Chairs report - Creative Living Centre

Chair’s Report
March 2015
This has been a year with quite a few changes and prospects on the horizon. Issues
linked to benefit changes and fears about reduction in services continue to affect many
of our members requiring increased levels of support and liaison. We have continued to
support existing and new members through a range of activities and groups along with
individual support from staff, volunteers and other members. We now have 239
members with daily attendances varying between 20 and 50. We have delivered over
6300 sessions of activities, classes and therapies with a similar number using the open
space, while there have been 900 episodes of individual support undertaken by the
support co-ordinators.
In spite of reduced funding opportunities and high levels of national need, we are
delighted to have been granted a further 3 year’s funding for the manager’s post and are
delighted to continue to have Liz as a committed, skilled and effective innovator. We
now have three support co-coordinators and welcome Deborah Egan who has recently
joined us and has taken on therapy co-ordination in addition. The Volunteer
Development post has grown further with ESF funding and we thank Ulrike Meister for
the successful development of greater opportunities for volunteers. We have regretfully
said goodbye to Linda Williams, Cathy Partington and Faiza Ahmed who all have in their
unique ways contributed to the development and smooth running of the day-to-day
affairs of the centre. We welcome Glynis Roebuck and Kate Parsons to our team and
acknowledge the impact of their skills already. We also thank the workers who lead the
activities; - gardening, IT training, singing, Boost your Confidence, the various therapies
and counselling.
We acknowledge the immense amount of voluntary work done by skilled and dedicated
folk who provide a range of services; on reception, in catering, in member support, a
range of classes and groups including movement and health focused exercise, art and
craft, guitar playing. Apart from being of great benefit to our members, being a
volunteer has also added to the skills of those who join our team, and together with a
Lloyds TSB funded course has allowed over 100 members and volunteers to gain
confidence and participate in organisations outside the centre. 13 of these were able to
gain employment. The work of the Creative Chances group has highlighted the talents of
many members and promoted the centre through projects and exhibitions with other
partner organisations for example the Met in Bury hosted an exhibition of the
photographs taken by our members. We have also benefited from five health and social
care student placements from MMU and Bury College along with several counsellors
who add to the service we can offer our members.
We wish to acknowledge with thanks the various funds which have been granted to us,
Henry Smith, Tudor Trust, Lloyds TSB, ESF, being M&S Manchester’s Charity of the year
and in particular, the CCG in Bury for their continued support and approval of our work.
Donations and support we received from local businesses and individuals enabled us to
have another successful Fun Day, build a bug hotel, gain raised beds for vegetables and a
mobile phone set for staff on external visits.
We continue to enjoy working with a range of partners. We again welcomed the
Challenge Network with two visits by groups of young people. We appreciate our work
with Bury Adult Learning and look forward to the upcoming courses they are about to
deliver in the centre. We have also linked in to the ‘I Will If You Will’ programme with
bike rides in Heaton Park
I wish to thank all the trustees for their hard work and commitment to the centre. We
are unusual, in that so many trustees work as volunteers in various roles, rather than
just taking on an official role. Particular thanks to our treasurer who keeps a clear view
of our financial situation. Thanks also to Stan Edwards who has been Chair over this
period and is invaluable in alerting us to current thinking and planning with the local
statutory health field. Though he resigned recently we look forward to continuing the
relationship and working with him in different ways. We also had to say goodbye to
Emily Williams who had to resign due to work commitments. We have had interest from
several people about becoming trustees and look forward to welcoming more to our
team. We welcome Jenny Flaherty as a full trustee rather than a co-opted member of
the board. She has been instrumental in developing our business plan and supporting
the centre and its members.
I would like to highlight particular aspects and developments which have taken place
this year:
Further development of the 5 area programme which enables members to identify their
priority needs within Confidence and Communication, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing,
Finance and Budgeting Skills, Physical Health, and Employability Skills
Further development of person centred measurement tools to enable accurate
reporting on progress for individuals
Good management of emotional support, review and participation for members to
maximise individual benefit from attendance at the centre
Increased range of classes and groups linked to the five area programme to ensure
everyone can address their priorities
Creating Chances for members and volunteers to work together on projects inside and
outside the centre including a very successful arts and crafts exhibition with tea and
cakes and a photography exhibition in the centre and now at the Met in Bury
A more complex database system which will allow us to record, evaluate and report on
progress and activities with greater ease.
A stronger emphasis on personal development by agreed participation in various
activities and therapeutic opportunities within the centre to enhance individual skills,
increase confidence and communication and self-esteem.
A slight reduction in Open Space hours to enable staff to better plan and organise
individual interventions, encourage members participation in groups which extend
beyond these hours and maximise opportunities for active social interaction
In the coming year, as ever, we will seek further funding to sustain existing and
projected activity. We wish to link with local groups and organisations to provide a
more coherent, co-ordinated and recognised set of support services both statutory and
voluntary in our local area. The increased recognition of the need to enhance mental
health provision is welcome and we hope to play our part in supporting this for local
It may well be that we will relocate this coming year but we assure our members and
partners that the work of the centre will continue to promote our holistic, rounded and
individually tailored service for existing and new members. We also plan to extend
opportunities into the evening to support those who may be in work but need support
around their mental wellbeing
Lastly but not at all least I would like to thank our members on their continuing
enthusiasm for our centre, for all they do to support each other and their often stated
appreciation for the staff and volunteers and the benefits they gain.
Barbara Heron
Chair, Board of Trustees