2019/2020 has proved to be quite a difficult year for a number of reasons, not the least of which has been the Coronavirus pandemic.

The renovation work on cottages 6 and 7 has been slow due, in part, to delays caused by Stratford-on-Avon District Council over details in connection with the grade two listed status of the properties. Subsequent to that, the trustees had reservations concerning some of the fittings installed by the contractors which could not be quickly rectified due to the restrictions caused by Covid 19. It is hoped that this can be finalised within the next few weeks. Also, due to the restrictions, it has not been possible for the gas supply to be connected.

In February we had a transfer of tenancy of No 3 cottage. The long term tenant was leaving the district and her son took on the tenancy. Quite unexpectedly he gave notice and left in December. The tenants had not decorated the interior of the property over many years and so it became necessary to fully redecorate together with some additional refurbishment. A new tenant is expected to be installed by June 2020.

The necessary work identified by the Maintenance Inspection Report has been slow to get under way as our contractors have been extremely busy with prior commitments. Covid 19 has also played a major role in the delays.

The weekly Shopping Bus has continued to be funded by the Trust as it is an essential means of accessing Banks and Post Offices etc. for some of the non-drivers of the village. We have accepted an increase in the cost of this service as it is felt to be reasonable and it is difficult to put a price on such an important service with its social implications. Again, Covid 19 has reared its ugly head, causing a temporary discontinuation of the service.

Lifelines have continued to be provided by the Trust for those in a vulnerable situation. Donations have been made where a need has been identified and grants to students for books and equipment have been an ongoing priority.

As in previous years financial support has been given to the Shakespeare Hospice, the Myton Hospice, the Primrose Hospice and the Friends of the Alexandra Hospital. The two Air Ambulances which serve our area have also received donations.

Difficulties arose with the Annual Distribution as Tesco changed the way they allocated their gift vouchers, making it impossible for the Trust to purchase them. It was therefore decided to issue cheques to the over seventies as a suitable alternative. This was subsequently done, though not without some ‘teething problems’.

The contractors we use for garden maintenance have, as usual, made an excellent job of keeping grass cut, ditch clearing and hedge cutting etc. We have also had good service from our usual tradesmen who, as far as possible, are drawn from the local community.

I would like to thank our warden for keeping an active eye on both our properties and tenants. Thanks are also due to my fellow trustees for their support during the year, with particular thanks to David McMullen. He has taken on a substantial work load in connection with the refurbishments, which has been essential to the smooth running of the Trust.

David Shaw