Bede’s 2020 online AGM success

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Bede House
by Gwen Green

This year’s AGM was a huge success, despite being delivered online courtesy of Zoom! Frayed nerves, last minute hiccups and changes of plan all vanished as our audience logged in from homes and offices. Some 60 guests heard exciting news of Bede’s many achievements during the Covid crisis. We were especially pleased to welcome the Deputy Mayor of Southwark, our Patron Cllr Sunil Chopra.

Our AGM goes global

A night of business and celebration took place in homes around London and further afield in the UK. We were delighted that one of our volunteers who was visiting Ghana joined us with her family.

Our Honorary President, Bishop Christopher Chessun, sent his message of greeting and appreciation of Bede’s work. Next on the agenda, our Vice President, Roger Harrison, presided over the formal business and election of the President, Vice Presidents and members of Bede Council. Chair of Bede Council Wendy Cookson introduced two new members of Bede Council, Shane Murphy and Bob Ogilvie. She also paid tribute to the exceptional contributions made by Katrina Ramsey and Paul Lindsay who stepped down this year.

Nick Dunne presented the Annual Review  and Nitu Panesar, Treasurer, presented the headline results of Bede’s audited accounts at March 2020

Our Director Nick presided over the night, skilfully segueing each speaker while giving BBC news presenters a run for their money!

Exciting updates on our projects

Project Managers, Ahlam, Carole and Fokrul all gave truly inspiring reports. They are a testimony to what they and their teams are still managing to achieve under difficult circumstances.

There were many emotional and engaging presentations. A client of Bede’s Starfish Project told her moving story of how she’d been helped to escape an abusive relationship. She, along with other survivors of domestic abuse, were part of the virtual Bede Choir, formed during lockdown. Two Strictly Come Dancing celebrities, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton du Beke, gave upbeat introductions to the choir’s uplifting rendition of ‘Stronger’. Our thanks go to Strictly singer Hayley Sanderson who led the singers.  We are also indebted to Bede Patron Jane Holbrook, who was the driving force behind the entire ‘Stronger‘  project.

A young Youth club member proudly holds up the long ponytail she had, before cutting her hair to help fundraise for a charity.

Joyful videos showed Learning Disabilities clients having huge fun in a socially distanced Zumba session. Everyone danced to lively music, led by a Bede colleague broadcasting from home! Our Youth Adventure project led us towards the finale with clips showing the young people’s response to the pandemic.  It was wonderful to see their energy and enthusiasm as they enjoyed fun activities, learning and nutritional meals!

Rising to the challenge

There was no doubting the drive, passion and commitment to support the most vulnerable people within Southwark’s community. Our thanks to Carole, Fokrul, Ahlam and their teams for making great things happen during these challenging times.

Bede’s Patron Sir Simon Hughes rounded off the night perfectly with positive and encouraging words. Most memorably, he compared Bede to an oak tree, with solid roots and limbs reaching out into the community. Thank you to Sir Simon and to everyone who made this AGM such a special occasion.