The Annual Meeting was held on the evening of 22nd June 2009 in the Nuffield Hall of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The first of its kind, it provided an opportunity to gather together friends and supporters of the charity and to tell them more about our current work. The event was attended by a wide range of our supporters including delegates from our two oldest established volunteer branches, research grant holders, corporate supporters, representatives of charitable trusts and individual friends and supporters as well as Trustees and staff.
The meeting was opened by Eve Pollard – Vice-Chairman of the Charity – who read a message from our Patron, Sarah Brown, who said of WoW’s work “Most of the research projects WoW supports would struggle to find funding elsewhere. Not because they are poor ideas.but because there is such competition for funds for medical research in the area of women’s health”
This was followed by an address by the newly knighted President of the RCOG, who is also President of the Wellbeing of women, Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran who emphasised how important Wellbeing of Women was for the specialty saying “The college and the O&G fraternity and the women who benefit by WoW's research funding are so grateful to you and your team”.
Dr Siobhan Quenby an obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s Hospital (who has received research grant funding
from Wellbeing of Women) gave a powerful speech explaining how important a grant from the charity could be. She explained that the implications went far beyond the results of the actual research and that as a result of initial funding from the charity, a very bright doctor had begun working in obstetrics and gynaecology. Dr Quenby’s reputation had been enhanced by winning research funding from Wellbeing of Women, where standards are acknowledged to be very high. This had helped her to gain local support for a clinic helping obese women with pregnancy complications.
Dr Quenby also highlighted the fact that lack of funding in women’s health research had meant no new drugs had been developed to help women in premature labour since the approval for Oxcytocin in 1954, over 50 years ago.
Following Dr Quenby, Gay Huey Evens, Vice-President of Barclays and a member of the Patron’s Advisory Group talked about ‘the Difference You Can Make’ – explaining to the audience how she had become involved and how she had helped get her company, Barclays, to make a substantial donation to the charity.
Liz Campbell then gave an update on the ambitions that the charity had for the next two years and also reported on the past year’s performance.
She showed how over the last five years income has grown steadily and that the proportion of income in each area was being evened out so that no one income-stream was responsible for the success of the charity. Running alongside this, significant progress had been made in lowering the cost/fundraising ratio, which was now around 30% - a real achievement which the charity hoped to sustain despite the difficult economic climate.
The Director also showed that the spread of money given out in grants had been made more equitable between the areas of Pregnancy & Birth, Gynaecological Cancers and Quality of Life projects as well as raising awareness.
Outlining the objectives for 2009/2010 she highlighted the following:
Funding a special cancer project or programme
Collaborating with SANDS to fund additional research to understand and prevent stillbirth
Increasing investment in research and training
Raising the profile of Wellbeing of Women
Increasing the number of “Friends” and increasing the number of women with access to good health information
Becoming a “first-choice” charity
She then explained how those assembled could help the charity further by asking them to fill out a pledge and donation card which asked for support in a number of ways:
Support one of our Events
– sponsor an event, or part of an event, simply buy some tickets and bring along as many of your friends as you can.
Join the Friends Scheme
– join as an individual and encourage your company to become a corporate member
Take on a Challenge
– run, jog, walk, swim, skydive, trek or whatever is a challenge for you – and get friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you for Wellbeing of Women. Encourage your company to put forward a team for one of the mass participation events like the 5k or Heels that Heal.
Talk to People and Make some Connections – talk to people about Wellbeing of Women, introduce us to anyone you think might be interested and might help us with our work – whether it’s promoting us in the media, introducing us to a new company, a new network or a new fundraiser.
Speak for Us – if you are an expert in your field or a well known face (in the media or in business) and would be prepared to talk at lunches and events, please let us know.
Become a Case Study
– Tell Us Your Story – in order to reach as many women as possible we relay on the media to give us coverage – they often want to feature ‘real people’ – these stories also reassure other women that they are not alone, if they are fellow sufferers, and provide a platform for our experts to give informed advice.
To close the meeting Eve Pollard then reiterated the messages of the speakers about the importance of the charity’s work and the need for greater support and awareness and thanked the speakers and the audience.