In a recent email to ticket-holders, Castle MCR have announced that they will be keeping 20% of the profits from this year’s Charity Ball. The previous MCR Treasurer Robert Leigh claimed in the email that this money would be kept as a “safeguard” due to the “scope and cost of the event”.
Later in the email, Mr Leigh states: “this wasn’t explicitly advertised in some of our original advertising” and that it was “an unforeseen mistake on our part.”
The email explains they plan to bank a maximum £5,000 of the charity ball’s money.
It would appear from the accounts that in recent years, the wealth of Castle MCR has increased substantially. Treasurer Leigh highlighted the vast increase in the Common Room’s wealth over the duration of his tenure in his last published financial report.
In the report, Leigh demonstrated that the MCR‘s bank balance increased from £19,419.10 in September 2017 to £49,487.72 in June 2019. This makes Castle MCR one of the wealthiest middle common rooms in the University.
With regards to previous Charity Balls, figures obtained by Palatinate have shown that in some years as little as 17% of the event’s profits were donated. The MCR, meanwhile, appears to have kept much of the profits according to the accounts.
Palatinate can reveal that Castle MCR appears to have profited over £4,500 over two of the past three charity balls. Castle MCR’s quarterly financial reports shows that in 2017 and 2018, the MCR donated only £700 of the ball profits to charity. This figure is corroborated by the accounts of Castle Community Action (CCA), the college’s charitable body.
These donations come against a backdrop of charity ball profits of £1,990.50 and £4,106.62, respectively. Last year, the MCR donated 100% of the profits of its highly successful event to Castle Community Action (CCA), a volunteer group at University College. This donation totalled £4,600.
Leigh claimed “the remaining 20% will be re- tained to support future charity balls by Castle MCR”
This year’s charity ball is advertised to be once again raising money for CCA but also Olivia Inspires and Alexandra’s Awareness Campaign. The latter two are charitable causes set up following the tragic deaths of two Castle students in 2018. If last year’s profits are replicated, this means that the MCR will retain £1000 instead of donating the funds.
In October 9th’s email to ball ticket holders, Leigh claimed “the remaining 20% will be retained to support future charity balls by Castle MCR to take 20% of charity ball profits Castle MCR”.
Although there is no explicit mention of the contribution from the 2018 Charity Ball profits in his report, it is claimed by Leigh that this has been accomplished through “shrewd spending, increasing efficiencies through capital investments and profits made from non-castle members through events”.
Some years as little as 17% of the event’s profits were donated
In a statement to Palatinate, the Castle MCR said: “Following extensive debate, the Castle MCR Executive Committee voted in favour of a policy that safeguards the MCR events programme and also guarantees a minimum donation to our chosen charities. We will present a formal amendment to our standing orders at the next OGM in Epiphany term.
“The MCR is transparent in its financial management and must be financially responsible to support the hundreds of members who enjoy our many events.
“The scale of the Castle MCR Charity Ball means that it is not without risk. It is in the interest of our members and our chosen charities that we safeguard the financial future of the Charity Ball.
“Between 2016 – 2019, Castle MCR has donated thousands of pounds to our chosen charities. Last year castle MCR was proud to raise a £4600 donation. The Charity Ball series exists to continue this tradition of large annual charitable donations. We look forward to partnering with Alexandra’s Awareness Campaign, Olivia Inspires & CCA in the future.”
Photography by Ieuan Jenkins via Flickr