November 22, 2021

Playskill’s 2021 AGM

Jill Ben and Maeve

Playskill’s 2021 AGM embraced the digital revolution again, holding the meeting via Zoom for the second year.  More than 75 screens and 100 people attended including local MP Dean Russell and Watford’s Mayor, Peter Taylor, alongside business and individual supporters; parents – past and present; volunteers and staff.

Hosted by the Chair of Playskill’s Board of Trustees, Stuart Soloway, the evening gave us a moving insight in to the work of the Charity, the challenges and achievements during a very difficult year and a chance to hear first-hand from parents how their children have thrived with Playskill’s support.

The passion shone through from guest speaker, Gill Waceba – retired Headteacher of Woodfield School and long-time Playskill supporter.  Gill took us back to the start of her career when she was inspired to work with special needs children aged just 14, after which she never looked back.  With 40+ years of inspiring and teaching young people with special needs to prepare them for adulthood, Gill knows only too well the crucial part that preparation in pre-school years plays.  A valuable new addition, Gill has now chosen to strengthen her support by joining Playskill’s Board of Trustees and was successfully appointed at Wednesday’s AGM.  Gill’s long career in the special educational needs field will be a huge asset to the Charity and we welcome her to the team.

Stuart talked us through a round up of our financial year ending December 2020 and spoke about how the Charity had managed to exceed hopes and expectations of where Playskill might be financially after the challenge of COVID. Stuart was also delighted to present the Fundraiser of the Year award to Paige and her son Oakley for their incredible fundraising efforts during the Sponsored Obstacle Course.

Andrea reviewed 2021 looking back on all the celebrations and achievements the families and team have had including the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Award for Playskill. She spoke of the challenges faced by the group and admin teams of adapting to the constantly changing restrictions and by the fundraising team of securing enough funds to continue our work. Andrea also spoke of the highs of the year, when children and families returned to group and so many of the children celebrated milestones together.

We watched a video celebrating our 15th anniversary where we heard from some of our supporters, families and of course Andrea herself on why she started Playskill 15 years ago.

Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Alan Swinhoe who has been an incredible help in many groups and has also completed fundraising cycle challenges for us this year. We are so grateful for all our volunteers and their support.

Finally, Andrea thanked trustee Chris Raby, who after 15 years is stepping down. Chris has been an incredible trustee for Playskill and provided much valued support and insight during her time as a trustee. Thank you Chris.

Throughout the evening we were delighted to hear from our families about their Playskill journey. You can watch their videos below. There is no one better to describe the impact Playskill has on children and families so we were thrilled to hear their stories in their own words. We do hope you enjoy them.