The Annual General Meeting of the Probus Club , April 2014
The retiring President John Demont presented 2 cheques of £400.00 each to the Club’s guests, Sue Hodder of the Homelink Day Respite Centre based in Whitton and Jack Stephen of ‘Spear’, a charity working for the homeless in and around the borough, with offices in Twickenham.
Sue, a former district nurse, when thanking the Club, described how the Charity was set up 17 years ago after a feasibility study showed the need to provide relief to the many local carers who are giving active support, often on a 24 hour basis without a break.
Starting with 17 clients the centre now cares for over 130 clients and is open 5 days a week. Homelink is a nurse led day respite centre for adults staffed by qualified nurses and trained volunteers who give carers a well - earned day’s rest away from their responsibilities. These adults may have any of a wide range of permanent disabilities following physical or mental disorder. The organisation is receiving a £760.000 grant from the Borough of Richmond for a new centre which is currently being built and needs to raise money to furnish it. Some of the money given by the Club will support the ‘Buy a Brick Campaign’.
Jack Stephen, when thanking the Club, described how ‘Spear’ had been in existence for 30 years and offered help and hostel accommodation to the homeless, working in conjunction with Thames Valley Housing.
It originated locally from the tragic finding of the body of a vagrant which had been in the open for 5 nights and two others who had died seeking shelter under Richmond Bridge.
The organisation has since helped thousands of homeless and vulnerable people. It has a staff of 50 and is subsidised by contracts and by the British Legion who give aid to the military who have fallen on hard times. Members of the organisation scour the streets of the Borough in winter actively looking for those in acute need.
Spear is not only about homelessness. It also aims to support those dependent on drugs, including alcohol, by constructively changing their life styles so that they can live useful and fulfilling lives.
Ross Silver was elected President for the forthcoming year.
He thanked John Demont for having presided so well over the Club for the last two years and Paul Kershaw who had been secretary for three years and who had devoted much time and energy to the well- being of the Club.
The new officers and members of the Committee were duly elected.
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