Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of Gambian Education & Teaching Support
which took place on 4th August 2007 in Cambridge at 12 noon.


Francis Glynn, Chairman

Shirley Britton, Fundraising Secretary

Sheila Plaister, Sponsorship Secretary

Julie Limbrick, Secretary

David Goss, West African Castellan Trust

Angela Thomas and Rose Holder – Newsletter

Cliff Parfit – curriculum support

Dawn and Paul Webster

Steve and Jenny Barrow

John and Kay Skingsley

Duncan Ashcroft, his wife and two children.

Filley Glynn

Yu Bian

Nick Plaister

Helen Downie

Tony Downs

Tessa and Ray Harding

Alan and Mary Pickles

Julie Brailey

Carolyn Davies

Roy and Ann Hockaday


Sarah Travers, Treasurer

Carolyn and Naomi Taylor

 Tonie and Valmai Holt

Danielle Middleton

Catherine Stalker

Bob and Anna Aston

Angela Sarr

Martin Tanner

Joyce Turner

Sandra Matthews

John Parkin

Diana Cowan


 3. Minutes:
Minutes of the last meeting held on 20.05.06 PASSED and SIGNED.
4. Nominations for officers:
Nominations had been received for the following: -


Mr. Francis Glynn, seconded by Mrs. Sheila Plaister and CARRIED.


Miss Sarah Travers, seconded by Mr. Cliff Parfit and CARRIED


Mrs. Julie Limbrick, seconded by Mrs. Dawn Webster and CARRIED.

Sponsorship Secretary:

Mrs. Sheila Plaister, seconded by RosieHolder and CARRIED.

Fundraising Secretary:

Mrs. Shirley Britton, seconded by Julie Limbrick and CARRIED.

5. Annual Report:

The Chairman Francis Glynn reported on the following: -

GETSuk link to GTS, the latter funding the infrastructure in the Gambia for GETSuk.

06/07 had been a period of re-organisation and consolidation in Gambia. All payments are now made by cheque, budgets have been prepared, all sponsorship files have been audited and updated, the office has been transformed and is staffed daily from 9am – 6pm. 

The Gambia has introduced a PAYE type tax and Social Security system and all GETSuk staff are now enrolled and making monthly contributions with additional expenses increases to the charity.

Some reorganisation of staff roles has taken place over the past two years but staff have been slow to adapt to the new methods and need for clear audit trails and sponsorship feedback. Trustees had regretfully agreed to withdraw funding from two posts with immediate effect.

 Issues 2 and 3 of our newsletters had been produced and circulated and provide excellent resource materials for fund-raising and volunteer recruitment. Mr. Glynn thanked Rosie Holder and Angela Thomas for their expertise in its production.

Teaching Training had been undertaken and the Chairman advised those present of the capping of individual sponsorships numbers under GETSuk (currently 75 individual sponsorships – with 100 under Castellan umbrella) in order to promote Teacher Sponsorships for training and support with increased remuneration to reflect their efforts.

The appointment of an Education Co-coordinator (Famara, Headmaster of Bakoteh Nursery School.)

Investigations were underway for a new hosting website provider

The need for a volunteer to undertake the updating and maintenance of the web page.

Mrs. Dawn Webster and Mrs. Helen Downie offered to undertake the web page.

The appointment of an Office Administrator with experience of UK administrative systems had resulted in an organised office, up to date files, financial records and projections and implementation of a cheque book system for all payments.

Due to the recent depletion of staff it had been agreed a volunteer would assist initially but trustees determined this must lead to the appointment of a paid staff member as soon as possible to ensure school reports/photos and feedback to sponsors is fully implemented and with consideration given to further trustee priorities.


6. Treasurer’s Report and Annual Accounts

The Chairman read a brief on behalf of the Treasurer Mrs. SaraTravers who noted the recent improvement in accountability in Gambia, advised of the gift aid situation and noted increased income of £7,000 during the year and additional expenditure of 21,000 transferred to Gambia. (Total income £34,096.43. Total Expenditure £21,153.35)

The next transfer to take place in September 07.

The accounts were presented to charity members and were APPROVED despite the signed off copy by an Independent Advisor being trapped in the post but nevertheless finalised and approved by the Examiner.

7.  Fund Raising Report:

Mrs. Shirley Britton reported fully on the following:- 

Appreciation of support received 

Details of current fundraising activities 

The need to increase fund raising substantially and the need for continuous monthly funds to meet and improve teachers salaries and training alone. 

The reminder that the tourist season lasts for only 5 months. 

The difference a corporate sponsor would make. 

The need to increase membership and requests for those present to help with this and other fundraising ideas and action. 

The Gambian staff responsibilities to ensure the prepared handouts are distributed to tourists when visiting GTSuk. 

Continuing Buy A Brick and build a classroom project.


8.  Sponsorship Report:

Mrs. Sheila Plaister reported on the following:-

Last year the Charity sponsored 37 individual students – this year that figure stands at 75 – a significant increase in work load both sides of the Atlantic which has been greatly assisted of late with the appointment of a full time administrator in Gambia.

 The ‘Sponsor a Teacher’ option.

 2 Sponsors now help towards paying for curriculum development at Bakoteh.

A reduction in the numbers of transfers to Gambia per year to reduce charges had been implemented reducing transfer to three when possible. Cash is never given directly to families unless authorised by the sponsor and in such cases receipts are always obtained.

All school fees are now paid by GETSuk by cheque to the schools.

Mrs. Plaister thanked all present for their support and patience during the last 12 months and looked forward to a continuing relationship for many years to come.

9.Monitoring Report:

Mrs. Julie Limbrick reported on her last monitoring visit to Gambia, which included the following: -

A trip to Jinnack Island off Gambia and the poverty of the community with a need for goats for the families (£20 per goat) and three canoes (£180 each) for the community to allow the ladies to gather the plentiful oyster beds. Any donations to be paid to GETSuk and transferred to the account in Jinnack.

Time spent with GETSuk staff in Gambia discussing trustee issues.

A visit to Essau School on the North Bank and seeing the near completed toilet block and water connection. Also the major progress of the 3rd classroom with acknowledgement to the sponsors who had done so much for Essau.

The progress in both Essau and Bakoteh schooling with displays of the children’s work adorning the walls and the growing cohesion of teaching methods via liaison with the Education Co-coordinator.

Visits to two sign writers commissioned by GETSuk to produce signs, one African style, one UK – both excellent but completely different.

Meeting with representatives of Gambian College, which was both informative and will doubtless prove of mutual benefit in future.


10.Castellan West African Trust Report:

Mr. David Goss advised on the progress of the merger with the Trust and GETSuk.

The visit to the village of Bwaim by the Chairman and volunteers in February.

The current upgrading of the desks in Bwaim school

A request for an eventual hyperlink to the website for CWATP Newsletters.

An outline of finance, sponsorships (100) and support received.

New projects to be discussed with GETSuk trustees.

The eventual appointment of a Bwaim-linked staff member.

His continuing representation for the appointed two years as Advisor to the trustees.


11.Questions and Comments:

Mr. Pickles expressed concern regarding cover following the loss of 2 Gambian staff members and was assured it would be addressed on the Chairman’s return to Gambia at the end of the month.

Mrs. Helen Downie, who had worked on a voluntary basis in the GETSuk schools, explained the arrangements she had made for the Education Co-coordinator to visit UK and experience teaching methods in local schools.

Mr. Cliff Parfit was introduced and thanked for his inspirational training guidance papers for teachers.

The Health and Safety training implemented for teachers had proved to be excellent and further course would be arranged.

Meeting closed.

All present were thanked for their attendance and support and invited to stay for lunch.

 Nick and Sheila Plaister were thanked for arranging the excellent venue.


Use Easy Search
as your search engine
and raise funds for GETSuk

Make your internet purchases through
Easy Fund Raising
& raise funds for GETSuk at no extra cost to yourself