - The first in a new series by Gavin Pritchard discussing all things percussion

PRODUCING A RECORDING - Adam Goldsmith reveals the secrets to a successful recording

BBE future vision unveiled during RNCM Festival

Tuesday 13 February, 2018

Brass Bands England used the opportunity of the RNCM Brass Band Festival in Manchester, on the weekend of 26-28 January, to reveal its vision for the future of English bands.

The organisation, headed by Chairman Mike Kilroy and interim CEO Andrew Coe, also harnessed the Festival gathering opportunity to hold its AGM, as well as to present its Report of the Trustees and Unaudited Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2017, which detailed notable progress.

BBE has been criticised in the past for its lack of drive, active engagement with bands and financial problems, as highlighted in the trustees’ report, which admits that the last four years were spent in recovery (2013/14), resilience and sustainability (2014/15), finding relevance (2015/16) and research and development (2016/17).
Despite referring to past financial problems, the most recent unaudited accounts reveal £102,634 in funds carried forward, which together with newly-secured Arts Council England (ACE) funding from 5 April, of £207,00 a year for the next four years, puts BBE in a strong financial position to meet its goal of becoming ‘a single voice for brass bands and their music at all levels across the organisational, funding, cultural and artistic landscape,’ as well as supporting brass bands to become ‘robust and sustainable, and ‘better appreciated by others.’

A prelude to becoming wholly representative has been the organisation’s ever-extending operational reach, which has involved delivery of the key Bandsafe scheme and the launch of a Virtual Box Office for band-led events, along with important focussed consultation with the brass band community.
Other important aspects of BBE’s operational growth have included assisting 139 bands, advising 152 bands at events and workshops, initiating 20 arts-led projects, supporting 23 capital projects, connecting with 46 partner organisations, collaborating with 38 organisations, interfacing with ten music hubs, supporting five Norman Jones Trust projects, Grants for the Arts support for 15 bands and daily telephone advice and DBS checks.

The body’s biggest spends in 2016/17 were £18,804 for its Barnsley national office, £109,818 on the salaries and NI of around five employees, along with £10,849 in expenses for staff to execute their remits.

Income from band member subscriptions was up slightly from £15,371 to £16,239, which still equates to only ten per cent of BBE revenue. The organisation’s goal, however, is to win every English band’s membership.

Looking ahead, BBE has strengthened its Board of Trustees, drafting in a diverse range of skills and qualifications. Led by Chairman, Mike Kilroy, the trustees are: interim CEO, Andrew Coe (Team-working and Negotiation); Lucy Cutt (HR); David Thornton (education); Gary Walczak (youth/education); Max Stannard (UniBrass); Nigel Morgan (Treasurer); Mike Walsh (solicitor) and Shirley Woodward.

Observing that its relationship with the ACE, ‘goes from strength-to-strength’, the trustees’ report indicates ‘…a growing appreciation of the importance of brass bands, their impact and importance to individuals, communities and society from a variety of social, economic and educational perspectives.’