Minutes from the SDCS AGM Meeting

Date Of Meeting


  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Minutes of lastAGM checked and agreed
  3. Vice Chair’s report on activities over the last year
  4. Accounts update from Treasurer
  5. Questions and answers regarding accounts
  6. Chair’s report on future plans
  7. Appointing the committee
  8. AOB

1. Welcome and Introductions

The committee members were introduced.

2. Minutes of last AGM checked and agreed

Copies of the minutes were left on tables for SDCS members to read. There were no corrections or matters arising.

Gabi signed the 2014 AGM minutes.

3. Vice Chair’s report on activities over the last year

Growing up deaf in a hearing world can sometimes be a challenge for our children, and as parents we are all united in wanting to support our children through this. As a local group of the NDCS, we like to provide as many opportunities as possible for families and children to meet up, share experiences and support each other. The Year 2014-2015 we have endeavoured to continue to provide opportunities for our families to meet each other in a fun and informal way. I know from personal experience that it is a great support network, and I have learnt a great deal from talking to other parents.

It is also so good for our children to get together with other children who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants, at the same time as engaging in fun and exciting activities. Spending the morning up very high, climbing from tree to tree, or getting shot and bruised while out paintballing, may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but the young people who participate throw themselves into the activities and leave a couple of hours later with big smiles on their faces and plenty to talk about. And it always seems to follow the same pattern. They arrive, they are very quiet and stick with their Mum or Dad, but once the activity starts, the shyness leaves them and they are chatting to all the other children on the event. But I have asneaky feeling that the parents who join us on the activities have just as much fun, especially if they get to join the event too.

Sharon presented a PowerPoint giving an overview of what we have been up to this year. A wide range of events were included showing both children and adults having fun together and positive comments received from members.

4. Accounts update from Treasurer

Supported with slides

Here is a breakdown of our expenditure for the last year. Speech therapy and events wereafocus for usand our grant uptake increased from last year. The largest percentage of our expenditure was on Speech Therapy (46%), followed by events (27%), grants (14%), investment fees (7%), AGM costs (5%) and interpreters (1%).

We have continued our partnership with the lovely Carol Rowe – last year 24 children saw Carol, its heart-warming hearing the progress these children are making and I’m proud that Surrey Deaf had a part in it. Carol is here tonight if you want to bend her ear!

To give you an idea of the grants awarded last year – private tutoring and BSL courses were most popular.

If you want to find out more about applying for a grant, check our website where you’ll find a copy of our policy and application form or catch me later for a chat.

We remain free to join (as we just don’t have the man power to maintain membership fees and it is the way we prefer to run) we only ask for donations towards events. We are very lucky to receive generous donations from members, local companies and individuals –these are vital to keeping us going.

So don’t be afraid to nominate us in a charity scheme near you!

The fabulous Gail Collins is working with us still and last year she helped countless Surrey families with all manner of queries. She’s also here tonight, if you want a chat.

A copy of the full accounts is available tonight on request and they have been filled with the charity commission.

5. Questions and answers regarding accounts

No questions were raised. Helen offered people the opportunity to approach her individually during the evening or by e-mail.

6. Chair’s report on future plans

Plans for this year from last year’s AGM:

To continue to improve communication with members – we are up to speed with our Facebook page and Facebook group which is well used with many members asking questions and posting information as well as us posting our events on it. We have a grand total of 111 members at the moment! We are also up to speed on the new system of sending emails to our membership list as well, using theMailchimpsystem. This not only manages the list for us – emails that bounce back get removed from the list, but shows us how many people have opened the emails. We can tell if you haven’t received something – usually it will be in your junk mail, unless you have changed your email address and not told us! Our website has had a nice redesign this year, courtesy of Andrew Horwitz, our web designer – and a fellow SDCs member. We have removed the member login – something that just seemed to cause problems for people. We have invested in some new event management software so that in the future you will be able to register for events online, see how many tickets or spaces are left in real time, pay using Paypaland then the software will send you a reminder email! Currently we use either excel spreadsheets or pen and paper to make notes of who is attending our events, so this will be a great improvement as nobody will be missed off the list! We have also added in a lot of useful information for you – do take a look round when you have time, the new design is optimised for mobile so you can even look on your phone easily!

To Increase membership – we have a slow drip feed of new members – our membership currently stands at 218. A greater presence on social media and local news websites may help push this up even further. PR using local papers has proved a challenge so our new idea is to target the local news websites, message boards and Facebook groups.

Events: An increase in information: As Sharon mentioned we ran a Healthy minds day in September which was well attended and hopefully inspired a lot of thought. We are considering more information days and events if you are interested: I have run parenting a deaf child in the past and would be happy to do so again if there is interest. Alternatively it was suggested that we ran an information event for teenagers about further and higher education and training options.

To focus more on fundraising – we have continued with this in a small way, we have had more money coming in from branches of Waitrose this year and individual donations, but we haven’t managed to organise a major event yet – this is a big ask on top of our usual run of events and our investments have been managed well so our pot of money is not running out yet. However, we are continuing to keep an eye on fundraising opportunities – do come to my Pampered Chef evening in June!

Plans for 2014-15:

To become more involved with local authority initiatives – we have been involved in two consultations in 2015 – one on SALT provision and one on the transition from KS2 to KS3. We would like to stay near the centre of future planning for HI children in Surrey and hope to improve our relationship with PSSS so that they think of us as a way to consult with parents.

To rebrand the KS3 group – we are always conscious that membership tends to drop off as children reach the teenage years. This seems to have always been the case in Surrey as most children either embrace mainstream secondary education or leave the county to attend residential schools. We have quite an active group of 11-14 year olds at the moment and are hoping to “keep” them by giving them a stake in the ownership of our teenage group by rebranding it and asking for their ideas and acting on them (hopefully!).

To continue to improve the website – we are just about to sign a contract with Andrew Horwitz to put our relationship on a more formal basis and Sindy Midgley on our committee has taken on the role of website administrator so that the website will stay current and up-to-date. If anyone has any news of interest we can put it in our news section, do let us know.

To continue our work with local CHSWGs – we now have an SDCS representative on each of the Surrey CHSWGs – Charlotte is on the East Surrey one, I am on Kingston Hospital’s CHSWG and Kris is on West Surrey andSt Helier CHSWGs. We want to represent all of you so if you have any issues you wish to have discussed at these meetings, please let us know.

To investigate working with other local charities such as Family Voice – we have recently had some communication with Family Voice – a charity for disabled children and their families in Surrey. Collaborative working with other charities is something that we want to follow up in this next year.

To continue to produce a range of exciting events that families and children want to attend! We will be running our usual big events – Summer Fun Day, New Year party and panto trip, family signing classes – we have just bought a licence for a website called Primary Sign which provides online resources for learning BSL. We are able to give out the password for this to any members who are keen to learn. Also we have put jars on the tables with paper and pencils to gather your suggestions for events – please do contribute at any time throughout the evening!

Gabi invited questions and suggestions.

One member suggested that events could be added to Facebook as an event rather than a post so that the dates could be automatically stored in their phones. Kris said that was a good idea and we could put into place.

The member also asked if all the families who are members have deaf children. Gabi explained that the number was a total from the data base but did include a few professionals and some families whose children had now grown up.

7. Appointing the committee

Gabi Stiles nominated as Chair by Kris Harvey and seconded byMiranda Stocks.

Charlotte Crutchington nominated as Vice Chair by Jennifer Loten and seconded bySharon King.

Xenia James nominated as Secretary by Charlotte Crutchington and seconded byHelen Le Page.

Helen Le Page nominated as Treasurer by Hans Stiles and seconded by Fonda Dakin.

Rebecca Tym, a new member,nominated by Kris Harvey and seconded by Kathleen Shorthall.

8. AOB

Sharon King stood down from the committee and was presented with a gift. Gabi reported that Vikkie Dickinson had also recently stood down.

Committee members were presented with chocolates as a thank you for their hard work.