A Christmas message from our Chairman
As the year draws to a close, few of us would have ever imagined that 2020 would change our lives so dramatically, stripping us of the daily pleasures, like meeting friends, going to the shops and visiting family.
As lockdown restrictions swept the nation, we were suddenly plunged into an unfamiliar world of home schooling, Joe Wicks online P.E, clapping for our frontline heroes, mandatory face mask wearing and the daily Government briefings.
We soon learnt the true meaning of family, community, friendship, resilience and thanks to centenarian, Captain Tom Moore, the simple act of giving.
There’s no doubt that the effects of the Coronavirus changed and disrupted life for everyone this year, including the work of West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund.
Back in April we were forced to close our office, our holiday homes and temporarily suspend convalescence breaks to St Michael’s Lodge. However, like many other charities we continued to support our members who needed assistance.
We ensured the national lockdown didn’t affect members accessibility of our police charity and over the year we’ve handed out in excess of £62,000 in grants, sickness vouchers, as well as a number of convalescence and rehabilitation breaks to help members in need.
I’d like to say a big thank you to all our Trustees and Operations Committee members for taking the time to regularly attend our virtual meetings that moved online in order to approve grant applications.
As well as providing financial assistance, we’ve also seen an increase in donations to our charity. To date, we have received over £3000 in donations. This includes the money generated from the sale of our new charity Christmas e-cards and the donations kindly deposited in our collection tins around Police HQ, Lloyd House.
There’s still time to send one of our charity Christmas e-cards. Simply click on the link here
I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to our charity this year and to our members for your continued support.
Despite the cancellation of our planned events, including our first AGM as a newly formed charity, we still attracted new faces to the fund and welcomed over 500 new members.
I’m pleased to announce that, in recognition of the challenges faced by many this year, there will be NO increase to membership subscription fees for next year. I’m sure you will all agree this is even more reason for colleagues to join the fund. We are working on plans to make member benefits even more ‘REWARDING’ so keep your eyes peeled for a new member benefit that’s coming your way in the New Year!
Throughout October and November, we ran the ‘Share our Benefits’ campaign. Members who signed up a colleague to join the fund were entered into our prize draw. Thanks to everyone who took part and encouraged colleagues to join. The lucky prize draw winner is Scott Davies!
At this stage we can’t be sure how the next 12 months will play out. This, understandably, makes it incredibly difficult to plan ahead, however, the promise of a vaccine brings renewed hope that our lives may return to some kind of pre-pandemic normal.
Planning physical events is going to be a challenge for us in 2021, but we will continue to work hard to offer improved benefits for our members. We sincerely hope to run our two planned Family Fun Days at Blackwell Adventure and our Children’s Christmas Party that we were, sadly, unable to host this year.
You will find all the latest updates and news on our website and we will continue to send occasional emails to inform you of anything important. We will be running our traditional holiday home ballot from 4 January to 4 February 2021.
One thing we do know for certain is that the impact of Coronavirus on our lives will be long lasting and profound. The funding support that our members provide through their monthly subscriptions has never been more important to our work.
As we head into next year, we will endeavour to play a vital role in supporting our members the best way we can.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very safe, peaceful and happy Christmas.
Chairman, West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund