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Posted on: 9th September 2016

Open Road Newsletter - On the road - Issue 17

Welcome to our third newsletter of 2016. I hope everyone is finally enjoying the long awaited summer.

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The new High Sheriff of Essex, Lorna Rolfe, visited our Head Office in July and stayed for lunch, taking time to meet with a variety of staff from across the county, along with clients, recovery champions, volunteers and Trustees. Lorna was very familiar with our organisation, having worked as a Magistrate for over 30 years.

In May I went to Westminster to meet with one of our Patrons, Lord Risby of Haverhill. Lord Risby became a Patron of Open Road in 2014 and remains a very loyal supporter of the work we do - please see “Spot Light on Lord Risby” on page 3.

Our Client Forum has gone from strength to strength, with new members attending each month.They have now set up their own fundraising committee with the assistance of Mark Ereira-Guyer and the first application was submitted to The Big Lottery in July for just under £10,000 for the creation of garden improvements in Harlow and Clacton, plus recovery café and relaxation items. They are also setting up new recovery cafes every Saturday in Clacton, Colchester and Chelmsford. Harlow and Vange to follow in the near future.

This year, our annual Charity Ball which raised in excess of £12,000 in 2015, takes place at Le Talbooth on Saturday 1st October. We still have two tables to sell. Tickets are £65 per head and can be purchased from head office. We have some amazing auction and raffle prizes, such as a day’s sailing on the Pioneer for 12 people with lunch; dinner for 8 people at Layer Marney Tower courtesy of the owners Nick and Sheila Charrington, and many, many more.

Earlier in the summer, Anna Trudgian and myself met with colleagues from NEPT (North Essex Partnership Trust - NHS) to discuss how we work in partnership to support each other, as we were very aware that they were short staffed due to long term illness and vacant positions. As a result, Open Road have now seconded two members of staff to the Trust to support the STARs service.This is proving extremely successful.

This year our AGM will take place on Monday 17th October at Firstsite in Colchester, commencing at 8.30am with breakfast - everyone is invited, but please let us know if you are able to attend, so you don’t miss out on breakfast! Invites will be sent out shortly. Our guest speaker this year is John Niland, CEO of Provide.

Earlier in the year, we were delighted to be chosen as one of the Colchester Mayor’s charities for the year, by Mayor Cllr Julie Young, along with Beacon House,Signpost,The Rob George Foundation and The Invicta Foundation. In Julie’s first month as Mayor of Colchester she raised over £4,000 to support her 5 charities, which is excellent news.

We are currently in the middle of undertaking major building improvements to all our sites across Essex, which is long overdue. However, we are already seeing significant progress to our working environment, which has given staff, recovery champions, clients and volunteers a real boost.

A team of dedicated staff and volunteers attended Latitude Festival in July offering a comprehensive welfare service.They were kept busy throughout the day and night for 4 days, but this raised a significant amount of money for our Charity. We provided welfare services to V Festival in August and were equally as busy. We will update you in the next newsletter.

Our next newsletter will be published in November, so please contact me if you wish to include any interesting articles.