21 June 2017

Members' Forums

Mind Yourself holds regular open Members' Forums where members, volunteers, staff and trustees come together to discuss Mind Yourself's activities. There is also a Steering Committee made of members of staff, volunteers and members. Minutes of the Members' Forums are posted online and printed copies are available on request. The next Members' Forum is on Tuesday 27th June at 6.30pm at the Old Fire Station. 

Minutes of Mind Yourself Members’ Forum Thursday 23 February 2017
At the Old Fire Station, 84 Mayton Street London N7 6QT
Attended by Trustees: Brian MacKenna (chair), Mairead Reynolds (treasurer) and Gwen Hanrahan Staff: Lisa Harrison (CEO), Brian Hanley, Judith Orr and Mary Pierce. 25 Members attended.

What follows is a synopsis of what was discussed at the Board meeting. It has not been recorded verbatim but paraphrased for clarity and length.

Lisa Harrison (LH) gave opening remarks about Mind Yourself’s work and projects over past months highlighting our music fundraiser in November, our debate about the impact of Brexit debate, Deserted Island Discs and the Blooming Survivors’ exhibition at the Irish Embassy. She explained that Mind Yourself planned to let people know about events and group activities further ahead so people can make plans. She introduced a new member of staff, Mary Pierce, as the new Volunteer and Groups Coordinator, and let people know Ruth Melican would start on 27 February as the new Community Health Navigator.

LH outlined that Mind Yourself is to relaunch its membership scheme, which will cost £15 a year, to help cover refreshments, room hire and so on, but emphasised that no one would be excluded from activities if they could not pay.

Brian MacKenna (BMK) and other trustees arrived partway into the meeting and took questions from the members. Members voiced their concerns about 3 staff leaving within a short time in December and January and said that members wanted to be more informed about staff changes, which BMK accepted said would be done in future.

BMK and LH explained that new people had been recruited into post as quickly as possible, and that people’s reasons for leaving were confidential and could not be shared. A commitment was made to ensure staff had support through supervision sessions and a safe space to raise any problems and would work to ensure the situation did not occur again.

A member raised that the news of staff leaving should have put on website, but LH said that for reasons of privacy staff would need to be consulted before being written about on the Mind Yourself website

BMK assured members that he and trustees were aware of all the staff movement and would take away the points raised members and reassured them that the full range of activities and support offered by Mind Yourself would continue. LH explained that the Community Health Navigator role had been expanded to a full-time role as that service is heavily used.

In response to questions about the financial standing of Mind Yourself, BMK answered that Mind Yourself had reserves that would allow it to carry on for another year even without income, but of course he fully expected continued funding from a number of sources. He emphasised that the charity’s accounts are fully public and transparent and available online.

LH moved on to ask for feedback from members on four specific areas, groups, events, premises and communications.

Regarding groups, members asked for art sessions, Mary Pierce (MP) explained that a series of art groups were to start in March.
LH highlighted that the more volunteers there were the greater number of activities Mind Yourself can put on.
BMK told forum that a commitment had been made to include a member representative at the charity’s Board, and more information would be made available about this opportunity.

Services manager Brian Hanley (BH) reported on a recent meeting of the steering committee which includes staff, members and volunteers.

A question was raised about the Blooming Survivors art project funding. BH highlighted that was funded by Hospital Saturday fund for eight art sessions and one to ones with members. BH explained that when that the project plan had been fulfilled and funding used, Mind Yourself went on to host extra sessions at its own expense during the summer so that members could complete their art work for an exhibition hosted in the Irish Embassy in October 2016, as well as continuing one to one sessions with individuals now.

Gwen Hanrahan proposed that for future one-off projects we will ensure everyone knows exactly what is being committed to and have better communication in the future.

BMK answered questions about how members can find out about what money is being spent, saying that the charity’s accounts are publicly available online and we are happy to email or print them for people. Mairead Reynolds pointed out that there is a full report at each AGM, the most recent in September 2016 and that the full financial accounts are uploaded to the Charity Commission website.

The process of scrutiny by the trustees was explained, and members were assured that trustees are regularly kept informed with all developments within the charity by the CEO. BMK explained that Mind Yourself was very consciously transparent and had a very open process with all information available online.

  • Members expressed interest in regular forum meetings and commitment to do what is needed support Mind Yourself and ensure it thrives.
  • A volunteer suggested that there could be a greater participation in the music group and asked that every opportunity to raise awareness of the group and expand its reach be taken up. It was suggested that St Patrick’s Day events could be coordinated with other Irish organisations.
  • Another volunteer suggested that Mondays include activities besides Mindfulness.
  • Other suggestions included exercise classes, more walks, health information and inspiring speakers, all of which were taken on board by Mind Yourself to be included in upcoming events and groups.

BMK thanked everyone for attending the meeting and said that minutes would be shared via various media.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.