Foreword by Chair of the Board

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the 2016 to 2017 Impact Report.

I am writing this in November 2017, when ARA has recently been awarded the ‘Preventing Homelessness Accommodation Pathway – Substance Misuse’ contract for an initial five years. This gives both the charity and, more importantly, our service users a period of stability at a time of general uncertainty, public funding reductions and change. This contract, which allows our core service to carry on, has continued due to the diligence and hard work of the Managing Director and his team, who have built and maintained strong relationships with the commissioner, Bristol City Council, and were able to demonstrate that ARA could meet effectively all of the contract’s exacting quality requirements.

This Impact Summary covers the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, the second full year under Graham England’s operational leadership. Again, thanks to his strong service leadership and Finance Director, Andrew Ridley’s, excellent financial stewardship, our accounts were unqualified for 2016/17, with no significant recommendations for improvements. Our financial situation is well managed by Andrew and his team and then robustly scrutinised by the Board.

This is our second Impact Summary, following the popularity of this new format last year. We are keener than ever to show our supporters, service users, staff, volunteers, commissioners and anybody else reading this what impact our work has, using infographics where possible to bring this to life. The ability to evidence our impact really helped in the bidding process with commissioners regarding the new housing contract, for example being able to show the social impact of the Addiction Recovery Café (ARC). The demand for our services continues to increase, an example being our mental health service Connect Psychology, which saw a 22% rise in demand from the previous year. We are proud that we maintained our patient reliable recovery at 62% (12% higher than the NHS national target for this service).

We have also successfully taken on smaller contracts and contract extensions that complement our core work. For example, our Gambling Counselling Service, which outperformed in 2016/17, was funded and the additional work recognised in the contract for 2017/18.

This year, Graham and I have focused on Board governance, revising the frequency and format of Board meetings, setting up a new Remuneration and Human Resources Committee, and establishing an annual half day workshop-style session on strategic planning. Patsy Hudson, Deputy Chair, has met with all Board members to review their skills and knowledge and how these can be used strategically for ARA.

We were sad to see the tenure of Chris Seaton and Dr Jon Rogers come to an end. Both have served the Board of ARA for a number of years, contributing hugely to our success and local reputation. They remain our friends and supporters. We welcomed Simon Goodman, Jayne Tucker and David Thomas as new Board members.

On the subject of Board changes, due to the time taken up by my other work commitments I have made the very difficult decision to stand down in early 2018 as Chair and as a Board member; we have been succession planning over the past few months. I will be sad to leave ARA, but know that there is a strong Board and management team in place to continue with a positive way forward.

I hope you enjoy reading this and, if you do, why not follow us on Twitter (@ARA_Bristol) and like our Facebook page too, for real time updates and stories about our work?

Annette Hill
Chair, ARA Board

Housing Services
Connect Psychology
Gambling Service
Arc Café
Somerset Service

Prison Resettlement Service
Finance