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V&A Member's AGM

Notice to Friends of the V&A

The Friends Charity was first established with the sole aim of supporting the V&A financially through grants of money. When founded in 1976, a separate corporate structure for the Friends was required for fiscal considerations, but such considerations are no longer relevant and for the past 10 years the Friends has been managed in-house as part of the museum’s Development Department.

Over recent years Membership numbers have increased from 10k to over 60K (at the end of March 2016). Financial contributions to the museum have also grown from under £200k to over £2.4 million with approx. £8.6 million given to the museum in support over the past 10 years.

This year’s Friends of the V&A Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 22 November 2016. The meeting focused on two subjects: initially to receive and approve matters related to the year ending March 2016, followed by consideration of two special resolutions, regarding the proposition to merge and unify the activities and administration of the Friends with those of the Museum. The Trustees of the Friends and the Museum agreed it was both timely and appropriate to propose such a merger to the company Members.

Resolution 1
To accept the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of the Charity that the Charity should transfer its assets and undertakings to the Victoria and Albert Museum, a non-departmental public body with exempt charitable status established under the National Heritage Act 1983 (V&A) and in consequence of that acceptance:
- to authorise the Board of Trustees to exercise the powers contained in Clauses 4(viii) and 4(xiii) of the Charity's Memorandum of Association in accordance with Clause 8 of the Memorandum of Association (which provisions are, in accordance with section 28 of the Companies Act 2006, treated as provisions of the Charity's Articles of Association) to transfer the assets and undertaking of the Charity to the V&A;
- to authorise the Board of Trustees to take such steps (including the taking of professional advice) and approve and enter into such documents as are necessary or expedient to effect the transfer; and
- to authorise any two members of the Board of Trustees to execute such deeds, documents and other instruments as are necessary or expedient to effect the transfer.
Resolution 2
Subject to the achievement of Resolution 1, to authorise the Board of Trustees to wind up and dissolve the Charity in an orderly fashion.

At 18.30 on 22 November the meeting was found to be quorum with 50 Members in attendance. Company Members voted unanimously on the evening in favour of both special business resolutions.

The Friends Charity will continue to operate until 1 April 2017, upon which date all Memberships will be transferred over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. All new Members from that date onwards will be recruited into the transferred scheme. We will be writing to all Members in good time to officially notify them of these changes. Any Member who does not wish to continue with their Membership after the 1 April 2017 will be encouraged to notify us to this effect.

Please note there will be no change to the range of benefits and advantages Members enjoy.

This step will not only bring about direct savings (on costs associated with running the separate charity), but also efficiencies for museum staff. Continuing the success of the Membership scheme is central to the museums future plans and support raised from Membership subscriptions, and other financial contributions made by Members, will continue to support the work of the museum in the same way as it has until now.
While most of what we have and do will remain the same, without the overlay of a charitable corporate structure, the role of the Friends Trustees will cease to exist, yet in the past one of their functions has been to provide a link between the Friends and the Museum for the exchange of comments and ideas - in effect feeling the pulse of either party. It is felt such a link would be seriously missed. A Members Advisory Group will therefore be created, involving 6-10 Members drawn from the body of the Membership, reflecting the diversity of the Friends and serving for a period of three years. To provide continuity initially, some of the present Trustees may be invited to join the Group, but thereafter vacancies as they arise will be advertised in the Members’ Newsletter, and all Members may apply to be considered for appointment by the Museum. The Group will provide a well-informed active sounding board for all issues related to Members` interests, contributions and benefits, in direct contact with the Head of Membership. The Group will meet at least three times a year. More information on this group and how you can be involved will be made available in early 2017.

Download the 2015/16 Annual Report
Download the 2014/15 Annual Report

 

If you require further commentary please contact the Head of Friends, James Beardsworth, at j.beardsworth@vam.ac.uk

We publish our Annual Report online to save paper and costs, but if you require a hard copy, please contact the Membership Office on 020 7942 2271 or e-mail us at membership@vam.ac.uk

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