Investing to help safeguard the SVR

    
Ron Treverton-Jones, the chairman of our investment committee and a trustee, explains what our Future Fund is, and why it will be so important:

What exactly is the Future Fund?

The Future Fund was set up in 2015 to provide an alternative source of funding for the SVR Charitable Trust in the years to come. It will mean we won’t have to rely on new fundraising for every single project, as we currently do. Generous donations from supporters raised £500,000, and The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) doubled this to kick-start our Future Fund with £1 million.


How is it managed?

Leading investment experts Brewin Dolphin manage the Fund on a discretionary basis. They report to our investment committee, which is made up of individuals with significant financial and investment experience.

The Fund is managed with a time horizon of at least 10 years, and the income is reinvested. Although we carefully monitor short-term performance, and expect to see some volatility, our aim is to build the fund in the long term, to provide future finance for the Railway and its activities, alongside other fundraising. The Future Fund’s current balance is approaching £1.5 million.




How is it going to help in the future?

The Charitable Trust helps fund many projects at the SVR, such as rolling stock, infrastructure, apprentice engineer training, disability access, education and exhibitions. The scale and range of these projects has increased hugely in the past decade. For example, restoring the SVR’s flagship loco ‘Hagley Hall’ and saving Falling Sands Viaduct will each exceed £1 million. 

We want to build the Future Fund so it reaches £10 million. This could realistically produce an income of £300,000 a year, to either spend on projects or re-invest. 

To give you an idea of the difference this could make to the Railway, this annual income could be used to fund for example:

  • Apprentice training in the Heritage Skills Training Academy (currently this costs £17,000 per apprentice, per year)
  • Track renewal (the Railway generally renews around half a mile per year at a cost of £120,000)
  • Repairs to station buildings (these can vary from stonework replacements at £11,000 to the renovation of an entire listed building costing up to £750,000)
  • Restoring a heritage carriage, which costs up to £100,000


    

How you can help?

There's still a long way to go to reach our goal of £10 million invested for the Railway. Many SVR supporters understand the wisdom of an investment fund. They appreciate why taking this long-term approach will help safeguard the Railway’s future. 

Some people have chosen to leave a legacy in their will to help build up the Future Fund, in the knowledge that this will be a gift in perpetuity to the SVR. Others are pledging a monthly gift specifically for the Future Fund. To illustrate how well this works - a monthly gift of £20, together with the Gift Aid if we are able to claim it on the donor's behalf, would mean £1,500 for the Future Fund after five years. And of course, there would be any investment income that had accrued in the interim period as well.

Whilst we cannot predict the future, we do know that the costs and complexity of the Railway have increased beyond all expectations in recent years. Infrastructure (especially heritage buildings) inevitably deteriorates, along with rolling stock. Even finding the skills to maintain and repair it is difficult, and we must act to protect the future of this valuable heritage.

Can you help build our Future Fund by pledging a gift in your will, or by making a monthly donation? Or would you like further information? Please call 01562 757940 or email fundraising@svrtrust.org.uk