Sanctuary in Chichester’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at St Paul’s Church’s community centre and was very well-attended. Staff and volunteers had to bring out a lot more chairs after the first 30 or so had been taken and people continued to arrive. We had about 60 attendees in the end.
Chair of Trustees, Tony Toynton, led the meeting, first introducing our fantastic team of voluntary trustees and paid staff, then giving an overview of the charity’s enormous growth since the last AGM in 2019, with the number of people we support more than doubling over just the last year. Tony described how we went from being in the precarious situation of having only £17,000 in May 2021, to £131,000 a year later, due to the hard work of himself and experienced volunteer grants fundraiser Rosemary Harrison putting the organisation on a stable footing.
Tony then gave an overview of the Annual Report 2021/22:
- Demand for our services more than doubled in a year so we needed a lot more volunteers.
- Thanks given to trustees and staff for managing to recruit a large number of volunteers.
- Tribute to volunteers for their continued support during lockdown and pivoting to virtual support, in particular Ellen Thompson who was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to refugees during the pandemic.
- Schools told us the children we had supported (some of whom had arrived just before lockdown, not speaking any English) returned to school better prepared after lockdown than other children.
- Thanks and respect to the trustees who have risen to every considerable challenge over the last year.
- Thanks and gratitude to the grant-giving organisations, family trusts and local donors
- Thanks to St Paul’s Church for the ongoing generosity in giving us the use of their premises.
- Recognition of the support from the Resettlement Team at WSCC.
Next followed the election of trustees, which went smoothly. Tony explained that our constitution states the three longest serving members of the board need to step down at the AGM but it also allows for any of them to stand again should they so choose and subject to a vote of the members, and he proposed that all trustees not standing down be re-elected together. For this reason, Mary Downy, Clare Walls and Tony Toynton stepped down. Mary and Clare stepped down permanently, but Tony stood again for re-election as Trustee and Chair.
As Tony had temporarily stepped down, Trustee Mark Stables ran the election, and then thanked Tony for overseeing such rapid growth and bringing everyone together so effectively.
Tony explained that the charity owes a huge debt of thanks to Mary Downy, for all her work setting up and running the drop-in for five years, among very many other things. Mary will continue volunteering with Sanctuary in Chichester as a befriender and is also providing supported accommodation for a young asylum seeker.
Likewise, Clare Walls continues to volunteer with us in various capacities, and is providing accommodation for a refugee who arrived at her house as a young asylum seeker for a stay of five weeks and has now been living there for five years! They were recently granted asylum and after eight years in limbo (with no right to work) is now enjoying working full-time.
Next, the trustees each gave a summary of what has been happening and the plans for the coming year in the areas of work they lead on: the drop-in, befriending, the Ukrainian response, English tutoring, Women’s Group, adult education, Nations United football (with a big thank you to Duncan Barratt, who has brought the team on enormously, but is stepping away soon – Tony appealed to the attendees to think about whether they or someone they know might be suited to taking over from Duncan), data protection, staff management and fundraising.
Tony had some very exciting fundraising news, that drew gasps and clapping from the audience; a week earlier we heard that we are being awarded a grant of £241,393 from The National Lottery Community Fund, to be spread over three years. Tony said, “This is a game-changer for Sanctuary in Chichester and really will help take the organisation to the next level, ensuring we can continue to serve our beneficiaries effectively, and professionalising our operations. It effectively guarantees the charity’s financial stability for the next three years.”
So everyone was feeling very uplifted and positive about the charity’s future when, after some attendee questions had been answered, the meeting was closed. Reflecting on the evening, Tony said that, “It was great to see so many SiC members at the AGM, and to receive such resounding support for all the trustees who work so hard.”
Visit our AGM page for the full minutes and other documents.