Chair’s report AGM 12.12.15

Dear Members,
The board has had a lot to deal with this year in running the charity which has suffered as a result of the serious ill health of staff at CO and members of the board.

Trustees have visited different regions this year and enjoyed participating in Regional AGMs and events, learning from you all face to face about your progress and issues. It has been a most valuable and informative experience. I visited 2 AGMs in March, Region 1 with Stephanie Beinart chairing and Region 3 with Jennifer Jones, both of which were very well hosted and organised and I enjoyed the chance to speak with members, mix with them socially and answer questions about the progress of the charity.

The Board would like to thank John Taylor, Vice Chair, who has done a wonderful job in managing Central Office during Suki’s absence on sick leave, including recruiting temporary staff, managing and replacing the IT system and reviewing official documents and procedures. During this time, he also prepared the basement at CO for the reopening of the small healing room. He resigned at the end of October to focus on his own life and home.

I also spent a lot of time at CO, preparing certificates, doing admin work and supporting the temp staff. There was a period of time when there was only one temp member of staff on site, so I went up to the office to assist on those days. We have wanted to revitalise the area at the back of the building for some time, and this is now done. I planted the small previously untidy plot with flowering shrubs, lavender and marigolds. They will look wonderful next spring and summer. The access to the healing room is approached by this garden and as there is space for chairs outside it will serve as a pleasant waiting area on sunny days.

We are delighted to report that Jane Stott has joined the board and welcome her input and the skills she adds to the board. She brings with her a wealth of experience in the charity sector, has expertise in Human Relations Management and is well versed in the use of Meet-ups, which is one of our key initiatives. Jane is also a member of William Bloom’s Spiritual Companions and practises healing regularly. She has taken over the office management role from John as she experience in HR and personnel development. Thank you Jane for joining us!

Thanks go also to Claire Lewis and Annie Britt who have done sterling work as part of their roles with the Code of Conduct and Training Materials Working groups respectively and have made a great deal of progress. They have each piloted a Meetup in their area and provided valuable feedback to the Meet-up project team. They have also promoted the idea of instigating tutor assessment and making the student and tutor panel questions more relevant. Tutor panels are held regularly and there are now 9 trainee tutors and one newly qualified. We have all also been discussing developing a new diploma course in healing. Annie has also stepped down to focus on her teaching work and developing The Healing Trust in her region, many thanks for her time on the board.

David Defty has written to members of the Media and Marketing Working Group to outline current thinking about changing the structure of the group to provide three separate sub groups with greater focus on the topics involved and make it easier for people to meet in sub groups going forward.

David has also been working on ways of simplifying the financial reporting requirements for Regions and Centres and making it easier for them to support Gift Aid Claims in the future. He has taken steps to generate funds to part finance those initiatives by having Satwant process old Gift Aid claims and to make sure new claims are submitted on a routine basis. This has resulted in almost £18,000 being reclaimed.

His other main area of focus has been to introduce Meet-up into the Healing Trust as a means of providing members and the public with more opportunities for healing and in so doing achieve a higher profile for the charity with a younger clientele and the prospect of attracting new members. Thank you David for all your help in simplifying the financial processes and being able to claim back all that Gift Aid!

We are delighted to report that since Matthew Manning has joined us in the capacity of Patron he is fully supportive of The Healing Trust, his endorsement of the charity and our training as the best available is truly appreciated:
“The Healing Trust is the umbrella organisation under which all healers should shelter especially in terms of professional training and insurance cover. I encourage all who wish to become healers to join the Healing Trust, it is the only organisation I have ever recommended for training as a healer.”

I attended two workshops with Matthew in Region 3 which were really well organised by Jennifer Jones. Matthew and I discussed the charity and what he could do to help bring us more members, he has offered some great advice about using social media to reach people, and is willing to provide us with a library of links to his research into healing around the world. We have agreed to having his website and Facebook links on our site and he will also put a link to ours on his.

Region 14 are organising a special event with Matthew in the spring, April 23rd, a healing day workshop which will be the official launch of our new website. Christine Bachmann is organising this and it is open to the public and members who will get a discount. Details to come in Spiritus and on the website.

The Duchess of Rutland has offered to host the 2016 AGM at her fabulous estate Belvoir Castle in 2016, it would be a great opportunity if the members are in favour. The Castle and grounds were featured on Alan Titchmarch’s TV programme ‘Titchmarch on Capability Brown’, on Channel 4. However as they are now running hunting, shooting and fishing weekends at the castle we need to have a discussion about whether this is appropriate or not.

Alternatively we can arrange the AGM in London so it is easier to get to. I have provisionally booked the meeting room at Hop Gardens on October 15th should members prefer.

As Chair, I have been focussing for most of the year on finding a company who could work with the charity on a new website and social media. This process resulted in the board appointing The House Media, a consultancy group who have experience with charities, to design a new website and to provide help with updating the image of the charity. The process has reached the final design stage for the page layout of the website and will now move on to adding colours, images and content.

Council have been involved in the process of assessing and feeding back on each iteration of the webpage design process. The pages were then edited according to the feedback. The website process will take about another 2 months to complete and then go into Beta testing live online, when your feedback about it will be crucial for us to deliver the best possible online presence possible.

We have yet to decide on a logo, as the 14 we looked at were not felt to have enough impact. Members have been emailed to invite them to submit their own designs and the board and council will make a decision before the website goes live.
I have also approached a very experienced designer, responsible for designing all of Neals Yard’s branding and merchandise. He is a deeply spiritual and esoterically knowledgeable person who is capable of providing us with a better logo. His design will be considered along with those submitted by members and a decision will be made by all members voting for their personal choice.

And now an appeal….we really need your help. Not just with feedback for the website, but with a number of projects including Spiritus. Do you or anyone you know have experience of editing for magazines? If you are able to help please approach one of us today to volunteer, we need an editor compiler to work with our layout person for future issues of Spiritus.

Well that’s all for now, I do hope next year brings you all health, prosperity and happiness.

***** Season’s Greetings! *****

Heather Harte