Last month, you will have hopefully received via your Federation a letter from Jeryl Stone and Lynne Stubbings regarding the NFWI Board of Trustees difficult decision to propose the closure of Denman College (dated 21 July 2020). In this letter and accompanying FAQs we outlined the reasons why this proposal was made, and explained the next stages, starting with the consultation with Denman staff at risk of redundancy. We would like to thank you for allowing us the time and space to sensitively follow the formal legal and HR processes and consult with staff in a meaningful and appropriate way.
As some of you will be aware, our consultation with staff has now been completed (as of 28 August), and it is with great sadness that we must now confirm that Denman College will be formally closing. Unfortunately, despite great efforts from NFWI staff and trustees and the Denman staff, we were unable to identify any viable alternative options to ensure we could address the immediate financial challenges and resume the operations of the College. This means that the redundancy process has now commenced, and the large majority of Denman staff will be leaving us. We know you will join us in thanking all Denman staff for their incredibly hard work and dedication over the years, and for the integrity and passion they have shown during this consultation period, and we ask that you please continue to show them the respect and sensitivity this matter deserves when discussing the outcome of this consultation. We are genuinely heartbroken at this outcome, and know that you will share this sadness with us.
Whilst we are unable to identify any options for maintaining the College and its staff, this is separate discussion to the future of the Estate. Now that the staff consultation has been completed we must turn our attention to the next stage in the legal process, which is the NFWI Board proposal regarding the future of the estate. As you know, as part of the formal legal process, members will have the opportunity to make representations (to be considered by the NFWI Board) regarding the sale of the estate, which is a process required by the Charity Commission ahead of the completion of any sale. Federations and WIs will receive formal notice of this process and details of how to make representations in a dedicated hard copy mailing that will be sent out at the end of September 2020. Members will be given sufficient notice to make these representations, and the completion of the sale of the estate cannot take place until this formal stage has been completed; however please be aware that members will not be given the opportunity to vote on this. The final decision will be made based on financial, practical and legal considerations and this decision rests with the NFWI Board of Trustees once they have considered any representations made by our members.
Ahead of this formal stage, you may remember that we promised that we would organise a series of informal member Zoom calls in September to allow members the opportunity to ask us directly any questions they have outside the FAQs (or to ask for clarification on any of our FAQ responses). We have been as open with members as possible throughout this process, and we are organising these calls to give every member the opportunity to understand the process in as much detail as possible. This is not a formal requirement of the Charity Commission, but it is a stage that we feel is important so that all members have the opportunity to explore the facts and hear directly from the NFWI Board.
You are of course welcome to use this time to also make suggestions regarding the sale of the Denman Estate, however please do bear in mind that your input will only be formally considered by the board if you follow the formal process of making a representation at the appropriate time, as will be outlined in the dedicated mailing you will receive at the end of the month.
The zoom call dates/times are below:
These zoom calls are free for all members and you can book a space using the following link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wi-member-zoom-calls-re-denman-tickets-116573603787
There are 150 places available on each call, and these will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If demand significantly exceeds the number of places, we will organise additional calls.
We look forward to seeing many of you in September, and if you are unable to make these dates/times, please do continue to email over any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerri McGarvie Board Secretary and Events Manager