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Our 2019-20 annual report and accounts

We are delighted to share our 2019-20 annual report and accounts with you. Like everyone, we write this report looking back on the year from the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic. Current circumstances are so unusual for everyone that they make the normality of 2019/20 look very remote. However, this report peers back through the fog, to look at our last full year through the lens of normality.

In 2018 we developed our three-year strategy. 2019/20 was our first year of implementation. We decided on a vision of “a safer and more empathetic UK, where vulnerable people, including those convicted of offences, are given the chance to become valued members of society, and to forge fulfilling, constructive lives.” Our corresponding mission was: “to inspire vulnerable people with complex needs to see what they are capable of, to motivate them, and to give them the tools to build more positive futures.” And our strategy was: “to help 1,500 people per year by 2022; and secure the long-term future of our work through slightly more staff, and more diverse sources of income, including from corporates and philanthropists.”

How well did we do against the goals we set ourselves?

The most important aspect of our strategy was of course who we helped and how we helped them. And during the first year, we exceeded the goal we had set for helping people by 10%, reaching 868 participants. We also reached more people in more settings. Our community work in particular involved working with many more partners, especially in Glasgow, a thriving centre of excellence for our work. In the prison estate, we had decided on a shorter, more focused list of settings where we will work. Our focus is on existing partners, then on more category B/C training prisons, on the female estate, in young offender institutions, and in secure training centres. This paid off; we delivered in all these, and have strong relationships in many prison settings across Great Britain as a result.

I’m pleased to say our finances continued to grow in resilience in 2019/20, which turned out to be invaluable when the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. We exceeded our income target for 2019/20, and we added not just our target £12,000 to unrestricted reserves, but nearly £22,000. We continued to diversify sources of income, including a 60% increase in individual giving. The one strategic source from which we raised no funds was corporate donations. This was despite a number of positive conversations. If anyone reading this report thinks they could connect us to a regular corporate donor, please do get in touch with Katy Haigh.

Our report for 2020/21 will look very different, because of Covid-19. We have been enormously grateful for the vision and flexibility of key funders, who have enabled us to diversify our activities and beneficiaries – even during lockdown. But of course the pandemic has given everyone a lot to think about. As a result we have recently undertaken a strategic review, which will soon result in an updated strategy. This review re-affirmed the central focus of our work and charitable objectives: using the power of collective music-making, creativity and teamwork, centering on the gamelan orchestra, to encourage and motivate people who feel disempowered because of the institutional settings they find themselves in and because of their previous life history. This power was very obvious during 2019/20 and we know it can return in a world recovering from the effects of Covid-19.

This pandemic has shone a sharp light on many themes we value as trustees and as a charity: the power of social connection; the unstoppable force of human creativity; the link between our mental health and our ability to live full and productive lives. We believe our mission to inspire people around these complex needs will be even more relevant in a world looking beyond (and back on) the current pandemic.

Jonathan Hollow, Chair of Good Vibrations’ Board of Trustees


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Photography by Toby Madden/The Independent, Osman Deen/South London Press, Camilla Panufnik, Elspeth Van Der Hole, GDA Design, Gigi Chiying Lam, G. Bland, Alan Bryden, Mark Carlin, Rachel Cherry, Francois Boutemy, Andy Hollingworth, Rebaz Yassin, and Guy Smallman.

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