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Victory for campaign to save RIBA Trust

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Campaigners have welcomed an institute ‘u-turn’ which could see the RIBA Trust reborn and renamed the British Architectural Trust Board

Paul Davis who was one of the key critics of the RIBA’s decision to scrap the Trust said he was ‘extremely relieved’ by a resurrection deal unveiled at RIBA Council yesterday.

The Trust, which looked after RIBA cultural activities was, abolished and effectively brought ‘in-house’ late last year as part of a package of streamlining measures.

The deal – which received unanimous Council backing – guaranteed the creation of an independent ‘successor’ board to manage the institute’s library, collections, public programmes and awards.The British Architectural Trust Board is a working title for the body.

The loss of the independent board triggered trustees of the abolished body to campaign for its re-establishment.

We have a proposal which is now workable

Davis said: ‘We have a proposal which is now workable.

‘The key issue worrying many trustees has been the need to have a ring-fenced fund to meet the existing funds of the library [which will continue to be] administered by a new board and library committee.

‘There is a fund there and it is not part of the general RIBA fund.’

Davis added he was ‘extremely relieved’ by assurances the newly reorganised cultural wing would benefit from ‘major fundraising’ activities.

RIBA chief executive Harry Rich added: ‘[The RIBA Trust’s] existing funds are utterly unchanged by this.’

RIBA president-elect Angela Brady welcomed the decision and said she was ‘delighted’ at the agreement.

Plans to hold a ‘special general meeting’ (SGM) where a counter-abolitionist motion will be put to a members’ referendum could now become ‘superfluous’ said Davis.

However Roger Zogolovitch, who launched the campaign, said the SGM was still a potential.

He said: ‘At the moment we don’t have sufficient votes to call the SGM but if the terms of reference don’t fulfil the [required] independence then obviously the SGM is still on the table.

‘We welcome the support of the RIBA council and the continuation of the independence of the trust [and it] having responsibility for the assets.’

The RIBA Trust was scrapped as part of a package of streamlining measures which saw Trust operations cease on 31 December with its board left hanging in the balance and its director Charles Knevitt issued a redundancy notice.

Last month trustees of the abolished body welcomed an apology from institute chiefs over the way the body was wound up.

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