Chairman's Report 2014
- 16 January 2015
- Group News
Below is the report given to the Chairman to the group at the 2015 AGM (15th Jan). If you have any comments on it, please get in touch and let us know.
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.
We were of course, incredibly shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Darren Blackbourn in late December who had previously served the committee as website co-ordinator and latterly as an associate member of the committee. Our thoughts remain with Hazel and Tony at this difficult time.
The group has taken some great steps over the last 12 months, embracing the opportunity to be part of new events and play a more active role in advocacy for diabetes care.
Supermarket and store collections continue to be the lifeblood of the group. The money we raise throughout the year goes a long way to covering the costs of running the Sheffield Group and these remain as important as ever. We face the same challenges in recruiting volunteers for these events which is something we will cover below, but would like to thank those that tirelessly work to collect on our behalf.
In addition to our long standing association with Sheffield Fayre (which was sadly washed out on the second day this year), we have been seeking new opportunities to raise funds and engage with members of the public. We ran a small stall at the Sheffield Wednesday event "Owls In The Park" in July which allowed us to reach the thousands of people that attended and raise money at the same time. I'm hopeful we will be able to attend this event in 2015.
We organised Sheffield's contribution to the Tesco Big Weekend in June and whilst our takings were down on the previous year, this allowed us to help Diabetes UK understand the challenges we face and we are hopeful the organisation of this year's Big Collection will reflect our feedback.
The extensive network of supporters that Val and Pete have developed has lead to a huge number of plastic bottle tops being collected and has raised hundreds of pounds for the group. Being able to engage supporters in this way is vital to the way a group like ours operates.
The final fundraising point to cover from 2014 was our Walk For Diabetes which we held in Millhouses Park in September. Val and Anita worked incredibly hard to organise and promote the event which I think we all agree turned out to be a very successful family event. We are looking to build on this for 2015 and hope to run an even bigger and better version of this event later on this year.
We in Sheffield are the most successful fundraising group in the region by quite some distance, having raised £190,000 for Diabetes UK since 1993 (including this year's figures). It's reassuring to know that the work we do and the money we raise is so significant and has the potential to make a real difference to those affected by diabetes.
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. That said, we now have a large library of both Diabetes UK literature and our own promotional material to distribute at our events and collections. It's fair to say that we perhaps did not proactively distribute this across the city as much as we could have last year, but this is something we are already working towards improving this year.
We also trod new ground with our awareness campaigning last year, writing an official response to the Sheffield CCG regarding the annual National Diabetes Audit and holding an event in Peace Gardens to mark World Diabetes Day in November.
We are also starting to form greater relationships with local media, with Radio Sheffield broadcasting from our Walk For Diabetes in September, and Sheffield Live TV picking up on our World Diabetes Day plans. 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 also assisted regional events throughout the year, with volunteers helping out at the Diabetes UK cheer point for the Great Yorkshire Run which was held in Sheffield in September, and by promoting the work that Diabetes UK does in a bid to become First Group's Charity of the Year.
We're growing our online presence and have both Facebook and Twitter accounts which allow us to both engage with those who cannot regularly attend meetings and promote our events. We also have a new website which is easier to navigate and manage and offers us another way to communicate with the diabetes community in Sheffield.
We are holding a Patient Engagement Event in February that will further seek to raise awareness of the work we do, whilst offering people affected by diabetes the chance to speak to local healthcare experts about their experience of diabetes care and how it can be improved.
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 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. It was encouraging to read overwhelmingly positive responses, but we equally noted the feedback around working harder to promote the group and to ensure that the group still exists in years to come by recruiting new members. 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 2015 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 events such as Sheffield Fayre, and expand into other regular and seasonal events too.
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.
The new three year partnership between Diabetes UK, Tesco and the British Heart Foundation will give us many more opportunities to engage the public on the benefits of living and healthy, balanced lifestyle, whilst supporting those who need it.
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. We recognise that recruiting new members and volunteers remains our key priority and we've written some role descriptions to share on volunteering websites in order to try and attract more supporters. We're also working closely with our regional office to engage more with those seeking to become more involved in local charity work.
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.