Hunts Forum’s 2021 AGM (Annual General Meeting) took place on Thursday 2nd December. Following on from a survey of members and the success of the 2020 AGM the event was held online for the second year running. The decision was made to change the format slightly with the Volunteer Awards being postponed until Spring/Summer 2022 when the event can be held outside, in the local community which we will be celebrating.
Patrick Kadewere, Chair of Hunts Forum, opened the AGM and welcomed over 40 guests who joined the Zoom meeting. The staff and trustees introduced themselves before Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunts Forum, asked those present to confirm the minutes of the 2020 AGM as a true record of the event. Julie gave a summary of the challenges faced by the VCS over the past 18 months, as well as detailing the targeted response by Hunts Forum which allowed us to meet the unprecedented demand for support whilst still providing the range and quality of services our members have come to expect from us. Julie praised staff’s efforts in:
- Developing a Volunteer Training Portal which gave volunteers 24/7 access to information on how to keep themselves and the people they supported safe.
- Developing a Coronavirus portal which became the go-to place for groups and volunteers.
- The success of the Recognised Organisations scheme which ensured that every parish in Huntingdonshire had a community group which could help its residents.
In early 2021 Hunts Forum successfully applied for a grant from Lloyds Foundation to research the sustainability of the Maple Centre, long term finances, membership offering and succession planning. As part of this work, an independent survey of our members (new, old, and lapsed) was commissioned with the aim of gaining an insight into how our members perceive their membership, as well as how and where we can offer the most value to them as an organisation. You can see an animated synopsis of the research as well as details on how it will influence our membership offering going forward around 15 minutes into the recording of the AGM below.
Chris Stopford, Treasurer of Hunts Forum, shared details of our income, expenditure, and deficit for the year 2020/21, together with a breakdown of those figures. Chris took the opportunity to thank our funders, he then reported that the accounts for 2019/20 had been approved on 6th October 2020, and the members present accepted the Accounts for 2019/20.
We were incredibly lucky to introduce Debra Allcock Tyler, the Cheif Executive at Directory of Social Change, as our guest speaker for the 2021 AGM. Debra gave an inspiring and uplifting speech on the challenges of the past 18 months and the future for VCSE. Debra drew on her vast experience of the sector to offer great insight and encouraged everyone in attendance to take a more transformational view of problems rather than a transactional view.
“When we fall ourselves into the trap of talking about there’s a job to be done, give us some money, we’ll do it. Then we’re going to end up with that money equally going out to the private sector. When we talk about transforming communities, when we talk about engaging people in making change happen, it’s a different dynamic, there’s a different conversation.”
Debra finished by referencing a quote from George Bernard Shaw, before adding:
“Burn those torches brightly, burn some bridges if you have to, and remember you are incredible, the work that you do is amazing and you are absolutely awesome human beings, and that’s the most important thing.”
There can’t have been many watching who weren’t inspired by Debra’s passion for the sector and her drive to push it forward. The speech was widely praised by members and trustees alike, this is just some of the feedback we received:
- That was amazing and very inspirational. I feel exhausted having listened to her but will take a lot from it.
- Amazing! Thanks Debra and thanks HF for organising that message. I am feeling ready to take on anything after that.
- Great message and fab AGM. Thanks to Julie and all the team.