Friday 15th December saw the last session for 2017 with Calvin Niles presenting on Your Voice, Your Power followed by our Christmas gathering, in all, an enjoyable day.

I wanted to express my personal thanks to all of you who were able to attend, it was great to see many faces, some from many years past, I appreciate your time in supporting us on the day. I do hope that you all found the presentation by Dr Mike Short of interest; there were certainly many questions… a copy of his presentation is on Dropbox (for those of you not on our Dropbox and you’d like to receive a copy, please email and I’ll send you a copy).

I was pleased to secure the time of Mike Short before he got stuck into his mega-projects post Brexit for the Department of International Trade (DIT) as their Chief Scientific Adviser. Wishing him well. Great to see Maria Miller MP continuing to support us and we will continue to engage to provide input to the select committee on older workers, to gain fairness and balance, to give opportunity to all, irrespective of age!

I have many people to thank so, here goes:

I’d like to thank all our supporters and volunteers for their fantastic work, passion and commitment in helping to support M3JC and giving up their valuable time and expertise to deliver a quality programme.

Really appreciate Rob driving over to dance with Judith on the day – great job guys, shame the dance came to rather a shorter end than anticipated (due to the call) but the “strictly” moment was wonderful to see.

Thanks also to Suzanne and Sue for looking after everyone with refreshments every week, invaluable to keep everyone replenished every Friday.

A big thank you to those of you who have donated to the Job Club and especially to those who have and are donating monthly Direct Debits; your generosity and support is extremely appreciated and is invaluable in ensuring an ongoing, free service. If you can donate via this method, please give what you can via our LocalGiving page.

Then there are the people who are never seen but are working away in the background, such as Chris Wright on his unending technical support to further enhance and develop our website. It’s been a big challenge since we took this on, but we can now start to focus on new features and automation.

We have a wonderful shop in town who kindly donate milk to us each week. We just walk in and help ourselves, and Imran who runs the shop was just keen to support us – we go through about 6 – 8 pints each week. He didn’t want to be recognised or any fuss made, as he said, “as a practising Muslim, it’s his duty to help and this is his way of giving something back to the community” – respect!

Nicky and team at Goringe Accountants who have for years been supporting us with our finances; a superb service that ensures we are on on the straight and narrow when we submit our end of year figures to the Charity Commission.

Finally, thanks to our trustees for the continued support, we are very fortunate to have such long standing dedicated people to volunteer. We are pleased that Maxine Hart has also joined the board and look forward to working with her in 2018. One-to-one CV reviews will still be on offer if you wish to take up the opportunity.

What did we achieve in 2017:

In summary, 85 members secured employment, and we welcomed 147 new members, still maintaining circa 30 people attending the sessions each week after over six and a half years in operation.

We launched a new website with thanks to another volunteer to win a lottery award to help us pay for this work.

Nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services and we can only but wait to hear if we are fortunate to be selected in June 2018…

And finally, I’d like to wish every one of you a wonderful Christmas full of love, hope, health and happiness and a prosperous 2018.

Thank you!