At our AGM on 22nd July we celebrated a successful 2013/14 from which the Bureau emerged stronger than ever. Linda Walton, our Chair, summarised our key achievements:
- Maintaining excellent service to our clients through a period during which a number of long-standing colleagues moved on to other charity roles or into retirement
- Positive engagement with all sponsors
- Gaining the support of Buckingham and Wycombe Bureau during our changes and as a result working ever more collaboratively with them
- Turning around our financial performance and strengthening our balance sheet
Linda passed on her thanks to the supporters of the Bureau who have enabled continued service delivery and growth with fewer resources, in particular:
- Our volunteers and staff, including those who left us during the year after many years of excellent support
- AVDC for their continued commitment to the Bureau
- Our other funders, in particular Thomas Hickman and William Harding Trusts
- Buckingham and Wycombe Bureaux teams, and the Citizens Advice liaison office Lucy Bartlett
- And our new Chief Officer, Rich Wiltshire who is already making an impact after only three months
As we enter 2014/15 Rich and the team are continuing to innovate. The biggest change has been a new approach to supporting our clients: to avoid long waiting times we now first help all clients via the phone and book a specific appointment slot at the Bureau if necessary, rather than asking them to queue at the Bureau. Feedback has been good and the new approach has bedded down even better than expected.
We also now have a new website. It has a fresh design, it is much lower cost to run, and it can be updated in hours rather than weeks. You will be able to keep in touch with all the latest developments here and through our Twitter and Facebook pages.
What lies ahead for us ?
- In September we have the Citizens Advice formal audit for which the team are well prepared
- We are growing our volunteer numbers to handle the increasing demand for our services and to equip us to bid for new projects, building on the increased Supervisory capacity we have recently invested in
- We will continue to collaborate with our fellow Citizens Advice Bureaux in Buckinghamshire but also other charities across the County to improve our services
- We will work with funders and supporters in coming months to establish a strategy to sustain services in the face of tightening financial constraints 2015-2020
Formalities of the AGM included presenting the financial statements for 2013/14, and the reappointment of trustees, who continue their voluntary support for the Bureau via their work on the board.
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