THE RELIEF FUND FOR ROMANIA LTD
REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2013

The members of the trustees, who are the trustee directors of the Relief Fund for Romania Limited present their report and the audited financial statements for the year ended 31st March 2013.


WHO ARE WE?

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

We have 2 full time charity staff and about 30 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 played a major part in coordinating the enormous aid response from all over the UK and transported huge quantities of emergency supplies. 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 2012 - MARCH 2013

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 try to help the most disadvantaged in Romania. Specifically:


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We continued the development of 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.


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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 Racila to 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

2013 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.
The work has been structured on:

  • Integrated services for child and family: through a network of 6 centres, named "Clubs with Glue"
  • Integrated services for the elderly: home, day centre and residential care
  • Combined arts work for people with special needs
  • Work with the volunteers

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 16 YEARS OF FSC!

The Community Support Foundation came into existence in 1997. In these 16 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 78 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 the certification ISO 9001:2008.

At present we are implementing 7 major projects in 8 Day Centres for children, 2 Day Centres for the elderly, a residential complex for the elderly and a Sheltered Workshop.

Together with our traditional partners: the Relief Fund for Romania aswell as Romaniahjelpn-Norway, Bacau County Council, local councils and the Ministry of Work, we maintained the services and the number of beneficiaries, helping 10,873 people in 2013.


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 10,873 people through 110 employees.

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

Activ Mozaic was accredited as a protected workshop

The "ACTIV MOZAIC" workshop was accredited as a protected unit in accordance with the legal frame regarding the protection and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities. In the workshop "ACTIV MOZAIC" there will be employment opportunities for young people with disabilities, and give them the chance for a normal social life.

The main field of activity of "ACTIV MOZAIC" is:

  • Sale of hand-made objects;
  • Making and selling hand- bonded products;
  • copying, binding, archive services etc.;
  • sales and intermediating various services;

As per Law 448, companies with over 50 employees must pay a tax representing half of the minimum wage for 4% of the existing staff or purchase goods and services from a protected unit for the same amount

The Community Support Foundation (FSC), in partnership with ASCHN Daniel Centre and Espoiroumanie Swiss initiated a project providing an efficient and innovative solution to the lack of services for children and young people with disabilities in rural areas.

The project named "A Model of Partnership and Mobile Services for Poor Rural Communities" began in May, with a duration of 2 years and will provide direct services to over 400 beneficiaries and over 120 specialists in the field.
The overall objective of the project is to transfer best practice models of community care for people with disabilities from Switzerland and to raise awareness on the need for development of services in poor Romanian villages.

The total budget is 322.475 swiss francs, 249.875 francs representing funding from the Swiss- Romanian Cooperation program. The rest of the budget (approximate 22%) is covered by the project partners.

FSC and Daniel Centre start a project for children with disabilities

The project targets 10 large communities in the Eastern part of the County, with a population of 34,400 inhabitants through a network of 5 day centres located in Dealu Morii, Stanisesti (Panu), Vultureni (Godinesti), Motoseni (Fintinele) and Podu Turcului, with mobile specialised physical and mental rehabilitation services.

"The Month of Open Hearts". All customers of CORA Bacau (hypermarket) are encouraged to make donations at checkout for the social and educational projects addressed to the disadvantaged children of Bacau County.
Donations can be of any amount and the customers are given a receipt to confirm the donation. The amount is gathered in a special account and will be offered to the organisation at the end of the campaign, together with a sponsorship from Cora.

Together with Muzika Charitable Trust FRODO and ARET we organised a conference for over 100 people, mainly directors working in the field of caring for people with disabilities in Romania.

The Conference, focusing on professionals and decision makers, made reference to the changes taking place in the social field and to the challenges that have to be faced and responsibilities in implementing change.

We organised the 12th Bacau Community Awards Gala, an event with tradition for the local civil society, organized by The Community Support Foundation. The Community Awards Gala reunited in Restaurant Levisticum some 180 people: businessmen, representatives of the civil society local and national personalities.

This year, the Gala was held under the Theme of "Return to Childhood", the purpose being to raise funds for the services addressed to children and young people. In order to rediscover the candour and serenity of our lost childhoods, the event aimed to take the guests back to a world of games and fun, next to the volunteers and some of the most talented beneficiaries of the Glue Clubs.

Funny balloons, soap balloons, childhood songs and even face-painting for the most daring, were all part of the cocktail surprises. The painter Ioan Maric offered a fantastic exhibition of naive painting, inspired from the world of Romanian tales and traditions.

The presenter of the event was the singer Nicola, who enchanted the audience opening the evening with some of her successful hits.

The Award winners, receiving the Bacau Community Awards, for their actions towards supporting the local community in 2012, selected by an independent jury out of 37 de nominees, were:

Companies: COMFERT, Institutions and NGOs: BACAU COUNTY COUNCIL; Individuals: Sister MONICA ANTE, Excellency Award: Ioana MARE

The Gala raised 42.600 Euros (in kind and cash) resulting from sponsorships and donations.

 

 

The "2% of your tax" campaign generated 15,000 Euro, money that will be used for helping people like Ioana,

AFTER A LIFE TIME OF HARD WORK, MRS IOANA LIVES ON A PENSION OF ONLY 100 LEI (20 GBP)!

Mrs Ioana lives in Colonesti and is aged 84. She does not have any family and fights illness and poverty on her own. She lives in a derelict house, freezing most of the winter and feeding herself from scraps. Without the support of the FSC care team, the women would be condemned to die of cold and starvation!

3th National Volunteering Week

Over 20 volunteering activities were carried out in the local community during the National Volunteering Week 2013. Activities on and for volunteering were organised in public venues or at the headquarters of NGOs and participating institutions.

The event aimed to mobilize volunteers who would contribute to the development of communities and towards the promotion of volunteering and volunteers. Among the most important activities were: the Volunteers’ Fair, street promotion campaigns, training sessions, environmental actions, performances, contests, information campaign in schools and universities.

FSC awarded at the Civil Society Gala!

At the 11th Civil Society Gala, at the National Opera Bucharest, FSC was among the organisations with best projects and programs of the non-profit and nongovernmental sector in Romania. The winners were selected from a total of 220 projects submitted, the jury consisting of 60 personalities and specialists selected our project "Angels in white coats" sustained by our volunteering programme in the hospital.
Our project received third prize. Many thanks and congratulations to the volunteers!

We organised the official opening of the Milly Village for the Seniors. The event was attended by several guests, including representatives of the sponsors, local and county authorities, the media, but also friends and family members of the residents and volunteers.

The ceremony started with the religious mass, followed by speeches from the FSC president, representatives of county authorities and sponsors. There were also artistic performances from talented local youth, including members of the staff. The guests could visit the premises and get familiar with the services provided and everyone was invited to have a meal, some of the food being made in the kitchen of the complex.

The official Opening of the Milly Village for the Seniors

The Summer Schools: Joy and enthusiasm are the best words to describe the atmosphere in the villages in the East of Bacau County, where FSC opened the gates of another Summer School for rural areas.

Dozens of volunteers from Bacau and colleagues from the UK have prepared for months to offer disadvantaged children an unforgettable holiday.

Hundreds of children from six rural communities got a week of recreational, educational and fun activities, various games and contests. The Summer School has been for several years a great project with educational value aimed at rural children and at the same time to high school children from Bacau and from the UK.

The FSC and British volunteers organise and deliver daily educational activities during. The schedule includes diverse activities: sports, clubs like English, Music, Ecology, lots of prises and awards.

Our UK partners this year are: Libra Foundation, Life Foundation, a group of students from St. Edmund Catholic School and a group of students from Rutland Hall's Karnival team at the University of Nottingham.

 

The Herrod Foundation: For another year in a row, the Swiss organisation the Herrod Foundation will fund the educational activities and the social programs implemented in the Mosaic Community Centre from Bacau. The funding, of 6.000 euros covers the expenses for the theme clubs and homework support provided for 25 children from the Tache area.

All the projects supported by the foundation aim to improve the lives of these children by offering access to education, health care, proper food and decent living conditions. The funding is entirely from the internal resources of the organsiation, due to the consistent implication of the founder and president of the organsation, Mr Gerald T. Herrod.

Funding from the Herrod Foundation Switzerland for the Mosaic Centre

More recently, on the 17th of October 2013, in Bucharest, was held the 7th edition of the Awards Gala Active Citizens of Europe, which celebrated the most active and dedicated volunteers, NGOs and companies from European countries.

The Volunteering Department of the Community Support Foundation received the award "NGO of the Year for 2012", at European level for the activity of the 200 volunteers, based on the project and achievements for the past year.

FSC volunteers win first prize in Europe at Active Citizens of Europe

Key indicators 2013

Description Programme
Beneficiaries


   
Services for elderly people Day care Speranta-Bacau 219
Day care Motoseni
45
Home care Bacau (City) 667
Home care villages (9 locations)
932
     

Services for children


Mosaic centre
65
Glue Club Bacau 120
Glue Club Panu - Stanisesti 275
Glue club Godinesti - Vultureni 114
Glue club Podu Turcului 97
Glue club Motoseni 98
Glue club Dealu Morii 55
Impart - children with handicap 140
Health promotion and education 1,560
     
Services for youth Volunteers 286
Social grants 121
     
Services for families Social support 59
Mother and baby care 290
Community transport 3,465
Family planning 128
Specialist doctors 32
     
Services for professionals IMPREUNA 1,855
IMPART TRAINING 250
     
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 2011 / 2012 Click here