Dear Members and friends of HART,
I find it hard to believe that it is November and we are heading towards Christmas. It has been a busy year, particularly through the Summer with all the work we have had done to the building. The work has not just been on how we look though. Just as important is how people view us as an organisation. We have been working hard to update and improve the image we show to the wider world and we have developed a brand new logo and website which we will be launching on a date to be arranged in January. We will of course keep you all informed.
As usual, we have several other planned events. David has organised another fundraising quiz to be held on November 30th from 7 pm at the Battle of Britain club. Entry is £5, or £10 if you want to eat. Contact a staff member to let us know your choice from the menu. All proceeds from this are doubled by Barclays Bank and go straight into the special fund to directly benefit members.
David has also organised a collection and red ribbon distribution to be held on December 1st, 2nd and 3rd outside Sainburys in Uxbridge. We are relying on members offering some time to help with this. If you have time to spare for a 2 hour slot on any of these days please talk to a member of staff. We really need you to get involved. We will have the usual World AIDS Day vigil and breakfast on Thursday December 1st. Please remember to check the downstairs notice board for details of any other events, including the pantomime which we hope to organise for January. Christmas lunch this year is on December 20th. You better be hungry!
Remember last year, (how could you forget…) the weather was so bad we had to postpone it until January. Whilst we have ordered better conditions this year, if we are snowbound please call us to check we are still going ahead. We will not cancel but we might need to postpone.
The next Women’s Group is on Friday November 25th. Six months ago we did a survey on this group. All the people who attended said they enjoyed the group and found it useful. However, since that meeting attendance has fallen despite our considerable efforts to contact people by mail and telephone. We also offer transport to those coming from further away.
I have discussed these issues with staff, some members and volunteers. I know that this group used to be very well attended and I am personally committed to making it work. I do not want this group to be something HART provides for you, I would rather it is something HART enables you to provide for yourselves. This is after all your group. Alleyn, Josephine and Irene have very kindly offered to coordinate from the next meeting onwards. This also means that the group will be exclusively comprised of positive women, other than any speakers you may wish to organise. We will of course continue to offer any support or assistance you require – all you need to do is ask.
Next week, the new PCT consortium release their ‘commissioning intentions’ for the voluntary sector. The PCT provide community and hospital based health services and for many years they have provided HART with around half of its funding. The commissioning intentions inform us of how they intend to make changes, (reductions) for the next financial year which starts in April. These could mean small cuts to funding or much larger ones.
If we are informed that they intend to make a large cut, we can appeal – and so can you. As patients who would be affected, your views have to be taken into consideration. I may therefore be asking you to make your views known. Without your support, if there are large cuts the services we provide could be drastically reduced or even stopped altogether. You need to ask yourselves what HART means to you and what you would do if, at worst it was no longer here.
We are expecting some staff shortages for some weeks from the end of November. This will make it all the more important to make appointments for our key services. Please bear with us. It is also now very important that you give us any updated contact information including any email address you have. We have our AGM coming up soon on a date to be agreed at the next Trustee’s meeting, (November 23d). Please check our notice boards or call us for more information.
I hope that this will be the last newsletter that I post to the majority of you, as next time all the above information and much, much more will be available online from January. I have seen the trial version of our new website and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Keep warm and best wishes,