CHAIRMAN’S REPORT -2019
My Reports for 2017 and 2018 repeated the 2016 headline in the Chichester Observer – “Desperate Selsey First Responders at breaking point”. I am delighted to report that this headline no longer applies. We are now financially and operationally fit for purpose.
Operationally, training of Responders by SECAmb has been the major problem. As a result we have had, and lost, several volunteers. Therefore, I wrote to the CEO of South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) to advise him that the Selsey Community First Responder service was in jeopardy unless we get our volunteers trained. A positive response was received, initially from the CEO and subsequently from the Director of Operations. Changes within SECAmb coincided with this correspondence and a recruiting period occurred during January/February 2019. Two of our volunteers, Heather Gaughran-Gritt and Carol Jerram, have been trained and are in the process of being validated making them operational.
SCFR’s registration with the Charity Commission ceased in 2010, presumably because our annual income was below the required £5K. However, we remained registered as a charity with HMRC. An improvement in our income allowed us to renegotiate our position with the Charity Commission and, after nearly 12 months hard work by the Treasurer, our registration was renewed. Our old charity number, 1096931, has been resurrected.
The support SCFR receives from the Selsey Community remains impressive. So much so, that we have been able to purchase another car (Kia Picanto) and this is in the process of being branded and should be operational in a few days. Our original and old Picanto was sold earlier in the year for £500. It passed its MOT, but it was clear that expensive repairs would be needed before the next MOT. Presently we are financially secure. However, the Corporate Partners final payment is due this year and the agreement will have to be renegotiated, hopefully for another 3 years. Oceanair has been taken over by Dometic and it is uncertain whether they will accept the agreement made with Oceanair. A letter has been sent to the CEO of Dometic, but no reply has been received to date. I would like to thank every individual and organisation who have supported us so generously throughout the year.
Requests for demonstrations on the application of CPR and the use of defibrillators are regularly being received. So much so, that we now have one Responder being tasked as Demonstrations Coordinator. At present, arrangements for 2 demonstrations have been finalised, but 3 more are pending. As usual, there will be a demonstration on Lifeboat Day.
We have placed a further Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) on the East Beach Kiosk, making 10 installations operated by SCFR. A further site presently is being considered. Once again, our thanks to Rose Electrics for installing the PADs without charge; a considerable financial saving for us. Our PAD at the Southern Cooperative was activated in October 2018 and, as a result, the gentleman concerned recovered.
We shall take part in ‘Lifeboat Day’ and ‘Lights Day’ again this year and further fundraising events are being planned. Here I should like to thank Liz Watson and her fundraising sub-committee for their enthusiastic efforts; both in raising funds and spreading the word about the SCFR. I am sure the momentum will be maintained during 2019/20.
Our Responders Frank Doel, Phil Ingram and Tim Watson continue to work incredibly hard, but with 2 more Responders coming on-line their work load should ease. There is another volunteer to be trained, but it is unclear when this might be. Lives have been saved.
I should like to thank our Treasurer/Purchasing Manager for all he has done, despite illness making things more difficult. He has been a great support to me and a wise adviser.
Finally, Bernie Stevens (Treasurer) is retiring and so is Liz Watson (Lead Fundraiser). Their devotion to the SCFR over the years has been quite exceptional and, without their determination to succeed, there have been times when organisation could have failed.
I am retiring likewise and cannot emphasise enough that the support I have received from the members of the Team and the Selsey Community in general allows me to depart with the SCFR in good heart. Thank you so much.