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AGM 2022: Celebrating what we do

On Friday 23rd September we hosted our Annual General Meeting in the People First Conference Centre. Sharing our conference space with stakeholders and customers, we came together to celebrate a year of helping people across our region.

A year of helping others

CEO David Blacklock opened the meeting by sharing our Impact Report 2021/2022, this details all our projects in the past year, presents some amazing statistics and reflects on the outcomes of the advocacy we provide. Advocacy is at the core of all the services we offer, standing up for and offering support to anyone who needs help, to give them a voice and help them stand up for their rights.

In the report David says, "Looking back on the past year, I am heartened that the work of our dedicated staff continues to transform even more peoples lives."

Coming together to reflect

During the meeting participants discussed their experiences over the past year, the role of trustees within People First and voted to appoint a new trustee to our board, Ted Cole. Ted has an established background in education, and was a previous board member for Healthwatch Cumbria. We look forward to the new experiences and knowledge Ted will bring to our board.

We also reflected on how the upcoming cost of living crisis may cause challenging times in the future, especially for our service users.

How we helped in 2021/2022

As part of our AGM, we explored our impact; the interactions we've had with our customers, and the stories we've heard of resilience and strength. Since April 2021, this has included:

  • 24,060 customers used our services across Cumbria, Lancashire and the Northeast.
  • Over 2,358 learning hours were delivered by The People First Centre for Learning.
  • 341 Counselling sessions were delivered by our Here counselling service.
  • 30,393 people engaged with our Healthwatch teams to share their health and care experiences.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the welcoming of the Direct Payments and Benefits Support service into the People First family. In 2022 DaCE (Disability Association Carlisle and Eden ceased operating). DaCE was an organisation that had supported the needs of people with disabilities across Cumbria since 1999.

Working together with the Local Authority and the NHS we transferred the DaCE services and staff to People First. We appreciate the legacy created by DaCE, many of our customers depended on these services, and we are excited to ensure it's continued quality and support.

Celebrating success

To bring the meeting to a celebratory close we announced the winners of this years' People First Member Awards.

The award winners are:

Mark Bellas Award: Emma Davidson

Barry Clarkson Award: Laura Calwood

Tom Bradley Award: Georgia Devine

Kevin Twigg Award: Louise Calvert

Huge congratulations to all our award winners for their dedication, sharing their experiences and advocating for others.

The meeting was brought to a close with a buffet and evening gathering hosted by our Conference Centre team.

We'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped us organise this year's event, and thank you to all our funders, sponsors and supporters without whom our work wouldn't be possible.