August 4, 2022 | Laura Murphy
Chair’s Annual Report 2020-2021
November 2020 to October 2021, our reporting year, was another difficult period for charities. The efforts of our volunteers and trustees not only kept us going, they also brought us joy as we received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.
Chair Report November 2020 – October 21
This was another difficult year for us as a charity. We were still in the midst of Covid-19 and had agreements from our funders to reshape our projects to address the most pressing need. Consequently we had taken all of our workshops online and moved from employment associated topics to supporting women’s mental health.
We were able to use government grants to move to larger premises over the Christmas break but then we went into lockdown again. We re-opened in March 2021 with Covid restrictions in place and continued to provide online workshops and support. We had an official opening in July attended by Caroline Ansell, MP and Eastbourne Mayor, Cllr Patrick Rodohan. In the following months we slowly moved to in-person meetings whilst maintaining our online workshops.
One of the major difficulties for us was that all grants were shifted to support covid related issues and thus it was increasingly difficult for us to retain our success rate in grant applications. Our supporters stepped in and facilitated workshops free of charge to fill the gap. I would like to thank them for doing so and it demonstrates the strength of the mutual support community we are establishing. One bright light was we received notification of a successful bid to the Sussex Crisis Fund for a Digital Ambassador project which would run in our next financial year.
In total we ran 11 workshops during the year, 14 first contact ‘coffee and chat’ events (all of which were online) and 3 Boot Camps (one of which was in person) for emergent female entrepreneurs. Over the year 265 women booked onto our events, with attendance at approx. 153, taking into account attendance at multiple events and 35% no shows. Numbers helped was lower than in previous years primarily, we believe, because we were unable to leave promotional literature in community areas. As a result our profile in the local community was greatly reduced. Sixteen women who attended an assertiveness workshop were credited with AQA certificates.
We had a total of 25 volunteers giving 3,485 hours of their time. We recruited Trustees, Lara Harriette Kshama Shore, OBE, Sophie Mohns, and Priscilla Kendall who made an immediate impact and we thank them for their diligence and hard work joining us during lockdown. For account submission purposes we have also had to note that Lara, Kshama and Sophie have since stepped down as trustees. It was a great disappointment to receive their resignations as they brought so much to us in the time they were here. Sadly we too lost Amanda Andersson as one of our trustees. Amanda had been involved with WayfinderWoman for many years and we miss her enormously.
Those who maintain the Hub (six) were trained as mental health first aiders. I want to thank them all for their support and the welcoming atmosphere they have produced. Visitors have said they feel safe and everyone is so friendly. Thanks to all our volunteers’ enormous efforts we were proud to receive the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in June 2021. Sadly Covid restrictions meant we had to wait to physically receive the award.
Visitor numbers slowly grew as covid restrictions eased with 58 enquiries via the Hub over the period. There continued to be a high proportion of mental health referrals and, increasingly, financial issues. I see this demand increasing as the cost of living hits women and families.
We had three major fundraising projects: The Vintage Fayre in August and Pier 2 Peer in September, whilst our long running fundraising project to publish the lockdown stories from women continued. Thanks go to everyone who threw their full energies into the planning and marshalling of these events. Whilst the ultimate aim is to raise funds, we also know that these activities help to develop friendships and generate a lot of fun and laughter. Long may that continue.
Laura Murphy, Chair
(The accounts can be viewed on the Charity Commission website)
Share this article