One year ago, we unveiled our new brand to the local representatives at the 2019 AGM. It was met with a lot of positivity and hope for what the new look and strategy would bring. This time around, we were able to show the volunteers exactly what impact of the new brand had been.
CEO Jane Petit started by giving a snapshot view of the impact we’ve had in the community. Having a friendly tone of voice and building a supportive community, we have been able to see increases in the number of people we support.
Expanding our support
Last year, we introduced a new partnership with SleepStation. To date, around 300 people have accessed sleep support. We also expanded our partnership with Law Express by introducing an app. The app provides not only legal advice but also financial advice in one place. It’s available for free download on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. At the time of writing, around 170 community members had downloaded the app.
We’ve also expanded our financial support. The level of our regular financial support now meets the 75% point of the Minimum Income Standard, as developed by Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Financial support during COVID-19
Jane also gave an overview of how we responded to the COVID-19 crisis. We adapted to the situation quickly, letting our community know that support was available to them. Financial support requests tripled during this period. To respond to the increased demand, we temporarily simplified the application process. This helped to get money to people quickly, usually within two days.
Emotional support during COVID-19
As an organisation, we recognise and support the whole person. And while money might be a primary concern for many people in our community, there were emotional challenges too. The introduction of lockdown made it clear that many people would be feeling particularly isolated. In response, Beverley Archer (Volunteer Manager) quickly formed the Friendship Team with Holly Lasko (Support Services and Volunteer Coordinator) and Anna Andreatta (Administrative Assistant).
Together they sent out around 150 handwritten letters to some of our community – to check in and to offer some support. They also recruited volunteers to stay in regular contact with our community during this period. And today, six members of our community are still regularly supported through communications.
Board of Trustees
We are seeing changes in our Board too, with some new faces joining us. This inevitably means that some trustees are now at the end of their term.
• Amanda Dowd was a volunteer on the Board for a combined 13 years since 2005, with one year as Chair. She will be succeeded by Dolores Byrne as Chair from October 2020 onwards.
• Richard Spalding will be stepping into the role of Vice Chair from October 2020 onwards.
• IET representative Jayne Bryant was a Foothold Trustee for the past 3 years. Kate Sugden will be stepping into the role in October 2020.
• Lastly, with Dorrie Giles retiring as trustee and Chair of the Service Development Committee, we welcome Frances Fisher as her replacement.
We also expanded the range skills on the board by recruiting trustees with certain skills or expertise:
• Gareth Price has joined this year as the new Treasurer.
• Thomas Budd also joined this year as our legal trustee.
• Paul Connor, our marketing trustee is continuing his time on the Board.
Growing and changing
There has been a lot of change and growth at Foothold over the last year. During the AGM, CEO Jane Petit pointed out that we will continue to grow. Our strategic goal is to be supporting 3000 people by the end of the 2022 financial year. To do that, we will expand our support and our content to reach more people than ever before.