Centre for Social Work Practice

Changes and the centre, Message from the CfSWP Trustees

Published November 03, 2017


I am writing as Chair of the Centre to let you all know about some of the changes which we as trustees of the Centre have decided we must make over the forthcoming weeks.

The Centre has over the past few weeks been facing a number of challenges, including the phased reduction in the funding from our donor, which would require a considerable investment in fundraising efforts in the forthcoming year(s) if we are to meet our operating costs. In addition, two key trustees, our Treasurer Matt Barker and one of the Founder members of the Centre, Andrew Cooper, have recently indicated that for personal and work pressures they felt unable to continue as Trustees, and intended to resign in the near future. Given the workload of the operating staff, our Director Robyn Kemp and our Networking and Events Co-ordinator, Suzie Stephens, we recognised that the inevitable consequence of these challenges, if unaddressed, would be a considerable additional pressures on a small number of Trustees. And we in turn were feeling already very overstretched and do not think we have the capacity to take on more tasks ourselves.

At our Board meeting in September, having explored all the possible options open to us, the Board concluded that we had no alternative other than to plan for a scaling back of our activities and a recalibrating of the Centre’s model of operation. As a first step in this planning process, we decided that we needed to make our two permanent members of staff redundant at the end of a three month period and to manage our scheduled activities and projects ‘in house’ on a strictly temporary basis while we consider how best to go forward. It is important for you to know, however, that although we have only engaged in preliminary discussions, our intentions are that the Centre will continue as a charity and that our main activities will continue but within a modified structure and with changes in their delivery.

Just as an example of our thinking, in relation to the regional groups, one possible model might be that the groups continue as regional branches which are largely self-managing under a leader/co-ordinator. They would be given some limited funding by the Centre to promote the objects of the Centre, and might aim to run a minimum of two events a year, which we would support administratively and by providing lists of speaker/suggestions for events, as we did historically. The groups would report to the main Trustee Board.

Our website is currently being redesigned, and our intention is that this will continue to be maintained in the future.

Please give us feedback, comments and suggestions

We are however still very much at the stage of working out our best way forward, and would hugely welcome comments and ideas and suggestions as to our future direction, so please DO get in touch with any of us as Trustees. We look forward to hearing from you.

We are very mindful of the impact that this decision has on our two permanent employees, and very much regret that this step has had to be taken. We are very grateful to them for agreeing to stay on for the next few weeks to ensure the effective delivery of our programmes, and of course also for all that they have contributed to the Centre over the months and years. Robyn has in fact decided that she would like to leave at the end of November while Suzie is remaining until the end of December. We are delighted that Robyn has agreed to continue her excellent work in relation to our project with Brighton and Hove, which it is planned to continue for a further year.

Finally, we are delighted to report that Lian Vanstone has agreed to stay on for the foreseeable future, so please continue to use her as a key point of contact over the next weeks and months. If you have any queries, she will be able to advise you on which of the Trustees you should contact and how to get in touch with us.

Kate Wilson Chair

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