On Thursday 5th November, staff, services users, supporters and donators of the Charity gathered at Mount St. Joseph’s in Headingley for the Catholic Care Annual Meeting.
Stuart Hanlon welcomed everyone in the room to what would be, if they had existed in the early days, the 152nd Annual Meeting. Bishop Marcus said an opening prayer and talked about the Caritas movement internationally, nationally and now here in the Leeds Diocese this was put into action by caring for those in our local community.
Stephen Johnson, Director of Finance for Catholic Care, talked through the salient figures and features of the audited financial statements for the year ended 31st March 2015, confirming that the Charity is in a strong and stable financial position. Please see section ‘Our Finances’ for a summary of the financial results.
Carol Hill, Director of Catholic Care, provided an illustrated summary of the Charity’s activities over the past 12 months. She commented “we have been so busy and achieved so much that it only seems 5 minutes since I stood up here last year.”
Carol informed the meeting of the development of the children’s services:
- ongoing success of the through care apartments, opened last year at the Leeds’ children’s home;
- opportunities for new experiences provided for the young people in our care;
- continued development of the services for children with a learning disability and the opening of Francis House, the first children’s home to be opened in nearly 20 years, offering respite and short term care.
Moving on to the services the Charity provides for adults, Carol spoke about the evolution of services for adults with a learning disability and how this presents not only challenges, but exciting opportunities ahead, some of which we are already working with.
Finally, Carol spoke about the progress made during the year in enhancing the provision within our older people’s services with the opening of new community groups; the development and launch of Leopold Villa, a sympathetically refurbished town centre property offering 4 extra-care apartments and, achieving planning permission for a new extra-care facility of 32 apartments in Headingley.
Before handing over to Janet Kent, Service Manager for the School and Family Social Work Service, whose Team were presenting ‘Supporting Families in the School Community’, Carol rounded of the year’s activities by saying: “we also found time to maintain our Investors in People accreditation and to launch a new website”.
In her presentation Janet informed those present exactly what the service is about and that our role was one of “supporting the whole school community”. The statistics really speak for themselves and demonstrate the need and value of the service:
|Student referrals||1, 603|
|One to one sessions delivered||16,646|
|School staff supported||97|
The theme running throughout the presentation was the issue of loss and how this impacts on our daily lives. Members of the team gave examples of the work they had undertaken with young people to help them try and overcome devastation in their young lives. Janet was joined by young people from Corpus Christi Catholic College who spoke eloquently on how the service had helped them to overcome the issues which faced them. The star of the show was undoubtedly Kion from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Huddersfield who told everyone his dream would be to work for Catholic Care because we made people happy.
Sue Rix, a Catholic Care Trustee and former Deputy Headteacher of St. Joseph’s in Bradford, spoke of her positive experience of working with Catholic Care over a 30 year period. She issued a challenge to all Governing Bodies who do not currently use the service as to why not, as “the value of the service is worth every penny”.
The presentation concluded with the key message that Catholic Care in the school community really do make a difference and are committed to helping young people to reach their full potential.
Formalities over, everyone relaxed over tea and cake.