I was delighted to chair Community Action Dacorum’s 2015 AGM at the Boxmoor Trust’s new Barn on 19th November.
Our presence reinforced the reality that Community Action Dacorum (CAD) is actively connected with other charities; indeed it has a membership of over 200 from the charities and voluntary groups based in Dacorum. These relationships and the mutual benefit that derives are the cornerstone of a successful voluntary sector and a vibrant community which provides support to local residents.
When I gave my Chairman’s Address I mentioned that the roots of CAD are in the Council for Social Service set up in 1947 when Hemel Hempstead was selected to be one of several new towns. The community services committee of Hemel Hempstead Rotary Club thought it would be a good idea for an organisation to be set up to help voluntary groups work together to support the needs of the community. Almost 70 years on, the new town of Hemel Hempstead is facing the challenges of making the town fit for the future. The civic buildings are undergoing a revival and CAD is still here – making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people in the communities of Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Kings Langley and the surrounding villages.
CAD has its own challenges. The 2015 accounts reflect how difficult it is for the charity to cover our overheads. However, it has closed loss making services and made changes over time to increase efficiency. The current budget for the year should enable it to achieve a small surplus at our year end. CAD is responding positively to the requirements of commissioning when the existing grant from Dacorum Borough Council ends. The current Impact Report gives an overview of CAD’s many activities.
Connect Dacorum, CAD’s CSR project, maintains an active programme of network events, school focussed activity and runs the Dragon’s Apprentice – where schools provide teams of students to raise money for participating charities with the aid of a business mentor. CAD is taking steps to encourage more businesses to join Connect Dacorum to raise its profile in the business community.
The Repair Shed is CAD’s newest project and was set up in the past 12 months, establishing a vibrant base in the new workshop at the Hemel Food Garden site. Thanks are due to Sunnyside Rural Trust and their funder The Rowlandson Foundation for making this possible. CAD has continued to be active with involvement in a range of community events. The staff and trustees have a number of ideas for further events leading up to our 70th Anniversary in 2017.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees I gave my thanks to all the staff of Community Action Dacorum for their hard work and commitment over the last year.
SA Law is proud to be a sponsor for the dinner celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Connect Dacorum to be held at the House of Commons on 12 May 2016 hosted by our local MPs Mike Penning and David Gauke, who both hold ministerial positions.
The AGM ended with presentations from:
Richard Kirk, Chair of Boxmoor Trust
Keely Charlick, CEO of Sunnyside Rural Trust
Roger Ayres, Chair of Dacortium