Chairman’s report for the year 2019 – 2020
This past year has seen changes to the Charity – some good but some not as we would have liked. Let us look at the good things first.
The objectives of the Association are the relief of people with mobility problems within Chelmsford by the provision and maintenance of facilities, in particular electric scooters, wheelchairs and similar equipment with the object of improving their mobility and conditions of life. The Charity has continued to serve its members and meet its objectives with a vehicle hire service 6 days a week as well as our holiday hire and daily casual hire. Members are welcome to stay for a cup of tea and a chat and our volunteers will happily help as required.
We have looked at our stationery and had a new letterhead and logo designed. It has updated our look, is smaller and more modern. We can now attach it to all our dealings more easily. The monthly newsletters have continued with them being directly e-mailed to those members we have addresses for and paper copies being available in the office and book shop. It is a good way to publicise our achievements and give people information they would not otherwise have.
Towards the end of last year we purchased a publicity ‘aid’ in the style of a thermometer to help us raise funds in the office. We decided to try to buy a new larger scooter and quickly raised the £1,200 required. To continue while the momentum remained we raised a further £600 enabling us to get 2 new wheelchairs one of which had a push aid to relieve the person doing the pushing of some of the work. Other publicity and money raising events have included a ‘Coffee and Cake’ week, a chocolate tombola (very popular as chocolate is always welcome!) a craft sale and regular second hand sales at the city’s market.
The Community Book Shop goes from strength to strength and continues to be the mainstay of our funding. The money taken this year has increased over previous years and the shop has become quite a magnet for bookworms in the town. The Management Board has agreed that it is necessary for the organisation to have reserves equal to the following:
- 3 months’ salary for every member of staff
- 3 months’ rent
- General running costs for 3 months
- Travel costs and petty cash for 3 months
- Additional 5% contingency amount on the above figures
- Accountancy and legal fees provision
The Book shop has enabled us to maintain sufficient funds for us to meet this objective. Heartfelt thanks go to Brian Poole and his team of volunteers for keeping it going so well.
On the down side our membership is decreasing and consequently the number of loans has gone down. It was always thought that this might happen as more and more people were able to own their own scooters but it is happening at a faster rate than expected. We have had, on average, less than 4 new members each month and renewals are only averaging 16 per month. With loans down to under 3,000 for the year, we have to begin wondering if the disabled people in Chelmsford still need us.
As I write this the country is in a lockdown situation. Our office closed on March 20th and the book shop on the 21st. It is not known when we will be able to think about re opening.
I would like to express my gratitude to Geraldine, our only staff member and to Charles and the rest of the volunteers for such sterling efforts. Finally, my thanks go to the other Trustees for their work and support especially in these difficult times.