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Good morning ladies and gentleman, boys and girls and welcome to this special event, and I hope you all have a wonderful day. This event is incorporating the official launch of the BCRT, and I have been asked to give a small talk regarding the Trust and hopefully this will help to answer some of the questions and resolve some if not all of the speculations, and somewhat bizarre rumours that seem to have gone around recently. Firstly, I would like to announce officially that the BCRT is now a fully registered UK charity, and this was confirmed to us very recently by the Charity Commission. The charity number for anyone who may be interested is 1 1 3 8 9 8 0 Some have wondered why it has taken so long to get to this stage, but what people need to be aware of, is the Charity Commission are very thorough, and have guidelines and certain criteria for applying for charitable status, and we wanted to ensure that everything was set up in the correct and legal manner, as this charity is here to stay - so wording was of particular importance when the constitution was discussed and put forward. The Charity Commission advised us of a few minor amendments and each time that was done, the Trustees had to agree it, and sign documentation for the Charity Commission, and return it before the application could continue, so this is not a few weeks operation, despite some beliefs that it was. The Trustees were chosen because of their expertise in either being involved in charities, or other governing bodies and committees. Some Trustees have responsible and professional occupations, and are therefore a valuable asset for the Trust in many various ways. The Trust consists of 3 Trustees A Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer, and are supported with 7 Executive Group Members, therefore in total 10 people are on the Board. The Trustees hold their post for a minimum of 2yrs as per the accepted constitution by the Charity Commission, and the Commission are completely happy with the choice of Trustees, and everyone who is on the Trust has had all necessary checks done to satisfy the Charity Commission. I will be reading out our main Aims & Objectives , together with part of the Constitution, but as I am limited on time, I won t be reading the whole constitution at this stage, but there will be some copies available for you to read later. This will also be available to see on the upcoming BCRT web site, when it is up and running. I do want to explain for those that may not be aware, that a UK Charity cannot fund an individu al person, and the charity must be open to help all big cats as this is the long term aim of the Trust. But our MAIN AIM is currently of course the cats at Zion, that is our FIRST priority, and until those cats are reunited with their owner and have a safe financial future, that is the Trust s main objective, to do all we can, in any way we can, to help Craig reach that goal. Going forward, the Trust intends to help in whatever way we can to protect, preserve, and conserve Big Cats . Of course our relationship with Craig will always remain strong and
supportive in his Conservation work, but we hope to be able to help other Conservationists in the ir particular field of work, at some point in the future. I also want to put everyone s minds at rest with regard to the attempted fraud that was attempted a few months ago, and can reassure everyone that NO money was lost either by the Trust or the Bank. It was a few small amounts set up online as Direct Debits, and they were set up purely to disrupt the Trust and not to steal money. This was spotted immediately, and security measures are in place to avoid this happening again. The police are investigating it, we have nothing further at this time to report, but the investigation is on-going. People have asked where their money is right now, well it is exactly where they have put it In the UK Trust bank account, no monies have been used from the account in the UK. Trust membe who rs have had expenditure have been paying it out their own pocket, although obviously as per the rules of the Charity Commission the charity is entitled to reclaim reasonable expenditure. Nottingham has paid for itself through ticket sales, and hopefully we can raise funds in addition of that to boost the Trust funds even more, so please look at the merchandise available and try to give generously, as it s for a good cause. If people want to take a visit to the BCRT table outside, to sign up for a monthly donation they can this can be as little as £1 or £2 a month. We are also taking names and e-mail addresses to go onto a data base so we can e-mail people for future fund raising events or merchandise availability. You can collect a free Lionman pen and you get entered into a draw to win a 22 flat screen monitor and other goodies. Any questions regarding the Trust in NZ needs to be referred to Jill, as this is a separate identity, and is handled in NZ independently from the UK charity.
Our main aims and objectives are - As per the Constitution:1) To protect, preserve and conserve ³Big Cats´ that are now considered to be endangered species and to promote the preservation of all ³Big Cats worldwide, in particular but not exclusively by: a) making grants and providing support to enable big cats to retain or gain use of land in safe and protected areas b) helping to educate and raise public awareness about big cats and subjects related to their preservation and conservation c) raising awareness of people in rural areas, communities and villages that live amongst or alongside areas that are or will be inhabited by big cats d) Other such means as the trustees determine including providing equipment and resources.
2) To advance the education of the public in big cats, their habitats and environments. In this clause, ³big cats´ shall mean the four members of the genus Panthera: the tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard, but may include other species of cat that are endangered as the trustees determine.´
Here are a few excerts from the constitution, and as I said earlier there are copies available to read.
Excert 1 The BCRT will preserve endangered big cats living in a protected area. The Trust will contribute towards equipment for policing against poaching, purchase or contribute financially to purchase large parcels of land in order for cats to be released and live safely. Work with passionate individuals to ensure that they take necessary steps to protect these species and to increase population in a safe environment. The trustees will retain discretion in applying funds of the Trust now and for the future. Given that Craig Busch is well known in the field on conservation, the trustees will ensure that discretion and confidentiality, where appropriate, will remain constant at all times. Year to date the BCRT have not issued any funding but our first priority is to the cats at ZWG. Excert 2 The BCRT aims to produce a quarterly newsletter with an annual subscription and update information on their website (once up and running) educating and informing the public of the work and grants/funds awarded and also on Craig Busch s website
Excert 3 The BCRT Trustees and Executive members will not receive any benefit or fees apart from reasonable expenses that is actually incurred in running the BCRT (I might reiterate here that thus far, no Trustees have claimed any of their expenditure).
I hope this has clarified a few points for you, and on behalf of the BCRT I would like to wish you all a wonderful and enjoyable day. Let s see if we can make this day a special day for all, especially the cats we are helping.
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