I took over the chair in the Autumn of 2014, since then we have been continuing the regeneraon of NERS which had begun under my predecessor Ben Hopkinson. I must thank Ben and the other Trustees for their hard work and commitment over recent years. However genuine the cause, it is not easy to maintain a charity these days – what with cuts to both the public sector and to the amount of charitable grants available.
In early 2015, we agreed a new three year Strategic Plan. The fantastic efforts of the staff, volunteers and board members have seen us rebuild around four very closely linked areas of service – asylum related advice, integraon support, and interpreng and housing services. In addition to this, we work with other agencies on more specific projects and we connue to advocate for the cause of refugees both at a local level and via naonal partner organisations.
We have also undertaken an amount of housekeeping. We have reviewed and updated our constition and are preparing to recruit several new board members. We have also connued to upgrade the premises from which we operate. The move from the Bigg Market to a new base in Charlotte Square in Newcastle at the end of 2014 marked a notable improvement.
We are also stabilising the finances. This year, we roughly halved the deficit we had made in the previous year and we are set to break even next year. We have made a number of successful bids for charitable grants and we are also beginning to raise funds from public donations. Some of these are unsolicited; there are many generous and humane people and organisaons in the North East who are not happy with the way in which refugees and other migrants are portrayed and treated.
NERS has a major contribuon to make to combating negative messages. We can do this in many ways - by providing quality services, by helping to maintain the posive reputaon of the North East as a welcoming place, by playing our part in speaking up for progressive and civilised policies and by empowering new communies. Charies have a proud tradition of independence and challenge and of being at the forefront of posive change in Brish society. NERS is part of that tradition.
Simon Underwoodtal System
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