I had intended writing before Christmas to say a very sincere thanks for all the work done over the year. However the bereavement on the Athlone site put a stop to that plan and I’m only getting around to doing it now. So it’s New Year greetings instead!
2019 has been a really good year for New Horizon, a quick look back produces an absolutely astonishing list of work done.
In our regular offerings we have; the drop-in clinics, the mother and toddler club, the children’s library, the English language classes, the Arabic language and culture sessions, the various computer skills sessions, the Kingfisher club arts project and lots more.
Let’s not forget the great, and underappreciated, work that goes into volunteer recruitment, training and Garda clearance.
Special events during the year were the Big Hello in Lissywollen and Temple, participation in the Canadian wake and Famine walk events in Strokestown and Mullingar, and of course the great kids Christmas party. Better not forget the cosmetics distribution, that was both important and fun!
The organisation has come together in a big way too.
We spent almost six months writing documents and plans, dotting i’s and crossing the t’s for the charity regulator approval. We now have a Data Protection policy, a Business plan, a Child safeguarding statement, a Child safeguarding risk assessment, a Conflict of interest policy, a Constitution, an Organisation chart (phew!). We also have new policies and tools for reclaiming expenses, requesting purchases and handling our new welfare fund.
31st July was a big day when we got our wonderful Regulator of Charities Number 20204649! This enhances our credibility, makes it easier to get funding and gives access to technology donations.
Benefits started flowing practically immediately, Google donated the Gsuite business package, HSE came up with €2000 for children’s library and drop-in clinics. Best of all, AIT students Union did their Day of the Dead Halloween event and donated €4000 to us. The AIT book sale covered the Christmas party costs. The Soroptimists gave a generous donation, contributed to the cosmetics collection and offered support in the future.
We have had training sessions in community development skills, mental health first aid, and self-defence for women. NH has joined the Wheel, the coordinating body for charities and NGOs which gives us access to lots of training and governance materials.
I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has, so generously, donated their time and energy to NH activities. To all volunteers, to donors, to the NH committee, to the AIT management and staff, to the AIT Students union and International Students society, and to the management and staff at Lissywollen and Temple DP sites.To Westmeath community development and Westmeath volunteer centre and Athlone Community radio.
And above all, thanks to current and former residents of the DP sites for allowing us to walk a little part of their road with them.
Thank you all for your hard work, your cooperation, your help, your kindness and courtesy.