As for many charities, it has been a particularly challenging year for the BDA Benevolent Fund. Fundraising opportunities fell away during the pandemic and there was a surge in applications from dental students, dentists and their families, as the profession felt the cruel effects of the COVID19 pandemic.
As expenditure on grant giving soared by 15%, there was a 25% fall in investment income, giving a troubling economic picture. However, Local Dental Committees recognised that fundraising opportunities from branches and sections had been impacted by the pandemic and truly stepped up, increasing their donations by almost 70%.
The LDCs were praised for their significant support of the BDA Benevolent Fund at their latest AGM which took place online, on 2nd September 2021.
Austin Banner, Vice-chairman, opened the presentation of the annual report and accounts to the end of September 2020, by thanking the LDCS, seconded by Chris Hayward, Secretary. Austin went on to thank Ros Keeton and her team, Laura Hannon and Susan Dare, for their remarkable resilience through the pandemic, and the swift and seamless handling of a move to working from home.
He then went on to outline the extension of services that had taken place, including a focus on health and wellbeing and financial education webinars. He noted the surge in financial support applications as a result of the pandemic and the growing trend that applicants are much younger than previously. The average age is now 31 years.
Other developments were highlighted, including:
- A student research project
- Structural change of the Board
- Advisory Council activity
- Marketing strategy development
- New website launch
The usual AGM business was attended to, including the re-election of Bill Creedon, who is due to serve a further 3 years on the Board. Ross Keeton, Chairman, also thanked Julie Kirkby for 13 years of service and dedication as she stepped down and wished her a happy retirement.