Chairmans report and accounts

I think I have to start by explaining that this is a report given by me on behalf of the Club’s trustees and not as “the Chairman’s Report”. For the last 7 or 8 years, Nigel Haverson has served as Chairman of the trustees and, over that period, committed a huge amount of time to the role and to the development of the Club. On behalf of all of the Club’s trustees, members and volunteers we owe Nigel a huge debt of gratitude for all of the work that he has done. In particular, Nigel was the driving force behind the completion of the clubhouse extension. Sadly, in July of last year, just after the club reopened, Nigel, for personal reasons, stepped down as chairman and as a trustee. What became clear at that time was that a chairman should not attempt to do everything that running this Club requires. We are very fortunate to have a great bunch of trustees. That is one of our real strengths and all trustees have now stepped up and made sure all aspects of the Club are covered and that the responsibility for dealing with them are shared. I am sure that we will end up with a chairman (or chairlady) at some time in the not too distant future but, for the moment, I present this report as a trustee on behalf of all the trustees of the Club.

The last Club’s AGM was in February 2021. It was then nearly a year into lockdown but during that period we had managed to keep in contact with all of our members and volunteers on a very regular basis. All of us were keen to get the Club open again as soon as possible and I am pleased to say that we were able to commence club days back at the clubhouse in May 2021.

By that time of course, we were able to start using our newly extended clubhouse. One very positive result of the lockdown was that it had given us the opportunity to get on with building and completing the extension. The school was closed and construction workers were permitted to continue working. We had significant funds that had to be used but not quite enough to commit to the expense that was going to be involved. It was then, in March 2020, that we received very significant financial support from Horsham League of Friends which enabled us to commit to a building contract that would involve total costs in excess of £200,000. It was a brave decision to be made during such a period of uncertainty and was going to significantly drain our reserves, but this was a window of opportunity which, if it was not taken, might well not arise again.

We are ever grateful to the Head teacher and staff at Forest School. We couldn’t have funded the new extension without their support for a new lease for our site. We continue to enjoy excellent working arrangements with the school and its pupils (except when their footballs descend on our newly planted garden – we’re working on it!!)

Re-opening the Club in May last year involved very careful procedures, the wearing of face masks, the taking of temperatures, requiring lateral flow tests and social distancing. But it all worked and the Club’s usual happy atmosphere was soon restored.

As you know, not long after re-opening, our manager, Mandy Jones and supervisor Shu Ju, left us but I am pleased to say that that was the catalyst for a much greater involvement on a day to day basis by trustees and volunteers. That, I believe, has had a very positive impact on the strength of the Club. I must specifically mention the efforts and commitment during that period and since of three particular trustees:-

1. Pauline Roadley – our volunteer trustee who stepped up to crucially be available on additional days.

2. Lesley Niven – for keeping British Airways in business with her regular trips down from Scotland and attendance at daily sessions of the Club.

3. Last but by no means least, Celia Williams, who has been a tower of strength on a daily basis in helping to get all aspects of the Club in order.

We are also grateful to our previous Manager Judy and Assistant Ann who both came back to help out and I know members and volunteers were delighted to see them both.

As always, the Club simply could not operate without our loyal volunteers. At the present time we have over 20 regular volunteers, including cooks, handymen (and women). Their involvement was exemplified by a tremendous turn out (in the rain) for moving all of the Club’s furniture and effects to and from Liz Kitchen’s barn at Rusper before and after the extension works were completed.

During that early period, between July and November 2021, we had to decide how we would move forward with the role of manager/supervisor of the Club. We were extremely fortunate that, in November, Renata accepted an offer to take on the role of Club Supervisor. Renata had considerable experience dealing with stroke survivors and other specialist neuro-behavioural rehabilitation at Kerwin Court, just outside of Horsham. She had previous experience of the Club and is proving to be a tremendous asset.

I am pleased also to say that, since our re-opening, the Communications Group, which meets on Thursdays, has gone from strength to strength. It has a very committed group of volunteers and, at the moment, approximately 15 members. The Club has recently created a separate lunch/discussion group which we hope might develop into a group of particular interest to younger stroke survivors but will also enable us to accommodate new members in our normal group activities.

So, I think I can say that the Club is in a good place. Hopefully, the sun is shining today and everybody attending can see the work that has been done on transforming what used to be our entrance drive into what will be a lovely garden for our members to enjoy. There is no doubt that there continues to be a lot of work to be done and, in particular, that we must retain the support that we have from Horsham and the wider community to provide the finance that we require to keep this Club going as a much loved and important part of the community for the next 40 years.

Don Burstow – Trustee
22 March 2022


Download the 2022 signed accounts

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Download the 2018 signed accounts

Download the 2017 signed accounts

Download the 2016 signed accounts

Download the 2015 signed accounts.