Our Annual Report from November 2021 to March 2023
The Objects of What Next?
To promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment in the Borough of Waverley for the public benefit of its residents and the wider community by raising awareness and providing information on climate and ecological issues, working collaboratively with other environmental groups, and educating the public, local business and other local bodies on the impact and mitigation of, as well as adaptation to, climate and ecological changes.
Structure and Operation
As a micro-charity, we have no formal operational structure. The Chair of Trustees, Dr. David Faraday, has undertaken the administration of the charity and co-ordinates / manages the charity’s volunteers as required. Specific events and activities are initiated, organised and managed by individual volunteers, in consultation with the trustees; they draw upon the charity’s volunteer and support base to run these activities.
From November 2021 until September 2022 , the charity was based in a premises  near to Godalming High Street. Shirley Faraday, a member of the charity, acted as an informal venue manager throughout this period. Over this period the charity ran more than forty events and activities in this venue. In September 2022, due to a change in the business circumstances for the landlord, we had to vacate this venue. Since then, the charity has been operating on a pop-up basis working in collaboration with other local charities and the local councils. Although initially challenging, this has steadily proven to be a sustainable operating model and it is anticipated that the charity will continue in this model in the medium-term.
Since our founding What Next has undertaken the following activities:
- Art Exhibitions: Our Other Mother exhibition and Art Venture exhibition (2 exhibitions).
- Climate Action Workshops: face-to-face and on-line for the general public (9 workshops).
- Climate Action Negotiation Workshops: for local schools and colleges (8 workshops).
- Climate Club: fortnightly sessions open to the public with a shared ‘planetarian supper’ and a discussion based around a specific environmental theme (18 meetings).
- COP Programmes: for COP26 and COP27 (2 programmes).
- Eco-tainment Evenings: climate change / environmentally focused evenings of entertainment with music, poetry and climate comedy open to the public (4 events).
- Fundraisers: The Mayor’s Tea Party, Tales from the Great Wood theatre production and The Mayor’s Quiz (3 events).
- Planetarian Food Project: promoting healthy, sustainable diets, grow your own and waste processing (2 events).
- Eco-theatre Group: writing original scripts, and creating characters and costumes for themed street theatre and the What Next ‘Rubbish’ Puppet Theatre (5 events + regular creative sessions).
- What Next Wednesdays: weekly eco-support sessions, open to the public and now hosted in Godalming Library (weekly sessions with some breaks).
- What Next Lounge / Stall: public outreach on Godalming High Street and at local events / festivals (10+ events).
Achievements & Public Benefit
Notable achievements in our first year include the following:
In May 2022, we were honoured to be selected as the Mayor of Godalming’s charity for 2022/23. This provided us with an opportunity to run more ambitious fund-raising events than we would have otherwise attempted. The Mayor’s Quiz stands out as a notable event, attracting more than 80 people, this event provided us with a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness. We achieved this through a creatively researched set of questions and a novel scoring system based on carbon-emissions; we believe that there is little no doubt that the members of the public who attended left the event with a significantly enhanced understanding of the average carbon footprint in Godalming. More generally, our term as the Mayor’s charity, has provided us with a great platform for raising public awareness of the climate crisis and ecological emergency.
Our Climate Club has been meeting fortnightly since December 2021  and it has proven to be an enduring and inspiring activity. These public events act as support, advice and educational forums and cover a wide range of topics. There is also a strong community element to these meetings, participants bring and share food which is prepared on the principles of a ‘planetarian’ diet (see above) and the discussions are facilitated to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to contribute. Here are some of the topics we have addressed to date:
- What might you want from a Library of Things?
- What do we want / expect from COP27.
- How can I have conversations with friends and family about the climate and ecological emergency?
- The Pros and Cons of Organic Food.
- A Planetarian Diet
- Gardening for Bio-diversity
- How to Consume Ethically.
- What is the Role of Climate Activism.
- The Joy of Compost.
- Grow Your Own.
- A Climate Friendly Home
- Sustainable Food Consumption
Our Climate Action Workshops for the general public, along with our Climate Action Negotiation Workshops for school and college students in Waverley, are another significant achievement. The former has attracted a wide-range of individuals from the climate curious to climate activists, all of whom would have left the workshops with an enhanced understanding of what is most impactful in mitigating climate change. The latter, negotiation workshops, have been organised in collaboration with Waverley Borough Council and were held in the council chambers; three of the events were chaired by the Mayor of Godalming. More than 150 students have taken part in these workshops some of which were also attended in part by local councillors. We believe that there has been significant public benefit from running these workshops, specific examples of individuals changing their behaviour or being inspired to influence others have been shared with us anecdotally. We have also been asked to run additional workshops for other groups both within Waverley and beyond.
The activities of our Eco-theatre Group have also been notable. Their first production: ‘Everybird goes to COP’ was presented in Godalming High Street on the middle weekend of COP26 and created a fantastic platform for announcing the existence of What Next in Waverley. It also introduced the What Next Earth Sprites to the citizens of Godalming and they have been a recurring presence in various shows and activities ever since. More recently, the group have turned their attention to their ‘Rubbish’ Puppet Theatre, a puppet theatre made (almost) entirely of discarded objects and materials, with their production of ‘The Green Lead Awards’ which was performed at the Godalming Green Gala. This group provides a unique platform for entertaining, informing and influencing the citizens of Godalming.
In our first year of operation we have had turnover £7,675. We have received £5,207 in donations, £1,570 in revenue and £898 in grant income; outgoings have totalled £4,436. We have £3,739 in our bank account, £85 of outstanding deposits and £586 of outstanding payments. Currently, our assets total £3,239.
 First year, November 2021 to February 2023.
 With some breaks for COVID, holidays and changes in circumstance
 Prior to our foundation, we occupied this venue since July 2022.