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Posted on: 30th October 2013

This year’s AGM a big Success

Open Road held its 20th AGM and staff development event in October at Colchester’s Firstsite visual art centre.

Over 100 staff, volunteers, funders and guests attended the half-day event which included an excellent and thought provoking presentation by Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Essex.

Robert Smith, Open Road’s Chair of Trustees, opened the meeting by welcoming Nick Alston PCC, Colin and Laura Sykes, the Mayor and Mayoress of Colchester, Councillor Norman Hume, Vice Chair of Essex County Council and Julia Abel-Smith, the High Sherriff of Essex along with all other staff, volunteers and guests.

Robert praised everyone who worked on this year’s Annual Review stating it was an excellent document. He then went on to highlight the issue of Impact; how Open Road, like many charitable organisations, is entirely dependent on public money and how important it is to demonstrate we are using our funds effectively and efficiently in a way that creates an impact on individuals’ and society as a whole.

This is very difficult for charities in terms of showing tangible evidence, in particular for Open Road, as evaluating success is fairly subjective. He then went on to say that we must continue to show in a positive way, that what we’re doing is worthwhile, and that we’re value for money. Robert also highlighted that despite huge growth over the last 10 years, Open Road’s values have remained unchanged and how we still rely heavily on over 200 Volunteers across the scope of the organisation who give their time and energy to help us fulfil our objectives.

Nick Alston started his keynote presentation by outlining his role and responsibility as Police and Crime Commissioner of Essex, a role that was created a year ago. His key objectives are to support and challenge policing in Essex and develop a Police Crime plan. This plan is well underway and includes 8 key areas of focus, Nick went on to outline each area which included alcohol and drug issues, youth offending, domestic abuse, crime prevention and looking at local solutions to local problems. He also stressed how Open Road has an impact on all of these issues and the importance of being collaborative and innovative in the way we all work. Nick concluded by acknowledging the great work that Open Road does and the value the SOS Bus has in Colchester.

The formal element of the meeting was followed by staff development sessions and an Awards Ceremony which gave recognition to Staff and Volunteers for long service.

We have compiled a picture gallery of the day which you can see visit at