AGM – Chair of Trustees Report 2018

On 3rd December 2018, we had our Annual General Meeting. This is a report given that evening by Sue Softly, Chair of Trustees.

I would like to welcome you all and thank you for attending this meeting .

We have seen many changes in the last 12 months which is why we are starting this meeting directly with the Chair of Trustees Report thus enabling us to clarify our structure and introduce the new faces sat along side us.

Firstly we are sorry to inform you that Pippa Goodman, the Nursery Manager, appointed in 2016 has retired from her position following the long illness and subsequent sad death of her husband. I know you, like us, will be thinking of her at this difficult time and wish her the very best in the future.

During Pippa’s absence, we employed Kathryn Smith (PGCEC BA Hons.) as part time Interim Manager to help facilitate the day to day running of the Nursery. The Trustees subsequently employed her on a substantive contract as Associate Manager two days a week from May 2018. Pippa retired at the end of August 2018 and Kath applied for and was successful in obtaining the substantive full time post of Nursery Manager.

Chris Cale, our Company Secretary and Financial Manager, decided to retire at the end of July 2018. We were very sorry to see him go, but understood his position in coming to that decision. I know you will all wish him a long and happy retirement. The Trustees decided at this point that the role of the Manager of the Nursery would be overarching and the job description was extended to include the responsibilities that Chris undertook. This is now a full time salaried position held by Kath.

In order to support Kath in her post, we advertised for and appointed a Deputy Manager. We are delighted that one of our own staff, Katrina, was successful in obtaining that position.

We were also successful in securing the services of Robin Dean (MBA M Ed) as our Company Secretary and Sarah Dunks (BCom Acc Hons) Lovington Accounting as our Financial Support Officer (both are here with us tonight). Their roles support Kath in the Charitable and Financial Aspects of running the Organisation. They come to us with a wealth of knowledge and expertise and I am sure like us you will welcome them.

The one thing that has remained unchanged during the past year are the Trustees! As the Chair of Trustees, I could not have managed without them. They know how hard they worked and how grateful I am, but it needs to be put on record that they all went above and beyond the remit of any voluntary trustee in sometimes very sad and challenging circumstances.

We are sorry that John Fletcher has now decided to retire. He has been a huge asset to the Nursery and we would like to thank him for his many years of service and everything he has done for the Nursery.

We hope to appoint a new Trustee to the board tonight. Dr Natalie Canning is a Principal Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies within the Open University. She will be joining us with a wealth of research knowledge and experience in children’s development and play. We very much look forward to working with her and I am sure she will be a huge asset to the Nursery.

Throughout all these changes the people who held the Nursery together and kept it a safe happy and informative environment for the children to grow and develop in were the staff. We, as the Trustees, thank them so much for their hard work, commitment and compassion in difficult times. They are a credit to our organisation and I know valued by both the Trustees and the parents of the children they care for.

We would also like to thank the parents for entrusting their children into our care, which is a huge privilege in itself, and for the ongoing support they have given the Nursery on a day-to-day basis as well through fundraising. Also a big thank you is extended to friends of the Nursery for there ongoing support and fundraising. One of the highlights of the year was the Easter Egg Trail back in March 2018 when an amazing 120 children took part. The friends, parents, staff and trustees raised £886.83 between them for the Nursery. Thank you so much to everyone who made this such a successful afternoon.

We would like to thank other local groups for their support including the school for their contribution towards the nursery at their Summer Fete and the Friendship Group who donated their Christmas Card savings towards play equipment. These donations mean so much to everyone involved in the Nursery and the children benefit hugely from the toys and equipment bought for their use.

One of the success stories for the Trustees came in February when Councillor Pollock met with Serena and myself and granted the nursery £2,000 for improvements to the outside play area. This is now work in progress which will make a big difference to the outdoor play experience for the children. We are very grateful to him for taking the time to see us and to the council for the very generous donation. Following on from this success, we last week submitted an application to Tesco’s for a grant to further extend the development of the outside play area. Thank you to Serena who took the lead on the application, with support from Kath and Katrina.

Now our new Management Team is in place, we as the Trustees will once again hand over the reins for the day-to-day management of the Nursery. They will be able to report on their work to date and their aspirations for the future, which we as the Trustees find both exciting and refreshing. Our commitment however is as strong and active as ever in supporting the children, their families, the staff and the upkeep and development of the building.

We are always happy to receive new ideas for fundraising activities and are grateful for any help with applications for local or national grants. If you are interested in joining us as a Trustee or feel you can help the Nursery in any small way you will be made most welcome.

Thank you.
Sue Softly, Chair of Trustees