Chair AGM talk, November 2013

Welcome to the HCNCF AGM. It’s been a really busy year for the charity but I am lucky to still be involved at such an exciting time with an excellent team of people.

Judy Shapland and Jackie Richardson stepped down in April from being Trustees, recognising the need to broaden the skill mix. Rachel Booth who is a retired solicitor and Frances Lloyd, a retired professional fundraiser, joined the Trustees and we have benefited enormously from their skills and experience. I would like to thank Judy and Jackie for the many years service that they have given as Trustees.

The fund continues its primary purpose of allowing people to die at home with extra care. We have also supported individuals and their families with reflexology and counselling. We continue to fund on occasions stair lift rentals to allow people the dignity of remaining in their home as normally as possible where space is limited downstairs.

In addition a subcommittee now under the chairmanship of Ted Edwards continue to progress plans for the Information and Support Centre (ISC) This is a really exciting development, which will provide services for patients mostly within about 15 miles. Thus unlike the care element of the fund the ISC will be open to anyone regardless of where they are registered with a GP.

The trustees felt that we needed the protection of being an incorporated organisation as the ISC will involve large amounts of money and because we will be employing staff. Rachel, Ted and I attended a Community Action Suffolk (formerly SAVO) course on incorporation for charities and we are now sure that the new Charity Incorporated Organisation status is preferable for our purpose. Rachel is in the midst of the application process. We are in addition reviewing our governance structure and procedures for the Charity to ensure we are fit for purpose. We remain members of the Fundraising Standards Board.

Meetings of the ISC are held monthly. The general committee meetings for all Trustees and members are held every 3 months or as necessary for fundraising.

We have embarked on a rebranding exercise, in particular the logo, leaflets and letterheads; Barb and Jane have been leading on this with the help of Ann Steel, a graphic designer, (Maui Waui) who has offered her services for free and for which we are immensely grateful.

Taking on the lease of Dee’s Den has been extraordinarily successful. We can’t thank Dee, Billy and their team enough for their incredible efforts and also to the public who both donate to and purchase from the charity shop. Dee and Billy thoroughly deserve their recent Lions award.

We continue to benefit from donations, legacies and fundraising events by the general public for which we are very grateful; I particularly wanted to thank the Halesworth Co-op for naming us as their charity of the year – Leanne Pettit has done a wonderful job on our behalf.

In addition we organise our own events, the biggest of which was the very successful casino night in March. Thanks to Spectra for a large donation towards the cost of hiring the Casino. Jackie held a stall at the Lions Fête and Dot has organised a race night. The recent Auction of Promises, shared with Holton Primary School was very successful and I wanted to thank everyone involved especially teacher Ellis Holt for masterminding and leading the event. Thanks too to Nikki and David Sawkins for another successful cream teas and to the Stevensons for the strawberries.

So many people are involved in a charity such as this. I am very grateful to all the Trustees, committee members and to their families and friends for all the hard work that goes into it visibly or behind the scenes. It’s especially important that we maintain strong band of committee members who are prepared to put in the hard work of fundraising and promoting the charity.

Certain people deserve special thanks – Manon who continues tirelessly on with the general fund accounts and the 50/50 club and Barb, who is now secretary for both the general fund and the ISC; she is very involved in the planning of the ISC. Both Manon and Barb’s jobs are very time consuming and not to be underestimated.

We are all very thankful for Ted’s energetic and skilful leadership of the committee; he now spends huge amounts of time on this project. Jane has also been putting in lots of time and energy, working closely with Barb on the development of the centre and the rebranding process. Jane is also our press officer. She and Nikki have also been working hard on the service level agreement document, which the ISC will need to present to stakeholders.

Many thanks also to Rachel for her words of wisdom on the legal front, for helping us through the intricate process of incorporation and ensuring the constitution is up to scratch. We are so grateful to Rachel and to her contacts for their advice.

Frances has been instrumental in the progress of the ISC and in galvanising the Trustees to prepare the prospectus fit for her proposed major marketing campaign; thank you Frances.

We have appreciated Nikki’s advice from her experience with the Louise Hamilton Centre; she is also very involved in the carers group which has special relevance to the HCNCF work and will do so even more when the ISC is up and running. Nikki and I have also continued to represent our Charity on the Halesworth Health charity board. Their purpose is to safeguard and future proof local health services for the Halesworth area. Progress towards a modern health facility on the Dairy Hill playing fields continues slowly.

Many people are involved in the care side of the charity and all deserve thanks – the District (Community) Nurses, who have been under increasing workload pressure and the Community Matron team. The OT’s Heather and Glynis, who provide a rapid response, personalised service to help people to stay at home. Thanks also as always to the carers who provide the hands on day-to-day care and to Anne for her complementary therapy. None of it would happen without these teams of people and it’s vital that we maintain the integrated services for this area.