On Facebook the other day (13th November 17:42) Rushmoor’s Empress Ward Councillor David Clifford, made a statement asking the following questions:
I would be very interested to know how much the group has raised from the public and what you intend to do with the money? Would you be interested in investing in a live music venue in Farnborough elsewhere in the town? Who are the members of the committee that look after the funds?
I made a statement on behalf of the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick, stating the following:
For the record, I am currently the acting chairman of the Friends of the Tumbledown Dick having been the co-chair since the inception of the campaign.
In answer to David Clifford’s question, I’d like to say thank you for your interest in the financial aspects of our community group, David, I just wish you’d shown as much enthusiasm for the support of the local plan to fully restore a much-loved pub and music venue as all these and a community hub to boot.
I’m sorry none of the team were able to answer you in the timescale you wanted us to; Having full time jobs, running businesses and looking after our families and our health is important to us and it was not considered appropriate to merely tap out a premature and abbreviated response to such an important question.
Considering these aforementioned matters, the unpaid volunteers who have given up their valuable free time for The Friends of the Tumbledown Dick (FOTTD) have worked exceptionally hard over the past 15 months to secure the funding to purchase, renovate and reopen the Tumbly as a sustainable community hub, pub and live music venue. These aims have been supported by all those who attended our fundraising gigs and who offered their services to promote our campaign.
The money raised to date is held in a community account with a well known bank. The funds cannot be accessed by any one individual and are recorded and reported by our Treasurer. As per our articles of association the funds are reported at committee meetings and will be fully audited by our appointed auditors/accountants, a local company, prior to the AGM.
At present the FOTTD are still deciding our future and the direction in which we wish to go. This is being done in conjunction with those that have supported us. It has to be noted that whilst this chapter of the Tumbledown’s history still remains open it is only right on behalf of our many thousands of supporters that we listen to their requests to consider all possible legal options to save the pub.
In addition to the money we raised by providing a service, namely our gigs, we had secured a considerable amount of funding through our partners. This funding commitment was based upon our community hub model. We are in discussion with those who committed to fund to see if we are able to transfer this commitment to an alternative venue within Farnborough that could still provide the model we sought to open. However these discussions are dependent upon the future direction of the FOTTD.
The FOTTD are committed to see a dedicated live music venue return to Farnborough and would gladly work with those who wish to achieve this aim, but believe that this must move forward in an inclusive manner so that former patrons are not marginalised and their interests are represented and respected going forward.
Again, please note that the Tumbledown Dick is not lost yet.
On his blog post, dated 14th November, David Clifford asked the same question with some additional points made:
No-one can deny the Campaign to “save” the Tumble Down Dick was run with enthusiasm and dedication, and dare I say obsession by some. When you need to get something done, having a few obsessive people about is not unhelpful.
Some serious fundraising was done to raise the £m plus needed to buy and run the Tumble Down Dick. Public appeals were made, gigs were organised, and I am sure lots of money has been raised as a consequence given the public support claimed by the campaign.
Given this money is public money, it only right and proper, that there should be open and transparent accountability of this money. Three questions need to be addressed:
1. How much money in total has been raised?
2. Who is responsible for this money?
3. What are the plans for the use of this money?
I would also like to extend a serious and genuine invitation to the Campaign leadership to work with the local authority to pool resources and find a suitable location in Farnborough for a live music venue.
Let us put the past behind us, and look together to the future
I have yet to respond to David Clifford’s blog post but I shall be doing so later and will keep you updated.