Summarised financial information for the year ended 31 December 2015
It is once again my pleasure to introduce our Annual Report for 2015.
Clearly the “main event” in 2015 was the opening of our major building project, SoundSpace. We arranged our Official Opening to coincide with our Annual General Meeting in April 2015, and were delighted that Rosalyn Springer, the daughter of our first patron Marjorie Sherman, was able to conduct the opening ceremony for us. We were pleased to name the new building The Sherman Centre in Mrs Sherman’s honour.
When one stands in the forecourt today, it is hard to believe that it is only just over a year since The Sherman Centre opened. It is a tribute to the skill of our architects and craftspeople – not least those who tidied up afterwards – that it seems as if the new building has always been there. If visitors to our AGM have an opportunity to look round, you will see that every room is already in use. In particular, our new conference centre attracts outside bookings as well as hosting our own training and conference events, while our technology centre, thanks to the generosity of our industry sponsors, showcases the latest hearing technologies and demonstrates how these technologies can, with appropriate support, revolutionise the lives of children, young people and adults with hearing impairment.
Indeed, we are becoming quite the “go to” place for meetings, conferences and seminars for both commercial and third sector organisations, so if you have any such events in planning I hope you will contact us to see if we can help.
Buildings, of course, are not ends in themselves but rather provide the setting through which we deliver our services and promote our charitable aims. A good working environment is nevertheless inspiring, and our staff have risen to the challenge. Our Education programme is going from strength to strength, and continues to attract large numbers of course delegates here in Nottingham, elsewhere in the country (and overseas too) and increasingly online. We have built up, and are maintaining, an international reputation in research: in a field where many research projects last for years (and cost well into seven figures) our focussed, qualitative research into the benefits and implications of hearing technologies is delivering robust outcomes to our sponsors in a short timescale. Our national profile continues to grow as we host and support a regular series of policy papers on the implications of hearing impairment: we are increasingly focussing on the need for effective hearing screening of older adults if the vast shortfall in meeting the hearing needs of this group is to be addressed. At the same time we work directly with an increasing number of children and adults giving them targeted advice on how to make the best use of the new technologies now available, while our family programme directly supports the parents of young people with hearing loss – and indeed the young people themselves.
All the good work we do depends, of course, on the support of many people. Our staff team, inspired by our Chief Executive Sue Archbold, invest exceptional amounts of time and energy in delivering our projects and programmes, and by doing so inspire professional colleagues, parents and our partners alike. Our industry partners continue to provide bedrock support to our charitable activities. Many of our partners have sponsored us for many years, and we rely on their generosity, but I would also like to acknowledge those partners who have joined us more recently, and hope that their association with us will also be a long one. We are also supported by local and national politicians of all colours, by medical, health and education professionals, by all those who use our services, and by you, our friends at home and overseas, who by your interest and commitment encourage us to ever greater efforts. We are most grateful to you all.
Of course, there is still more we would like to do. There is significant unmet need at all ages amongst those whom we seek to serve: technological complexity, an ageing population, and continuing reductions in Government expenditure are just three of many factors that potentially increase the demands on our services. With more resource, we could bring more benefit to more people. This is not simply a request for money (though donations are always appreciated!); perhaps there are ways in which we and you could work together, or opportunities to which you could introduce us? Please do get in touch if that is the case.
Finally, a personal word. This is the last time I will present a Chair’s Report to you. This AGM marks the conclusion of my second term of office and under our governance arrangements I may not stand for election again. It has been a very great privilege to serve as your Chair for eight years: years which have seen The Ear Foundation grow and develop into the high-profile national and international charity it is today. I have had the great good fortune to work with an outstanding Chief Executive, Sue Archbold, throughout my term of office and the credit for what she and I have achieved together is hers. I have also benefited from exceptional support from all my fellow Trustees, past and present: our Trustees represent the highest standards of charity governance and the future of The Ear Foundation is safe in their hands. I will have very fond memories of my time as Chair and would like to wish The Ear Foundation, its Trustees, staff, partners and friends, every success in the future.
John Atkins (Chair)
Any questions on finance should also be directed to the Chief Executive.