Back to Annual Reports homepage
The Trustees of Winchester Hospitals Radio are pleased to submit their report and accounts for the year 1st January to 31st December 2008.
Winchester Hospitals Radio (also known as “Winchester Hospital Radio”, “WHR”, and our on-air identity “Winchester Radio”) is a registered charity, governed by a constitution.
This Report and the attached Accounts have been produced in accordance with the guidance provided by the Charity Commission in its “Receipts and Payments Accounts Pack (CC16)”.
The object of the Association is relieving sickness, infirmity and old age by providing a local broadcasting service for hospitals, old peoples' homes and similar institutions in Winchester. The station currently serves the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH) via the Patientline bedside entertainment system.
WHR is run entirely by a membership of volunteers, who pay an annual membership subscription and are not eligible for reimbursement of any out-of-pocket expenses. It is an unincorporated association governed by a constitution (last amended in November 2002) and managed by an Executive Committee (the Charity Trustees) who are elected annually by the membership.
WHR is a member of the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA), the national charity that supports and promotes hospital broadcasting in the UK. Our members regularly attend the national conferences organised by the HBA and the Regional Meetings hosted by various hospital radio stations in southern England. In Ferbruary, we hosted a HBA regional training day, when over 50 hospital radio volunteers from across southern England came together to a series of seminars on programming techniques, including a presentation by WHR on broadcasting live from the wards.
WHR maintains a close working relationship with the Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust (who manage the RHCH) and Hospedia Ltd., the company that owns and runs the bedside entertainment system through which its programmes are delivered to patients.
During 2008, WHR continued to provide a radio service to the patients at the RHCH. The flagship programme is the “Sound Remedy”, a nightly programme made up of music requests collected from patients by our volunteers. Whenever WHR is not broadcasting live programmes, a music jukebox service broadcasts a carefully chosen selection of easy listening music.
WHR’s programmes received national recognition in March at the National Hospital Radio Awards, where all of our entries made the shortlist.
Sarah Williams took Gold as “Best Newcomer”. Mary Stanley’s “Out and About” feature on Winchester Farmers’ Market won Bronze for “Best Speech Package”. Jimmy Luff was highly-commended in the “Male Presenter of the Year” category, whilst Anna O’Brien and Sarah Williams were commended in the “Female Presenter of the Year” category. WHR’s overall service was also commended in the prestigious “Station of the Year” award.
The “Sound Remedy” programme format requires a team of volunteers who, in addition to presenting the programme, visit patients on the wards and, whenever possible, broadcast the first hour of the programme from one of the wards. Due to insufficient trained volunteers, the “Sound Remedy” has continued to be the only regular live programme to be broadcast. Additional programmes were, however, broadcast on Bank Holidays and throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
The way in which patients actively take part in the “Sound Remedy”, either by talking to presenters who are by their bedside, or by using the Hospedia telephone system to call the studio, making requests for music and/or taking part in the “Brain Tickler” quiz, proves that our service is very well received. Patients regularly take the time to leave a message on our answerphone before being discharged from hospital, thanking us for keeping them entertained.
Due to both members of our Engineering team having regular work commitments away from home, they have been unable to dedicate as much time to supporting WHR as in previous years. Despite this, good progress has been made on installing and configuring a new computer network. This is now largely complete and early in 2009, upgraded “Myriad” music and programme playout software will be purchased, replacing the original version purchased in 2005.
During 2008, work continued behind-the-scenes in the Music Library, led by David Addis. Updates were made to the databases used to collate music requests by patients and to generate playlists and running orders for the “Sound Remedy” programme. Towards the end of the year, half a dozen of our new volunteers joined the library team, helping to keep the CD catalogue up-to-date.
Like many other NHS hospitals, the RHCH has faced an uncertain future. This uncertainty now appears to be coming an end. A new senior management team has produced a plan for the future of the hospital which involves it providing largely the same services as now, but from a site significantly reduced in size. However, the economic situation means that the NHS Trust is unable to proceed with its ambitious plans at the current time. The hospital management is, however, planning to apply to become a Foundation Trust, which would provide further financial freedom and remove some of the financial barriers restricting its redevelopment plans for the hospital.
The Trustees have been in regular contact with the NHS Trust management over the relocation of our studio facilities that will be required under the NHS Trust’s plans and have been assured that suitable facilities will be made available when the redevelopment is able to progress.
During 2008, it had been the Trustees’ plan to revise and update the 5-Year Plan which they originally adopted in January 2004. This document sets out the Trustees' vision for the development of WHR and the services it provides. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospital and the timetable for WHR having to move studios has meant that this was not possible. The Trustees have, however, invested a significant amount of time in considering the short-, medium-, and long-term plans for the organisation and the services it provides. At the time of writing, these plans are being finalised ahead of being presented to the membership at the Annual General Meeting in March 2009. The 5-year Plan will subsequently be updated.
A focussed effort was made during 2008 to recruit, induct and train more members to reduce the workload on our existing volunteers, and to work towards utilising our upgraded computer playout system to full effect by introducing a full range of programmes aimed specifically at the hospital audience. This effort has paid off, with around 20 new volunteers joining the team during the year. Approximately half of WHR’s volunteers have joined in the last 2 years. The strong focus on recruitment will continue in 2009.
At the end of 2008, WHR had funds totalling just under £40,000, having raised £10,608 and spent £7,097 during the year.
2008 was another good year as far as income was concerned. £2,714 net income was due to fundraising activities, and £1995 came from investment income on the reserves held in anticipation of a studio move. A £1,000 legacy from member Ron Cruse boosted total donations to £1974. The trustees have agreed that Ron’s legacy will be spent on upgrading/replacing the current flightcase-based equipment used to broadcast live from the hospital wards.
During 2008, WHR made a net surplus of £1,918 (2007: £2,285) from selling CDs produced by volunteer Steven Wills and released on WHR's own record label. The small increase was mainly due to increased production costs. A new double-CD release titled “Watch With Teacher” was released in April and all 500 copies had sold out by the end of the year. Steven's employer, Barclays Bank, match-fund specific fundraising efforts by their staff, and WHR has benefited to the tune of £520 during 2008. Finally, WHR received £94 from sales of previous CDs that Steven had released on his own "Codename Music" label in aid of WHR. Plans are in place for pressing a further 500 copies of “Watch With Teacher” during 2009, together with the release of a revised double-CD version of “Girl in a Suitcase”, a CD Steven first released in 2001 and which is still much sought-after.
In November, volunteer Ruth Churchill arranged a fundraising music gig in aid of WHR. All the bands – Capital X, Endless Dissent and Moscow Flyer – appeared free of charge and sponsorship from “Stinky Fish Clothing” covered the cost of venue hire, resulting in net income of £270.
Thanks to the efforts of volunteer Laura-Louise Ancell, our Christmas Programme Guide was printed free-of-charge by Culverlands Press Ltd and included advertising that brought in £125.
The annual "road show" outside broadcast and collection day at Sainsbury's supermarket at Badger Farm netted £363 (2007: £564). The reduced income is thought to be due to a combination of the store having only recently re-opened after an extensive refit and the beginnings of the “credit crunch”.
The big disappointment was the car boot sale. Due to appalling weather, an event that, on past performance, should have produced a net income of several hundred pounds failed to generate income sufficient to even cover the fee payable to Winchester City Council.
A tight control has been maintained on general expenditure during 2008.
The increase in cost of the broadband internet connection is due entirely to the fact that it was only installed late in 2007.
Increased printing of programme guides, music request forms etc. has resulted in an increase in paper and printer toner costs. The hospital have changed their central photocopy provision which was previously used by WHR extensively. Each department now has to provide its own paper when using the main photocopier. The practicalities of carrying large amounts of paper across the hospital site has meant that we have switched to printing using WHR’s laser printers.
Postage costs have increased as a direct result of the number of recruitment packs sent out to potential volunteers.
The £815 spent on the computer upgrade went on various computer components, an uninterruptible power supply for the new server computers, and on building and fitting-out a new air-conditioned server room, fitted with a professional air-conditioning unit instead of the domestic units used to cool the existing cupboard which have proved unreliable. The air-conditioning unit was provided free-of-charge by the supplier, Vyair.
Following a compelling demonstration at the tradeshow at the HBA conference, and positive reviews from a number of other hospital radio stations, a replacement audio processor was purchased to improve the technical quality of the audio delivered to Hospedia. Testing immediately after installation showed that the technical quality of WHR’s output is now much more consistent than previously.
WHR has a Financial Management Policy which defines the controls to be implemented to ensure that the Association’s assets are secure. This policy meets all the requirements of the Charities Act 1993 and the Charity Commission guidelines “Internal Financial Controls for Charities (CC8)”.
The Association has been slowly building up a reserve for an inevitable move of studios at some point in the future. As noted under “Strategic Planning” above, it appears that a move from our current studios (in a time-expired wooden building alongside the Orthodontics Dept.) in the short- to medium-term future is highly likely. The move to the present site from St. Paul's Hospital, in 1992, cost WHR approximately £50,000. A future move is likely to cost significantly more than this.
Reserves have been held in fixed-term bonds so as to give a good rate of return without any exposure to the stock market, however, with the onset of the current financial crisis, no appropriate bonds have been available. The Trustees have more-recently, therefore, held the reserves in deposit accounts. Whilst not providing such a good rate of interest, the charity’s money is fully protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which would not be the case in most of the alternative options providing an enhanced return on investment.
At the time of writing, there is a small possibility that the NHS Trust will not provide alternative accommodation to WHR when it sells the land on which our studios are currently situated. The Trustees are in discussion with the NHS Trust regarding the relocation and believe that, whilst any new facilities available to WHR will likely be smaller than our current facilities, it is very unlikely that no accommodation will be available.
WHR's service is distributed to patients by the bedside entertainment system run by Hospedia Ltd. This company has purchased the UK operations of the former Patientline plc. The company planned to merge with competitor Premier Bedside in an attempt to cut costs, but this was blocked by the Competition Commission. The company has subsequently given no indication as to its future plans.
The Trustees consider that, whilst the risk of Hospedia being forced into liquidation is less than that of its predecessor, it is still a real possibility. This would mean that WHR would be unable to deliver its service to patients until a replacement system was in place. There are a number of alternative technologies that could be deployed to distribute our service to patients, but they would all take a number of months to install and cost a significant amount of money.
The Trustees have contacted the NHS Trust regarding their contingency plans to cover this eventuality. We understand that the NHS Trust management believe that it is important that a bedside entertainment system is available at the RHCH, and that they have the option to purchase the Hospedia equipment installed at the RHCH if Hospedia are unable or unwilling to provide a service.
The Trustees are monitoring developments closely and intend to move quickly to put in place appropriate contingency plans once the situation is clearer.
|Station Manager||Ian Kemp|
|Programme Controller||Anna O'Brien|
|Fundraising Manager||Ian Kemp (acting)|
|Chief Engineer||Paul Blitz|
Royal Hampshire County Hospital
|National Westminster Bank plc
Winchester Old Bank
105 High Street
|Standard Life Bank Ltd
19A Canning Street
J. A. Poulter FCA CTA
Rothman Pantall and Co.
6 St. Peter Street
Signed on behalf of the Trustees,
16th March 2009
16th March 2009
Back to Table of Contents Continue to Independent Examiner's Report