Vranch House is a centre for the treatment of over 2,000 outpatients with physical difficulties, a provider of various therapies throughout Devon and an independent Day School in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

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Last updated: 27/05/2024

Chairman's Report 2008


This is my third report to an Annual General Meeting as Chairman of the Society. I’m delighted to say that this year, as Chairman, has been equally successful as the previous two years. Once again the school and centre continue to go from strength to strength in all areas of its work. We continue to push the boundaries of excellence in our service delivery in clinical care and education as well as improving the environment in which we deliver those services for our pupils, patients and staff.

I thought, when I reported to you this time last year, that maybe the year to come would be quieter and one for consolidating and building on our recent successes such as the outstanding OFSTED report and the development of the outdoor trail, but of course that is not the ‘Vranch House way’!

This year has seen a major rebuilding project, the ”Big Build”, which has literally changed the face of Vranch House, which I hope you all appreciated as you arrived this evening as well providing new and improved clinical facilities and learning resources. As ever we are indebted to Graeme and his staff for all the hard work that went in to the project and to all the staff who carried on with their work without fuss whilst the excellent contractors undertook theirs. Of course many others deserve thanks and for the second year running I would like to thank Neal and Helen Ward for not only making the plans a reality, but also for their own personal financial commitment to the project. I would also like to thank the Wooden Spoon charity who you may remember last year invited us to Sandy Park the home of the Exeter Chiefs to meet HRH Princess Anne. Well they have once again done us proud by making a significant financial donation towards the cost of the rebuild. We are most grateful to Tony Rowe, a friend and generous supporter of this charity for many years, who introduced us to the movers and shakers at the Wooden Spoon.

In April the very popular and successful Jailbreak celebrated its 25th anniversary. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the start at Dartmoor prison, but I was delighted to attend the prize giving and barbecue in May to say thank you to those who took part and raised considerable amounts of money for us. However popular an event is it doesn’t just happen. The person or should I say persons who are the driving force behind organising this plus many other fundraising events are two of our many unsung heroes. Sue and Peter Gould have been marvellous servants of Vranch House for many years and I would like to place on record my thanks to them for all the hard work they put into their fundraising projects which not only provide significant funds for the charity but also raises our profile and no doubt encourages the tremendous amount of goodwill we receive from the community.

Last year I spoke to you about how we had recognised that fund raising in the charitable sector has changed in recent years. As you know we worked with Pearson Associates who are consultants in fundraising in the charitable sector and you will hear about the success of that relationship this evening. This fundraising has allowed us to add additional value to the development of the school and centre which adds further value to the contracts we hold with the public sector, but more importantly adds value to what we can deliver to our patients and pupils.

Every year I comment on the education and health sectors being in a constant state of change and that is no different this year. Indeed I suspect as both sectors are so fundamental to the political landscape both locally and nationally that this will always be the case. However this last year has seen the start of what may well be a significant economic downturn which is predicted to last well into 2009, before we start to see signs of a recovery. One of the possible affects of this is a future squeeze on public finance. Our ability to provide excellent service at value for money to the taxpayer will come under greater scrutiny but I remain, as last year, confident that Vranch House will respond to that challenge.

So once again it has been another busy year. It has been a year of continuing to build, quite literally, on our successes and laying the foundations for our future by looking at our succession planning for our key managerial posts. As I have warned there may be challenges ahead with regards to our relationships with the public sector, but those are challenges which I know we will use as opportunities to continue our progression, development and no doubt success.

Andrew Barge