2018 Annual General Meeting held on 27th April. This meeting was held at Carrs Lane Church, Birmingham, following our 2018 conference.
Elected Officials: Philippe Bonnet (Interim Chair), Helen Wilks (Treasurer), Nigel Brunsdon (Deputy Chair)
Planning Group Members: Dave Estabrook, James Pierce, Mercy Nimako, Mark Tudor, Andrew Preston
Others: Steve Bliss, Aurelie Ballin, Una Kine, Emma Stowe, Lisa Bryne, Paddy Noonan, Judith Yates
Jamie Bridge, Jude Duncan, Stuart Haste, Timothy Gluckman
- NNEF Planning Group
All attendees of the AGM stated they wished to be involved in the forum Planning Group. In addition, Judith Duncan and Stuart Haste have asked to join the Planning Group. Jamie Bridge wishes to remain on the Planning Group.Nigel Brunsdon indicated there should be tasks in association with being a Planning Group member. It’s been 2 years since we have had a full meeting. There is not much additional help anticipated to be needed in planning the meetings but the in between this activity, content in website and involvement in other NNEF projects is lacking. Nigel has proposed that Planning Group members are to produce one or two articles/blogs to do with needle exchange/harm reduction each to go on our website.This proposal was unanimously agreed.
All new Planning Group Members will receive an email to invite them to join the Planning Group discussion list which, once they reply and join, will be able to participate in Planning Group discussions and can also contribute with ideas etc.
- NNEF Executive Officers
Nigel updated the meeting that Matt stood down as NNEF chair as he is working in overseas. Philippe has been the interim Chair and wishes to stand for election as Chair. In line with the Terms of Reference, Nigel has nominated Philippe and Mercy has seconded him. There were no further nominations for the position of Chair and Philippe was unanimously elected as NNEF Chair.Philippe was congratulated by the AGM members.Nigel added that we have an opening for a Deputy Chair if anyone is interested. He indicated that he was happy to remain as the incumbent Deputy Chair, or for the Forum to consider a second Deputy Chair. There were expressions of interest in Deputy Chair.
Helen confirmed she was happy to remain as NNEF Treasurer.
- Terms of Reference
Philippe indicated that the current Terms of Reference for the forum are fit for purpose.
- Treasurer’s update
Helen clarified that there were still some outstanding sponsorship payments from sponsors, which is very unusual, however the event should be close to breaking even. There is a small deficit to pay out of account reserves for today’s event, however the reserves are healthy and are there to be used on worthwhile NNEF activity such as conferences, providing free events to members.There continues to be an annual fee of £50 for website hosting which Nigel provides at a heavily discounted rate to the forum. The AGM were in agreement for this to continue and thanked Nigel for his support of the forum in this manner.
- Regional updates
A service in Buckinghamshire vaping had been banned inside which is contrary to public health advice regarding vaping on health premises. It was suggested that promoting service users to switch to vaping in the service would be positive move in terms of public health and harm reduction. Andrew Preston and David Estabrook will work together on producing an NNEF position statement on this.There is a one stop hep c treatment service in Croydon providing screening, assessment and treatment starts within a couple of weeks. This has been so popular that it now runs 2 days a week Croydon.It was commented that a lot of services bar people from using on the service if they are caught using on premises when legally they may often only be asked to cease and leave. James Pierce and Nigel Brunsdon to write an NNEF position paper. It was suggested that this can link to the Winter Comfort case.
It was felt by the AGM that there should be a particular focus on Drug Consumption Rooms for coming year.
There were concerns raised that for Peer Support Groups, some services would ask for a volunteer to run the group and that this is a barrier to groups being set up or continuing to run. It was felt that the service should be run by the peers and without staff. It was commented that there are some peer led Service User Groups which are not abstinence based in some areas, but others have ceased operation in some areas due to lack of funding. Ideally Service User Groups should be independent of the drug service, but services may be a good place to start a group. Dave Estabrook would like to produce an article on this for the NNEF website.
It was suggested that a repeat mystery shopper activity could look at whether there has been an improvement since the last findings for Birmingham Pharmacy Needle Exchange.
Nigel stated that the NNEF mystery shopper project/section of the NNEF website is going to be closed down. There were quite a lot of the people who offered to help with this but didn’t contribute and there was insufficient data. Helen asked if it could still be written up in some way, albeit with the limitations being considered. Nigel will ask Matt, former NNEF Chair if he would be willing to finish this as he started to collate the data gathered.
- Any other business
Andrew Preston congratulated Philippe for putting together an amazing conference and thanks went to Philippe for chiefly organising the event.Nigel said there are some strange questions asked at times from the public / journalists to the NNEF website, such as what is the biggest needle exchange in the UK. Helen suggested that whilst we don’t know, some of these questions could make interesting article / blog topic titles.