GILLIS CENTRE BED & BREAKFAST UPDATE: On Monday 7 August, the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh announced the proposed closure of the Gillis Centre Bed & Breakfast in Edinburgh. This started a period of consultation with those Gillis Centre staff affected.
Below is a statement from the Trustees outlining why they reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that the proposed closure of the Gillis Centre Bed & Breakfast was in the best interests of good charitable governance. It also pays tribute to the hard working staff at the Centre and offers them every support in the months to come.
Statement by the Trustees of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh
The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh is a Scottish Charitable Trust and, as such, is subject to the laws and regulations which govern registered charities and their operations.
According to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, the trustees of a charity are responsible in Scots law “for the charity’s governance and strategy, and for making sure that the charity is administered effectively”.
Following the closure of Gillis College in 1993, the then Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese decided to utilise the vacated seminary building as a bed and breakfast operation with function rooms for events and catering. This is known as the Gillis Centre.
The current Board of Trustees understand that these operations were intended to both contribute to the overheads of the building and to generate interest in the activities of the Archdiocese. Unfortunately, the exact model and purpose of these operations were not clearly defined at the time and it remains unclear as to whether these activities, within the charity, were part of our objects or assisted our charity’s primary purpose.
Moreover, in recent years bookings at the Gillis Centre have decreased while costs have increased, directly resulting in losses being recorded for the Gillis Centre operations during the year that ended 31 December 2016. The draft figures for 2017 give no indication of a reversal of this trend.
Against the background of continuing operating losses, coupled with uncertainty over the purpose of Gillis Centre activities in relation to the charity’s objects, the Board of Trustees decided to initiate an in-depth review of the Gillis Centre operation.
At the end of last year, therefore, the Board of Trustees appointed an independent firm of accountants who specialise in the UK charitable sector to undertake a financial controls and procedures review of the Gillis Centre operation.
The findings of this review were reported to the Board of Trustees in early 2017. The Trustees carefully considered the report and decided to establish a sub-group to examine the issues raised in more depth.
Having painstakingly examined all the issues raised by the report, the sub-group subsequently reported back to the Board of Trustees. Following careful consideration, the Trustees reluctantly concluded that to turn the Gillis Centre into a financially viable enterprise within its charitable objectives and purposes would require very significant investment with no guarantee of a sufficient return of income or charitable purpose.
Thus, having considered all the possible options available over a period of months, the Board of Trustees reluctantly proposed at their last meeting that the Gillis Centre (bed and breakfast, catering and events) should cease trading with effect from the end of November 2017.
The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh has now entered a period of consultation with all members of staff who are affected by the proposal made by the Board of Trustees.
The Gillis Centre building will remain the administrative headquarters of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh as well as the premises of McNaughton PhysioGrange, a physiotherapy practice which leases office space within the Gillis Centre building. Holy Mass will continue to be offered in St Margaret’s Chapel.
The Board of Trustees recognise that the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh has been very blessed to have many dedicated individuals working within the Gillis Centre over the past 24 years. This makes the present decision, albeit necessary, all the sadder for those involved in the life of the Archdiocese and especially for the staff at the Gillis Centre.
The Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh
The Reverend Jeremy Bath, Mrs Mary Buchan, The Right Reverend Monsignor Patrick Burke VG
The Right Reverend Monsignor Allan Canon Chambers VG, The Most Reverend Leo William Cushley, The Right Honourable Lord Drummond Young, Mrs Zelia Hope ,Mr Nick Ruck Keene
Mr Alastair Lamond, The Reverend R. Kevin Murray
Edinburgh, August 2017