Annual General Meeting
02 December 2020
Leeds LGBT+ Book Club has been meeting monthly since May 2017 and has continued to meet virtually during the pandemic.
We ran our first LGBT Literature Festival in 2018. We had big plans for a week long event this summer but made the decision to delay that until 2021 due to the pandemic. Instead, we have organised three events this year: a mini LGBT+ Lit Fest
in February at Leeds Central Library, then two virtual events: one for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (“IDAHOBIT”) in May and a larger virtual literature festival at the end of July. We now have a YouTube channel
with videos from our virtual events and a blog page. We are also proposing to change the name of Leeds LGBT Literature Festival to Leeds LGBT+ Literature Festival. We can discuss this during the meeting.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have helped organise these events and the video editors who made our virtual content possible. Thank you also to Leeds Libraries for providing a venue for our February event and support with event organising and running, and to those we have received funding from (detailed in the Treasurer’s Report below).
I have loved being a part of setting up and organising these events; I’ve learned so much and am truly honoured to work with such great authors, activists and performers. I’m very excited to see what we can accomplish together in the future.
Current balance = £4,256.06, which includes £50 outstanding from the Council.
2018 Leeds LGBT Literature Festival
£2,677.57 (Leeds City Council’s Communities Team funding, ticket donations and
£1,806.95 (professional fees, travel and accommodation for session runners/authors,
programmes, refreshments, other)
Balance = £870.62
2020 Mini LGBT+ Lit Fest
£817.61 (Leeds City Council’s Councillor MICE money, ticket sales and cash
£766.18 (professional fees, travel and accommodation for authors and interviewers,
flyers, refreshments, other)
Balance = £51.43
2020 Virtual IDAHOBIT event
£350 (Leeds City Council’s LGBT+ Community Hub and Eversheds Sutherland)
£320 (professional fees)
Balance = £30
2020 Virtual LGBT+ Literature Festival
£770 (National Lottery funding, Leeds City Council’s Councillor MICE money,
£875 (professional fees, travel and accommodation for authors and interviewers,
Overspend of £105
2020 delayed Literature Festival
£2804.48 (Leeds Inspired funding, Lush Charity Pot Party and donations)
Income from Superbia interview £128
Flamingos Coffee House Rainbow Cake donations £122.22
Website domain and hosting 172.80
The coming year
We propose to keep holding the book club meetings virtually for now in light of the pandemic. However, once it is possible to hold in-person meetings, we will have options as to whether we continue with virtual sessions, in-person sessions or a
It was agreed that prior to the pandemic there was an appetite for in-person sessions, but needing to physically be somewhere can affect attendance. Whilst it is nice to able to meet in person, it was noted that although restrictions might be lifted,
vulnerable people may not feel able to attend in-person meetings for a long time. If in-person meetings were held, it was suggested that the venue be changed to Flamingos Coffee House, to both support this local LGBT+ space and also to enable
no time constraints; as Leeds Library requires all attendees to leave by 6.45pm. It was suggested that a mixture of in-person and virtual sessions could be held. Given that there were benefits and disadvantages to both approaches, it was agreed that a poll
would be held in the book club Facebook group page for members to decide.
ACTION: Carry out poll as to whether, when pandemic restrictions lift, people would prefer to have just in-person book club meetings, just virtual book club meetings or a combination of both.
It was agreed that it would be nice to hold socials. These might include:
attending the monthly Flamingos Coffee House Quiz;
holding coffee mornings at Flamingos Coffee House;
holding in-person book swap and chat sessions; and
adding some time onto a social for book discussions for those who were not able to attend the last book club meeting.
It was confirmed that the next six books have been planned, which were determined by way of a poll on the book club Facebook group page. The list is available on the website and from the Facebook group page.
Lit Fest “2020”
Originally it was intended to use the programme from the 2020 proposed literature festival for the future event in 2021. However, this has been re-evaluated in light of the ongoing pandemic related restrictions. It is now proposed to split this into two weekend events, rather than a single week long event. The first is to be held virtually, but the second one may be able to be held in-person later in 2021; this can be decided closer to the time.
It was confirmed that the original funding granted by Leeds Inspired is still available for this project. Unfortunately Leeds Libraries could not carry over the previously offered ringfenced amount, but this is understandable in light of the pandemic situation.
Moving to charity/CIC status
The current structure is that we are a book club with a constitution; an unincorporated community group. We are not therefore able to pay volunteers/have aid staff at present.
For such a group, where £5,000 or more is earned each year, it is necessary to take up charity or CIC status.
Earnings thus far (figures rounded to the nearest £100):
2017 – £250
2018 – £2,500
2019 – £300
2020 – £4,700
At present there is no immediate pressure to alter our status, but if we seek further funding next year, this may then become a requirement.
The inclination was towards charity status, because:
we can claim gift aid on donations;
Trustees can hire people, enabling them to be paid;
it can be easier to obtain grants;
Directors can be paid; and
Trustees and Directors are not liable in relation to the funding.
It was noted that it would become necessary to complete annual taxes.
With the CIC status, this cannot be solely grant-based. It will be necessary to earn money to subsidise grants.
ACTION: Everyone to consider whether they have any thoughts as to preference of status. Secretary to check at work to see if she can obtain any further information.
ACTION: It was agreed that the book club requires a safeguarding policy.
Book Club/Lit Fest name
It was proposed that we change from being the book club running the literature festival events, to being the literature festival running the book club. All agreed to this approach. With regard to the name to be used, it was considered that it no
longer needs to be Leeds specific as, particularly with the virtual events, we are reaching a wide audience (even outwith the UK).
It was agreed that the name change should be introduced with advance notice via social media. However, it was agreed that it would be best to consider the appropriate name once we have set charity status in motion.
It was agreed to review the current aims and objects of our Constitution as part of a future AGM or SGM when considering for charity status.
Ways to collect feedback were suggested as follows:
word clouds (where the person identifies how they feel at the start of the event and again at the end);
future based polls seeking confirmation as to what people are interested in/excited for; and
calls, though this was considered potentially invasive and also people power reliant.
It was also agreed that it would be helpful to obtain feedback in respect of the book club, which can be done by way of polls and quarterly requests (all can be anonymous).
It was agreed that all feedback would be logged.
Second hand book sale;
Donations (and gift aid if charity);
Sponsorship – though this was not a strong preference;
Merchandise – though this is likely something for the future;
showcasing unpublished authors;
Zines – in particular experiences of why LGBT+ literature is important;
Affiliate pages with book publishers;
Sponsored reading walk; and
Tickets for events.
It was agreed that ideas could continue to be given.
With regard to ticket pricing, these need to remain accessible and it was agreed that it would be good to retain free tickets for people with low to no income. The prices can be agreed according to the event and this would not be applicable to all events.
ACTION: Everyone to consider what other LGBT+ event runners are doing in this regard.
It was agreed that we would consider what assistance we can get with our social media going forward. It was suggested that perhaps Leeds Beckett students might be interested in getting involved for their voluntary requirements.
ACTION: Explore how we might get voluntary assistance.
Treasurer: Adam and Edward (Co-Treasurer)
Equalities and Inclusion Officer: Eli
Date of next AGM
To be agreed next year.