AGM - Chair's Report
- 22 January 2016
- Group News
Last night (Thursday 21st Jan 2016) was our AGM. This is the meeting where we give all our members an update on our activities over the previous year, and look ahead to the coming 12 months.
We had a fabulous turnout, with the largest group assembled for an AGM in over a decade. We welcome Sarah to the committee and thank her for volunteering. We also welcome Anne, Mavis and Alan as associate members.
Below is a copy of the Chair's report that was given last night. Hopefully you find it insightful - we look forward to welcoming you to meetings throughout the year. A copy of the report will be made available via our Dropbox account.
The Sheffield Group of Diabetes has three primary aims:
- Provide help and support to people affected by diabetes in Sheffield
- Raise awareness of diabetes, including both its seriousness and prevalence
- Raise funds to help improve the lives of people affected by diabetes in the local community and contribute to national diabetes research
The group cannot achieve these aims without the help of a dedicated, well organised committee, and I am proud to have served this last year as Chair in the company of such an enthusiastic and devoted group of individuals.
Running this group is very much a team effort and we could not accomplish the things we do without the continued support of those on the committee. They freely give up their own time to assist with the numerous tasks that keep the group in such a position of stability and I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Mollie, Phil, Glynis, Mick, Tony, Hazel, Val, Anita, John and Richard for their tireless efforts over the last 12 months. As a group, we are very privileged to be able to call on their help and support.
I believe the group has built upon the great work we did in 2014 and taken great steps forward over the last 12 months, embracing the opportunity to play a more active role in advocacy for diabetes care whilst maintaining our excellent fundraising record.
I’m pleased to be able to report we saw a growth income in 2015 and I believe we do well to continue to meet the very high standards which we set ourselves. It’s a testament to the dedication of all who support us that we’ve raised over £10,000 during the last year.
We attended a number of local events throughout 2015, giving us a number of opportunities to put ourselves in the public’s mind and raise vital funds for the group. We also invested money in a mascot costume for the group which seems to go down well with the public and draws attention to our marquee wherever we are. This is especially effective at allowing us to interact more with families.
We once again organised Sheffield's contribution to the Tesco Big Weekend in June and our takings were significantly higher than in 2014. That event in particular showed what we as a group can do when we all work together.
We were fortunate to be chosen as a charity for last year’s Music In The Gardens festival organised by Sheffield Rotary Club. This proved to be hugely beneficial for us, and I believe we must do more to be at the heart of large events like this in the future.
We took the decision to stop collecting plastic bottle tops towards the end of 2015, but we place on record our thanks, not only to Val and Pete for the huge amount of effort they put into that initiative, but to everyone who helped along the way.
2015 saw the return of our Walk For Diabetes which we held in Millhouses Park in September. We took the decision to open the event up to other stall holders, which I believe proved to be the right thing to do. Anita worked incredibly hard to organise and promote the event along with co-ordinating other stalls. I think we all agree turned out to be a very successful family event. We will learn from what went well in 2015 and hope to run an even bigger and better version of this event later on September 18th.
We ran a Winter Raffle in the run up to Christmas and raised over £550 from ticket sales which is again testament to the network of people we can call upon to help us.
Raising awareness of diabetes is something that can sometimes play second fiddle to our fundraising activities as it is a lot harder to quantify the successes. I believe in 2015, we’ve increased the amount of awareness work we do significantly, and have used the funds at our disposal to provide access to Diabetes UK services to as many people as possible.
We organised a Patient Engagement Event in February last year which was attended by 100 people with diabetes, along with a panel of experts. The feedback we received was incredibly positive, and we’re planning a follow up event, for May this year.
We ran a larger event on World Diabetes Day in association with Sheffield Cathedral who are keen to work with us again in the future.
We continue to have good relationships with local media, appearing on Radio Sheffield in the run up to Music In The Gardens, and Sheffield Live TV picked up on our World Diabetes Day plans for the second year running. We also had some coverage in the Sheffield Star. Using local media is key to increasing awareness of our group and the work we do.
We've grown our online presence over the last 12 months, having almost doubled both our Facebook and Twitter audience which allow us to both engage with those who cannot regularly attend meetings and promote our events. Our newsletter is seen by over 170 people a month which is a great positive too. We will work harder to keep our website updated regularly as this should be a first port of call for many people looking to interact with us.
As a result of the money we’ve donated to Diabetes UK, we now have in place a two year plan of events to help those affected by diabetes in Sheffield. Along with our planned Patient Engagement Event in May, we’re also hosting a Risk Assessment roadshow in the city centre in April, and will be a pilot site for a new Living With Diabetes Day aimed at people with Type 1 sometime in March. We’re also looking at holding a footcare event later this year. Our 2017 plans include another Roadshow, and education/support day and money towards another footcare event.
We’re now in a privileged position to be raising money for 2018 already and I believe this is a great representation of the strength of our group.
We have also forged greater ties with local healthcare professionals to help advocate the work the group does and to promote our meetings and events. We now regularly attend the Diabetes Executive Group meeting run by the local CCG, giving our view on the local diabetes work they undertake. We also remain incredibly grateful for the time they donate in coming to speak at out monthly meetings.
We recognise that this group is run for you, its members and we took the opportunity in October to canvass member opinion on our fundraising, awareness campaigning and group meetings for the second time. The feedback from that survey was incredibly positive and an improvement on the 2014 results. Again I think this shows how we’re able to respond to the needs of people with diabetes. Our attendance figures for last year show a rise on 2014 and we aim to increase that number yet again this year. This is your group and we as a committee work to serve your interests and offer you support in any way we can. If you feel there's more we can do, let us know.
Finally, what does 2016 hold for this group? As with any organisation, it is important we build on our successes and learn from our other endeavours.
As we have already mentioned, fundraising is something we do incredibly well here in Sheffield and it is our aim to build on our solid foundations in the events we’ve attended in recent years, and expand into other regular and seasonal events too. There are challenges though – the ability to secure collection slots in supermarkets becomes harder each year, and we have to consider other ways to raise funds if we wish to maintain our recent successes.
We have worked hard to prepare promotional material and develop relationships with local healthcare professionals and media as well as forming closer ties with our colleagues in both the regional and national offices of Diabetes UK. It is important we maintain our momentum and continue to campaign on behalf of those affected by diabetes.
We’ve received two nominations in the Local Group category as part of Diabetes UK’s Inspire Awards, and we are hopeful that the hard work of this group will be formally recognised at next month’s volunteer conference.
As ever, we rely on those willing and able to give up their time to achieve all of the above and I'd like to reiterate my sincere thanks to our loyal supporters and dedicate committee. I believe we’ve worked hard to open our doors to new members this past year and I hope to see even more first time attendees in 2016.
Towards the end of 2015, we took our first, albeit significant step towards a family group for those affected by diabetes and working to expand on the success of that is a key priority for this coming year.
The most powerful tool we have at our disposal is word of mouth. By asking you, our members, to advocate the group and distribute our programmes and leaflets we stand the greatest chance of reaching other people who need our help.
You are the most important advocates we have and we'd urge you help ensure the longevity of this group by continuing your incredible support.
Andy Broomhead, Chair, Sheffield Group, Diabetes UK