Our Progress to Date
Directors Report : Important events since 2019
In the first half of 2020, the Covid-19 virus spread worldwide. In common with many other countries, the Irish government issued guidance and restrictions on the movement of people designed to slow the spread of this virus. In early March 2020, many businesses closed voluntarily and throughout the month more restrictions were placed on people and businesses. On 28th March, all “non-essential” businesses were ordered to close temporarily. SWWFRC reacted to these conditions by closing its offices with all staff working from home initially. Whilst all face-to-face work with the community and training and events were cancelled or postponed the organisation continued to be extremely busy and effective in meeting the needs of members of the community and quickly adapted our services to include outreach and on-line work alternatives and communications.
We experienced significantly increased demand for our services and supports, at the same time as experiencing a decrease in income but adapted quickly in response to Covid-19 restrictions and to meet emerging needs within our community. local communities. There was a sharp rise in demand for mental health supports, food and essential home supplies, activity packs for families, and check-in calls for vulnerable and isolated members of local communities
In relation to extending services mid May there was significant works undertaken on adapting premises and around staff wellbeing to ensure staff and service-users can attend at the centre safely from July 2020. We enhanced and adapted our ICT capacity and access amongst staff and service-users thus increasing costs and putting some considerable strain on an already and reduced income arising from the changed circumstances brought about by Covid-19.
However in playing a central role in the local community response, the Covid-19 pandemic has copper-fastened our significance as a source of essential support to families in our area. In the months to come, as the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic becomes more apparent, it is essential that SWWFRC must be adequately funded and resourced to meet the demand for increased and adaptive services.
Overall however whilst there has been a forecasted diminution in income and activities in some areas of our business and the impact of Covid-19 medium to long term is still unclear, the Directors are satisfied that the activities of SWWFRC can continue during 2020-2021 and beyond. We have put all necessary measures in place to allow us to meet current Government guidelines in order to continue delivering services bearing in mind the safety of service users and staff.
Plans for Future Periods
The directors are not expecting to make any significant changes in the nature of the business in the near future. At the time of writing , the company is exposed to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has had a negative effect on SWWFRC’s generated and earned income through room hire, training and other services in the months from March to December 2020. It is uncertain what the longer term impact will be on the organisation. The Directors have to date carried out a detailed review of budgeted activities, both income and expenditure, for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
By making reasonable assumptions, we believe the main activities of SWWFRC can continue with modifications to ways of working, delivering services to the community, and by amending income & expenditure targets & budgets. The Board reviews progress against our TUSLA WorkPlan on an ongoing basis and a specific year-end review was carried out in December 2020 in preparation for the 2021 Workplan. We believe that our work-plan for 2020 can be continued into 2021 and the associated planned actions are still valid and relevant, and we will continue to review performance against strategic objectives in setting our plans and targets for 2021.
2020 was the year that SWWFRC hopes to develop a 3-5 year strategy, and the board have commenced since May 2021 planning events for the development of a strategy during 2021 for the following period.
The Board recognises that some major achievements have recently been realised such as the transfer of The Ramsgrange Centre to SWWFRC and the major building works associated with the Fire Safety Compliance that were completed during the first Lockdown 2020. Significant work has also been carried put on Health and Safety & internal policy reviews and compliance working with towards the Charities Governance Code. Also the workload associated with The Wage Subsidy Scheme and reopening of our childcare services has been notable during the period. This changed landscape nonetheless needs to be factored into our strategy and approach for 2021 onwards. We are delighted to be able to adapt to an online presence for our education and training successfully and hope that with support from current grant applications to enhance our Digitial Technology we can continue to support skills development training and develop as a Rural Digital Hub into 2021.
We will continue to review plans for future periods.
Chairpersons Report on 2018
In this my first Chairpersons report for South West Wexford Family Resource Centre, I would firstly like to thank the previous Chairperson Jack Butler for his excellent stewardship and I only hope I can continue in the same vain. Secondly to director’s past and present for their contributions all of which have be invaluable. Thirdly the manager Sharon Kennedy and her staff team without which none of the incredible successes of this year would have been achieved. Lastly the local community, service users and volunteers whose contribution ensure we do not loose sight of what is our true objective.
The most recent years have been about managing change within the organisation, in terms of programme, personnel and partnerships with Government agencies. It has been difficult to take the same time to reflect on the core values of the organisation and why we do what we do? We have had some chance to reflect on these issues and it is my intention we ensure we take this time especially as we devise our new strategic plan 2020-25. In taking this time it is important we involve all our stakeholders.
Every staff member of SWWFRC, volunteer, Director and member here must take responsibility for spreading a positive and reinforcing message that SWWFRC is strong, resilient and there for our local families. We need this commitment at every level in the organization to begin to repair relationships and restore public trust and confidence in charities like ourselves given the barrage of bad media in the press in recent years.
It is important to acknowledge the work of the existing services we provide to the community. Our childcare services continue to deliver quality childcare to the highest standards and at the same time train individuals who wish to pursue a career in this area. Our Family support service has bedded in well and will continue to support those families in need over the next year. Our Glor programme have increased the number of interventions with young people and their families who require support. It is worth noting these services are hard to deliver and deliver well. The scale of concerns any one individual may have requires skilled intervention and time to ensure they have the support they need. This work is highly commended by our funders.
The Read Programme continues to offer innovative courses at reasonable cost to the local community. All of these services would not be possible without the support of the staff on the community employment and Tus schemes who not only support the programmes but fulfil the necessary requirements to service the organisation in their roles of administration and maintenance.
Over the past year I am gladden by the extent of engagement with the organisation by the community and its service users. I look forward to the next year of even greater achievement and notwithstanding the challenges ahead I believe that we are now in an era at SWWFRC that is transformational and that opportunities and challenges exist and if we embrace them with passion, openness, ambition and bravery can bring to us dynamic programmes and projects to ensure we are around for a long time to come .
Sean Cooke Chairperson
SWWFRC is compliant with the Charities Governance Code 2020