Annual General Meeting – 2019 Trustees Report
for the Financial Year ended 31 December 2019
The Goan Welfare Society (GWS) was founded in March 1983, to provide limited assistance to the community living in the UK. The original Trustees passed away and responsibility for the Charity was handed over to the Goan Association (UK) in October 2004. However, as required by the Charity Commission, GWS operates as an autonomous body with its own membership and raising its own funds. The present Trustees are: Paul De Mendonça, Norma Menezes-Rahim, Alfred Rebello, Rosy De Souza and Flavio Gracias (Chair).
The objectives of the Charity have not changed and the Trustees continue to maintain the commitment to assist persons of Goan origin, who are in need of help and who are resident in the UK or elsewhere. In addition to the Trustees, two Committee members provide administrative support. All office-bearers serve in a voluntary capacity. The Board of Trustees meet once a year to review the performance of the Charity, but day-to-day decisions are effected via emails.
This annual report covers the Financial Year 2019, which runs from January to December, the period under review. Our fund-raising activities continued throughout the year culminating in the New Year’s Eve Ball on 31 December 2019. We are grateful to the De Mendonça family for their help in this area. Although successful in terms of publicity, the function made a loss of £1,009.00, and the Trustees have decided not to hold this event again.
The Planned-Giving Scheme has shown a slight improvement in 2019 and the current annual income from this source is £1,097.00 (2018: £939.00). We really would like to encourage more of our members to join the scheme. A final instalment of £4,739.08 was received from the generous legacy left to GWS by Antoinette De Souza in 2017, which has allowed the Charity to further improve its financial position. We would like to request members of the Goan Community to consider nominating the GWS in their Wills.
The Trustees have examined the major strategic, business and operational risks, which the charity faces, and confirm that adequate operational, legal, and financial systems are in place to enable regular reports to be produced so that necessary steps can be taken to minimise these risks.
The Charity has a strong balance sheet with liquid assets held in bank Accounts with HSBC Bank. The Trustees are the custodians of all assets held by the Charity. A large part of this asset, surplus to our requirements, has been transferred into a Deposit Account. This action gives the funds added security and also accrues a small level of interest.
Despite our strong financial position, our fund-raising activities continued unhindered in order to be able to continue our charitable activities.
We would like to convey our sincere appreciation to all our donors who have responded to our various appeals for funds towards the various projects, during the past twelve months.
ACHIEVEMENT & PERFORMANCE
It was an extremely busy year with repatriations of deceased Goans to their families in Goa and we have a firm of Funeral Directors that provide this service to the Charity at a fixed cost of £2,100.00. On average, we arrange the airlift of three to four bodies every year and it is worthwhile pointing out that burial in the UK costs over twice this figure, around £5,000; hence, repatriations are very cost effective. Although this activity continues to be an important part of our work, we are providing increasing support to families with social issues.
We are most grateful to the Goan Chaplains in London & Swindon and also to Fr Gerard, the Parish Priest at St Anselm’s R C Church in Southall for their tremendous support in more ways than one.
In December 2015, GWS arranged the airlift to Goa of Kenneth de Souza, a young Goan boy, who suffered brain damage as a result of a cardiac arrest following an asthma attack. It is four years since Kenneth was repatriated but he remains paralyzed and, following an AGM decision, the charity is making an annual contribution of £100.00 to the family help with the cost of his medical needs.
Other activities during the year included:
- Continuing to help families with financial support where they are experiencing hardship.
- Giving advice and support on employment issues.
At the time of writing this report, the country (like most of the world) is experiencing a dreadful pandemic brought about by the Covid-19 virus. Its impact on the community in the UK, has been horrendous with a high number of deaths and the charity is doing its best to help the bereaved families.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Stella Mascarenhas-Keyes as our first Patron.
- Membership & Planned Giving
Our membership at the end of 2019 was 175 and our objective is to increase this number by at least 20% per year. Concurrently, our aim is also to double the number of donors in our Planned-Giving scheme so that our income from this source achieves at least £2,000 / year.
- Raising awareness
Although awareness of the Charity is increasing, we will continue publicizing our new website for this purpose. It has been agreed to resume our presence at the Annual Goan Festival.
- Building Relationships
We will continue to foster better relationships with the Indian High Commission, the Portuguese Consulate and Goan Organisations in order that we can better serve members of the Community as we approach BREXIT on 31 December 2020.
Our thanks to Rohan of Renard Design for his help in keeping our website updated free-of-charge and to Carringtons Limited, our Accountants, for their invaluable advice & guidance on financial matters and for producing our Annual Accounts in line with the provisions of the Charity Commission.
FLAVIO GRACIAS Chair of Trustees
Registered address: GOAN WELFARE SOCIETY, “The Firs”, 17 Firs Drive, Cranford, Middlesex, TW5 9TA