Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link
Minutes of the Ordinary General Meeting of 20th November 2014
Present: Jacqui Lockwood, Richard Homewood (chair), David Turner, Christine Boulton-Lane, Richard Lane, Ray Keene, Lynn White, Sue Furness, Eve Martin, Edwin Rew, Roger Mitchell, Mandy Hinxman, Diane Reed, Janet Jarvis, Nola McSweeney, Derek Tomblin, Liz MacKay, Melanie Bray, Eileen & Bill Evans, Paul Cabban, Tom Collins, Cllr Nigel Sinden, Robin Gray (minutes)
1 Apologies for absence: Fiona McGregor, John Geater.
2 Minutes of the meeting of 3rd September. Accepted, with the addition of Nigel Sinden and Edwin Rew to the list of Apologies made. Matters arising: 7(b): Richard has had no response from his Navy contact about the possibility of shipping goods for us. He will try again.5(b) Mandy reported that there is a technical problem with the well at Jui. M.Kamara has spoken to the contractors. Richard will ask Kainde to look into it, and will contact Mohamed Koroma in London.
3 Media protocol & branding
(a) Media Protocol. Richard introduced a draft media protocol, setting out how we should present material on Link activities to the media. The draft contains useful advice on what to include, and lays down how such material might be authorised. Members are asked to send any comments on the draft (see Draft Media Protocol (Appendix D)) to Robin (email@example.com). We will look at the issue again at the next meeting.
(b) Recent Press coverage. Richard displayed enlarged copies of recent Observer coverage of our events. With Kevin Boorman’s help, we now get good coverage in the local press. However, shortage of staff on the paper means that we have to submit good quality material, ready for print.
(c) Banner and logo. Richard showed four versions of an updated title & logos. See Appendix A for the versions we agreed to use. It may be possible to find a more correct tone of blue for the stripes.
(d) Trifold leaflet. Richard has re-vamped the Link’s leaflet. The new version was enthusiastically received. Let Robin know if you wish to suggest any corrections or changes. (Click on images below to see trifold leaflet full size )
4 Recent fundraising events. We quickly reviewed recent events, which it was agreed were all a success except for our attendance at the Charities Fair, which raised little interest. The meeting expressed its particular appreciation to Liz for her work on the posh jumble sale, and for Roger for the gala concert. The Big Jump has raised over £2100. Richard and Ellen White, Matt and Hollie Lockwood and Richard are keen to see some of this money used to benefit schools as well as the Health Centre. Dain Jensen’s Beachy Head Marathon (which involves climbing a gruelling 4900’ over all) raised over £1500. ‘Pick Your Cards Right’ at the White Rock Hotel’s anniversary party (by kind invitation of Lawrence Bell) was ideally suited to the occasion and raised £230. Nola reported that we are well on the way to raising £700 with the orange quiz sheets. Jo Avery, a colleague of Diane Reed’s husband at the DoT, organised a Cheese Fest and raised a magnificent £167 for the Link.
5 Future fundraising events. (a) Priory Meadow Christmas Lights switch-on. A small band of bucket-shakers is organised. They will collect while the Hastings Town Choir is singing for us.
(b) Universal Children’s Day school fundraising – Nov 20th. Our schools are running a wide variety of fundraising activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Roger explained that Hastings SL teachers are not on the whole being paid. What is raised will be pooled and divided between the SL schools on the basis of the numbers of teachers they have. The teachers know about the initiative. Roger will do a press release subsequently.
(c) A small group will be collecting on the door at the end of the Labour Party’s fundraiser at the White Rock Theatre on Sunday 23rd November.
(d) Masquerade Ball. The group supporting Waterloo is organising a fundraising ball and has kindly invited us to provide display material about the Link’s work in Hastings. Peter Penfold is connected to both groups.
(e) Quiz Night 2015. Although St Paul’s School has been very generous in hosting our quiz night, there are a few problems involving space and parking, so we have looked at other possible venues – so far, unsuccessfully. Jacqui will see if we can get a better deal than has so far been offered at the King’s Church, which certainly has plenty of room and good parking. If that fails, no doubt we will gratefully accept St Paul’s School’s kind offer once again.
(f) Other. Derek reminded us that St Leonards Rotary Club will be organising a fundraising event for us, probably in May 2015, with the proceeds going towards paying for solar panels at the health centre. A friend of Lynn’s has offered us a complete musical quiz. We will be very glad to run such a quiz, perhaps around September. It is hoped that another team of organisers will come forward so that the work does not fall on Nola. Lynn and Richard are also offering to host a BBQ to make up for the fact that we will not be able to host a teacher exchange in May; and Lynn will look into the possibility of a charity ball at the Powdermills Hotel, which runs a ball on behalf of a different charity each year.
6 Treasurer’s Report. Ray presented his report on income and expenditure since the last meeting, together with a sheet of explanatory notes. Not all figures for donations are completely up-to-date, as Charity Checkout only forwards funds at the end of each month. From now on, CC will be collecting gift aid for us on funds that it handles on our behalf. In spite of major outgoings (a final £2700 for the perimeter wall, £800 for repairs to the water-tower and £1500 which more than covers the cost of the new generator), some very generous donations and our fundraising efforts have left both our cash a/c and the ring-fenced Gold a/c in a stronger position than at the end of August.
Roger has written on our behalf to thank Buckswood School and the performers at the gala concert.
7 Schools Report. Our schools are working hard to raise funds for their partners, and on the whole are managing to keep up contacts. Diane Reed reported that St Leonards CofE School is having to concentrate of getting out of special measures, so that the link with SL is on the back burner. Mandy reported on an Ebola assembly at Little Ridge. She is keeping the senior management team up-to-date about the Ebola situation, although there are difficulties maintaining communications contact with Mr Kamara. Sue explained that SL still has a very high profile at St Mary Star-of-the-Sea, helped by the fact that the school has a large number of children of African parentage. There have been sponsored events – swims, silences etc. – and Sue hears from SL teachers almost daily.
8 Health Report. Christine presented the health working group’s report. (See Appendix C). All the goods sent recently have arrived safely and been unpacked. Sallu is in touch with Christine almost daily. The health centre has had to be closed twice and disinfected. There is now a tent outside the wall to which patients must report to have their temperature checked. Both Ebola treatment centres are already full and there us now talk of schools being taken over as treatment centres – Hastings is considered a hot spot for Ebola. But of course people are still dying of malaria, dysentery etc. The Hastings community health centre is one of the few still functioning. We have received no specific requests from Sallu, but Christine drew attention to 3 questions that have been raised within the group. (a) Should we contribute financially to the work being done by UKSLHP at the Connaught Hospital? (b) Should the health centre become a food distribution point for the needy? (c) Should we be refurbishing outside toilets? Richard suggested that huge amounts of UK and EU money are going to SL, and that since the Connaught will be benefitting from this we should confine ourselves to supporting Hastings itself.
9 Future action . Liz argued forcefully that we should spend all our resources on setting up food distribution points in the schools, since the head-teachers are best place to know which families are in the direst need. Derek has been sent the names of 36 deserving cases, and a list of food prices. David Turner, who has spent 6 years in SL and knows many of the people we know, recommended cash transfers, rather than supplying food, as the most efficient way to get help into the community. He spoke appreciatively of Francis Mason’s work with orphans, and recommended Street Child, an NGO doing excellent work with Ebola orphans. Street Child distributes the necessities, and provides micro-finance to enable families to start to fend for themselves. Liz argued that have raised a great deal of money in our community, and that we must be seen to be getting help to the adults in Hastings immediately. The meeting accepted that we must act swiftly, but there was much debate on what kind of mechanism could be used to distribute money effectively and safely. The meeting accepted Richard’s argument that, however hard it may seem, we must reserve some of our hard earned funds for investing in sustainable projects for the future: we cannot use up all our resources now. The task now is to find a safe mechanism for distributing aid. Various difficulties were discussed: the fact that people cannot move about freely; that there will have to be transparency, traceability and fairness. Various names and organisations were mentioned as people who might be able to oversee distribution of aid.
As the meeting was running very late, it was agreed that the Trustees should be tasked with reviewing all the suggestions made so far, and with approaching a number of people for advice, from Yvonne and Yvette to Dr Samba. Once the Trustees have decided on a workable mechanism, they must define the criteria on which distribution of aid is to be based, and are then to send up to about half of our total funds, but beginning with an experimental tranche of £2-3,000, to see how well the system works. This must happen within as short a time as possible, ideally within a matter of days.
10 AOB. We were reminded that the London Branch will be holding its annual Valentine’s Day dinner-dance on 14th February.
11 Date of Next Meeting. Wednesday 14th January 2015 at 6.05 pm in the Town Hall, Hastings. (TBC)
The meeting closed at 8.30pm.
(a) Design for banner
(b) Design for top of display boards
Appendix C: Health Working Group report
NOTES OF MEETING HELD ON 10th NOVEMBER, 2014
- Christine reported as follows:-
A number of us had attended the UKSLHP Meeting in London on the 4th September and Richard Lane had attended a meeting at the London School of Tropical Medicine which was hosted by Peter Piot who had first researched Ebola in 1976. Christine reported that she had been in regular contact with Sallu since the last meeting. She received an email from him at the beginning of September requesting items to protect his staff working in the Health Centre. It was agreed that we should purchase the items required. We were able to source most of the items, some being donated rather than purchased and on the 19th September, Lynn, Ray and Christine packed, labelled and itemised 55 boxes/parcels which were collect by Rokel the following day for shipment (this being paid for by the London Group). These arrived in Hastings on the 25th October. Since then Christine had received a further request for PPE for the Health Centre Staff and it had been agreed that the Link would provide £300 which together with a donation of £300 from the LOAF emergency fund and a further £100 donation should be sent via the usual route to Sallu to purchase the equipment which he had sourced from a Pharmaceutical Company in Sierra Leone. Sallu has reported the death of doctors and health workers and there is a real sense of fear among staff and it was felt imperative that we did all that we possible could to help them. The Health Centre was closed for five days due to a patient attending with ebola symptoms. There are now two treatment centres within the Hastings area together with the Chinese hospital in Kossoh Town being used as a testing station and holding area.
2 Derek reported as follows:-
- a) The Wall and gates had been constructed but there is still work to be done to complete the project. Sufficient funds have already been sent for this.
- b) Solar Power. St. Leonards Rotary were actively engaged in raising funds for a scheme prepared by Alex Robbin.
- c) Generator. This is being purchased direct by Nellie Campbell and due for delivery by the 14th November and would have sound insulation.
- d) The water pump has been fitted for use if/when electricity is available.
- Melanie B reported that Thare Machi Education had produced a DVD on Ebola. At Poppy Sinden’s suggestion, Melanie had contacted Nick Russell, who suggested she contact National Charites such as Save the Children to find Krio speakers to assist with the translations.
- The sub-committee raised three specific issues
- a) Should money be sent to help the work that the Connaught Hospital are doing in conjunction with UKSLHP as we are affiliated to this organisation?
- b) Nutrition. There was concern about ebola orphans, and the poor generally and there was a suggestion that the Health Centre could become a food distribution point.
- c) The refurbishment of the outside toilets. Should this be funded now.
- The date of the next meeting of the sub-committee will be decided in due course.