Moving Forward Together
TO start by stating the obvious, COPS is a peer support charity. In essence that means that we rely on the goodwill, dedication and hard work of many volunteers to raise funds to make possible the support we are able to provide to Survivors.
My heartfelt thanks to all of our volunteers who have given so much this year to raising funds, organising events, supporting Survivors and helping us make COPS a continuing success.
In the last newsletter I wrote with pride about everything the charity has achieved in 2016 – the wide ranging Survivor consultation which provided the basis for our work over the past 12 months, the partnerships with Winston’s Wish, Red Arc and Forces Travel, the recruitment of new staff and Trustees, various structural and governance improvements, and the peer support weekends.
To that list we can now also add this summer’s Survivor Weekend (see pages 5-8). We took the event to a new venue at Drayton Manor, had more people attending the Service of Remembrance than ever before and provided a weekend of which the entire police family can be genuinely proud.
This time, I’d like to glance forward to 2017 and some of the things we would like to achieve in the next 12 months. We would like to make more peer-support weekends available. I see these as the cornerstone of what the charity does.
We already have the well-established events based on relationship groups and we would like to add to these a number of themed weekends giving people the opportunity to attend more than one peer support weekend throughout the year.
Staying with peer support – this is after all why the charity was set up – we would like to make sure that Survivors have access to the best possible support when supporting others.
We would like to extend the reach of the training offered by our partners Winston’s Wish to more geographical areas, giving more Survivors the opportunity to develop their skills in handling difficult conversations and scenarios. We would like to explore what other training opportunities we can help provide directly or through our partners, so that we are helping survivors to rebuild their lives.
At the heart of a peer support charity must lie the network of peers to do the supporting. So we would also like to establish a network of local support. We know from the consultation that there is a significant desire among Survivors to be able to connect with other Survivors locally.
Helping Us Help You
We are also very fortunate to have a huge number of fundraisers across the country who would like to invite Survivors to be guests at their events. It is the generosity of these fundraisers that makes the peer support possible, so we would very much like to be able to take up all of their invitations.
The next 12 months will see us build up the structures around peer support – a wider array of events, the development of peer support skills and the building up of a network of local support.
The one single most important thing we need to make all these things possible are volunteers. We will be recruiting Survivors to join the Board of Trustees, the COPS Council and the local networks.
Above all else, 2017 will be a year of COPS asking you to volunteer to help us make peer support work successfully. If you have gained something from the charity, please consider how your time could help to give something back.
If you are interested in supporting us in building our networks or have any ideas to contribute, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Kotulecki, CEO