Improved result for county's showcase

THE Suffolk Agricultural Association, the organisation behind the Suffolk Show, has reported a improved financial performance for 2009. Members attending the association's annual general meeting, held at its Trinity Park conferenc centre on the edge of Ipswich, heard that the last year's Suffolk Show achieved a 2% increase in its operating surplus compared with the previous year, at �368,120.

THE Suffolk Agricultural Association, the organisation behind the Suffolk Show, has reported a improved financial performance for 2009.

Members attending the association's annual general meeting, held at its Trinity Park conferenc centre on the edge of Ipswich, heard that the last year's Suffolk Show achieved a 2% increase in its operating surplus compared with the previous year, at �368,120.

The SAA's commercial arm, Trinity Park Events Ltd, which operates the conference centre also contributed a profit of �26,225, against a loss of �70,896 in 2008.

Income from the Suffolk Show was flat at �1.107m. A 5% increase in gate takings to �457,343 and a 7% jump in catering income to �54,379, reflecting a 7% increase in attendance to 89,431, was offset by reduced income from sponsorship, down from �122,000 to �98,000, and trade stands, from �371,000 to �367,000, both reflecting the state of the general economy.


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At Trinity Park Events, turnover grew by 7% to � �1.064million, with letting income up 26% at �105,000, helped by aone-off �45,000 contribution from the FICC international caravanning and camping event hosted during the summer and a �60,000 increase from other events activity. Bar income also increased, by 12.5%, while catering income was unchanged. Net income from conferences was up 52%.

Despite operating costs being held at �1.25m there was an operating deficit for the year of �264,979, up from �258,324 in 2008.

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However, this included a fall in interest income on investments, without which the deficit was slightly improved at �257,346 against �269,211. And at the bottom line, the net deficit for the year was slashed from �1.383m to �65,593, due to an improved performance by the association's investments.

SAA chairman Stephen Fletcher said in his annual report: “Looking back there is little doubt that as the association entered 2009 facing the deepest recession on record, it was bound to be tough.

“Against this backdrop, the achievements during the year are truly remarkable and are a testament to the marvellous commitment of all involved in the association.

“As ever, the highlight of the year is the show and this year was no exception. The weather was kind, the sun shone and the gate numbers were up at just under 90,000. The tradestand numbers was impressive and it was an incredible effort to achieve almost full capacity in such a climate.

“The show director, Peter Over, and his deputy, Bee Kemball, together with more than 300 stewards, must be congratulated for staging such a happy, safe and entertaining event that reached out into more parts of the community than previously and showcased all that is great about Suffolk and yet stayed very true to its agricultural roots.”

He continued: “Tradestand holders reported good trading on the whole with more than �4.5m taken on items costing under �50. We should be proud of our reputation as the biggest two day retail space in Suffolk. Research taken among tradestand holders confirmed that the show is a 'must' for them and trading on the first day was particularly brisk.”

On the figures from Trinity Park Events, Mr Fletcher said: “The size and flexibility of such an impressive events centre has been advantageous to meet the needs of the growth of the Asian wedding market and the Christmas season flourished, with guests reaching 2,700.

“Running of the bars was taken in-house from June and catering from September, to give maximum flexibility.

“The level of contracted bookings for early 2010 is above average, with identification of new revenue streams from the growth of the school proms market and clients seeking large venues capable of video conferencing, enabled by our investment in technologies,” he added.

Thanks were expressed during the meeting to the show director and deputy, and to 2009 association president Mike Hollingsworth and his wife Mary.

George Paul was confirmed as president for 2010, and Derek Scott was elected vice-president, to succeed him in 2011.

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