Worthing charity celebrating 90 years is 'stronger, more resilient, braver and better' after weathering storm

Celebrating 90 years in Worthing, social care charity Guild Care is 'stronger, more resilient, braver and better' after weathering the storm of Covid-19 and financial challenges over the past few years.

Members and guests gathered at Haviland House on Friday, September 15, for the annual meeting and a 90th birthday vintage afternoon tea to celebrate Guild Care's support for the community of Worthing and surrounding areas.

Alex Brooks-Johnson, chief executive, said: "For the past three years, we have been battening down the hatches and trying to protect the organisation. We feel we have come through a storm but we are still standing after 90 years, and after all we have been through in the past three years.

"We feel stronger, more resilient, braver and better for all the challenges he have been through. We are blazing a trail in our social impact, reducing isolation. The aim for the next year is to remove the shackles of the past few years with a strategy that is bold and ambitious.

"The charity plans to modernise its learning disability services, work with other organisations to join up care for dementia patients, continue to invest in its care homes and to invest in its commercial function and fundraising.

"The new strategy will deliver more social impact. The vision is that all people in need of care live fulfilling, safe and secure lives. To achieve this, the mission is to ensure the support and services are accessible, effective and lovingly delivered."

Warren Fabes, chief financial officer, talked guests through the current financial position and said the figures showed a loss of £0.3million – less than expected, but an increase in public benefit.

He explained there had been a large increase in expenditure over the past two years, due in part to the increase in the minimum wage, large agency costs and energy costs quadrupling. But there had also been significant growth in the retail organisation.

Mr Fabes added: "It has been a tough year. It has been hard to deal with all these head winds in the one year. But the charity shops are doing really well, consistently supported, and we chose to invest money in the opening of even more charity shops."

Peter Kinsey, chairman of the board of trustees, spoke about some of the work of Guild Care, which was established in Worthing in 1933 by a team of dedicated volunteers.

He said: "This charity is really, really special. It is an amazing organisation. It has just got a fantastic culture, it is a really incredibly caring organisation.

"Guild Care has been making a difference to the lives of the people in this area for nearly a century. As well as the work in its care homes, there is a lot of other incredible work going on."

He highlighted a drumming session at Haviland House he had witnessed and the Creating Connections service, which makes a lot of difference to people by reducing loneliness and isolation.

Guild Care also provides support to people with learning disabilities in its two day care services, as well as its children's day services.

Bea, 86, spoke about how Creating Connections had helped her since her husband passed away in December.

"Guild Care has been absolutely amazing," she said. "I go three days a week and do all sorts of amazing things. Nothing is too much trouble, all smiles, and I really can say from my heart how wonderful everyone has been."

Deputy Lieutenant Margaret Bamford, who was involved in fundraising for Haviland House back in 2014, thanked everyone for their hard work. Speaking on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, she said: "What a jewel we have in Worthing and how fortunate we are to have an organisation that does so much."

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