I was delighted to take over the position of Chair of the Board of Trustees for ARA in July 2016. The position had been held previously by Paul Bullivant, who led the Board through recent times of change with great skill, and therefore achieved a level of stability it is quite hard to find in the current climate. This led to a very smooth handover and transfer, so the first thing for me to do in this report is to offer my thanks to Paul for making this happen.
This Impact Summary covers the period 1 April, 2015 to 31 March 2016. At the start of this period, we said goodbye to the former Chief Executive, Peter Walker, and we welcomed Graham England as Managing Director, with the responsibility to lead ARA operationally
It is a testament to Graham’s strong service leadership from day one and to Andrew Ridley’s excellent financial stewardship that our accounts were unqualified for 2015/16, with no significant recommendations for improvements. Following a meeting held with our auditors, Burton Sweet, to present the audited accounts, during which Paul, Patsy Hudson (Vice Chair) and I asked a lot of detailed questions, one of the first things I did as Chair was to sign the audited accounts.
This is our first Impact Summary, and it takes over from the Annual Reports we used to produce each year. Graham and I have agreed that we need to move towards a format that tells 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. I am very excited by some of the information we are presenting in this way. For example, we have 46 staff, but in addition to their valued work, in 2015/16, we provided 13,000 hours of work by volunteers across all of our services, adding significant social value.
Since becoming Chair, I have enjoyed working with Graham very much, and I am looking forward to making sure that a strategically focused Board supports him, the management team and all staff and volunteers in future service delivery, development and performance. We have been consulting on our brand, name, mission and values. Overwhelmingly we agreed to keep the name ARA as we know it has a special place in the hearts of many local people, particularly those who have used, or are close to people who have used ARA’s services over the years. I look forward to saying more about this and service developments and progress in next year’s report.
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?
Chair, ARA Board