Chairman Retires After 10 Years of Dedicated Service
I shall remember May 9th, 2012, long after I have retired from the Norwich Housing Society and Stuart Court Memorial Charity for two very different reasons, one it was the day David Robinson and I met for coffee to discuss becoming a member of the Board and two because my home was being burgled as we enjoyed our coffee. Not the most auspicious start to my ten years of service but I have never regretted my involvement and the many challenges my colleagues and I have had to address.
The Board in those early days was composed of a group of people with many and varied skills, a situation I have tried to continue since becoming Chairman in March 2014 which has not always been easy as the commitment is great without any form of remuneration, but it is my belief that we all come to value the work we do, and the time given. The motivation for us all is the wellbeing of our tenants most of whom love living within our various schemes where they can enjoy the many activities from coffee mornings, to tenant meetings, knit and natter sessions, quizzes, to fish and chip lunches or suppers, while others are quite happy to merely enjoy the support of the scheme manager knowing they are free to choose. Of course, we have our critics that is par for the course but that in turn encourages us to challenge what we do and why.
I was elected as Chairman in 2014, as David stepped down in order to serve as the Chairman of Finance for a further year, and much to the surprise of many of our colleagues at that time we worked together well and have enjoyed a continuing friendship over the years for which I thank him. Many Board Members once they retire continue their support as Shareholders, again not for financial gain but by being available to share their knowledge and by attending the AGM having scrutinised the annual accounts and reports. The most valuable aspect of this is the encouragement we receive especially at difficult moments which occur from time to time.
Looking back over the last nine years as an elected member the most salient moments that come to mind are, celebrating the Centenary of Stuart Court, opening the new common room at St. Barnabas Court, marking special birthdays and wedding anniversaries of tenants, opening Leander Court and working through the minefield of planning for the new development at Bluebell Road Eaton which should be ready for occupation in June this year. We purchased the house from Doctor Clayton who moved to Shaftsbury and hope he has followed our progress with interest by reading the reports in The Elder which he receives online. I have been interviewed on radio and TV as we celebrated 100 years of continuous service at the Almshouses we manage in Recorder Road, Norwich, joined the NCC scheme for safer neighbourhoods, as well as bringing us to the attention of those who are seeking a home in the Norwich area within a supportive community. My scrapbook is full of articles and photographs from the local press featuring the Norwich Housing Society from the beginning thanks to Canon Lanchester plus the splendid initiatives of Board, staff and tenants alike, I also have a collection of The Elder and these plus my continued friendships will, I hope, bring me joy as the years pass and I find new ventures to keep me out of mischief.
It has been an unforgettable experience and my hope is that both societies will continue to serve the Norwich area for many years to come and those who pick up the reins of leadership and service will find it as fulfilling as I have.
Board Chairman 2014 to 2022