A message from the HSGA founder and President, Kate Falkingham:

Hello everyone.  It’s a long time since we first started sending out our newsletters, many of which contained “Kate’s letter” which was my attempt to inform and entertain you all with group news.  We do things electronically now but I felt that a situation has arisen that I need to tell you all about.
As you know from Phil’s recent email, we are facing a crisis.  Mick Orwin is standing down and I can’t express how much he will be missed.  He was a founder member back in 1992 and has been Chairman, trip organiser and supreme raffle person for many years.  His friendship with Al at The Victoria has brought thousands of pounds in match funding over the years.  So, we will be saying a sad goodbye to Mick at the AGM.
Also, Laura Griffiths has decided to step down as Playscheme Co-ordinator.  If it weren’t for Laura, the Playscheme would have stopped several years ago.  The tremendous fun the children have had and the respite for the families is immeasurable.  So many of you reading this will think back and smile remembering the wonderful playscheme weeks.  Sadly for us, Laura is branching out into helping a wider range of disabilities, leaving us with a job vacancy that is extremely hard to fill.  Recognising just how hard this is, we feel that this is probably the end of the HSGA Playscheme.  At our recent committee meeting we reluctantly accepted that the task of running the scheme, the necessary paperwork, the fundraising and all the practical organisation is, nowadays, too big for us.  So, a huge thank you to Laura, you will also be sorely missed.
This led to discussion about the future of the group.  I’m pleased to say that there was enthusiasm and some excellent suggestions as to the things we could do next year.  Sally Hanson has offered to run the usual trips with help from Mick.  We propose to add some extra days out to new venues.  Trace Smith-McQuillan has joined the committee and will be our link with PCAN, which will be great for sharing ideas and info about venues etc.  We would also like to invite families to apply for money from the group to fund things such as attendance at conferences, training or courses, to buy equipment or special toys, or to subsidise attendance on other playschemes etc.  These applications would need to be seconded by a professional.  If this proves successful, we would step up our application for small grants in order to continue in future years.
We have always asked you, the membership, to speak up about what you want from the group.  Now more than ever, we need to know what you want and your thoughts about this email.
Please email me if you have some ideas.
Thank you
Very best wishes to you all
Kate Falkingham

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