ANNUAL MEETING CLAP
We had our Annual Meeting on 29th April and presented the Annual Report for 2018 and the accounts without receiving a single question!
I had previously indicated that I wished to step down as Chairman but as the trustees hadn’t found a replacement I agreed to carry on for a while.
Coleen, the Deputy Chair spoke unscheduled, and gave a handsome tribute after which the whole room rose to its feet and gave me a standing ovation – the only time that has happened to me in my life. It’s a bit difficult to know what to do when being clapped so I clapped back – trying to indicate that Friends Without Borders is a group enterprise and any credit should be shared!
There are one or two jobs I would be particularly happy to hand over – first the football, now suspended till 2nd September. Happily a group called Spirit in Sport is coming in for two months then in order to provide coaching every other week – however someone will need to liaise with them, remind the players weekly and go along on the alternate weeks to organise a game when Spirit in Sport is not there.
The other responsibility I’d love to hand on, probably to one of our existing volunteers, is responsibility for managing the hostel. We did have a volunteer who took this on but she’s now dropped out for personal reasons - and we do have a volunteer who’s currently hostel-hunting – but he’s very reasonably made it plain that while he’s prepared to do that he doesn’t want to take on day-to-day management
SUCCESS STORY OF THE YEAR
The success story of the last few months has been the English classes very ably run by a Red Cross volunteer (an asylum seeker herself) who has now been joined by three FWB volunteers, two of whom with a background in education. The main English classes are on Thursday but we’d also like to expand the Monday classes if suitable volunteers can be found – we’ve already mentioned that at the Staff Meeting we have every month.
HATE CRIME OR NOT
At our last Staff Meeting we had a visit from Will Bergstroem, Police Community Cohesion Officer, and Freida M'Cormack, Portsmouth Counter Extremism Coordinator.
This impressively titled couple had come to tell us about a police initiative against hate crime, defined as perceived abuse on grounds of Race, Religion, Sexuality, Transgender Identity or Disability. They are anxious to gather data about this in order to identify its extent and any “hotspots”.
Reports may be made anonymously and out of police station via a website - our advisers now have the information on their laptops and can help anyone to make a report.
HAPPY NEWS FROM THE FARM
Happily we haven’t heard much about hate crime from our clients who are generally speaking thick skinned and down to earth. And they do receive much kindness – two weeks ago we had a visit from a farmer with some yurts to let who told us he’d be happy to have them used by asylum seekers free of charge in off-peak periods.
We don’t know what asylum seekers will think about farm holidays in the wild but have found a volunteer to manage the programme and are starting to advertise. We’ll keep you posted!
Very best wishes,