Here's our latest Trustees' report - for the year to March 2012

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 In case you think these are outdated we will submit the next accounts (2012/2013) in January 2014



THE RELIEF FUND FOR ROMANIA LTD
REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2012

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 2012.


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.

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, 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 2011 - MARCH 2012


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.

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 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.


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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 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

- in their own words

Our biggest achievement for 2012 is the provision of direct services to 10,882 people through 110 employees.

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

January 2012

Launch of the project "Art therapy for children with disabilities in rural villages"

Beginning from January 2012, our specialists have started the work on the project "Art therapy for children with disabilities in rural areas" funded by MOL part of the Program for the Health of Children.

The project aims to provide art therapy services for children with disabilities in 4 disadvantaged rural communities, support their families towards the children's development in the family environment, and also provide support for the teachers in offering adequate services to children with disabilities.

The target group consists of 60 children with various degrees of disability from 4 rural communities of the Eastern area of Bacau County.

The direct beneficiaries of the project will take part in the sessions of art therapy delivered in the 4 Educational centres "Glue Clubs" open by FSC Bacau in Stanisesti, Vultureni, Motoseni and Podu Turcului in Bacau County.

February 2012

Orange Romania and France Telecom Orange through the Orange Foundation agreed to fund the integrated activities with the children.

The project aims to improve the access of children from poor isolated rural areas of Bacau County to good quality education, counselling and guidance to decrease the educational disadvantages compared to urban education and to develop independent living skills for a normal active life.

Another objective of the project is to disseminate the good practice model in other similar areas in Vaslui and Iasi Counties.

Throughout 2012 over 500 children of Pre School and school ages, 90 high school students and 150 teachers will receive direct services in Bacau, Vaslui and Iasi. 5000 more young people and teachers will receive information packages.


"Education is the engine of growth for any society and on its quality depends on the evolution of the next generations and their future opportunities. Unfortunately, Romania is one of the countries with the highest school drop out rates, especially in its rural areas.

FSC's long term programs and their results are considered a good practice model in alternative education. It is for this reason that, together with the Orange Foundation we have chosen to support the project "Education Opportunities for children from rural areas". This is an important local initiative addressing large number of children and young people, with significant results in the long term."

Amalia Fodor, CSR Manager Orange Romania

March 2012

FSC achieved ISO 9001:2008 Certification. This guarantees that quality management is of high standard. The certification was provided by SIMTEX-OC the most important certifying body in Romania.

The programs undergoing detailed auditing are the major programs of our organisation: Home Care Services for the Elderly, the Day Centre for the Elderly and the Glue Clubs for children.

This certificate gives official testimony that the Community Support Foundation provides a high standard of services oriented towards the best interest of our service-users.

We are very proud of this and would like to assure all our supporters that we will keep the same high standards in all our future activities.

April 2012

BRD Bank supports, for another year in a row an educational project implemented by FSC, through the program of employee donations "Change a Destiny. Give value to a life".

The project "Bridge of Friendship" aims to connect young people from the village Fantanele (com. Motoseni) with young people from Bacau, Tache neighbourhood (two disadvantaged communities), in order to stimulate their interest for education and improve their school achievements and school adjustment.

Through mutual interaction these young people have the opportunity to make new friendships, become familiar with the city/ village environment, and initiate joint activities with FSC and BRD volunteers.

May 2012

Together with Muzika Charitable Trust FONPC, FRODO and ARET we organised a conference for over 100 people 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. The works presented at the conference were open by his Excellency the Ambassador of Great Britain, Mr. Martin Harris. He spoke about the importance and benefits of partnership in the social care work.

Speakers from Romania and the UK presented success and good practice models for the implementation of rehabilitation activities for children, even with reduced budgets.

On the 10th of May, FSC organised the 10th edition of the Bacau Community Awards Gala, in partnership with ERSTE Stiftung Austria.

With the theme "Our Care for the Forgotten Elderly", the Gala this year highlights the European Year of Active Aging. In this respect the event was focused on the Home and Health Care Services Programme, implemented by FSC for over 14 years in Bacau, with some 1600 beneficiaries each year.

The Award winners, receiving the Bacau Community Awards, for their actions towards supporting the local community in 2011, selected by an independent jury out of 33 de nominees, were:

  1. Companies: BRD Groupe Societe Generale for the project: True Friends;
  2. Institutions and NGOs: Inner Wheel Bacau for the project: Sensory Therapy Room;
  3. Individuals: Dr. Mihai Galinescu, for the project: the Intensive Paediatric Therapy Ward- County Hospital Bacau;
  4. Excellency Award: Mr. Zaharia Dumitru, historian

June 2012

Agricola International hosted a special event: a ceremony awards marking the closure of the school year for all the beneficiaries of social grants plus a ceremony awarding the most deserving volunteers of the organisation. We presented the activities developed for children and young people from rural areas in a nice photo collage.

Of the 104 beneficiaries of the social grants program for 2011-2012, the most deserving 10 received certificates for the achievements for the entire school year.

July 2012

The Summer School, the most important event for all our FSC volunteers has now reached its eighth year. The children from several communities have been looking forward to this moment, by now a tradition in their villages.

This year, the campaign took place during July- August, in 8 rural communities in the Podu Turcului area.

Along with British volunteers from two organization: Libra and Life - who covered a large part of the funding necessary for this event - the FSC volunteers organized weekly sessions, with theme clubs, leisure activities, games, musical contests and a lot of fun.

August 2012

The Herrod Foundation from Switzerland gave financial support to the Mosaic Centre through our main partners, Relief Fund for Romania, to improve the access of children from disadvantaged families to educational activities, counselling, and developing life skills.

The main objective of the Herrod Foundation is to offer financial support to NGOs from all over the world, who develop projects for disadvantaged children offering access to education, health care, proper food and decent living conditions.

The funding is entirely from the internal resources of the organisation, due to the founder and president of the organisation, Mr Gerald T. Herrod.

The most deserving 60 children attending the rural Glue Clubs benefitted from a well earned summer camp at the seaside. After a year of putting all their efforts into achieving well in school and at the centre, the children received their award.

The days spent at the seaside were all extraordinary and each different from the other, each full of joy and fun for the entire group.

From the beginning, they were very excited about the event and throughout the train ride the children kept asking questions about the place called "the sea". For most of them it was the first time they went on a trip/ camp and they were very curious.

The camp has also been the perfect opportunity for the children from the different centres to become friends and interact closely with each other.

September 2012

FSC and Hello Shopping Park organised an Arts and Crafts Fair - to promote the products and services of various social economy enterprises from the Moldova region, including protected units.

The main aim of the event, open to a wide variety of exhibiting participants with different products and different backgrounds, was to encourage the free enterprise in the field of traditional and artistic craftsmanship.

The event was also an excellent opportunity for the public to discover a fascinating universe, where creativity and skill combine to harmonious designs, either as individual enterprise or as company approach.

October 2012

A strategic meeting at the beginning of the month set the frame for a new FSC project. The representatives of the Ungureni Orphanage Trust Association, Dr. Judith Darmady and Dana Condrea, together with Mr. Colin Williams - FSC supporter agreed that FSC will take over the UOT property in Buhusi (land and buildings) to open a residential centre of care and assistance for the elderly.

The main sponsors of the activity are Dr. Judith Darmady and Mr. Colin Williams, to whom we want to thank!

The coordinator of FSC's Fundraising Department was awared Professional Fundraiser of the Year at the Gala People for People in Bucharest, organised by the Association for Community Relations and the American Chamber of Commerce.

This award covers the most significant projects and most valuable CSR people in Romania. Next to the most important companies and NGOs in Romania, active in social involvement and responsibility, FSC was noted again for the quality of its fundraising activity in Bacau.

November 2012

The "Activ Mozaic" Workshop comes with the hand-made catalogue for the winter

The activities focused on creating various hand-made ornaments, presents, jewels and decorations have been significantly developed during the last period.

Starting with the skilful activity of the children during creative clubs, we took it to the next stage, making it more professional and better organised, in liaison with beneficiaries and volunteers who became part of a true social enterprise: the "Activ Mozaic" workshop.

We intend to submit the workshop for accreditation from the Ministry of Labour, as a protected unit where young people with disabilities could be employed.

December 2012

"You can be a Father Christmas too": the campaign will bring joy to over 1000 children from 12 rural communities.

Key indicators 2012

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 grant 111
     
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 1,805
IMPART TRAINING 319
     
Total   10,882


 

Conclusions

The year 2012 was a complex and difficult year. We had to deal with many issues such as financial shortages, strategic planning and planning for new projects. In spite of the difficulties thanks to the partnerships we managed to carry on all the work.

We know how difficult it has been for RFFR to raise money for Romania and we would like to transfer our sincere thanks for the effort and understanding. Please convey our gratitude to all the board members, RFFR remains a special partner and a serious one and that is reassuring too. We thank RFFR 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

To See last year's trustees_report for 2010 / 2011 Click here