Annual Trustees Report for The Abingdon Bridge - 2021

This year has been a challenging one for all age-groups in the community. TAB has risen to this challenge and continued to deliver support for the young people of this area going from strength to strength. TAB used online facilities such as Zoom and Facetime to support clients during the two lockdowns, some staff being able to work face-to-face with their most vulnerable clients during the last lockdown. We ensured that our premises were COVID-safe. We have never been as busy as we are now and during this lockdown year we have watched referrals grow in number. This has necessitated us taking on more staff and being innovative in how we have delivered support to those who have requested it.

As you can see from the Summary document we have supported several hundreds of young people with 1-2-1 support and many more in groups. A parent group started in January to support the parents of our clients and to help them understand how TAB works with their children, this received excellent feedback. We have run some groups online, but workshops have been fewer due to restrictions. We are now offering both face-to-face and online support.

Holly Freeland, one of our wellbeing practitioners put together a Wellbeing pack which has been given to hundreds of young people during this last year.

Projects

As well as the Counselling and Wellbeing work TAB has successfully bid for and is now funded for the Youth Intervention Project (YIP). This work is funded by Oxfordshire County Council and is about working with the hard-to-reach young people. If they would like to access support this is provided in 121 sessions, group or gym work. In addition, TAB is training 5 youth ambassadors who are committed to supporting TAB.

We are receiving Children-in-Need funding both for an extension to the Counselling funding we have had for the last 3 years and for an emergency COVID project for 18 months (Next Steps). This has enabled us to enlarge our counselling team to cope with the increase in referrals.

Staffing

Our staff team is led by our manager Gary. He has done a truly fantastic job over the last year. Not only has he worked at our office for all of lockdown to ensure calls are answered, but he has enabled the smooth running of TAB. He has been ever present in our move to 3 Market Place and has driven our funding bids. He is totally committed to TAB and is enthusiastic in all he does. Thank you Gary.

As already mentioned our staff team has grown in the last year and is now 14 in number. Only 2 people work full time, the rest working between 4 and 30 hours weekly. They all bring something unique to TAB and I would like to thank all of them for their hard work and ability to adapt to change. We do our clinical supervision in-house thanks to our clinical lead Mel. We offer some training for the staff and hold regular staff meetings. We also have 3 students working with us. Premises

Our big news is the move into permanent premises at 3 Market Place (3MP) above the Coventry Building Society. It was at the award ceremony for the Queens Award for Voluntary Service 2 years ago that the seed was planted. After what seemed like months of negotiations and planning we moved into 3 MP in February. It has not been plain sailing as, with all building work, there have been teething problems. We are nearly there now and most of our staff are working at 3MP.

We are hugely grateful to the Charitable trusts and individuals who gave us the means to refurbish the two floors. It is a quite superb space with five counselling rooms, two office spaces, reception area, kitchen, meeting room and toilets. Thank you to the Coventry Building Society for enabling us to lease this space and being generous in their support.

We are hoping to hold an Open Day in July to show our supporters around the premises.

Funding

I am pleased to report that TAB is in a healthy financial position. We are very grateful to our two national sponsors, Children in Need and the Big Lottery Fund. As you can see from the financial report between them they are funding 40% of our work.

We are very grateful for all the local organisations who contribute to the running of TAB with 45% of the funds coming from individuals, local churches and councils. Thank you to First Growth for their generosity in supporting the healthy lifestyles team and to Christ’s Hospital for their valuable contribution.

The majority of our funds are short term, and we continually search for and bid for long-term funding so that the work can continue.

Aspirations

For the past three years we have held a Future Directions meeting to look at where we are now and where we are hoping to be over the next 12 months. This is always a productive meeting and draws on ideas from all the staff and trustees. Although in 2021 it had to be held remotely we were still able to discuss the issues we were concerned about and think about new ideas. We are committed to our core work and hope that we can work collaboratively with other charities this year. We hope to increase the number of groups on offer and would like to do a lot more preventative work in the schools.

Statistics

TAB has been using “Views” as our database for three years. Howard Spencer has guided and supported us in developing this database to help us record and improve our service. He has been invaluable in streamlining the information we can get using Views and we continue to look at ways that TAB can respond to client’s feedback. We look at our data and performance quarterly to know how many clients have been supported in the various projects. The change in our client’s emotional wellbeing, resilience and aspirations are collated. We look to improve our service and Views is helping us do this. We are aware that not all clients complete the second questionnaire which means that we lose their feedback. Our documentation has improved over the last year. Future challenges include recording feedback from workshops on Views.

Trustees

There are 12 trustees all of whom contribute to the smooth running of TAB. They are a very dedicated, hard-working team and I feel privileged to be one. My special thanks to Chris Bryan as past chair and Hilary Daffern as vice-chair for their support this year.

We have an excellent new website thanks to Steve and Sarah plus a little help from their friends.

One of our trustees Trevor Wood is leaving us this year. Thank you Trevor for your commitment to TAB during the last 6 years and good luck with the travelling planned.

Volunteers

We now have a team of volunteer receptionists who are vital to the smooth running of TAB at 3MP. They are led by one of our trustees Sandy. We are very grateful to them for giving up their time.

Our other volunteers are Howard Spencer and Roland Knight. Howard is our Views expert and Roland makes sure that we are all DBS checked every two years. Pat our cookery expert has been unable to run classes this year but hoping to restart them soon.

As we are reaching the end of restrictions in England the effects of the pandemic continue both on the physical health of many people but also on their mental health.

With your help TAB will continue to support and reach out to those young people in the community who are struggling to cope.

Thank you for your support,

Gill Dean

Chair of Trustees

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