What’s it like to run Wellington School as an educational establishment, a charity and a business? This was the title of the talk given by Martin Reader (Headmaster) and Tim Williams (Bursar) to members at this month’s Wellington Business Association meeting. In his fascinating talk Mr Reader gave us an insight into what it is like running one of the three largest business in the town, with a turnover of nearly £10 million and over 270 employees. He related the school’s history and its aims, and explained how it sourced its income through fees, donations and investments, both from the UK and internationally.
It was also interesting to consider how important Wellington School is to the local economy with many of the non-teaching staff and suppliers of goods and services, coming from Wellington and surrounding areas; not forgetting that students spend much of their ‘pocket money’ in the local shops. Mr Reader also outlined the constraints within which the school operated and the challenges it faced, some unique to a school, others such as pricing, marketing and finance all too familiar to any business.
The meeting continued with discussions about a mobile phone application, a town map, and planning applications relating to town centre retail units. Reports were given of the WBA’s support for the change of use application at 28 High Street, which was granted by Wellington Town Council at its last monthly meeting, and for Tracey Hall’s petition against the change of use of 3 High Street to a café, due for discussion at the Council’s June meeting. Discussion about retailing issues within the town led to the suggestion that, following Mary Portas’ report recommendations, a “Town Team” – taking representation from various groups and organisations in the town – be set up to look at some of these issues, and put in place activities to improve the situation. There was general support for this idea from WBA members, although it was said that the Town Team should not be WBA organised and led; that should come from those most engaged with the issues, such as town centre businesses.
Reports on a number of activities were then given, in particular about the advanced preparations for the Wellington Carnival Committee organised Street Fair, to be held on Sunday June 2 – see media and other publicity for details.
The next WBA business networking meeting is to take place at 6pm on June 19 at David Pipe’s stables, Nicholashayne. Please ring 01823 673245 or 07710 326698 for further details.