Kim's Blog

Annual Report

Annual Report 1st March 2017-28th Feb 2019

Hope Cirencester is a registered charity governed by trust deed. Our registered charity number is 1095438. Our charitable objects are to share the love of Jesus Christ, and to alleviate need and distress in the Cirencester area. Our motivation is that we believe God loves each person and they are made in His image, unique and deserving of love, affirmation and practical support.Who Are We?

What Do We Do?

Hope Cirencester is a charity run with a Christian ethos, which provides practical and relational support and spiritual care for people in the local area who may be vulnerable or struggling, through journeying together as a community. The people who use our services may have suffered abuse or domestic violence, wrestle with addictions, have PTSD, long term health conditions, mental distress or be weighed down by debt. We may offer advocacy or accompanying to appointments, support people with the benefits system, literacy support or with practical tasks such as decorating. We also pray with people and offer spiritual support in the Christian faith tradition. We celebrate birthdays and achievements together and have fun on trips to provide ‘problem free’ time for people as this is proven to help people find the headspace to address their problems creatively (Mentoring & Befriending Foundation).

We offer services in a number of ways: two drop in sessions a week at The Upper Room, on Mondays and Fridays; we visit Gloucester Cathedral for Evensong regularly to explore our spiritual journey together; go on a summer day trip together and to Giffords Circus; we worship together at a monthly Eucharist service with a community lunch and celebrate Christmas and Easter together with services and parties.

We operate a help-fund that supports individuals who need emergency assistance.

We also offer help to people in need in Cirencester by supplying starter-boxes to those moving into housing from homelessness or domestic violence via Bromford Housing, and support young people who may need clothes for an interview or new bedding, via Chyp. All our services are open equally and to all who need them. We have a regular cooking group that cooks healthy low cost meals and eats together.

Where Do We Work?

Our work mainly takes place at The Upper Room, which is situated at 37a Market Place, Cirencester. GL7 2NX


We bank with Nationwide Cirencester branch, Cricklade Street, Cirencester. Our Honorary Auditor is Mr Anthony Doyle of 4, Dawes Close, Meysey Hampton

Cirencester GL7 5LE

Who are the Trustees?

Trustees are unpaid volunteers from a variety of backgrounds with experience in local charities and community organisations, family work, community development and education.

The Trustees are:

Rev Kim Brown                                   Chair

Kathy Folkestad                                 Treasurer & Secretary

Christine Greathead

Peter Ewart

Rev Katie Richardson

Will Mansell


Rev Kim Brown is the named person to whom safeguarding concerns should be reported. She is trained in Safeguarding by the Diocese on an annual basis and will liaise with the Safeguarding Team of the Diocese of Gloucester and the Social Care Team if necessary. The trustees and staff are all DBS checked and undertake regular training. We take the wellbeing of all our people extremely seriously; they are children of God and we commit to working transparently and in ways that are safe and caring for vulnerable adults and children who use our services.

How Is Hope-Cirencester Funded?

Hope-Cirencester is funded by a combination of grants from the public sector and

charitable trusts, local fundraising and donations from private individuals. We are

a-not-for-profit organisation and our Trustees and Volunteers are unpaid, although travel expenses are always reimbursed in order to create equal opportunity to volunteer and allow us to access a broader range of voices, life experience and skills.

The Trustees would like to extend their thanks and gratitude to all those individuals who have made a financial contribution to Hope-Cirencester this year.

A three year grant from Sylvanus Lysons to pay part of the wages of the Support Worker is nearing an end, in April 2018. Another three year grant from Sylvanus Lysons has been awarded to cover the costs of establishing an Intern Scheme and paying wages of an Intern Supervisor and an Administrator for one day a week for this purpose. The Diocese of Gloucester Mission Development Fund has offered a three year grant to start early in 2018 to cover an increase in rent of £5500 a year; this is due to Hope Cirencester taking over an additional office in which to run the Intern Scheme.

A copy of the audited Annual Accounts for 2017-2018 is attached with this Report. We have changed the time of year we report this year; usually we report in November but due to a very busy time now in Advent / Christmas we are holding our AGM in June from 2018 onwards. This year’s AGM will be held at The Upper Room on Friday 8 June following our monthly service of Holy Communion which starts at 12pm. The AGM will be followed by a buffet lunch. Please come!


Following discussion at trustee meetings regarding the increasingly difficult climate for raising funds, and an increase in responsibilities due to planning an increase in the number of paid staff, the trustees have adopted a policy to maintain a reserves balance of twelve months of annual running costs.

 How Do We Work?

We make decisions at our Trustee meetings, held every other month, which are attended by trustees, paid staff and sometimes volunteers and specialist advisers. Discussion takes place freely between all parties at the meeting; major decisions are made by trustee vote on the basis of the information discussed. We regularly ask people who use our services what they need and value, in order to keep our work relevant to those who need it.

During this period of reporting, two of our long standing staff members left and moved away. The trustees wish to extend their gratitude to Pete and Brenda Dyson for all their hard work and commitment to The Upper Room over the years and we wish them well in the new chapter of their life in the beautiful countryside of Shropshire. We would also like to thank Bernie Harding who works as a Support Worker at the drop-in. Rev Kim Brown (was Hartshorne) is an Ordained Pioneer Minister who works part time as Leader of the community as part of her curacy with the Diocese of Gloucester, who pay her stipend.

The Trustees would especially like to thank Kathy Folkestad for her expertise in preparing minutes and keeping our finances in order. The Chair would like welcome three new trustees joining the Board this year: Mr Will Mansell from Minchinhampton brings significant experience in business and the governance of charities; Mr Peter Ewart is a practising solicitor who also has wide experience in fundraising and charity governance; Rev Katie Richardson has lived in Cirencester for many years and is an Anglican Priest at Cirencester Parish Church. The Chair would like to thank and express great gratitude to the Trustees for offering their time, gifts and care to the running of the charity this year.  We are also extremely grateful to Mr Tony Doyle for auditing our accounts without charge.

We would like to thank Canon Dr. Andrew Braddock, (Director of Mission and Ministry in the Diocese of Gloucester) nominated Bishops Visitor to the Bishops Mission Order and Chair of the Council of Reference, for his support and guidance. The Bishops Mission Order has not met this year due to the vacancy in the post of Vicar at the Parish Church.


We partner with a number of agencies in the local community through which we offer practical support to vulnerable people. Partnering with Bromford Housing at Spring House and The Croft, and Cirencester Housing for Young People (CHYP), we provide kitchen ‘starter boxes’ and practical items such as bedding for people who move into temporary accommodation in emergency and who have no possessions with which to start a life. We offer our premises to the Cirencester Street Pastors to use as a base for their community patrols on weekend evenings and are grateful for a financial donation from them this year.

A Sunday youth group from Holy Trinity Watermoor in the local Parish uses our rooms on Sunday afternoons. Collaboration between The Upper Room and the Parish of Cirencester has developed a positive partnership, delivering a Summer Playscheme together at St Lawrence Church in Chesterton, and the Cooking Group cooking lunch for the staff at the Parish Centre when they meet there for the monthly cooking session. We hope to work more closely together when a new Vicar is appointed.                         

Summary of 2017 – 2018 in numbers:

Relief of Need

  • 87 drop-in sessions were attended by around 35 different people including 16 new visitors, with a total footfall of 525 visits.
  • 2 trips out, to Cotswold Wildlife Park in summer and a trip to Giffords Circus, for families, children and single people who rarely leave Cirencester due to financial constraint.
  • 52 Street Pastor sessions were held at the Upper Room
  • 2 starter boxes were supplied to people in need being housed at Spring House.
  • 4 sessions of a summer playscheme were run at St Lawrence Church Chesterton in August for local families from the Chesterton estate, attendance averaging 50 people a week. This year it was evident that there were many hungry children. In response we introduced a Breakfast Club, providing cereals, fruit and crepes. We are blessed to have a chef and his son in the kitchen: “Big Cook, Little Cook!”
  • Meals and boots were supplied to some of our friends who are homeless, along with care and conversation.
  • Intensive support was offered to several individuals who were dealing with significant debt.
  • Home Communion was shared with several individuals on a regular basis due to being housebound or suffering ill health or crisis.
  • We issued a large number of Foodbank vouchers this year; people in debt, holiday hunger or transferring to Universal Credit were the main reasons for this.
  • Several of our regular attenders suffered significant ill health this year and we accompanied them to hospital appointments in Cirencester, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Redemption Stories: Changing the Outcomes

  • Advocacy and support continued to be offered to assist a number of individuals with housing and benefit related issues. The change to Universal Credit posed problems for us as it seems designed to not follow any identifiable pattern or system but varies for each individual; it requires a

huge amount of tenacity and resilience on the part of the individual to successfully pursue a claim and sustain themselves during the 4-6 week delay before benefits re-start; not everyone is able to do this and many suffer.

  • We assisted a young mother by lending money for a deposit on a small house so she could move out of an unsafe environment with her young daughter. We assisted her with furniture, and support to deal with her landlord so the house was safe and met her needs. She is faithfully repaying the loan.
  • Several of our regular attenders who were previously unemployed found regular work and several others found regular volunteering opportunities; we rejoice with them!
  • A group of 3 attended the New Parish Conference in Birmingham; they spoke about how we build local connections and networks in order to support those in need.
  • The Cooking Group continued to meet monthly, helping people learn to budget and prepare healthy and nutritious meals on a tight budget, aswell as sharing social time together, laying the table and eating together. A magnificent Christmas meal was prepared and guests were invited to attend. The Cooking Group also provides lunch for the staff of the Parish Office.
  • Following research with regular attenders, we discovered that every single person who comes was hoping to find work or regular volunteering, but all were finding this difficult to attain, through lack of opportunities, confidence, skills or education. Upon further research and exploration, we have committed to launch an Upper Room Intern Scheme in the spring of 2018, to help people access online learning and qualifications, offer coaching and skills development, and to accredit volunteering that people do in the community. This will be offered in two stages: phase 1 will be for those under 30, and then phase 2 will be for those over 30. Funding from this has been attained from several funders. We will hold a celebration of achievement evening and award certificates annually.
  • Two people attended a First Aid Course and acquired a Food Hygiene Certificate.

Sharing the Love & Good News of Jesus & Exploring Discipleship

  • On Sundays, groups regularly visited Gloucester Cathedral for Choral Evensong, Holy Trinity Watermoor and Cirencester Parish Church for worship.
  • People who come to the Drop-In continued to invite family, neighbours and friends to come along to the drop-in and to trips out.
  • We held 11 Communion services followed by community lunches.
  • Our 2017 Maundy Thursday service with footwashing and supper held at the Upper Room was attended by Bishop Rachel and her husband Guy.
  • We attended the Abbey 900 Harvest Supper at the Parish Church together, bringing several additional guests.
  • During the Advent and Christmas season we shared the following together:  hosted an Advent Crafts Event at the UR; hosted a Christmas Party at St Lawrence Chesterton; attended a Christmas Spectacular at the Parish Church, given free tickets by Ian Carling; attended a Christmas Carol Service at Gloucester Cathedral; 6 attended an Advent Quiet Day at Harnhill Christian Centre; attended the Lights Switch on together.
  • We attended Harnhill Centre on the 4th Friday of each month for a meal they host there. People really love the environment and the hospitality.
  • Bernie Harding was Commissioned as a Local Pioneer Minister for The Upper Room on 7th December 2017 at a ceremony and buffet held upstairs at The Crown in Cirencester, attended by 50+ guests, comprising our Upper Room family, local clergy, and friends and family of Bernie, and Rev David Runcorn, Assistant DDO and Rev Andrew Braddock, Director of Mission and Ministry & our Bishops Visitor, attended from the Diocese of Gloucester.
  • This year we agreed to share in the planning of services and share the talks that reflect on scripture during our Communion Services more equally together as a group. There is much greater diversity and wisdom shared by this dialogical process.
  • Groups came to visit the Upper Room to explore our approach to mission and pioneering, from Regents College Oxford, the CMS Pioneer Leadership Training Course and Ripon College Cuddesdon. We received a Pioneer Ordinand from Ripon College, Susie Templeton, on an extended placement and Kim was invited to speak on the Ordinal at a Cuddesdon Ministry weekend.

Voices From The Upper Room 2017-2018

“I love our get-togethers. We are like one massive happy family”

A relaxing place to go and have good conversation. You can talk without being judged.

“I enjoyed the trip to the Wildlife Park. I love playing a part in the summer Playscheme. I love how we all come together as a team and we all look after each other.”

“I love the things we do together, especially going to the Cooking Group. I’m so grateful for the help I have received. too.”

You can talk about any worries you have. You can just be who you are.”

“I had a tough year & the people at the Upper Room made me feel like I’m someone again. I love you all loads. You have no idea what you’ve done for me.”

Financial Summary

The charity spent £20,887 this year (£25,685 last year). The largest areas of expenditure were on staff wages & costs (£9711) although these costs were lower than usual due to two staff members moving on during the year; and rent and office costs (£6167). Expenditure on direct work with people who come (trips; community support; starter boxes; cooking group costs) totalled £4258.

In terms of income, £2566 came in from donations. The grant from Sylvanus Lysons for staff wages will come to an end in April 2018. A new grant secured from Sylvanus Lysons will begin shortly after the end of the previous one, and covers staff and set up costs associated with the planned new Intern Scheme.

Delivering our Charitable Objects

All those who have benefited from our activities have been our target groups of people in need. People who use our services may suffer mental or physical illness, need additional support, be isolated, vulnerable or marginalised. These groups find it hardest to access support and often don’t have safe people to journey through life with when times are hard. The summaries on page 6-9 show how we have used the resources of the charity to meet the needs of people we serve. We commit to spending wisely the donations and grants we receive.   


The initial six year lease on our premises came to an end in February 2014 and a new 6 year lease was signed in February 2015. The lease allowed for a possible break of the lease at the 3 year point in February 2018, but the trustees are confident that the grant from the Diocese of Gloucester Development Fund allows the rent increase to be covered and therefore have committed to remain at 37a Market Place for the remaining three years of the lease, starting from February 2018. We hope to be able to move into other appropriate accommodation at the end of this three year term however.

Looking forward

The trustees are pleased to report that following a thoroughgoing review of our operations and costs, our Bishops Mission Order and connections to the Church of England, and research with our regular community regarding their hopes and needs for the future, we are in a good position to face the future. We have recruited three new trustees who bring new skills and connections to help us deliver wise governance, and we are optimistic that we can successfully launch and deliver an Intern Scheme to help our young people face their futures with confidence. Two new grants have been received which give us security to develop this work and further grants will be sought this financial year. I am extremely grateful to the trustees, staff and volunteers for their hard work and resilience during this time of review, and to the Diocese of Gloucester for their support this year. The trustees are thankful that we celebrated ten years of the Upper Room being open, in February 2018, and look forward to the future with renewed hope and faith.


On behalf of the Trustees, Rev Kim Brown, Chair. May 2018 



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