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Update regarding Lytham Institute.

Subject: Friends update March 2022
To all Friends of Lytham Institute

Lytham Institute 2022 and beyond

Dear Friends

We’re very glad to be able to bring you better news at last. The future is looking much brighter for our fine Lytham Institute in the centre of town – and it’s your future too!

As you know, Fylde Council is currently sole Trustee of Lytham Institute Trust. In June 2021 they reopened the suspended public consultation for the proposed revised objectives of the Trust. We, the Friends group, along with many others, submitted our response. The consultation closed on 30 June. There was considerable concern across the whole community because the proposed objectives included the phrase “in Lytham Institute or other appropriate premises”. We all saw this as a threat to the future of the Institute building itself because the wording implied that the Trust’s provisions for community use could be moved elsewhere.

The consultation responses were analysed by a market research company and presented to Trustee Fylde for consideration. The subsequent meeting of the Trust, conducted by the Finance & Democracy Committee on 7th October 2021 and at which Marion Coupe and I each spoke for three minutes, gave rise to even more concern about the way the Trust was being run. We know that the Charity Commission has received complaints.

The growing problems culminated in LSA Civic Society seeking further legal opinion from renowned charity barrister Francesca Quint, whose original opinion in January 2019 led directly to the formation of the Lytham Institute Trust. That Further Opinion has now been received and copies have been forwarded to Trustee Fylde and to the Charity Commission. We’d like to express our sincere thanks to LSA Civic Society for their considerable time and effort spent obtaining the opinion.

The key thrust of the Further Opinion is that the Institute building is central to the Trust and should remain so. The wording for the proposed new objectives should not include the phrase “or other appropriate premises”.

Mrs Quint advises:

“It occurs to me that the Civic Society may wish to put forward an alternative provision for inclusion in the proposed scheme, and suggest the following:

The object of the Charity is to maintain [the Lytham Institute] for public use for the benefit of the residents of and visitors to Lytham and the neighbourhood without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, age, race or of political, religious or other opinions by the provision of facilities in the interests of social welfare for learning, recreation and leisure-time occupation and the promotion of culture, music and the arts, with the object of improving the conditions of life for those residents and visitors.”

Mrs Quint goes on to say:

“I therefore tentatively suggest that the Society and others may do well to seek a dialogue with the Council and thereby persuade it to take more pride in the charity and put more effort into planning its future, as well as expressing their serious concerns to the Charity Commission.”

So where does all this leave us? Last week I attended a meeting of key representatives from LSA Civic Society, Lytham Heritage Group and Lytham Town Trust. We all agreed that Lytham Institute Trust is essentially a community trust, calling for an open and unified approach across the whole community. We (the reps) have now asked Trustee Fylde to meet with us so that we can start a dialogue and offer our help.

We are all beneficiaries of the Trust. We all want to work with Fylde to revive Lytham Institute and create a thriving community hub in the heart of Lytham. The possibilities are endless.

Further news will follow soon. It’s a crucial time for the Institute. The Friends need as much support as possible. Please email us at this address lytham.institute@gmail.com for more information.

Regards

Gareth

Kindly shared by Brenda Blackshaw.

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