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Farfield Mill

Governance and people

Farfield Mill is currently a Charitable Company but, as part of the process of raising community share capital, will convert into a Charitable Community Benefit Society. The Mill cannot accept any share capital until the conversion is completed. There is also a trading subsidiary, Sedbergh Enterprises Limited (SEL). This is a company that is wholly owned by Farfield Mill.

Legal Structure

Sedbergh and District Arts and Heritage Trust is a registered charity regulated by The Charity Commission; Charity Number 1026293. It is registered as Company Limited by Guarantee at Companies House; Company Number 2848454. The members voted overwhelmingly (500 to 1) in a general meeting to convert to a charitable Community Benefit Society. The Charity Commission has given permission for the change of legal structure.

Once converted, they will be registered as a society with the Financial Conduct Authority. They will be registered using Co-ops UK's model rules for Charitable Community Benefit Societies.

At conversion they will be changing their name to Farfield Mill Limited. They will not accept applications for any withdrawable shares until the conversion is complete. Current members of the Trust will be given the first chance to purchase shares and be members of the new society.

Sedbergh Enterprises Limited

Farfield Mill was a partnership between a charitable trust and a trading company. With the trust's conversion to a charitable community benefit society, the trading company Sedbergh Enterprises Limited (SEL), will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the society.

SEL gives a guaranteed rental income to the society of £27,000 a year. SEL also gifts a proportion of its profits made by its trading activity in the shop, tea room and weaving operations to the society. The proportion is to be decided annually but SEL will gift all profits above what is prudent for SEL to keep to reinvest in the business.

Membership Engagement

At present the Trust has around 600 members, whose major relationship with the Trust is to vote at the AGM. To support the renewal and regeneration of Farfield Mill the team want to both increase the number of members and deepen the relationship the members have with the society. “A co-operative project is only as strong as its members.”

The Mill has three main communities of members; local residents and businesses around Sedbergh, the regional community of South Lakeland and the national wool-focused community.

For many years, friends organisations of museums and galleries have played a vital role helping to raise funds for capital projects, conservation work and acquisitions. They have also kept everyone up to date with newsletters, given guided tours and volunteered at the front desk. In more recent times their role has increased and they have begun to play a more active part on the front-line as museum budgets and workforce numbers have continued to shrink.

The Friends of Farfield Mill are a loyal group of people who have supported the mill for many years. Trustees aim to increase the number of Friends and help them become more active in building a thriving future for the mill.

Directors

Board

The current board of trustees have incubated this new phase in the history of Farfield. They will also continue as directors of the new Charitable Community Benefit Society until the next AGM.

Directors' remuneration

No board members will receive a financial gain from this offer other than that they will all be investors.

Directors' holdings

Some of the current trustees have lent money to the mill and they are happy for their loans to be converted to shares.

Conflict of Interest

The board maintains a register of trustees’ interests.

Employee satisfaction

Farfield Mill does not report on employee satisfaction.

Diversity

Four out of the ten trustees are female.

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