Words from the Chair 2020

Words from the Chair

Chair’s Report 2019 AGM – London 21st November

My 6-month May – Oct 2019 report is on the website (see Welcome)

The main feature of this past year has been adjustment and refocus after the completion of the Tallinding Children’s Health Centre project in December 2018. This project had run for five years 2013 -18. It is re-assuring for trustees to know that the project ended with a positive five-year review that examined clinical, financial and operational perspectives. Unfortunately, the takeover by the local Council in December 2018 during a visit by trustees has, according to reports, resulted in higher fees and less stable staffing.

As a result of the local Council takeover, trustees have reconstituted the Charity after reviewing its aims and changing the name so it is not specific to the one institution and to reflect a broader mission.  HMRC approved the changes in February 2019 – aidgambia The Community Health Charity (TCHC).

In addition, the BT- operated MyDonate money raising platform for charities closed at end of June. Trustees had to research alternative platforms and organise a replacement. It was decided to put VirginGiving in place and a seamless transfer between the two platforms was achieved.

A further consequence of the transition was the need to register changes with the Charity’s bank so that the two accounts continued to operate. The Treasurer was able to sort this with minimum disruption.

So, all in all it has been a busy time for all trustees in securing the infrastructure of the re-constituted charity while at the same time ensuring a slightly revised mission remaining faithful to core aims. Since February 2019, we have further explored fundraising via EasyFunding, open days, gardening projects and of course the dogged persistence of trustees Jane and Beverly in obtaining compensation for the delayed Thomas Cook flight of December 2018; the compensation made a significant contribution to our funds. We continue to benefit from the generosity of the parishioners of St John the Baptist RC Church, Ilford – a particular warm thank you to its Secretary Marion Dempsey for all her help.

In early November, two trustees travelled to The Gambia to deliver enhanced second round Bendon Bursaries to Chernor JALLOW and Lamin NJIE. We are delighted to say both have been successful and passed their exams with flying colours, Chernor is now in his THIRD year of study and completes his degree in May 2020. Lamin started his degree in January 2019 so we await his end year results. He will start his second year in January 2020. Chernor was nominated by the Ministry of Health as a representative of The Gambia to attend a conference on global health in China. It is his view that being the holder of a Bendon Bursary aided his application.  We were also able to hand over a reconditioned laptop to assist Chernor with his studies; up to now he has had to rely on his mobile phone to access the internet, lecture notes, and submit work etc. As long as the electricity keeps flowing, the laptop will be a massive assist.

Finally, we have re-organised the structure of the website to reflect the new reality. The organisation into projects represents a move towards a range of projects within the health field and no longer focusses on the one institution; the Tallinding Health Centre experience is captured as a 2013-18 completed project sitting alongside other projects. These projects do not just include the existing Bendon Bursary but now includes two new Gambian registered charities with whom we are looking to work closer, Eye Care For All (ECFA) and Aid Japalleh, Health Care Foundation.

Trustees will be discussing priorities in detail at the 2019 AGM and trustee meetings of December and February. It is anticipated that the January visit to The Gambia will help clarify future direction and point the exciting way forward.

As always, thanks to trustees for their work and commitment in what has proved to be very much a positive transitional 2019.