Director’s Report 2019/20
DEE-SIGN CHOIR – DIRECTORS ANNUAL REPORT APRIL 2019 – MARCH 2020
CHOIR CURRENT POSITION
It’s been sometime now since we did a report for many varied reasons, one of the these being our three Directors have had close family bereavements and all that this involves kind of took the wind out of our sails as you can imagine. We also had bereavements in the choir itself.
The size of the choir has diminished now as over the years we have lost all our young people who have either gone off to University, or now working and not available to be with us at our bookings and practices, as their lives move on. This coupled with taking on new members and getting back into the swing of it has also meant we have not felt strong enough to enter the Signing Choirs Competitions as we have done in the past, and of course we are not about competing we are about fundraising, but we do love competing.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank our long term young volunteers who are now adults and who have moved on to paths new, or still with us but are not as available as in the past.
We are very proud of them all – three graduated from University, one teaching, one Audiologist and one in Media Studies. One in armed forces, 2 at Performing Arts Colleges in London and Liverpool and one working in Social Care supporting people with Dementia.
There are a few more going way back and we follow what they are doing on Facebook and they are all doing amazingly well and we are very proud of them.
CHOIR FUNDRAISING – CURRENT GOAL
The Choirs main function is to continually fund raise and indeed if we had not formed 21 years ago, we would have been without the £200,000 we have raised and mostly spent over the years supporting Chester & District Committee for Deaf People and Deafness Support Network – this would have made a huge difference I am sure.
Over the years Chester Deaf Centre has had lots of refurbishments, but like any other building that is constantly in use it is badly in need of work again to bring it up to standard. Plans have been drawn up and a bid to the Lottery has been made, but it is highly unlikely the Lottery will fund all our needs (costing £350,000) so a Plan B is in operation, which will be a refurbishment only and each part of this refurbishment will be done in order of priority and costed and paid for by (hopefully a successful Lottery Application) with the shortfall being raised through our own efforts and by applications for grants to various Grant Making Trusts . The choir has been asked to fund car park resurfacing and the Deaf Community held their first fund raising event on 29th February and raised over £500.00. with a Sing and Sign Karaoke evening. The choir will continue throughout the year fundraising. Events already booked available under the EVENTS menu on the website.
If you are an organisation that would like to fund any item on our B Plan List please do contact us for further information, via
Mr. J.Pane – Chairman – Chester & District Committee for Deaf People firstname.lastname@example.org
FUNDS RAISED BY THE CHOIR IN 2019/20
Funds raised to date by choir in 2019/20 Financial Year £5,095.35. (subject to audit). We have made donations to Deafness Support Network funding one of their Youth Workers wages and we have also funded over £1,000 in taxi fares to enable Deaf members with mobility needs to attend the Deaf Centre and enjoy socialising with friends, enabling them to converse in their own language BSL which is very important for them. This fund was supported initially by a £250 donation from The Festival Church in Chester, but we agreed to continue to support it once it ran out.
THANKS TO ALL THOSE ORGANISATIONS WHO HAVE BOOKED US FOR EVENTS AND DONATED TOWARDS OUR CHARITY AND THOSE PUBLIC VENUES THAT HAVE GIVEN US A LICENCE TO PERFORM AND COLLECT – IT MEANS EVERYTHING.
USE OF CHESTER DEAF CENTRE
The Centre is used by many different local community groups and is also available for private hire and a much valued building for the local Deaf Community far and wide with visiting Deaf clubs.
Current regular users are;
- BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE COURSE MONDAY EVENINGS,
- TUESDAY DEAF CLUB (every other Tuesday afternoon),
- JUMPING JACKS (which Stepping Stones(linked to DSN) sometimes attend) Tues evenings,
- CHESTER STROKE CLUB (every 1st Wednesday afternoon in the month),
- CHESTER GUITAR CIRCLE(every 1st Wednesday evening each month),
- YOUTH VIBE (Deaf Youth Club( (every other Wednesday evening),
- THURSDAY OVER 50S DEAF CLUB (every Thursday afternoon),
- NORTH WEST END ACTING SCHOOL (every Thursday evening),
- ZUMBA every Friday afternoon,
- DEE-SIGN CHOIR PRACTISE (every Saturday morning),
- SATURDAY DEAF CLUB (every Saturday evening),
- YOU, ME AND TEA (meet up and socialising group of Deaf People)
CHOIR GOING FORWARD INTO 2020 & BEYOND
Last year due to ill health and increasing age and an operation pending, I decided that it was time for me to take a backward step as I recognised I was the past of the choir, and there was a desperate need to pass on many of my roles to other younger members more capable than myself. I therefore took the step of informing the Choir Committee of my intentions and that I would be drawing up job descriptions and looking for choir members who would be willing to take on the various roles I had done over the years. Uniform, Attendance, Bookings, Music/Filming/Media, Membership etc etc. I am delighted to say these posts are now filled and I am sure the choir will go from strength to strength with those carrying out these roles. I am still doing things on Facebook pages and other roles such as keeping the choirs database up to date to comply with GDPR rules, and Health and Safety records etc etc. and am a member of the Choir Committee and liaising with them and leading songs. Many of our choir members have also chosen songs they are happy to lead when out performing, so it spreads the load and gives them the experience and confidence to carry them forward. We have a wonderful Web Designer and Treasurer who have remained on board and we are very grateful to them. We are also grateful to front of house staff at DSN who deal with DBS checks on all our volunteers.
All our members are volunteers with busy working lives and we are very grateful to each and everyone of them – those who are still with us and – those who have supported us in the past. If you have watched our Christmas videos you can see that we are constantly trying to diversify and have fun and we hope you all enjoyed our 24 Sleeps till Christmas Videos, we certainly enjoyed doing them. More videos in the pipeline to be uploaded to You Tube in due course.
I am pleased to say that things are now looking up again, we have new members and even some past members returning. We have had a new choir baby born called Grace and another one on the way. Our biggest news being one of our Directors got married last year so Congratulations to them both.
We have had partial new uniform, and have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline. Our first public booking is in the wonderful Chester Cathedral on the 22nd May and we are looking forward to that. Such a wonderful venue for a fabulous party night. Our new booking clerk has found some new and different venues for us to perform at which is great, so we are ready to go again – INTO 2020.
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ANNE HESKETH – DIRECTOR