Dear Friends of the Koning Willem Fonds,
Over the course of 2017 wherever possible Trustees have visited applicants. This has meant trips to Hull, Sheffield, and Dorset, along with phone contact with individuals in Wales and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. And just as our geographical coverage has been broad so has been the age span between our youngest and oldest applicant, which reached some 70 years. Whilst presenting very different complex life histories the common theme of the individuals supported is that they are economically and socially disadvantaged.
Brexit has led Social Services to question the legitimacy of benefit payments to many Europeans based in the United Kingdom. Withdrawal of such financial support, upon which especially the elderly and infirm have come to depend, has certainly increased the complexity of many of the cases presenting themselves to the Charity in 2017. For many it has meant increased bureaucracy and for some led to Court proceedings; clearly this has often meant life became even more of a struggle, a fact which even those of us who are young and fit would also find daunting.
The Charity furthermore seeks to engage in regular contact with the elderly Dutch community in the UK and to this end we helped set up an Afternoon Tea at the Ambassador's residence in May 2017. Looking ahead, similar smaller gatherings are planned.
The international press in 2017 focused some of its attention to report about the 'MeToo' movement. Mirroring this, our Charity was approached by three applicants with personal stories of domestic, physical and or sexual abuse. For one young individual it was distressing that it took several Court proceedings before justice was done. We provided not only emotional and financial support, but also actively helped think through educational options so that future employment opportunities might be enhanced.
A fact often overlooked is the personal time and effort many of the Trustees give to the applicants. Indeed no calculation is made of the hours of work invested by them even though the complexity of some of the cases is immense. The Charity is totally reliant on its Trustees and I want to express my appreciation for their help this past year. Increasingly we are also dependent on individual private gifts, as corporate donations have ebbed away due in part to regulatory influences. A renewed focus on events led to a very successful afternoon in September 2017 with as its theme "Boeken en Bollen", led by our events committee. Through our focus on events it is hoped we can mitigate the loss of in part of corporate support.
Please read our Social Work Coordinator's report where more information concerning our caseload is set out. Your interest in our Charity is very much appreciated and I hope you will continue to follow our very necessary work.
With best wishes,