... The opening words from John Hutchison, Chair of the Shrewsbury House Board of Management, in his report for the Shewsy's recent Annual General Meeting.
Over the course of the year we have continued to deliver a first-class face-to-face service to our children and young people. In a world where so many organisations get caught up in proclaiming their success and delivering almost nothing, we take the opposite stance and deliver our mission to the maximum, with few resources expended in self-publicity!
Our core business is delivering support to children and young people and we have been busy:
- Extending the "reach" of our catchment area to right across the city of Liverpool
- Piloting a programme of intensive work with young people on the edge of serious crime and reporting our results back to the Home Office
- Providing our core After-School and Senior Club activities on four afternoons and evenings each week, for members aged 5-18 years old
- Running our out-of-school Easter and Summer holiday programmes
- Running residential weeks and weekends. This has included the Causeway Exchange Programme with groups from Belfast and Dublin and our second trip to Malawi, alongside pupils from Shrewsbury School
- Delivering the annual programme of five three-day Social Studies visits from the Shrewsbury School Sixth Form, aligning the subjects with the National Curriculum, complementing their volunteering time at the club
- Supporting the work of the Archive Group on their project: “Shrewsbury House - The Football Story"
- Building on our best annual Summer Fair for many years, with record numbers.
- Rebuilt after the reduction from two to one full-time staff in July 2017. This has been largely due to the exemplary efforts of our superb team leader, John Dumbell. However, we have also made welcome additions to our part-time staff team. We have had bigger attendances over the course of the past year than at any time since the late 1980s, with as many as 80 members in Senior Club and 40 in Junior Club on some days. This is really quite extraordinary and illustrates our attraction across a wider catchment area, and the continuing need for the Shewsy's service.
- Continued to do all we can to diversify our funding base, strengthen the breadth of the voluntary support we receive already and cut our costs.
- Continued to lobby in order to tell our story of the influence we have on many young lives. This produces immense (though difficult to quantify) savings to the public purse. Without any doubt in our long experience, this includes savings from:
1) Those deterred from habitual drug use
2) Those retained in school
3) Those prevented from entering the Youth Justice and prison syste
4) Those who avoid the very common experience of family breakdown and violence.
If any service is worthy of the badge of "Invest to Save" it is the Youth Service, and Shrewsbury House is proud to fly the flag for that service in Everton - one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country.
- Debated and resolved the serious matter of our 50-year-old building's future. We have commissioned a Stock Survey and debated the respective merits of a full rebuild of the premises versus a full refurbishment. We have concluded that the refurbishment option is the wiser path. We estimate that this may cost us in the region of £1 million over a five-year period and we are setting out our fundraising strategy as we speak.
- Achieved the remarkable success of securing, through the Old Salopians, a fully paid scholarship at Shrewsbury School for one of our club members.
- Again, through the good auspices of the Old Salopians, we have established a three-month internship at the club for a school leaver from Shrewsbury.
In conclusion, it has been another exceptional year. It remains a pleasure and privilege to be involved.
John Hutchison, Chair, Board of Management Sept 2019