Below are the reports presented to our members at this years AGM.
Review of Activities in 2020-21
As a charity providing respite care for children from Belarus, 2020 saw our efforts frustrated. The Covid-19 pandemic and the Belarusian government’s decision to remove permissions for children to leave the country, put paid to any plans we had for the year. Through the summer we saw the growth of pandemic worldwide, unfortunately within Belarus itself we had no information about COVID. Through FOCC GB and some personal contacts we learnt and are still learning about the situation there, some of which has been shared in our Newsletters.
By January 2021, serious doubts were being raised about this year’s visit. It was decided by the trustees and executive committee, to try and get some aid to our families with a monetary gift. We investigated and decided that we could use Western Union to do this and presented our idea to FOCC GB to seek their approval. The reply we received mentioned that Katya (our contact in Belarus) is greatly concerned about the political situation and that no one should be accused of receiving money to support the opposition. FOCC GB also stated that if anyone went ahead, then it must not be in the name of the charity and no charity workers could be involved.
As a consequence, we respected the comments made and decided not to send money at this time, although the option is still there should the situation change
Tony Baldwin, Project Manager 30/03/2021
Plans for 2021-22
Given the current travel bans in place both here and in Belarus, and the uncertainty around COVID that persisted in January 2021, we made the very sad but unavoidable decision to cancel the 2021 summer visit. This was because we needed to have travel plans in place by the end of January if the visits were to go ahead.
There is ongoing contact with Katya, and any news will be relayed via our newsletters as we receive it. Until this summer there are no plans in place, after which FOCC GB will assess the possibility of Christmas private visits. All we can do is watch and wait, again! Also please try not make any political judgments of the Belarusian government on open social media. We would not want to prejudice any future work of FOCC.
We are ready to provide some financial support for our families, conditional on getting approval from Katya in Belarus and FOCC GB. We will also work through our children who should have visited in 2020 & 2021, to see who could be eligible for a 2022 visit. We will also prepare a list of potential new children that could be invited.
Christmas private visits this year remain a possibility, although we won’t be in a position to make a final decision until the summer. In the meantime, we will make contact with host families to see who would be looking to participate. Our plan is to be ready before any announcement made by FOCC GB, so that our requests will be high on the priority list.
Tony Baldwin, Project Manager 30/03/2021
Time has been spent over the past year in producing a definitive list of members of the charity. Our governance states that members must have a current DBS certificate and will remain a member unless:
- Give notice of their resignation to the Membership Manager
- Have not responded to requests from the Membership Manager or Group Coordinator for a period of 15 months or more
- Whose situation has changed, and they are no longer considered by the Executive Committee as being appropriate to the charity
At the current time we have around 60 members.
All member details are held on mailchimp, along with supporters. A regular newsletter is sent out to all contacts on mailchimp unless they have ‘unsubscribed’.
Toni Millum, Membership Secretary 30/03/2021
The following draft accounts for the year were presented. A final set will be created at the end of the month, but it is thought the numbers won’t change by much, if at all.
|Statements of Accounts 01/04/2020 to 30/03/2021|
|Balance at Bank at 01/04/2020||£42,037.34|
|Donations Gift Aid||£1,030.00|
|Donations Non Gift Aid||£2,164.67|
|Bank Balance at 30/03/2021||£44,161.26|
|Cash in hand||£82.42|
The capital expenditure amount is for the purchase of 2 laptops that are the property of the charity.
Janet Wadlow, Treasurer 30/03/2021
Appointment of Trustees/ Executive Committee
The same people who served last year, were put forward to continue in their posts for 1 year between April 1st 2021 – 31st March 2022. This was passed unanimously. It was also mentioned that the charity is looking for someone who can be our Marketing Manager. Prospective candidates should contact the Chair for more details.
Any Other Business
Planned marketing events
It was agreed that we should have some events for members and supporters so they will continue to feel part of the charity. Provisional dates were set for:
- A car treasurer hunt for some time in August.
- Barn dance on 16th October 2021
Conformation of these events will be made at the June trustee/executive meeting.
Planned trustee/executive committee meetings
The following dates were decided for the trustee/executive meetings. Members can put forward items to be discussed by sending them to the chair at least 1 week before the date of the meeting.
- Monday 28th June 2021
- Monday 13th September 2021
- Monday 13th December 2021
It is hoped that all meetings will be in person, otherwise online meetings will take place via Zoom.
Minutes taken by Michael Coveney, Chair 30/03/2021