Trustees report FY0708

THIS DOCUMENT IS NOW CLOSED FOR EDITING - EDITS HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE MAIN ACCOUNTS DOCUMENT

Report of the Trustees for the year ended 31st March 2008

The trustees who are also directors of the charity for the purposes of the Companies Act present their report together with the financial statements of the charity for the year ended 31st March 2008. The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out in note 1 to the accounts and comply with the charity's governing document, applicable law and the requirements of the Statement of Recommended Practice "Accounting and Reporting by Charities" issued in March 2005.

Structure, Governance and Management

Governing Document

The charity is a company limited by guarantee and was formed on 9th March 2001 and received charitable status in March 2002. It is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Trustees

The Trustees, who are also directors for the purpose of company law, who served during the year are named on page 2. Appointment of Trustees is governed by the company’s articles of association. All of the Trustees are members of the company and guarantee to contribute £10 in the event of a winding up. Newly appointed Trustees are provided with a comprehensive induction to the charity through mentoring by established trustees, and the provision of training courses if required.

Organisational Structure

Overall control of the charity rests with the trustee board, who meet as a minimum quarterly. The Trustees delegate the day to day responsibility for administering the activities of the charity to a full time general manager who is also responsible for overseeing the charity’s employees and liaising with others to whom the trustees have contracted to undertake various projects and initiatives. The Trustee Board is independent from management. The UK and International Offices for 24-7 Prayer reside in the UK. The Trustees do not oversee the entire International movement, but are accountable for all funds held in the UK whether they are used for either International or UK based activities.

Major Risks

The major risks to which the charity is exposed, as identified by the trustees, have been reviewed and systems or procedures have been established to manage those risks.

Objectives and Activities

Objects

The charity’s object is the advancement of the Christian faith in the United Kingdom and overseas, particularly within youth culture. On 1st April 2002, the charity took over the project run by Revelation Church (a registered charity) known as 24-7 prayer. Its focus is on young people and the principal activities are:

  • encouraging and facilitating groups of Christians to pray through the use of a web site, publications and conferences;
  • encouraging and facilitating the establishment of Christian communities (‘Boiler Rooms’);
  • Organising short term missions overseas.

Aims, Objectives, Strategies and Activities for the Year

24-7 Prayer began as a project in 1999 with a single Prayer Room, set up by the young people of Revelation church, Chichester. In this room they prayed without ceasing in one-hour shifts for several weeks, inspired by the example of the 18th century Moravians who had such an impact on men like John Wesley through their model of ‘laus perennis’ (unbroken prayer). As people were attracted to the Prayer Room in Chichester, word spread and the idea caught on in other churches as well as on university campuses.

Nearly ten years on there have been thousands of 24-7 Prayer Rooms in well over 70 nations, in most denominations and in locations as diverse as the U.S. Naval Academy and a German Punk Festival. Staffed almost exclusively by volunteers, our website attracts more than a million hits every month and we have opened offices in the USA, Canada, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, South Africa, New Zealand and the UK.

Wherever possible 24-7 works in partnership with established organisations and denominations (partners include The Salvation Army and Youth With a Mission). Our Prayer Rooms have been a major catalyst for church unity in many towns and cities as Catholics and Quakers join with Pentecostals and Anglicans to pray. The Methodists, YWAM and Salvation Army have each had their own years of unbroken 24-7 prayer.

Our Prayer Rooms have given rise to two other dimensions of prayer:

1. ’Boiler Rooms’ These houses of prayer combine the dynamic of prayer with a mission station, art studio space, accommodation for pilgrims, active engagement with marginalised people in the community and (in some contexts) a programme of spiritual formation. These communities are modelled on monastic groupings, particularly the ancient Celtic Christian ‘muintir’. We currently have Boiler Rooms established in the City of London and Guildford in the UK, Calgary in Canada, and Kansas City, USA. Our first Boiler Room in Reading, UK was the beneficiary of a Government Grant in recognition of the effectiveness of it’s work amongst young people excluded from school. We have more than 20 other locations asking us to open similar initiatives.

2. Short Term & Long Term Missions We have taken teams of students to pray and obey in the slums of Delhi, the red light district of Amsterdam, amongst students in Belgrade and heroin addicts in St. Petersburg. Notably we have established a major praying, mission presence on Ibiza (described by the Daily Mail as a modern day ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’) amongst the hedonistic partygoers. All our teams work in close partnership with local churches as part of a long-term strategy. 24-7’s combination of mission and prayer has attracted a great deal of media interest, including television pieces in UK, USA and Germany plus articles in The Spectator, Independent and throughout the Christian press.

During the FY 2007-08, 24-7 Prayer continued to fulfil the movements’ basic objectives of developing prayer, building communities, and outreach to peoples and into nations.

Achievements and Performance

Charitable Activities

There were a great number of developments during the year, some of which are highlighted in the next few paragraphs. 30 communities expressed some kind of connection to us globally, about half of which were started during 2006-07. These communities are either exploring the possibilities of becoming 24-7 Prayer Boiler Rooms, or are committed to journeying with the movement and sharing our values. During the year 24-7 Prayer received key funding from the Maclellan Foundation in the US, which has helped resource the development of these communities in the UK and Europe.

Over 1000 prayer rooms took place in over 50 nations this year, and mission teams from the UK and Ireland have travelled to many locations globally including Ibiza, Mexico, and the Balkans.

Our UK tour has been a fantastic success. Throughout the final quarter of the year, the 24-7 UK team tracked across the UK from Edinburgh in the north to Torbay in the south, and 8 other points in between. The team was tasked with supporting and encouraging existing Boiler Rooms, 24-7 Communities and groups of activists... broadcasting the vision of 24-7 Prayer more widely and inviting new people and groups to join in... mobilising support for the movement in the UK. We wait to see the fruit of this investment in the year to come.

Three 24-7 Titles books were released during the year; God on Mute, Pete Greig's exploration of unanswered prayer, Lord of the Ring about Zinzendorf and a current day pilgrimage to his home in Germany, and Writing on the Wall, a selection of prayers that have been sent to us from around the world. All three books are helping us bring our experience in 24-7 Prayer to a wider audience, helping people around the globe connect with the movement.

Living Generously, the arm of 24-7 providing a web-based catalogue of alternative gifts and encouraging a generous approach to living, continued to successfully distribute funds to a growing number of partner charities. This is a key part of 24-7 Prayer’s justice related activities.

10 people passed through our Transit training course in the UK, and 5 in the US. The international training review planned during the last FY has been initiated, and will report back to the leadership in the following FY.

The restructuring of 24-7 Prayer International leadership is completed, and small teams based around Prayer, Communities and Operations have been developed to resource these three key areas of work. The restructuring positions 24-7 Prayer for the next stage of its life as it catalyses prayer, mission and justice across the globe.

As a part of our commitment to build up our financial position and our base of supporters, we held our first fundraising dinner in London, at the City of London Boiler Room. The evening was a great success, and as a result of the feedback gained from the attendees, we will be developing a fundraising strategy over the following year. We will invest further in this area as the charity matures from it's current youthfulness.

Throughout the charity, 24-7 Prayer is enhanced through the work of volunteers who desire to further the work of the charity.

Factors Affecting the Achievement of Objectives

Through a year-long review followed by a gathering in London in September 2006, 24-7 Prayer has rolled out a new structure in the majority of the nations where it work, including the UK. The Prayer and Communities teams are in place and are working at an International level, whilst the Operations team is awaiting a leader. This situation needs to be resolved to ensure delivery throughout the movement is not undermined.

Finance is key to developing the vision of 24-7 Prayer, and staff have needed to divert time from other tasks to engage in fundraising activities. Whilst a corporate focus on fundraising is a healthy part of day to day work within 24-7 Prayer, there will need to be a focus on engaging someone with this role to work for the movement in the year ahead after this issue was not resolved this FY.

The movement hoped to launch a newly redeveloped international website during the year, but staffing problems have postponed the delivery. 24-7 Prayer was able however, to successfully launch 24-7shorts.com, a mini-site documenting different aspects of what the movement is involved in throughout the globe.

Financial Review

Financial Position

The statement of financial activities shows an overall deficit for the year of £11,269 (2007: £6,988 credit) and reserves stand at £17,452 in total. 24-7 Prayer receives funds from charities, trusts and individuals. Various gifts in kind are also given, including support and administrative costs provided by Worthers for Living Generously, and office space in London provided by MLS Business Centres.

Reserves Policy

The trustees have established a policy whereby the unrestricted funds not committed or invested in tangible fixed assets (‘the free reserves’) held by the charity should be between 3 and 6 months of the minimum level of resources expended, which equates to approximately £30,000 to £60,000 in general funds. At this level, the trustees feel that they would be able to continue the current activities of the charity in the event of a significant drop in funding. At present the free reserves, which amount to £15,098 are below the target and the trustees are considering ways that they can be increased in the medium term.

Future Plans

The prayer arm of the movement will work in the following year on further developing audio and paper prayer resources, and translation of these resources into other languages. Communities will be strengthened through further exploration of what it means to be a 24-7 Community or Boiler Room, and through leaders travelling to the Boiler Rooms and communities to discuss individual groups health, and the degree to which they adhere to the values that 24-7 Prayer feels each community is called to.

The movement urgently needs to increase income and regular support, to deliver the vision that it feels called to. Management focus will be applied to this challenge over the year to come.

24-7 Prayer's training review will be completed and agreed actions will be implemented, resulting in the launch of new and improved training formats. This is likely to include an adaptation of the current 'year-out' Transit programme, as well as other Training-options - podcasted materials from our websites and the development of a global 'learning community', in-location coaching for 24-7 Communities and groups of activists in the UK, one-day training days around the UK, etc.

The hugely successful International website, visited by hundreds of thousands of people per month, will be redesigned and launched during the final quarter of 2008-09, after the delays experienced this year.

24-7 Prayer teams have also felt an increasing need to (re-)focus on students and University campuses, particularly in the USA (Campus America) and in the UK... to encourage students to get involved in 24-7 Prayer, through prayer and mission on their campuses, and beyond.