It was a great honour and privilege to be elected as the Chair of the Council of Management by my fellow Council members in July last year. I have taken over from Beryl Sharlot who brought an amazing drive, energy and enthusiasm to this role. I hope to do my best to emulate her wonderful example.
During the year John Bostock, Helen Caswell and Ruth Waddell all retired from the Council. I would like to thank each of them for their tremendous service. At the same time we welcomed three newly elected Council members – Jon Barnes, James Sheward and Stephen Timewell. All three bring new ideas and perspectives as well as valuable experience and expertise.
The charity had one of its most successful financial years in its history in 2016, with a record amount of income. Jane Riley, our Honorary Treasurer, will comment on our financial performance in more detail in her report but I would just like to thank everyone who helped to make this great year possible. It’s exciting to see that support for the charity continues to grow. It’s also gratifying to note that we were able to help more people last year than ever before. We calculate that more than two million people directly benefited from our many services in 2016. These were people who viewed our advice and information on our website; people who viewed our videos online; people who took our e-learning courses; health professionals who used our training services; people who attended our events all over the United Kingdom.
A really important piece of work completed by the Council of Management during 2016 was to review the charity’s long term strategic plan. We refreshed our vision and mission for the next five years and confirmed our twin goals – to improve the quality and availability of health care services for people with epilepsy and to improve awareness and understanding of epilepsy.
Our new plan builds on the work we have been doing for several years now. It gives us continuity for our services but also makes sure that our work is up to date and still relevant for people now and in the future. Crucially our plans are a reflection of what people have told us they want. We carried out an extensive consultation exercise with the charity’s many stakeholders and listened to what they had to say. We wanted to know what was most important to them, what kind of organisation they wanted Epilepsy Action to be and what services they wanted.
What people told us is mirrored not only in the things we do as an organisation, it is also reflected in the values and beliefs of the charity that guide the way we work. Above all we remember that epilepsy is about people.
We know that the work of Epilepsy Action is widely respected and greatly valued. We also know that this reputation has to be earned and deserved on a continuing basis. It is thanks to the outstanding efforts, the dedication and the commitment of thousands of members, volunteers, fundraisers, supporters and staff who make this possible and who make Epilepsy Action world renowned as the leading epilepsy organisation in the United Kingdom.
Chair, Council of Management
4 April 2017