THE RELIEF FUND FOR ROMANIA LTD
REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2014

The trustees directors of the Relief Fund for Romania Limited present their report and the audited financial statements for the year ended 31st March 2014.


WHO ARE WE?

We are a British charity, based in the UK that raises funds and spends them in Romania.

In the UK we have 1 full time, 1 part time charity staff and about 25 charity shop staff.

All our trustees are British citizens of Romanian origin.

We were formed by prominent Romanian exiles resident in the UK in 1989 after the collapse of the dictatorship and were instrumental in publicising the appalling plight of orphans and others in need.

We initially played a major part in coordinating the enormous aid response from all over the UK and transported huge quantities of emergency supplies. Plus we helped to network many independent aid efforts. In recent years we have set up and run various long-term sustainable projects.


WHAT WE DO

We support various charity projects helping the children, the sick, the elderly and other groups in need in Romania by providing financial and material aid and promoting awareness. We mainly fund those Romanian charities with whom we work closely on long-term community based projects. Occasionally we fund charity projects run by independent Romanian groups ie with whom we aren’t so closely involved.

All funded organisations submit quarterly financial and project reports and we visit the projects in Romania.


REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES APRIL 2013 - MARCH 2014

We experienced difficult fundraising conditions due to the increasing difficulty of acquiring temporary charity shops – our main source of fundraising – mainly owing to the emergence of commercial “pop up shops” which take vacant retail units on a temporary basis, usually while paying pay rent.

Nevertheless we continued to help the most disadvantaged in Romania. Specifically:


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We continued to support the Impreuna initiative: This offshoot to our long standing Impart programme, is the national Community Arts Network which exists to bring together both practitioners and beneficiaries who are involved in Community Arts for people with special needs. The network consists of over 1800 professionals working in various fields: educators, psychologists, carers, doctors, nurses, and teachers specializing in children and adults with special needs.


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Also in the Mental Health arena, we help three major adult psychiatric institutions in Bacau County - CRRN Gasteni, Bacau, CRRN Darmanesti Neuropsychiatry Recovery and Rehabilitation aka Vermesti and CRRPH Ungureni Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped People. – and by association other units – in particular by funding the artist and musician Vali Racilato work there as the Arts and community reintegration therapist.

Vali Racila rotates between each centre, mainly organising arts events for the several hundred residents. His unofficial role is to act as an independent observer in each institution, and ensure that everyone is valued as an individual with feelings and human rights.

Vali also acts as an unofficial liaison person helping to organise visits by experts, teachers or volunteers coming from countries like the UK, Belgium, and Switzerland too help in these institutions and other local centres.


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M.S.Curie Hospital Bucharest / aka The Budimex. Our long standing association with this hospital continues. We employ a psychologist to run a play therapy and educational program with the children on the Surgical Unit / First Floor. Besides providing toys, games, stationary and books the psychologist provides counseling to the parents and children before and after surgical interventions.

In addition we also provide ad hoc funding to other parts of the hospital and help to the medical staff – notably for training costs.


Our main partner organisation is Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar

In addition to the above, we funded various community projects through our main partner organisation Fundatia de Sprijin Comunitar (Community Support Foundation), Bacau: (FSC).

We formed FSC from our existing projects and senior staff in 1997. They are now one of the leading charities in Romania and have won many national awards for their work.

We fund about 30% of FSC’s crucial "core costs" – eg salaries office costs etc, which sadly most funders do not think are an essential part of running a viable organisation and it’s projects. The rest of the core funding comes from local authority grants and their own fundraising.

This year FSC directly helped over 10,000 people.


Highlights of FSC’s activities

- in their own words

2014 was for FSC another challenging year. The organisation managed to continue all the programmes and develop new ones in spite of the financial uncertainties and difficulties. The work has been intense, complex, creative, motivational, full of surprises and events.

FSC’s employees kept demonstrating that hard work and dedication are equally important and that the motivation can come from other valuable things not only from money.

We continued to stay focused on service delivery and to keep a good working relationship with the local partners. We had several high level visits to the organisation from the Norwegian and Swiss Embassies.

The Norwegian Ambassador wanted to see how we continue the work started with the Norwegian funding in 2009. She was most impressed to see that we managed to keep all the work going and develop new partnerships. The Swiss Embassy was also impressed by our “model of community care” that is based on a working partnership with the local communities. They said they were looking for such a model and didn’t realise we have it working well in Bacau rural areas.

FSC was invited to be part of a dialogue group (among other NGOs) at the Ministry of Work with the aim to look at improving the legislation and set up strategies for social services at national level. Hopefully this time there will be a finality to the dialogues not just talks and nothing concrete out of it.
The activity is structured around the following major areas:

  1. Integrated services for the elderly:
    1. Home care services:
      1. 1 team in Bacau (including nursing care)
    2. 10 teams in rural areas: We now work in: Huruesti, Vultureni, Motoseni, Stanisesti, Rachitoasa, Colonesti, Dealu Morii, Glavanesti, Gaiceana and Podu Turcului
    3. Day care services: 1 centre in Bacau and one in Motoseni-Fintinele
    4. Residential care services, the "Village of the seniors": to assure nursing care for very ill, old and difficult to care at home people. Capacity 35 people.


  2. Integrated services for child and family:
    1. Day centres for children, we now cover the following locations:
      1. Mosaic Centre and the Glue Club Bacau
    2. The 6 Glue Clubs in: Panu, Godinesti, Fantinele, Podu Turcului, Dealu Morii and Colonesti. Luncani and Letea Veche we only assure support, supervision and transfer of know how to the local team.
    3. Support for the families: social care, counseling, etc.
    4. Educational grants for the children from rural areas to go to high school in the city and their mentoring: we currently help 110 poor village children to go to high schools in the city.


  3. Combined arts for special needs
    1. The Impreuna Network
    2. Impart team: training and support to the educational activities of the organization.

SUPPORT PROGRAMMES

The Volunteer Programme

The following structure:

  1. New entry: for the very young volunteers, 9th grade
  2. Performers: title of the volunteers after 1 year of practice
  3. Seniors: volunteers after 3 years of work
Various services for rural communities:
  1. Community meetings
  2. Social care
  3. Community transport

Fundraising & Income generating activities

  1. Activ Mosaic unit: Development of arts, decorations, jewelries, etc.
  2. Fundraising

The Community Awards Gala remains an excellent opportunity to interact with the business community and mass media. The Fund Raising team contacted hundreds of companies, the result could have been higher but considering the national context we are quite happy.

We continue to dedicate most of our resources to helping people living in poor rural areas and we continue to believe that only "together we can do more" as our efforts were joined by numerous sponsors, friends and true partners.


This year we celebrated 17 YEARS OF FSC!

The Community Support Foundation came into existence in 1997. In these 17 years FSC has become one of the most active and best known organisations in the country, praised for it’s innovative, consistent and long term projects addressed to over 20 communities, some of them being the poorest in Romania.

Over the 16 years we have implemented 85 projects supporting over 20,000 direct beneficiaries.

We received over 25 national and international awards, as recognition to the professionalism of our activities. We became a public utility provider (in 2005) and in the last two years achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification.


Some highlights of the year

These results were appreciated and recognized at local, national and international level:

Our biggest achievement is the provision of direct services to 10,260 people through 130 employees.

70% of our beneficiaries come from rural areas, 26% are children, 50% are older people and 24% are adults.

FSC strategic planning

Strategic planning for FSC: we had a long meeting with the project coordinators with the aim to set the future development steps for the organisation. We discussed the constraints and tried to find solutions for the near and long term future.

We will continue to attract resources for the continuation of the work as all of the services are still needed in the national context.

Together with Muzika Charitable Trust we organised a training session with Sherborne Therapy (movement for special needs people). The training was sustained by specialists from UK Janet Sparkes and Penny Rance. They provided two levels of training and issued certificates to the participants. Those willing to become trainers in the field can follow a third level and give evidence on the practice and after that can become trainers. Several of the FSC staff will follow this line so eventually we can provide the training under FSC/Impreuna Network.

We organised the painting exhibition "Ageless painters". The event was hosted by the Galleries Noblesse. The collection of paintings includes 58 works of the most talented elderly, beneficiaries of the day centre "Dr. Stefan Ciobanu". These paintings are presenting very different themes, especially landscapes, portraits, which are impressive in the diversity of styles, colours, and the optimism and creativity they express.

The event turned into a proper art event, with a piano concert, performed by two very talented volunteers from FSC and with the launch of a new collection of decorations and jewellery hand made by the children and volunteers in the Activ Mozaic Workshop.

This exhibition is a clear proof of the fact that anyone can be creative, irrespective of age, former profession of social status. We also want to emphasise that the elderly around us can have a very active life, despite the common misconceptions about this age group.

The exhibition will travel around the city in various nice public places.




We have one year since the opening!

In this year we managed to offer good quality care services to over 50 elderly. The place is cosy, atractive, full of life and activities and offers a great alternative to living alone, suffering and being sad in blocks of flats. The residents can finaly feel at home in houses located in nice suroundings, with flowers, farms, tress and no stress for shoping, cooking or going to see the doctor.

The model was presented at the National ProTV and the waiting list is already long.

The service is self sustainable already through the fees paid by the beneficiaries or their families.

Milly Village for the Seniors




The visit was a follow up after FSC implemented, with money from the Norwegian grants, an ample programme of community care dedicated to the poor rural areas.

The delegation visited two of the day Glue Clubs in Motoseni and Panu, met with the two mayors and the home care teams and also made a home visit to an old lady helped by the team.

We emphasised the need for development and funding of these services and the Ambassador promised to intermediate meetings with high level government and officials.

The Norwegian Ambassador and delegation visiting our projects

The Visit of the Norwegian Embassy

On the 7th April a high level delegation from the Norwegian Embassy lead by Her Excelency Ms. Tove Bruvik Westberg visited several of the services suatined by FSC in the rural care.

Prior to the field visit FSC and the delegation had a meeting that approached the provision of services in poor rural areas. We discussed about the need for national strategy and adequate funding in this field. The delegation visited Motoseni and Stanisesti communities, discussed with the home care teams, the local mayors and the beneficiaries.

The delegation was very appreciative of the fact that FSC managed to continue and develop all the programmes started during the funding through Innovation Norway back in 2009-2011.

We organised the 13th Community Awards Gala, event that reunited over 200 representatives of the business community, authorities and partners of the organisation.

We dedicated the event to the Swiss collaboration and thanks to the guests of the Gala we managed to raise some 33.858 euros, in sponsorships and donations, 26.500 euros from the sponsors of the event and 7.358 euros during the evening, from individual donations and sponsorships, raffle tickets and auction.

The Vodafone Foundation Romania and FSC launched the program “For the Forgotten Grandparents”, to support the elderly from Bacau. This program aims to enable elderly from Bacau city, suffering from health or social problems, to benefit of specialised health and home care, rehabilitation and social care.

The project will have a duration of 12 months, and the Vodafone Foundation Romania is the main funder, with an investment of 46.000 euro.

Every year in May the nurses celebrated their profession. On the occasion of the International Nursing Day, FSC and the Bacau branch of the Order of the General Nurses and Midwifes organised an event reuniting representatives of the profession from the Buhusi Hospital, Bacau County Hospital and local and county officials.

The conference was held in the residential centre Milly Village in Buhusi, a project of the Community Support Foundation.

The theme of the Conference was "Senescence –a physiological stage, not an illness" highlighting the fact that old age must not be seen as a collection of illnesses and pains, as this period of life means much more than that.

During the conference there were presentations on the topic, but also on the role and the position of the nurse in relation to the elderly. The most deserving nurses received certificates at the end of the event.




We closed the 2% campaign in May and the result was lower than the previous year. Every year it seems that the competition gets tougher and tougher.

The actual money results we will know at the end of the year.

We are very grateful to the volunteers as their help was very important and valuable.

2% campaign

Graduation Day!

We thanked our volunteers on stage for their special contribution to the organisation. Some of them "graduate" from the volunteers programme and continue their education at universities or jobs. At the same event we congratulate the most studious beneficiaries of the scholarships and we facilitate their meeting with the sponsors of the programme.

Mrs Marie-Louise STOICESCU, National Programme Officer of the Swiss Embassy visited the work part of the partnership programme between FSC, Daniel Centre and Espoiroumanie (Swiss partner). The programme included a training session organised at Centrul Daniel by Fabrice Rocha da Silva on speech therapy for children with handicap. The field visit included the Glue Clubs in Motoseni and Panu.

The representative of the Swiss Embassy visited our projects

FSC Centre of the volunteers received the "Best volunteer centre in Romania" award at the National Gala of the Volunteers in Bucharest

Key indicators 2014

Description Programme
Beneficiaries


   
Services for elderly people Day care Speranta-Bacau 259
Day care Motoseni
35
Home care Bacau 715
Home care villages (10 locations)
1085
     

Services for children


Mosaic centre
55
Glue Club Bacau 120
Glue Club Panu - Stanisesti 252
Glue club Godinesti - Vultureni 125
Glue club Podu Turcului 119
Glue club Motoseni 105
Glue club Dealu Morii 58
Impart - children with handicap 140
Health promotion and education 750
     
Services for youth Volunteers 286
Social grants 121
     
Services for families Social support 59
Mother and baby care 290
Community transport 3,654
Family planning
Specialist doctors 32
     
Services for professionals IMPREUNA 1,925
IMPART TRAINING 75
     
Total   10,873


Conclusions

The year was very complex, we had to deal with multiple situation related to financial shortages, strategic planning or design of a new project. In spite of the difficulties thanks to the partnerships we managed to carry on all the work.

Raising money for Romania in UK is also a tough job and therefore we appreciate so much all the efforts made by RFFR that remains a special partner. Please convey our gratitude to all the board members, and we reassure you that we will try harder to keep it all going at the same standards.
We thank RFFR for continuing to care and help.
Many special thanks to Edward Parry, Director for his efficiency, advice and friendship.

 

For FSC Board,
Gabriela Achihai, President

 

 

For further information see the quarterly charity project field reports

To See last year's trustees_report for 2012 / 2013 Click here