As chairman I thought it appropriate that I spend a few minutes reflecting on last year and looking forward to next year and outlining my priorities in taking our work supporting veterans forward.

I would like to thank the board of trustees for their support and advice over the last twelve months.  This has helped us maintain strategic focus and set our general direction of travel to ensure the charity remains relevant, efficient and meaningful to those we seek to support.  I echo that thanks to the executive committee now led by Mr Moffatt after Mr McKenney resigned to have time to support his wife who is unwell. We have welcomed Sharon Lee as the welfare officer which will be an additional support strand to our veterans in need, coordinating welfare support across a range of existing providers.

The theme of 2018 has been ‘better not bigger’ and I am pleased with the significant progress we have made.  In particular the considerable effort which was devoted to the policy review which has seen all of our documents drawn into a single framework document which is up to date, relevant and concise.  We have also benefitted from changing to Office 356 in recent weeks.  There is more to do to ensure we are using this to best effect, but we have made a good start.

The MCVC has had numerous visitors and events over the last year, too many to mention in this summary.  We must keep up this vital aspect of passing information to veterans and welcoming visitors who support us in their various roles.  We have also had many visits and activity groups; particular thanks go to Zanib Rasool from RUCST who has been prolific ensuring veterans can join in their activities.  On a less positive note we must do better at supporting planned activities and visits.  It has been disappointing to note the paucity of numbers at some events.  This has been in part to poor communication and some administrative weaknesses. We have opportunity to improve this next year and we must do so.

I have been thinking of our theme for the next twelve months.  I have alluded to some areas of weakness which we will improve upon – but it is not a central theme which will guide our planning for the year.  I have thought about our mission statement and consider it remains a robust guide to what we are about, and we must stick to it. I am less confident we are effectively reaching out to veterans and have a sense that we need to be better at getting our message more effectively circulated. To that end I would like the MCVC to make a priority of ‘Reaching out and informing’ in 2019.  There will be a number of ways and means to achieve this and we will explore them together as the year starts.

In conclusion I would like to thank everyone in the MCVC team for all their hard work supporting veterans and their families over the last year.  I am sure we can do more next year.  I wish the whole team and all veterans a very happy and healthy New Year.