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Posted on: 25th May 2016

Open Road Newsletter - On the road - Issue 16

Welcome to our second newsletter of 2016.

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Since our February newsletter we have recruited two new Trustees - Professor Nigel South and Stephen Alexander (please see articles on page 4). A very warm welcome to both of them and we look forward to working with them in the future to support the growth and development of Open Road.

We also welcome the return of Mark Eriera Guyer, who is providing his services on a consultancy basis to assist with bringing in new funding streams from a variety of different sources, to add value to our commissioned services, for the benefits of our clients.

We held two planning days during the last two months, for Trustees and senior managers - called “Facing The Future”, to look at how we can retain existing contracts and obtain new ones, in line with our strategic plan. These were facilitated by Charlotte Fitzgerald and there was very positive feedback from all who attended, with lots of new ideas and actions to take forward into the future.

We held a very successful consultation event for our service users from across the whole of Essex in March to hear directly from them what they thought was working well, what wasn’t working so well, where there were gaps in service provision and new ideas to take forward. We also consulted them on our mission, values, strap line and how they would like to be referred to. They were tasked to go away to review these areas and will feedback at our next event in May. However, it was unanimous, that they preferred to be called “clients” as opposed to “service users”.

We are in the process of organising our annual charity ball. This year it will take place on Saturday 1st October at Le Talbooth in Dedham. Tickets can be purchased from head office at £65 per person, tables of 10 or 12 guests. We are also looking for good quality raffle and auction prizes, so please contact me if you can help. We aim to raise in the region of £12,000.

We had a visit in March from one of our Patrons, Sir Bob Russell. As a result of his visit, he has invited our clients from the Colchester centre to help him with his allotment, which has provided an excellent diversionary resource.

We would also like to thank Jack Tinson, for his extremely generous donation and continued support over many years.

We were delighted to be awarded a High Sheriff’s award for our Essex Appropriate Adult service, and Kevin Shepherd, Wayne Powell, Anna Trudgian and myself attended the awards ceremony at Hylands House in March and received a cheque for £1,000 towards training our volunteers.

We have also been shortlisted for the National Charity Awards for our SOS Bus project and will know the outcome when we attend the awards ceremony in May - so fingers crossed.

And finally, at the end of April we said a very sad goodbye to Wayne Powell, Essex Appropriate Adult and SOS Bus Manager, who is leaving us to take up a new position with the East of England Ambulance Service, after 8 years of working with Open Road. He will be sadly missed. However, a warm welcome to Steve Wood, who is taking over from Wayne, having worked on numerous projects for Open Road over the last 18 years, so we feel that both projects are still in safe hands.