Annual General Meeting – 2022 Trustees Report
for the Financial Year ended 31 December 2021
The Goan Welfare Society (GWS) was founded in March 1983, to provide limited assistance to the community living in the UK. When the original Trustees passed away, responsibility for the Charity was handed over to the G.O.A. (UK) in October 2004. However, the Charity Commission required GWS to operate as an autonomous body with its own membership and raising its own funds. The present Trustees remain unchanged and are: Paul De Mendonça, Norma Menezes-Rahim, Alfred Rebello, Rosy De Souza and Flavio Gracias (Chair).
The objectives of the Charity have not changed since its inception and the Trustees continue to maintain the commitment to assist persons of Goan origin, who are in need of help, residing in the UK or elsewhere. In addition to the Trustees, four Committee members provide administrative support, two of which, were appointed at the last AGM. 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.
The AGM was again held by “Zoom” on 12 December 2021 and apart from the Trustees & committee members, the attendance was just two members, which was extremely disappointing.
FUND-RAISING & FINANCIAL REVIEW
This annual report covers the Financial Year 2021, which runs from January to December, the period under review. The Trustees are the custodians of all assets held by the Charity. A large part of this asset, surplus to our requirements, is held in a Deposit Account and the Charity continues to enjoy a strong balance sheet with liquid assets held in bank accounts with HSBC Bank totaling £230,565. However, at the end of the financial year the capital showed a substantial reduction of £20,506.00 from 2020.
The money held in the Deposit Account gave us added security and also accrued a small level of income amounting to £24.00, because the interest rates have been at a record low for much of the last twelve months. Furthermore, as a result of the pandemic, the Charity was unable to engage in any group fund- raising activities and our revenue from donations totalled only £5,183.
The Planned-Giving Scheme has shown no appreciable improvement in 2021 and the current annual income from this source is £1,301.80 (2020: £1,274.80). We would like to encourage more members to join the scheme and to request members to consider nominating 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.
ACHIEVEMENT & PERFORMANCE
Last year 2020, was traumatic by any standard, with the pandemic taking a heavy toll on the country in general and our community in particular. Mercifully, 2021 saw the pandemic brought under control with a concerted vaccination programme at the start of the year but we continued to lose members of the community with the number of deaths in our local area, that we are aware of, totalling 47. GWS continued to play a leading role in helping many of the bereaved families with the registration of the deaths and funeral arrangements.
The suspension of repatriations of deceased Goans to their families in Goa was lifted by the Indian government but for only non-covid deaths. We understand from Southall Funeral Service that there were 21 repatriations and, although the cost of freight was increased, we renegotiated a fixed price of £2,750.00 for this service.
We are most grateful to the Goan Chaplains in London (Fr Patrick D’Souza) & Swindon (Fr Lucas Rodrigues) who provide much-needed spiritual support to the Goan community. Sadly, we said “good- bye” to Fr Gerard Mitchell, the Parish Priest at St Anselm’s Church in Southall and, although his presence was missed, we are delighted to report that his replacement Fr Jovito De Souza has proved to be a worthy replacement, continuing to give us tremendous support, whenever approached.
Other activities during the year included:
- Helping families with financial support where they were experiencing hardship and to avoid homelessness.
- Members may recall that at the AGM last year, we reported that the pandemic was raging in Goa and we planned to make a contribution of £5,000.00 from our own funds plus £1,200 from members & supporters to the Archdiocese of Goa. We can confirm that the money was gratefully received and acknowledged
- We continued to make an annual contribution of £100.00 to Kenneth De Souza, the paralysed young man whom we repatriated to Goa in 2015, for the cost of his medical needs.
- Our work in providing support to families with social and medical issues continues to show an increasing trend.
- Membership & Planned GivingOur membership at the end of 2021 was 197, which was a modest increase over the previous year. Our aim is to increase membership by at least 20% per year and we will continue to strive to achieve this target. We would also like to double the number of donors in our Planned-Giving scheme so that our income from this source exceeds £2,000 / year.
- Building Relationships
We will continue to foster good relationships with the Indian High Commission, the Portuguese Consulate and Goan Organisations in order that we can better serve the needs of the Community.
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