At the recent 2019 AGM held on Monday 19th August at The Scottish Police Treatment Centre, Castlebrae, Auchterarder, Nigel Bathgate, the Chair of the SPBF gave his annual address to those in attendance, a copy of which is replicated below:
“May I take this opportunity to extend a further welcome to you all for attending this year’s, which will be our seventh, Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Police Benevolent Fund.
Reflecting on this year’s activities, it has been both a successful and challenging year where the number of beneficiaries has trebled on the previous year. The charity has paid out a significant amount of financial support to individuals and families in need. I will leave Mark to deliver the financial status of the charity over the last year. Please be assured, however, the charity is functioning as it should be, delivering financial support to those who need it most. It is however important to reflect that we are a charity of last resort and do not become the first port of call for those in financial need. We are also not the provider of financial advice; there are many organisations that can provide that before this charity becomes involved.
During the meeting that follows, we will discuss the need for business planning and develop a long-term strategy which we have not previously had.
The charity also needs to identify funding sources and not simply be the charity that provides to other charities. Overall, we have been a charity that is a victim of its own success in terms of promotion to the wider police family. It is also interesting to note that the Police Service of Scotland has not donated to this charity over the seven years of its existence, although it gives to the Police Treatment Centres and other worthy causes.
Since our last AGM, the charity has developed a ‘Bad Debt Policy’. This remains a rarity, however, for the Benevolent Fund to have to enact this policy.
The charity is also heavily involved in the progressing of Restitution Orders. Restitution Orders arrived with a fan fair at this very location in 2012, introduced by the Scottish Government but, has lain dormant until it was raised by the Scottish Police Federation with the Justice Minister a year or so ago.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following individuals and organisations who provide support to the Scottish Police Benevolent Fund:
Mairi McGregor, the charities Treasurer for all her efforts throughout the year to liaise and direct payrolls, manage the applications, negotiate with auditors and generally provide a well-stocked library of historical but relevant information which guides many a Trustee.
Mark Mulholland, our Auditor for his continued association with this charity, for providing the annual accounts and for leading us comprehensively through them.
Further thanks go to the Scottish Police Federation, Association of Superintendents and the Retired Police Officers Association who all provide their support directly and indirectly through promoting the charity and providing personnel so that the local committees and the Board of Trustees can deliver and support beneficiaries.
In continuing that theme, the members of the local committees and those who are on the Board of Trustee similarly deserve recognition for the hours that are committed to delivering essential assistance throughout the year. Time is an underestimated resource but it is often time that impacts most significantly on our beneficiaries or, potential beneficiaries and it is the time spent with Local Reps that deliver significant assistance.
It would also be remiss of me at this AGM to not acknowledge the significant contribution over many years of our colleague and, Charity Trustee, Gary Brown. Can I wish Gary our best wishes for his retirement from the Police Service.
It is difficult in terms of our charity to talk about success. Our constitution provides that the purpose of the Scottish Police Benevolent Fund is the prevention or relief of poverty and the relief of those in need.
During this last year, the charity is supporting a number of new individual beneficiaries. I will let Mark highlight the amounts involved. I should stress that the sums involved are not insignificant and highlight this charities commitment to supporting our members and, often members of the wider police family in times of tragic need. That commitment will never cease.
In relation to our investments, the headline figures appear satisfactory. At 31 March 2017 the invested fund was worth £1,920,832. The fund has grown and now sits as of the 31 March this year at £1,972,547. Therefore, growth is reflected in the generated income in excess of £50,000.
Out with the individual beneficiaries that the charity provides, assistance to the charity continues to support a number of external causes all of which have a direct link to the Police Service.”