League of Friends’ 49th Annual General Meeting – Chairman’s report
Chairman’s report for the AGM 2016
During 2015, we said goodbye and thank you to Alan Maidment, who had been our treasurer for seven years. He had ‘soldiered on’ for a long period while a successor was found in the person of John Beasley. John has very quickly proved to be an asset to the League, viewing matters with new eyes. We have also been pleased to welcome Carol Penny to the committee, who, co-opted during the year, is now standing for election..
A major part of our funding is spent on supporting the day services in the Embleton Day Unit for elderly patients with mental health issues. In early summer the pattern of usage changed and the new pattern did not emerge fully until the autumn. The League contributes a significant sum towards this service and there is an ongoing review to ensure that this level of support is still appropriate.
With the participation of Buckingham Primary School, a successful poster campaign was run in the summer. The children designed posters and the winning ones were displayed in the library and on the wards, with the overall lucky winner receiving a Kindle reader. Thanks to Charlotte Brown and Rachel Wilson whose idea this was and who arranged it all.
The house to house collection in the town has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past two years, thanks almost entirely to the energy and persuasiveness of Ros Hutt. The number of contacts Ros has is truly amazing and many of them have been ‘volunteered’ into very productive action.
A GP representative is always invited to our committee meetings and, until late last year, we were pleased to ahve Dr Becky Price as our contact. However, she is a remarkably busy lady and found that she needed to hand over this task. Thankfully, Dr Elaine Robb, Senior Partner at the Swan Practice agreed to join us and it is always useful to have this input from the medical profession. Dr Robb was, of course, our president several years and we are now delighted to welcome her again.
Last summer, we lent our weight to a broad and vigorous campaign against increased car parking charges across the Trust’s sites and particularly against the proposed introduction of charges at Buckingham Hospital. Happily, those proposals were dropped and BCH still has free car parking.
Three committee members have frequently attended the Clinical Commissioning Group Locality meetings, the CCG, of course, now being responsible for commissioning services in this area. This gives us the opportunity to comment on current issues and also to better inform us in our working to support the hospital.
At this point, I must say a big thank you to the committee. They make a good team and each person brings a different something to our discussions. While few members have a specific role, there is usually at least one willing volunteer who take on tasks which arise. And that is the way the team works.
Finally, I must turn to the question of the chairmanship. In 2009, having been treasurer for the previous 13 years, I agreed to take over as chairman from Lesley Suggate…for a period of two years….and I’m still here! But not for much longer. At the last AGM, I was quite specific in saying that this would be my final year as chairman and I have said it so often and to so many people since then that, if I were to change my mind (even if I wanted to change my mind) nobody would ever believe anything I said ever again. So, shortly, we shall come to the election of chairman and, unless someone has a big – and welcome – surprise to spring, there will be a distinct lack of nominations and the chair will remain vacant. What happens after that is very much up to the new committee but I believe the League will continue until a new chairman is found. Let’s not forget: in 2017, it will be time to celebrate 50 years since since the foundation of the League and we would not want it to fall into decline on our watch.
In closing, I just say how much I have enjoyed my 20 years with the League of Friends. It stands now, as it stood almost 50 years ago, to support Buckingham Hospital, its patients and staff and I am confident that it will continue to do so for many years to come.