This has been my first year as Chairman and it has been a very eventful year. We found ourselves having to deal with a number of challenges some expected but a number completely unexpected and time consuming. We were given notice to vacate our office and residential accommodation by the end of 2016 due to redevelopment of the New Burton House site. Following an extensive property search around the Stafford area, we finally re- located our head office operations at the later end of 2016, into Caxton House, which is located on North Walls, Stafford.
We were also faced with the challenge of finding and moving 16 of our tenants who were in the residential accommodation. We used the need to move as an opportunity to review the requirements for our Housing operation and the requirements and expectations of our residents and future referrals.
The outcome of this review was to seek small properties and to move away from the larger institutional type accommodation we had at New Burton House.
I am pleased to report that we have now completed this change and we are now better placed to meet the needs of our referring partners.
Unfortunately, we have incurred additional expenditure as a direct result of the relocation and this is reflected within the years results and outlined in the Treasurers report.
During 2016 the Board also had to deal with unexpected staff issues. These have now been fully resolved and procedures and policies reviewed to ensure that the issues identified have been addressed.
My thanks have to go to our staff and fellow Trustees who helped to ensure that the staff issues did not impact on the day to day operation of the organisation.
We planned our budget for the year to take account of these exceptionalone- of costs and we have managed our operations accordingly and also maintained donations to the hospital Trusts with planned use of reserves.
Last year the Board of Trustees identified the need to appoint a Chief Executive to oversee the organisations activities and I am delighted to report that following an extensive recruitment and interview process, Martin Thornley was appointed to the role in January 2017.
Other staff changes have resulted with the promotion of Zoe Pyatt to the role of Housing Manager and Zoe Davis appointed as Volunteer coordinator. We have also welcomed Peter Ramshaw to the role of Deputy Housing Manager and Trish Hughes as Inclusion Worker.
As always we rely on our loyal volunteers to run the coffee bars and the essential ward rounds. To recognise how essential our volunteers are, we will be introducing a new friend’s scheme by way of ensuring their views can be incorporated into the future plans for our charity.
We also welcome Luke Stanley as a Trustee; Luke has a wealth of experience in catering and is an asset to our Charity. We are now in discussions with the hospital trusts we work with to ensure that our catering service is a benefit to the patients, visitors and staff at all our outlets.
I believe we are now well placed to build upon the changes and improvements made within the last year and I look forward to the future with this stronger and experienced team.