January 2023 Update from the Chair

Looking back, looking forward, a seasonal update from Mrs S A E Gwyer-Roberts, the Chair of LATCH Board

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, may I take this opportunity to send readers our very good wishes for 2023.

Looking back over the past three years as chair, the journey has provided quite a roller coaster of experiences and emotions for me, including

  • learning so much about what is at the heart of LATCH, its core values, aims and objectives
  • meeting the amazing medical and personnel teams in the University Hospital of Wales, and the staff that support with total dedication our patients and their families
  • witnessing the devotion and care of our parents for their children in such difficult circumstances
  • working with our staunch board of trustees and being steadfastly supported by the chairs of the sub committees
  • realising LATCH’s commitment of £1.3m for the refurbishment of Rainbow Ward in September 2021, which has transformed the children’s oncology ward for patients and their families, and for the medical and support staff that work there, including structural improvements, day beds, enhanced theatre facilities and the addition of ambulant lighting and distraction techniques
  • harnessing of the collective expertise of our highly valued social workers, who work tirelessly to ensure family wellbeing and support and maintaining our services for those in the hospital and as outpatients in the face of the covid challenges
  • observing the enthusiasm that Natalie and Viki and Helen, members of the LATCH administrative team, bring to their roles
  • saying goodbye and sending best wishes to those staff that moved on to pastures new in 2022
  • welcoming Menai, our consultant chief executive, and Lisa, our consultant communications manager, and witnessing their inspiring contributions to the team
  • expressing our sincere gratitude to Ms Sarah Lloyd, who has stepped down from her role as trustee after many years of faithful and dedicated service to LATCH
  • introducing Mrs Harriet Morgan, a legal specialist in charity law and governance, who has joined the Board

I doubt that any of us could have predicted that 2020 would be the year when the world faced a global pandemic, with the tragic devastation covid would bring to many people.  Humans are resilient and adaptive, and were compliant with the approaches that our leaders, scientists and medical advisors deemed necessary for social safety and welfare. Whilst, for a period of time, we gave up features that we enjoyed, what we missed most was meeting friends and family, having a pleasant catch-up over coffee in relaxed surroundings, and sharing in the lives of those we care most about.

The negative impact of Covid 19 is just one of many challenges that the voluntary sector has faced in the last five years. Uncertainties arising from Brexit, the US elections and the pandemic have caused volatility in the financial markets and the performance of investments, while more recently the Ukrainian war, soaring global inflation and the resulting cost of living crisis, the impact of climate change, and shortages of food and natural resources continue to pose significant fiscal restraints for public and voluntary sectors. As you can see from our annual report 2021, the prudent financial management by our Treasurer and by the Board of Trustees holds us in good stead to weather the difficulties that all charities will face in the coming years.

On behalf of the Board and the LATCH team, may I take this opportunity to thank our branches, our supporters, our volunteers and our fundraisers for their passion, their unfailing commitment and total support for LATCH patients and families.

2023 will see the 40th anniversary of the establishment of LATCH, and a programme of events is being planned to mark this significant milestone, under the leadership of our fundraising and engagement officer and supported by our trustees and our volunteers. It is our aim to bestow upon LATCH the resilience to weather the financial and social pressures that it will face in the years ahead, and thereby to build on the achievements of its first 40 years.  We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to participate in the celebrations. Let’s make this a year to remember for LATCH.

With my warmest wishes


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