Below you can read the full transcript of chairman Paul Patterson's report to the 2017 Annual General Meeting
In what is most certainly a repeat of my opening paragraph from last year’s report I stated that it was not my intention to offer my name to go forward for nomination as the Association's Chairman for another term. However circumstances have once again determined that I must.
Our new Honorary Secretary has been in post for a year now and unfortunately due to circumstances outside of JSAD it has not been possible for him to spend time learning how JSAD works from an administrative and structural view. It is hoped that the coming year will see more activity in this regard.
As I look back at the last year of JSAD operations I was particularly pleased that the 25th Annual Disability Games went ahead. We were delighted to welcome the Sheffield Steelers wheelchair basketball team to Games and they helped make the weekend a very successful one in my opinion. I very much doubt JSAD will be running any more multi sports games events again in the future so it was nice to end this chapter of JSAD history on a high note.
It was also good to see that we have managed to settle into a new relationship with Special Olympics Great Britain. JSAD has formed a committee that runs the Special Olympics Jersey Network so this does open up the prospect that more local sports may wish to consider participating in specific Special Olympics sporting events via the Jersey Network.
Sporting activity across the entire spectrum of JSAD operations has seen increased participation in the past year. While this is excellent it has put a rather large dent in the funds held by this Association – our Honorary Treasurer will be reporting an excess of expenditure over income for the year. Clearly this is not something that can be sustained.
There has also been some wonderful individual sporting performances and achievements over the year – interesting that most of these have happened off island. This fact underlines the view held by JSAD that specific sports focus is trending. I will return to this subject presently.
Casting forward now to the coming JSAD year. The challenges are visible at least. The long talked about new Jersey Charity Law is gathering momentum and we will have to spend a lot of time making sure this Association gets properly accredited. All of Jersey sport is also facing change in the form of a new overseeing body to be known as Jersey Sport. This new body will take over responsibility for sporting facilities and funding. I think JSAD is well placed to have an equal say at the new table, having participated in all of the consultation rounds of this venture.
In order for us to meet the above challenges we will need to ensure that a strong administrative structure exists. There is clearly a need here so I will be exploring the options with our General Committee as the year unfolds.
Challenges exist too in a number of key governance areas so it is vitally important that JSAD policy keeps up to date with the latest trends. In one particular week toward the end of 2016 I actually clocked up 38 hours of voluntary administrative time, just to keep the JSAD wheels turning. This situation should not have to be repeated, hence the need to increase the resources available to support the administrative function of this Association.
I mentioned earlier that we are spending more than we are earning. This too needs to be addressed by either cutting services or increasing fundraising efforts. We are seeing more charity sector groups employing full time fundraising personnel. This makes competing for the charity sector funding pot more of a challenge for JSAD.
Looking at the Diary of Events for 2017 we see even more groups competing off Island which is exactly how I see the model developing, particularly for our members who wish to compete at higher levels within their sport.
Going back now to something earlier in this report, while we are seeing a trend in the move to specific sports focus it is vitally important that JSAD recognize that for a number of our members it is key for them to be able to just participate in sport on Island. For this reason I am particularly pleased that the Games Sub-Committee have hit on the idea of replacing the annual disability games with a disability sports awareness day, showcasing as many of the sports we operate at the venues we normally operate them at. It is certainly worth a try. We will of course still have our annual Disability Sports Awards night and this year the aim will be to have both activities running on the same day. So, participation medals will still be presented!
So, a number of challenges facing us and if I had to put a priority on any one of them it will be for us all to try hard to recruit more volunteers that are prepared to put some time into the administrative tasks.
I should like to end by thanking all of our members, volunteers and supporters for making 2016 a great year for JSAD and I hope we can all work together to meet the challenges of 2017.
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Paul Patterson MBE