When I arrived at the charity last autumn, I read the 2020-21 business plan which said this year would be a time to “reflect, consolidate and mature”, noting the charity’s rapid expansion and evolution in previous years. Of course, our plans were then radically reshaped by COVID.

While this has been a year of consolidation in many ways, it’s also been the most intense and change-focused in our history, including:

  • our COVID-19 response to support trust colleagues
  • the hugely successful appeal which raised £2.5 million
  • multiple re-purposings of the Rec Club
  • most of us working remotely for the entire year
  • bringing together grants and services in a single directorate
  • setting up our people and engagement and communications functions
  • embarking on a brand review
  • developing a new organisational strategy

and much more besides.

We made significant changes in line with the ‘Roadmap for Change’ strategy to improve our governance, our relationships with the trust, our IT, human resources and customer service and legal/regulatory compliance. Although delayed by the pandemic, progress on the Pears Building was maintained and many of us will be moving into our new home before too long.

Through our work developing the new strategy and brand, it’s clear that change will be a constant for us, whether that’s change in our external environment or the fact we need to keep changing to meet the needs of the staff, patients and researchers we serve.

That process has also confirmed that the demands and expectations on us from the trust are likely to keep increasing. That’s why we need to invest in areas like fundraising and communications so we can raise more funds, allowing us to spend more on our services, grants and the organisation.

It’s why we need to work continuously to improve how we work and what we do with those funds so we achieve the greatest impact. And it’s why we all need to play our part as a single team, supporting each other to embrace the possibilities presented by a changing world and promoting the amazing, life-changing things we do every day to our donors, volunteers and those we help.

I want to reiterate my thanks and admiration for everything you’ve all done during the pandemic. We play a vital role channelling the gratitude, goodwill and financial clout of our communities into support for our incredible NHS colleagues. I have no doubt that we’re all making a difference for them every day.

Jon Spiers, Chief Executive