Here's our latest Trustees' report - for the year to March 2011

The trustees report is written for our auditors to explain our activities formally. It is included in the accounts.

Please note. In case you think these are outdated we will submit the next accounts (2011/2012) in January 2013



THE RELIEF FUND FOR ROMANIA LTD
REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2011


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 2011 .


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. At any one time, we are paying for the salaries of 30 - 40 charity workers in Romania.

All our trustees are Romanian.

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 role 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, promoting awareness and funding the training of suitable Romanian professionals throughout Romania.

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 2010 - MARCH 2011


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: We continued our long standing support of FAST, a very worthwhile charity based in Brasov, by funding their core admin costs (ie salaries and office costs)

 

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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.


The network consists of several hundred members from Romania and abroad, professionals working in various fields: educators, psychologists, carers, doctors, nurses, and teachers specializing in children with special needs.


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Also in the field of special needs we continued our funding of the Mental Health charity Estuar's "Cooking Time

- project in Bucharest.


Estuar is the leading mental health charity in Romania which focuses on provided sheltered housing and day care for the mentally ill.
The Cooking Time Project.

- at Estuar's Day Centre provides a hot meal twice a week for 45 of the centre's users with mental health problems or disabilities.

The beneficiaries are closely involved in the preparation and cooking and so learn new skills and to work together in a team as well as benefiting from a nutritious and sociable occasion.


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


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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.

This year they won three significant national Civil Society awards.


Two projects
were awarded first prize under the categories: "Durability and "Impact on the beneficiaries:

Glue Clubs

- that give children from poor rural areas access to the same good quality education, as children from towns.

… and "Integrated Services for the Elderly" in Bacau County

The Care of the Elderly project also won second prize under the category "Social Care Services



We fund about 30% of FSC's crucial "core costs

- eg salaries - they have 95 staff - 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 12,000 people through various programmes such as;


- Home Care of the Elderly sick and infirm in 10 locations

- Two elderly care day centres

- Mobile Health Care to Disadvantaged Rural Areas

- Children's Services - Mozaic centre

- Five Glue Clubs helping rural children

- IMPART: combined arts therapy for children and adults in institutions and the community

- Emergency grants and social support for the very poor


Highlights of FSC’s activities during 2010 / 2011

- in their own words

Our biggest achievement for 2011 is the provision of direct services to 12,266 people through 95 employees.

78% of our beneficiaries come from rural areas, 39.64% are children, 35.81% are older people and 24.55% are adults.

In February we organized the 10th edition of the Bacau Community Awards Gala, now a well-established event for the local civil society, this year in partnership with ERSTE Stiftung Austria. The Gala generated donations and sponsorships of approximately 36.000 euros

In April we organised the opening of a special photo gallery, comprising the works of two young photo-journalists from Bacau, Liviu Terinte and George Sacaleanu (Inima Bacaului). The exhibition, under the title "Rural Romania in images and colours

- catches beautiful images but also unusual images from the eastern area of the county, where FSC has been implementing social, health and educational programs for over 14 years.

May: we organised the National Volunteering Week. The event reunited 16 organizations and institutions, over 2000 volunteers, 37 seminars, projects and activities.


May: The Impreuna Network organized a regional seminar in Bacau, we had 54 participants and we discussed about the development of the network.

May: FSC represents Romania in the European project "Trans-Care Special

- , a partnership between 9 European Countries coordinated by Akon Services from Italy.

FSC conducted a significant national study on home care services in Romania, the results will be presented at the Transnational Conference "CARE SERVICES IN EUROPE: Learning from each other

- , which will be held in Italy.

June 2011: FSC received 3 awards in front of the most important actors of the Civil Society in Romania. (See above for details)

June: the beneficiaries of the Elderly day Centre Dr. Stefan Ciobanu celebrated 9 years from the opening of the centre. (This centre was named after Stefan Ciobanu, FSC's co-director who died tragically young).

 

Glue Club

 

 

Not so elderly

June: 75 children from poor villages benefited from social grants and ended the school year. We organised a nice meeting with the students and some of the sponsors.

The first graduate of the FSC social grants program is now a student at Medical School!

 

We managed to organise a real water and sewage system for The Glue Club from Panu.

They now have proper bathrooms, showers and sewerage and it is the only such system in the whole community. The children love washing their hand and flushing the toilets. ( see "before and after

- pictures below)

 

July-August 2011: the Summer School this year was a success. The numbers speak for themselves: 6 rural communities, 750 participating children, 37 volunteers from UK and 40 volunteers from Bacau.

Big Thanks to our partners from Libra and Life UK for their participation and efforts.


 

September 2011: we organised the NGO Fest together with FDSC Bucharest.

The event reunited 20 organisations, recorded 5,000 visitors and presented 6 interesting seminars.

 

 

October 2011: we organised a strategic meeting. A delegation comprising FSC managements and the mayors of 8 local authorities and two senators went to Bucharest, to the headquarters of the Minister of Labour and Social Protection for a strategic meeting on developing social services in rural areas.

The delegation raised awareness on the need for developing and funding dedicated services (social) in rural areas.

 

 

 

COMMENTS ON THE ACTIVITIES

After the end of the grant we had to implement the sustainability plan that included: reduction of several job positions cuts in wages by 25% and also cuts on several expense lines.

The plan affects the beneficiaries on some scale as, for example; they receive less hours of care or less incontinence materials or cleaning stuff. We explained the situation to them and, although frustrating, it is more than nothing.

The situation is very challenging from the management point of view, having to keep a balance between the expenses and incomes, making sure there is enough cash.

 


Key indicators for the year:

FSC provided services to 12,266 people with a team of about 95 employees.

Details of charity beneficiaries helped by our main partner FSC in 2011

 

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 256
Sticky club Godinesti - Vultureni 104
Sticky club Podu Turcului 105
Impart – children with disabilities 140
Health promotion and education 1,560
     
Services for families Social support 55
Mother and baby care 290
     
Services for rural areas Community Transport 4,500
Family Planning 147
Specialist doctors 97
     
Services for youth Social grant 112
Volunteers 280
     
Services for professionals Impreuna Network 1,879
Impart Training 547
     
Total   12,266


 

The Financial Situation for 2012

The budget for 2012 is pretty slim and problematic as we still don't know what sources will be confirmed. We will probably know in the last days of the year or early next year.

There are big chances that we will continue to benefit from the Law 34 from the Ministry of Work and a contribution from Bacau County Council. There are other small grants in place.

With the exception of 2009 (when we knew we were going to have the Norwegian Grants) every year we have similar situations, big uncertainties on the budget of the following year.

This is why the help from the Relief Fund for Romania is so important and valuable, it helps with periods of gaps in funding or in covering expenses that are not eligible for certain grants (such as administrative costs or bank loan).

The Norwegian grants will probably be launched again later in 2012 with direct applicability in 2013. This delay is purely created by the style of the Romanian authorities that move the responsibility around or impose tons of papers.

We are prepared to apply to every possible source even though chances look slim


Care of Elderly


Our recent research on the situation of population ageing/the need for dedicated services in Romania, looks pretty similar to our study back in 2009.

Some facts from the study:

- 15% of Romania's population is over 65 years old

- In 2030 this will increase to 30% (similar with European tendencies)

- 45% of Romania's population live in rural areas

- The total number of towns (cities and communas) are 2,948, of which 2,685 represent rural places

- There are only 78 day centres for the elderly in entire Romania, less than 1/town and only 36% of their costs are covered by the state

- There are only 8 protected living projects in entire Romania, and only 47% of their costs is covered by the state

- There are only 149 residential homes for the elderly in Romania, less than 1/town and only 19% of their costs is covered by the state




Home care services

- are provided in only 27 counties out of 42

- only 15,600 people benefit from home care services in all of Romania

- the real need is for 1 million people (there are 5 million people over 65 years in Romania)

- this could bring jobs to 100,000 unqualified people

- home care is 10 times cheaper than other care services

 

The indicators of the year for Bacau city:

TOTAL BENEFICIARIES 2011: 886

Total beneficiaries home care services:

- 87 home care

- 270 nursing care

- 71 incontinence care

Total new requests: 325

Total beneficiaries

- 219 day care

- 131 socialising

- 101 physiotherapy

 


Integrated services in rural areas: Podu Turcului area

It is very interesting that after 20 years of Relief Fund for Romania -FSC intervention in the villages on the East side of the county, the poorest in Romania, we remain the only NGO committed to make a difference.

Care of the elderly

The programme has been quite successful and needed. All the local partners made some financial contributions and would like to continue the services.

2 new communas, Rachitoasa and Colonesti would like to become partners as well which means that the services are slowly spreading.
We had a journalist from a national newspapers visiting our programme and after the visit wrote a very good article.

Total number of beneficiaries: 932


Community transport

After the end of the grant we donated the minibuses to the local communities conditioned that they continue to provide the same service. They paid all the costs and kept the activity going at about 75%.

 

 

Key Indicators for 2011 Services for rural areas / people helped

Community transport 4500
Family planning 147
Specialist doctors 97



IMPART: COMBINED ART TECHNIQUES

Key Indicators for 2011

Impreuna Network

New members 818

TOTAL members 1879

Postal addreses 1525

Emails 1039

Emails to members 540

Phonecalls from members 130

Phonecalls to members 170

The IMPREUNA magazine - 3 issues

Seminars 1

Research on autism 6


The IMPART TEAM

- Total number of trained people: 547

- Direct beneficiaries 265

Unfortunately one of the Impart team members, Mariana Diosteanu, left the organization to work as a special needs teacher

 


THE GLUE CLUBS AND MOSAIC CENTRE

KEY INDICATORS for 2011:

Educational Services:

- 583 children attending the educational centres

- 200 parents benefited from the School for Parents

Specialized Mobile Services

- 112 Social Grants for High School Children
- 55 Social Care and Psychological Services
- 147 family planning sessions

Grand Total helped 1,097

 


VOLUNTEERS PROGRAMME

KEY INDICATORS for 2011:

 

TOTAL ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS: 280

 


 



Conclusions


We managed to end successfully a problematic year from the financial point of view and we look ahead with hopes that life will be better again and that things will improve.

The employees are very grateful to have a job in such difficult times even though payment is so low. The beneficiaries are also grateful for all we do and we hope they understand how difficult it is for us to keep helping them.

We know how difficult it has been for the Relief Fund for Romania to raise money for Romania when Europe and UK are facing troubled times with high unemployment and social issues.

Please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation for all the support from the Relief Fund, please convey our gratitude to all the board members, the Relief Fund remains a special partner and a serious one and that is reassuring too.

We thank the Relief Fund for continuing to care and help.
Many special thanks to Edward Parry for his efficiency, advice and friendship.


For FSC Board,
Gabriela Achihai, President


For further information see the quarterly charity project field reports

 


The staff and trustees of the Relief Fund for Romania are proud to be associated with such great Romanians and thank all our supporters in the UK and around the world for helping us fund this work.

 

 

To See last year's trustees_report for 2009 / 2010 Click here