AGM – brief resume!   

So what can we tell you about our AGM in case you missed it?  It took place at Nascot Wood Junior School on Monday 20th Feb. A friendly gathering of supporters, volunteers and those interested to learn more about what we do. The Treasurer’s report included some key points from the financials, namely:

  • Roughly £10k is held now ‘in reserve’ at the bank – equivalent to paying just a few ‘family’ applications and 6 month cover for volunteering expenses in helping our clients
  • Money from our fund raising is becoming increasingly important to boost income
  • In 2106, 12 clients were helped with their HO fees applications

On the formalities front all current Committee members were re-elected, bar John Shaw who retired at the AGM.  Rev Tony Rindl was appointed as a new Committee member.

This year our guest speaker was Dame Helen Hyde who used events in her life to tell her inspiring story, starting with her early childhood in South Africa during Apartheid through to her role as a Holocaust educator. Helen then discussed her more recent work with the Rwanda Sisterhood and Refugees to Recovery year.

Helen has worn different hats during her life, all of which she felt carried a personal responsibility to do more to improve the lives of others but also to ensure we also ‘live and learn’ from the past.

Three of our clients also shared their personal stories.  Each of their narratives delivered a stark reminder of how they often leave one nightmare situation to enter another with the tough existence they have here in the UK especially for those who have fled their country and lost everything they know.   They help to remind us that our clients are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.  As with all our clients, they each said how much they want to establish roots here and give something back, but the difficulties and hurdles they face to remain here would be almost overwhelming if it was not for the warm welcome they receive from the WTRRP volunteers and so many other supportive people they meet here in Watford and Three Rivers.

No AGM is complete without putting our Volunteers firmly in the spotlight; especially as there is clearly nothing amateur about our volunteers as was heard when a number of our newer volunteers; Paul Tucker (Drop In Centre Coordinator), Sara Barratt (Case Review Officer), John Gray (Food Distribution Co-ordinator), Mel Southin and Shilpa Banerjee (Social Events Co-ordinators) each talked about their individual but shared contributions they were making to improve the anxieties and daily grind for our clients.   Volunteering can be a big step to take but as our speakers said, it is nearly always a two way street!   It was commented that despite the challenges and demands at times, the experience of volunteering is interwoven with a real sense of having an impact, and none more so than  when our clients receive good news.   So at the AGM, it was good to reflect on the various ways, WTRRP and its volunteers are making a difference.