Annual General Meeting 2003 - 2004
Our last Annual General Meeting took place on Saturday 11th December 2004, where we proudly launched our new website. Therefore our theme for the event was that of celebration.
The MSCTG team feels that these words sum up our feelings about the year “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution” Quotation from Khalil Gibran (1883 – 1931) a poet and philosopher.
We would like to thank all of you who attended, especially our volunteers on the night who came early and left late!
The Amadiyya Muslim Association who generously donated £3000 to our group from a Charity Walk they organised in 2003. MSCTG would also like to thank Lola Barrett of MVSC and MUN who walked for us supporting our group and raising money for a variety of good causes.
We would like to thank our speakers on the night, Pastor Cynthia Olaofe who made a heartfelt speech about being a mother and carer of a Sickle Cell Sufferer.
Daniel Ajaypong Age 13, who spoke about the Young Peoples Peer Support Groups website.
Precious Boakye Age 8, who spoke about what it is like to live with Sickle Cell.
MSCTG presented a bouquet of flowers to thank Stephanie Suleiman of the Wandsworth Primary Care Trust for all her hard work over the years, she spoke to us on the night with some very inspirational words.
It was recommended that we all write to the Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust too request equality in services for Sickle Cell Sufferers in South West London . As of this year the Wandsworth Haemoglobinopathies Sickle Service is no longer allowed to see clients from Merton and Sutton, therefore we urge you all to write to the following address and voice your option about the matter.
Penny Rosser: Director of Nursing, Falkland Wing Nelsons Hospital, Kingston Road, Raynes Park, London SW2 8DB
Tel: 020 8251 0565 Fax: 020 8715 2776
Janet Mountford (at the same address)
Please write in with urgency, this is your service that is being taken away.
Below the Chairs, Project Managers and Treasurers Report for the year.
Merton Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Group (MSCTG) aims are to support people with Sickle Cell Anaemia Disorder & Thalassaemia. Our role is to fill the gaps in service provision within Merton, to be inclusive and work in partnership with other service providers. To benefit those with the particular health, social, and educational needs that come with having Sickle Cell or Thalassaemia and to support those who are the most economically disadvantaged. Our message to the Local government and Primary Care Trust in this community is to recognise that there is an immense void in their service provision and delivery. Currently MSCTG has not been enabled by the authorities therefore the sufferers, carers and their families are grossly disadvantage.
MSCTG wants and shall endeavour to raise the awareness of the disorders and the profile of this Group. We pledge our commitment to strengthen our Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Community to empower them and allow them to engage with service providers.
Supporting Young Families
One of our recent successes this year is the recruitment of our Administrator Finance Officer which has allowed our organisation to develop its systems and service delivery. Through the skills and competence of our Project Manger, Administrator Finance Officer and not forgetting our invaluable committed volunteers, we have been able to pilot our “Welfare Benefit Surgery”. Also with the skills of our new member of staff we are about to embark on a new innovative service which will be that of a web site for our carers, sufferers, and our young people.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our funders, donors, members and general supporters for their contentious contributions encouragement and support in the role we aim to play in the community.
I invite other members of the community to come forward and join our group with a commitment towards our Management Committee of MSCTG. I would also like to thank the existing Management Committee the membership/user group, staff and volunteers for their support and loyalty throughout the year.
Project Manager's Report
I take great pleasure in reporting the progress of MSCTG for 2003-2004. It has not been all plain sailing, nevertheless, I can still say that I look forward to the challenges each day brings.
In December 2002 we started a demanding journey which leads to another great accomplishment for MSCTG, expanding our team to two full-time members of staff. After securing funding in March 2003, the biggest challenge for me this year was the recruitment drive during June and July for an Administrator/Finance Officer. There was a strong team spirit between Staff and Management Committee during this period as we worked together to achieve MSCTG's goals. MSCTG's second member of staff joined the team on 8 th December 2003 .
Capacity Building & Funding
The Capacity Building Programme continues and in March MSCTG was awarded £80,473 by the Community Fund to recruit and employ a second member of staff. This would not have been possible without the support of the Capacity Building Officer (CBO) Audrey Campbell of CEMVO (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations) and the host organisation of the Capacity Building Programme, Merton Unity Network. We worked diligently and created an Action Plan developing policies and procedures to enable the Group to thrive. I attended some training recommended by the CBO, a number of which took place at the Princess Diana's Trust in Westminster and others in Stratford , East London . This included “Business Planning”, “Recruitment and Selection” and “Project Management” organised by CEMVO. I felt that these were extremely relevant and beneficial to me and provided me with the advanced skills to carry out my duties more effectively.
Recruitment of Finance Officer
We placed an advert in the National and Local Guardian, Choice FM's Community Website and other local community publications. There was a tremendous response and interest towards to the Group. After short listing and interviewing for the post, we chose a candidate who fulfilled the criteria and expectations. In December, after accepting the position, Naheed Chaudhry , our “Wiz Kid”, joined the Group taking position as our Administrator/Finance Officer.
Although I had some apprehension embarking on my new challenge of managing a full time member of staff, this was quickly eliminated as Naheed and I bonded to become a strong team, we even began to alarm each other as we were able to finish each others sentences. The strength of Naheed's character and skills inevitably became more apparent throughout the period of induction. She took on her role as Administrator/Finance Officer with a great deal of enthusiasm and embraced the whole ethos of the Group.
At the last Annual General Meeting one of our members, Ibronke Tinubu (A.K.A. Ronnie) who is an aunt to one of our Bravery Award Winners, Mayomikun Olaofe (photo on page 4), joined the Management Committee as Treasurer. We are grateful for her support and encouragement, as she has kept in constant contact with the office by email, phone and even drops in on us, since coming on board. Ronnie has shown a keen interest in her role and will be attending the relevant training to support her current skills which will optimize her commitment to the groups operations.
Young Peoples Peer Support Group
Still focused on our membership and our service delivery, a trip was organised in October 2003 and further discussions were made with regard to the development of our Young People Peer Support Group. This led to us taking some of our Young People, accompanied by their parents to the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the Group's acknowledgement of Black History Month. The Young People and their parents took part in an art workshop with museum staff and their art work was displayed as part of a carnival theme. It was a great Sunday afternoon out!
MSCTG is in good financial health, the main bank account balance was £32,000 at the end of March 2004. The Young Peoples Peer Support Group account is also healthy at £3,286 at the end of March 2004.
New Administration Finance Officer
This has been the year for successful development, which has resulted in rewarding funding. We have been successfully funded by Community Fund for three years to employ an Administration Finance Officer; this is from 2003 to 2006 and the total grant is for £80,437. This marks a mile stone for MSCTG, thanks to Community Fund.
On December 8 th 2003 Naheed Chaudhry started her new post as the Administration Finance Officer. It has been a privilege and honour to work with Naheed. She is a reliable and hardworking person. Her dedication has shown that money is not the primary factor why she works for MSCTG, it is love and identification with the purpose and objectives of this Group. I have learnt a lot from her and she has increased my thirst to know more about finances. Even though her outstanding dedication is apparent, I sincerely hope that the lack of support or any obstacles facing the organisation will not discouraged her. Naheed I wish you every success and a prosperous year.
Benefits of changing of Banks in 2003
In the last financial year MSCTG changed their Bank as recommended by Merton Accountability. Our new bank is now ‘Unity Trust Bank' who specialise in Banking for Charities and Voluntary Organisations. The group has benefited from an increase of an additional 2% interest on income in the accounts throughout the year. This year we have received £392 of interest alone due to this advantageous move.
The group has been successful in using QuickBooks Accounting Software, and this has proved efficient. It is an accounting package to process our monthly income and expenditure. The new Finance officer has attended training to develop appropriate skills in using the package and is doing so confidently. The package allows us to reconcile the bank accounts monthly, enabling us to have a realistic and current understanding of the accounts. This also means that the Finance Officer is able to produce Monthly and Quarterly Finance reports for the Committee keeping in line with the Groups Financial Policies and Procedures.
I would like to recommend that the committee and I review the use of the current Accountants, to secure the most economical and efficient services possible. As it has been 5 years we feel that is it time to tender out the role of our Auditing Accountants and invite proposals from other firms, including Blythe and Co for the next financial year's examinations.
If you would like a full version of the Financial Statement 2003 to 2004 this may be requested from the Finance Officer Naheed Chaudhry at the Merton Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Group Office.