Nailsea Disability Initiative
10th Annual General Meeting
Friday 4th April 2014
Nailsea Fire Station, Pound Lane, Nailsea.
Clare Hunt, Jackie Uren, Dave Roberts
Louise Barker, Chris Baker, Lin Baker, Chris Morris, Sascha Goslin, Michel Limpinian, Emily Henesy, Maggie Parnell, Sean Kelly
The minutes of the 2013 AGM were approved
4. Chairman’s report
Chris Baker welcomed everyone to the AGM. He said that the last year had been a challenging one for NDI; the government has change nearly all the benefit at once, and also cut Legal Aid funding which has an indirect effect on the organisation, as it may mean we are less able to refer cases that we cannot deal with to Avon Law Centre. Furthermore, the benefit system is starting to go on-line which is an unnecessary change, requiring investment in the new software, and is causing problems for the population as many people do not own or are unable to use a computer. This is a particular problem for those people whose disability or illness makes it harder for them to use a computer.
CB reported that NDI is still getting approximately 80 clients coming in per month, and we are still carrying out home visits. We have taken many cases to appeal and have a good track record winning appeals. We are well supported by the GP surgeries in Nailsea, and we are receiving many referrals from different bodies throughout North Somerset.
As yet we have not been asked to assist many clients with PIP applications, and the ones that we have assisted with are being processed very slowly. Apparently there is a six month waiting time at present. NDI will continue to attend local events to promote ourselves and to fundraise, including having a stall at the Nailsea Easter market on Saturday 19th April. EH is developing plans for a summer dance as a fundraiser.
CB thanked Sean Kelly for taking in the funding role. He thanked all NDI’s volunteers. This is the second year that NDI has received volunteers from the University of Law; CB said that NDI would not be able to carry on without their support. He particularly mentioned the drive and enthusiasm these volunteers bring. CB thanked Amanda Crutchley for coming to speak at this year’s AGM and also for supporting NDI throughout the year and referring University of Law students to us. NDI has lost some volunteers over the year but gained many too; CB particularly wanted to thank the volunteers who have now been with us for several years. CB thanked Chris Morris for giving NDI his time and expertise in carrying out the annual audit.
CB said that though he has been looking to stand down for a number of years, given the tough year NDI has had he will stay on unless anyone comes forward to take on the role. He envisions that if he stepped down as Chairman he could expand NDI’s role; while NDI would continue with its core work providing free benefit application advice, CB would be able to work on the outreach role, giving talks to schools about disabilities and helping local companies to avoid disability discrimination.
5. Financial report
CB thanked Chris Morris for his very kind and diligent work on our annual audit. Everything is now in order. The end of the year accounts stood at £3173.27. Since the start of the year Nailsea Town Council have given NDI an additional grant of £5000 and the factory shop has raised around £500 for us. Funding continues to come in. SK has agreed to coordinate the fundraising effort in the coming year. Overall, we are in a better position this year than last year.
The accounts were unanimously approved.
6. Election of officers:
Chairman – Chris Baker
Vice-chair – Sean Kelly
Treasurer – Sascha Goslin
Secretary – Louise Barker
Trustees – all trustees in attendance agreed to remain in their roles. No new trustees were elected
7. Speaker – Amanda Crutchley
Amanda is pro bono coordinator at the University of Law, Bristol, and a Criminal Defence Solicitor at Kelcey and Hall. She spoke about the value of the work NDI does and particularly what good experience it is for the law students from the University of Law. She also shared some of her memories from her law career.
The meeting finished at 8.23pm