It is a little unusual to send a newsletter at this time of year, but we felt that with so many changes, it was definitely a good time to do it.
Firstly, I should introduce myself properly, as some of you may not already know me. My name is Mark Bywater and on 4th April 2017, I was elected as the new Bristol Branch Chair. I have been involved a little over the years with the branch, mainly on the fund raising side of things. In 2011 I ran 150 miles from Bristol to Wembley in 6 days covering a marathon a day. More recently I ran the London Marathon for the national HDA in 2016. I live in Bristol and know most of the branch team very well and I look forward to getting to know more of you as the time goes on.
As you will know, we held our nineteenth AGM on Tuesday April 4th in Keynsham, Bristol to discuss the year gone by and the year to come. We have also decided to have a reshuffle of the Committee and reduce the size to give you a more effective and decisive committee on a day to day basis. The general running of the branch will not change a great deal and we will still encourage non committee members to come along to our open committee meetings.
We have a fantastic group of people who, over the years, have helped us to grow as a branch and support more people in our community. You will be pleased to know that all of these people will be staying around, as part of a bigger events and fund raising team, headed up by Lesley Duffy and Linda Dawes, along with the support of the Committee.
The new Committee will consist of just 3 members moving forward and the roles are as follows:
Chair: Mark Bywater
Treasurer: Debbie Nicholl
Committee Member: Heather Thomas
I would like to give personal thanks to all Committee members over the last few years, along with the others who pitch in and work so hard to fundraise on our behalf. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be here without you, so thank you and I look forward to continuing to work with you all in the future.
2017 is shaping up to be a busy year as you can see from the attached events calendar. We would encourage anyone to come along to any of the events and everyone is welcome. One thing I noticed at the AGM were the new faces. We love to see new faces at anything we do and all our meetings and events are open to anyone.
With this in mind, you will notice a carer’s night away on the calendar. With the event still to be confirmed, we would like any carer’s in need of this break to drop me a line personally, so that I can make this a worthwhile event for as many carers as possible to benefit from.
The breaks don’t stop there. In 2018 we are working to arrange a family break for our families who really need one! Again, the success of this event will depend on you guys! How many people take us up on it will depend on the feedback you give us, so that we arrange something that you want to do!
2018 will also see the return of the Family Day, which Carol Dutton is currently beavering away on. This is a fantastic day and I think, the best event we run. It attracts a lot of people and offers great information to those in need. More information will follow, when arrangements are finalised.
Over the last few weeks, we have been working on the day to day workings of the branch to help make Debbie’s life easier and also help us to be more effective for you. We have a new working partnership with Nailsea Electrical, who are helping us to provide electrical white goods to those who really need them. We are also setting up similar partnerships for carpets and taxis.
You may have noticed we have launched a Facebook page @hdabristol and this will be the easiest place to get up to the minute information on the branch and the events we are holding. It is also a great way for you to get in touch with us and often me directly. Staying on the cyber road, we have also today relaunched our website www.hdabristol.org.uk and we would encourage you to go and take a look if you can. This is also a great way of getting in touch with us.
Finally, I will leave you with 2 fantastic events we have coming up:
Charity Concert by Saltford Village Choir in aid of HDA and the Bristol & South Gloucestershire Carers Support Centre on Friday 26th May at 7.30 pm at United Church Bath Road, Longwell Green. Tickets available from Heather & Robin. Simply contact Heather on 07826829349 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, we are holding our annual quiz on Friday 9th of June at Somerdale Pavilion in Keynsham, starting at 7:30pm. If you are able to come, I would encourage it as it is a fantastic event, which we are all looking forward to.
My final message to you is this:
“This is your Branch and these are your events”
“Without you, there is no Branch”.
“The committee and I invite you to come along to anything we are doing and look forward to seeing you all
or, alternatively, helping you in any way that we can, with any requirements you may have”
I also look forward to all your likes on Facebook and getting to know you all over the next few months. If you want to contact me, my details are below and I welcome any emails or calls.