The Steam Museum Trust which runs the Ramsgate Maritime Museum appears to be sailing through choppy waters. According to the Charities Commission website the Trust’s annual return and accounts for 2014 are 158 days overdue. This is not the first time accounts and annual returns have been submitted late by the Trust. In 2013 they were 30 days late. In 2010 they were 60 days late. Furthermore the last set accounts for 2011 show the charity to only have £38,187 reserves. Since these accounts were submitted the charity has declared an income of £20,385 and spending of £82,683. By my calculations this means that the Steam Museum Trust must have been £24,111 in the red at the end of the 2013. It will be interesting to see what the financial position of the Steam Museum Trust might actually be if and when it gets round to submitting its extremely delayed 2014 documents. Then there is the issue of the Trustees who are responsible for running the charity and the
museum. In 2010 the trustees were listed as being Mr M C Listbrain, Mr M Cates, Mrs L A Listbrain. Currently the Trustees are Ms L A Westall and Mr M C Listbrain. Now I’m an experienced charity manager and although I’m not suggesting the Steam Museum Trust and its Trustees are behaving improperly, the late return of documents to the Charity Commission, spending what appears to be all your reserves and being managed by a very small trustee board, are all warning signs that things might not be going too well for the organisation. Indeed, warning signs such as these were clearly evident in the spectacular collapse of the Kids Company charity earlier this year. I have taken the precaution of expressing my concerns to the Charity Commission and Thanet District Council. After all its best to be safe than sorry.