Good afternoon one and all. Welcome to the Prison Service Charity Fund AGM. Once again, like in previous years, 2018 turned out to be yet another hectic year, one which your committee continues to run, in a true professional manner and always puts the interest of its members first. We always have that slight doubt, that one year no one, or very few members, will turn up to our AGM, but John, always the optimist, convinces us otherwise and by your attendance here today, proves the point! Again, as in previous years, on behalf of the committee, we would like to thank Dennis, Jane and Linda, who have again made us very welcome at Springbridge Carriage Driving School and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come, with their consent of course. After your journey here today, some of which, have travelled from afar to get here, we hope you have all had the opportunity to relax, have a chat and sample the lavish spread our guests have put on for us today, in readiness for what we hope will be a very informative AGM. Again, we have to report, that our Chairman, one of our founder members, continues to restrict his involvement due to travel restrictions, but remains our Chairman and, I can assure you that he is still very active when called upon to act on your behalf in maintaining our investment portfolio, which allows us to be able to administer the fund from the interest accrued and not use any of the donations from staff pay, a claim that we are very proud to make. However, our Chairman’s position may change in 2019. As in the previous three years, we invite the assembled forum, to ask the Chair, to give way, if they have a reasonable question to ask, on any topic being discussed. Last year we asked for any of the membership, if they would consider joining the main committee, taking into consideration the problem of attending the meetings, which are now held in Southport, in the North West of England. Again, this invitation still remains. However, the good news was that in November 2018, John suggested a name at our monthly meeting and it was agreed to ask our representative from Ranby, if he would consider joining the main board. He said it was an honour to be asked and providing all goes well at the AGM in 2019, this gentleman will become an official committee member of the PSCF. There will be more on this, when it comes to the re-election of the committee a little later in the proceedings. On the 25th May 2018, the EU introduced a new Act, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There is a separate item on this subject after Bob has finished reading out the committee’s report and Ken will be explaining in more detail, how your committee have dealt with it, to protect its members. Also in May 2018, your committee were again invited to the POA Conference, held at Southport. Over the three days, our stand proved very popular, however, it still amazes us, that even after 29 years as a registered charity, we still have colleagues coming up to us, stating they have never heard of the PSCF! Again, we would like to thank the POA executive, for their continued support throughout 2018. One of the highlights of the conference, was being approached by the executive of the POA Welfare Fund, who in short, offered us to meet their committee, to see if there was any common ground, between the two funds, which could possibly be utilised to benefit, both PSCF and POA members, bearing in mind, we both have our own criteria’s and constitution’s and we would never put these at risk to our membership. As yet this meeting has not taken place maybe in 2019. June 2018 turned out to be the first of six crucial months of fundraising for one young lady, who we have the great pleasure of meeting here today, that is Grace Carson, along with her mother Tanya. The full story will be read out a little later by John. However, we are proud to say, the PSCF assisted many Prisons in helping them reach their targets, to send Grace to Germany for her operation. At the end of July 2018, John White retired from the Prison Service. However, John, along with the rest of your committee, continue to travel extensively in their own time, to attend as many of the satellite training courses, throughout the North of England and Wales, to increase our membership, by recruiting the POELT’s attending these training courses. Ken, also visited some locations in the Midlands area, but as reported in previous years, we were still unable to visit Newbold Revel. However, we are hopeful this will change in 2019. Nevertheless, we have made slight progress, in so far as in August 2018, a long standing member of the PSCF, Howard Masters, now Head of the PE department at Lilleshall, started recruiting the POELTS and PEI’s, on courses there, which we are very grateful for. This is part of the same setup as Newbold Revel. Your committee still have problems visiting the South East, South West and South Wales areas, because of the sheer logistical distance, but the offer is always available to any member who resides in these three areas, to assist us in visiting locations, to recruit new members and raise the profile of the PSCF and as usual, you will always get the full support of your committee. Last year, we informed you that Denise had produced a “Power Point presentation”. Since the introduction of this, throughout 2018, your committee have used this for the recruitment of POELTS. This offer of the presentation, still remains to all our representatives, at all prison establishments, to assist you in increasing your PSCF membership. Continuing with Denise’s story and the Power Point presentation, it explains how the fundraising began in 1987, with baby Faye Watling, having to have a growth removed from her face, the amount of money to be raised and what was actually raised, to when we became a registered charity in 1989, right through to the present day, on how much we have given to worthy causes, as a result of the excess money, left over from the initial fund raiser, to assist baby Faye Watling. A lot of hard work went into this presentation and has been well worth the efforts of your committee. Further to Denise’s Power Point story, as mentioned, the main focus being on recruitment, as a result, in 2018, our membership again increased slightly. We continue to advise you, if your Establishment has a Wellbeing day arranged, make yourself known to the organisers, to have a stall. The presentation can be shown and it’s another way of promoting the PSCF, to your staff, of all grades, including areas that have been contracted out, for example, Health Care, Education and Works departments. Also, if you require a member of our committee to attend, then we will do our utmost to be there, to support you. During 2018, your committee attended several wellbeing days, namely at Frankland, Ranby, Low Newton, Gartree, Durham, Leicester, Deerbolt, Humber and Newbold Revel. One such day in August 2018, Ken was invited to Ranby Prison, to have a stall at their Wellbeing day. This proved to be a very successful recruitment campaign. Whilst there, Ken presented a cheque to staff, for one of Ranby’s appeals and then met with the Regional Director, who was most impressed with our setup. Ken took the opportunity to explain the Newbold situation, which the Director was not totally surprised at, but did go on to say, the Dog Training Section at Stocken Prison had closed and were going to use it for training new staff. Ken has been pursuing this avenue ever since. Continuing in a similar vein, another way of informing staff at your Establishments, about the fundraising events that have taken place, or are about to take place, is by way of a newsletter. Mick, who works at Liverpool Prison, produces one and has had really good feedback. I’m sure Mick will give you a few pointers, to assist you, in producing one! During 2018, we had cause to re-vamp our website, which is still “work in progress “, but we as your committee, think it will be well worth the wait for it’s completion. However, you can still visit the website to see how we are progressing. Our thanks must go to Bob’s son, Steve, who has spent a lot of “man” hours, getting the correct format and information onto the site. Again during 2018, we had quite a few requests for our promotional packs, which we have here today. Please do take one for displaying in staff areas within your Establishments, especially the new poster and joining forms. For those of you here today who regularly attend our AGM, you have probably heard what I am about to say before, but again, on many occasions throughout 2018, we had appeals submitted to us from staff that thought they were members of the PSCF. This can become a little embarrassing, as some individuals are adamant they are members. However, Bob always checks to see if they are members or not. If it is the latter, having this information to hand, Bob contacts the representative and/or the individual who submitted the appeal, only to find that they are members of the PSSA, or the Charity for Civil Servants. We would like to remind those present today, that it will make a difference to any award we may give, if the person making the appeal is not a member, as we have a ceiling of £250. The appeal will also be on a one off basis, unless that member of staff joins, as your committee feel it unfair to use members contributions, for non-members to take advantage of, in some cases knowing they are not going to join the PSCF. So we would urge representatives here today to bear this in mind, when submitting appeals. If you have doubts about who are members at your establishments, you can contact Bob, who will check for you and will be only to pleased to send you an up-to-date list of current members. By now, most of you know Robbie Jones, who over the years has become our mascot. Briefly, Robbie contracted Meningitis when he was 18 months old, as a result, lost both legs and parts of his fingers. Frankland staff arranged lots of fundraising events and the PSCF assisted them in reaching their target, to purchase a wheelchair and eventually Robbie’s first pair of prosthetic legs. Well, fast forward ten years to September 2018, our Robbie started his next big milestone in his life, he started senior school. How time flies, Good luck Robbie! Again, on several occasions during 2018, we had enquiries about assistance for financial hardship and funeral expenses. Although these cases are extremely heart breaking, unfortunately, our criteria does not allow us to support such appeals, but as always, we point them in the direction of the “Charity for Civil Servants”, which is a benevolent society, or the POA Welfare Fund. In November 2018, John received some bad news about the health of Andrew Barkess. For those of you who don’t know Andrew, about twelve years ago, two days after his 21st birthday, he was diagnosed with cancer of the spine. After undergoing a 13.5 hour operation, the tumour was removed, but Andrew ended up being paralysed from the waist downwards. Fundraising began at Frankland, to make alterations to Andrew’s house, for example, installing a stairlift. The PSCF assisted Frankland staff to achieve their target and the alterations were done. Moving forward a few years, Andrew passed his driving test (photo on website), and moved into his own home. Now his body has decided to reject the metalwork and has become infected. He has spent a good while in hospital and may need an operation to remove the metal, but the surgeons have stated, this is a very risky operation. As a result, he can no longer drive his car and may be in need of another wheelchair, because he has outgrown his old one. The hospital will decide in the new year, the way forward, in the meantime, I’m sure we all wish Andrew a speedy recovery. Also in November 2018, we received this very warming and successful story about Daniel Chapman, as told by his parents, Glynis and Graham. “Daniel was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, at the age of five years old. Daniel’s sugars were so high his internal organs were starting to shut down, this is what’s known as Ketoacidosis. The Paediatric Consultant stated his high activity levels had been burning off the excess sugar and could have been masking other tell tale signs of Type 1 diabetes. What followed was weeks of training for both Daniel and the whole family. It was also the last time we, as Dan’s parents, had a full nights sleep! 2 am blood tests, hypoglycaemic episodes, throughout the night... the list goes on! We were introduced to a piece of equipment known as Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM), via our diabetic clinic. The CGM monitors Dan’s glucose levels every five minutes, predicting when Dan’s bloods are going too low/too high. The CGM sends alerts to our phone, when he’s having a hypo/hyper, so we can take the necessary action and manage his glucose levels within the “ normal” range of 4-7mmol. The wonders of modern technology! However, CGM’s are very expensive, costing approximately £50 per week. Each sensor only lasts 7 days, before it has to be replaced. The transmitters, which record the readings and send them to our phones via Bluetooth, lasts three months and costs £250 each. We were very lucky to have friends and family organise charity events, in order to raise necessary funds to supply Daniel with over 18 months of sensors and transmitters. That’s when the PSCF stepped in. Thanks to John White, we received further support via sponsorship for a half marathon walk, for the sum of £2900. We were overwhelmed! This ensured Daniel had sufficient funds to purchase CGM’s/ transmitters for a further year. The support we received from the PSCF, didn’t stop there. We received further funding via donations presented at their AGM’s. Again, we were overwhelmed by the support and generosity we received, in order to help fund this essential piece of equipment. During November, Daniel suffered several serious hypoglycaemic episodes. As a result of these episodes, his Diabetic Paediatric Nurse applied for NHS funding for his CGM and transmitters. On the 10th December 2018, we were informed we had been successful and all future requirements would be covered via our Health Care Trust. We as a family, would like to extend our eternal gratitude to everyone involved with the PSCF, for all they have done, not only for Daniel, but our entire family. You have assisted with the management of Daniel’s diabetes, allowing him to “forget”, he has a debilitating condition and enjoy life like any other football crazy 11 year old. We wish you all the very best and hope you continue to be successful in supporting worthy causes throughout the UK. With love, The Chapman Family.” On several occasions during 2018, your committee received appeals or enquiries which do not fit our criteria. One such enquiry was from the Durham Representative on behalf of a member of staff, who wanted finances for accommodation and fuel, to get to venues, to support a boxing career. We cannot use members money to support non-medical uses in this way and as always in these cases, we do point them in the direction of the Charity for Civil Servants, who can be contacted on 0800 056 2424, or www.foryoubyyou.org.uk or email@example.com and the PSSA. Another unusual request was from a serving Dog Handler at Frankland, who wanted to set up a charity for the wellbeing of working dogs, but wanted to come under the umbrella of the PSCF. A similar one works with the Police, but the difference is, the Police are a benevolent society, whereas the PSCF, is a medicalbased charity, both having different criteria. Above all it’s an animal charity, which in this case, we cannot support. Years gone by, the PSCF has supported thousands of staff, from many establishments, across the whole public sector Prison Estate. Last year we reported on the remarkable achievements of Pat Ainsworth, who may I add is still “plodding” the streets, raising money for her charities. This year we have another shining star, well two really, both working towards the same goal and that is to help research into Leukaemia, which as we know is a blood cancer. This story starts with two PEI’s working at HMP Humber, (which is the old Everthorpe and Wolds Prisons merging). Dave Frisby, who has now become our representative at Humber and we have his pleasure here today, became ill with Leukaemia, was, and still is undergoing treatment at the Queens Centre, Castle Hill Hospital near Hull. If it wasn’t for the excellent medical team there, Dave would find life and work a very difficult prospect. The Queens Centre’s Charitable arm, has been a fantastic support for Dave. Behind the scenes Dave’s colleague Mark Harling B.E.M., wanted to do something special for his 50th birthday. So he came up with the idea of a “Half Century Tri-Challenge” and so the fund raising began for the Queens Centre. Between the 10th-21st June 2018, Mark undertook three big challenges. Cycle end-to-end, climb the National three peaks and Kayak the three biggest Lakes. Challenge one, is to cycle the length of the country, a distance of around 1000 miles, beginning at John O’ Groats, Scotland and passing through some of the toughest terrain in the UK, before finishing at Lands End. Challenge two, was to climb the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. Starting with Ben Nevis, followed by Scafell Pike and finishing with Snowden. This was a serious undertaking, covering a distance of around 24 miles, with a total ascent of 3000 metres. The third and final challenge was to kayak the length of the longest stretches of water in Scotland, England and Wales. Starting at Loch Awe in Scotland, which is around 27 miles, followed by Lake Windermere in England, at around 11 miles, finishing with Lake Bala in Wales, at around 7 miles, that’s a total of around 45 miles of kayaking, which is the equivalent to crossing the English Channel and back. When the going got tough during this unique and arduous adventure, Mark’s focus was brought back to the Queens Centre and the remarkable work it does. That focus and his amazing grit and determination, saw him through this brilliant achievement, described above. What was even more amazing, all three events were being done simultaneously, so the cycle route covered a greater distance and a greater ascent, and to make it even harder, Mark endured two days of Storm Hector. Inspired by Mark’s mission, on day seven, Mark was joined by Dave, on his ascent of Scafell Pike and by day nine, all three mountain challenges were complete. Comically, Mark considered the walking and kayaking, days of rest, despite having to bail out every mile, when kayaking in Scotland, as his kayak had sprung a leak! Mark’s plan to complete the challenge in just 12 days was executed to perfection. He hit every milestone that he set for himself and upon reaching Land’s End, he even suggested to his partner, that he might just cycle back to Hull. He didn’t, but we have no doubt that he could have! So mission complete, you will probably be interested in the official stats from the challenge. Mark cycled 891.1 miles, with an ascent of 51,198 feet, taking 60 hours, 17 minutes, with a fastest speed of 43.3mph. He walked 22.9 miles, with an ascent of 9,822 feet, over 10 hours 45 minutes. And he kayaked 43.4 miles, over 12 hours 40 minutes, with approximately 45,600 strokes, (1 per second). Every day back at HMP Humber, staff were kept up to date with Mark’s progress, and when he returned to work the following week, he was met with a rapturous audience, cheering him into the gym, eager to hear all about his challenge. This really did capture the imagination of his colleagues, who happily gave generously to the charity, the Queens Centre. Whilst the epic journey is over, work continues at the Queens Centre and a final figure of over £5000 was raised, assisted by a donation from the PSCF. Your committee must again thank our colleagues working in the Print Shop at Deerbolt and the Industries Department at Frankland, for supplying, free of charge, all the promotional material here today. Also, the continued support from John’s son Ian, at Potts Print (UK), who produces this report and the posters, free of charge. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. This is very much appreciated by your committee. Before we finish with the committee’s report, we feel it is worth pointing out, that as at the end of December 2018, the PSCF have 50 Representatives in Establishments and 64 without a Representative, 10 of the 50 came after the POA Conference in May 2018, which we found very encouraging, but it is a long way short of where we would like to be. (Lists can be supplied of Establishments without a Representative). All of us here today, probably have friends or colleagues that you know personally in these Establishments. The PSCF are keen to make progress at these Establishments and with your assistance, hope we can make inroads into this problematic area. Thank you. Bob For and on behalf of the Committee
2018 was certainly a challenging year for the fund. We saw a dramatic drop in the investment portfolio, but still the fund recorded a profit on the previous reporting year. We have to report that this is due to the sterling efforts by the Committee and our more proactive representatives, promoting the fund at wellbeing days and to new staff arriving from the training establishments. We mentioned in the last report how valuable this recruitment is to the fund, at a time of low interest rates from our investments and would like to place on record our gratitude for the support we still receive from establishments and training facilities throughout England and Wales. The donations received from staff pay rose from £103,875.41 to £106,822.67, an increase of £2,947.26. There was also an increase of £12 from the donations by standing order, a slight increase but still going in the right direction. We will also be claiming the Gift Aid on these donations. The total income for this financial year was £153,263.36 this shows an increase of £49,427.39. A significant part of this increase is due to the fact that we closed our account with the Saffron Building Society and reinvested the maturity sum with the Bath Building Society, Investec Bank, Hodge Bank and Hampshire Trust Bank. All of which offered the fund a better interest return but, all these increased figures where still within the safety limit of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme of £85,000. This figure also included an early payment from Charities Trust for January 2019 received on December 31st 2018. This brings the actual donation and interest received figure to £106,119. This reflects on the drop in the portfolio investment and the Building Society investment drop in interest rates, obviously due to the present economic uncertainty in the financial markets from 2017. The amount donated from the fund within this reporting period was £93,066 an increase of £9767 on the 2017 donation figures. 155 appeals were received from 40 establishments, which included a number of regional offices within this reporting period. This figure has remained fairly static over the past few years and once again it must reflect on the ability to raise funds within the present economic climate. We would applaud the staff at all prison establishments for their endeavours to support their chosen causes and will always support them if their appeal is within our criteria. In the light of the difference in our investment portfolio, due to interest rates over the financial year being still and at an all time low for most of 2018, we are still proud to be able to say that all expenditure encountered within the administration costs of the fund are met from the, albeit lower, returns again this year from our investment interest. After all the costs were met, we still show a profit from the Building Society and Bank investments of £4190. We can assure our members we will always seek to invest your money at the safest and higher interest rates available and will continue this in 2019. I think we can safely say that despite all the economic uncertainty, we have enjoyed a fairly successful year and we must thank our membership from every establishment in England and Wales for their ongoing support, without which we could not donate to the causes that require their assistance. Having now completed the financial statement of the fund we have to inform the forum of a very serious incident that we had to deal with from an appeal received in June 2018, from a retired member of the fund who donates through a standing order. The fund has now been supporting staff for 29 years and has donated in excess of £2,400,000 to thousands of appeals, to assist staff who are supporting groups, major and small charities and more importantly, individuals in need of medical assistance such as the one highlighted in the main report, Grace Carson. Over the 29 years I am sure that we have had some appeals that may have exaggerated the funds raised by staff either, by accident or hopefully, not by design, but this next appeal far outweighed any of this. In June of 2018 we received an appeal from a member of the fund (now retired), who had served at Lincoln, Nottingham and Liverpool. Where he was an active member and supported the fund as our representative at two of the establishments after leaving Liverpool. This appeal was sent to the fund in good faith outlining the fact that his niece had a severe aggressive form of cancer, that was not responding to the treatment offered by the NHS. He highlighted the fact that following this diagnosis this lady had informed her parents, close family, friends and work colleagues that she required more than £16,000 to arrange some form of private medication that would be more beneficial than the chemotherapy she was receiving. This was a complete scam to raise money to pay off her debts and fuel a lavish lifestyle outside of her earning potential. Altogether she raised in excess of £19,000 which included our donation and was only discovered when her work colleagues raised their suspicions regarding the necessity for this private funding. The fund was involved when, as part of the police investigations, they found the letter we send with every donation, in her house. We were contacted by Merseyside Police and the Treasurer attended Lower Lane Police Station in Liverpool and was asked to submit a statement outlining our involvement and subsequent donation. This statement, although this woman pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining funds, formed part of the subsequent appearance and sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court, where she was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years and had to wear an electronic tag for 12 months. Although the judgement did not require this woman to repay the funding she had received, from all the groups of fundraisers involved, which included two other charitable organisations, we followed the trail of our donation cheque and with the help of our bank (HSBC), we found that although our cheque was made out to a fund, that she said she had set up, it was paid directly into her personal account and was used for personal gain and not for the treatment she had lied to all the fundraisers about. The treasurer was informed that the security and fraud department would contact the other bank in question, but we would be lucky to be reimbursed. I now have the pleasure of informing you that on December 19th 2018 we received full reimbursement of the donation we had made. Sadly, this type of fraudulent action has now made the fund more aware of the dangers of taking appeals at their face value but, we hope that receiving one appeal of this kind, is one too many and we hope that is unlikely to happen again in the future. This appeal had to be reported to the Charity Commission as a “serious incident”. This was sent to the Commission after the sentence was passed on this woman, outlining the appeal from our member who had been cleared of any collusion in this fraud and the actions taken by the committee to deal with this matter. The commission conclusion was that “The Committee dealt with this in a responsible and appropriate manner” and no further action was required to either the Fund or the member who had made the appeal in good faith.