I am delighted to introduce Coolmine’s Annual Report for 2021.
Does our work in Coolmine deliver change and quality outcomes? This annual report should provide evidence of our work in delivering quality services aimed at producing people centered quality outcomes.
This has been a significant year in the history of Coolmine with the ongoing accelerated expansion of our services in both the Mid West and South West regions. It is a great achievement by the entire team, to accomplish this expansion, in line with our Strategic Plan, against the backdrop of the challenging Covid situation while continuing to provide our clients with uninterrupted services in the East region. We are also happy to report that we achieved a slight surplus in the year of €8k, compared with a deficit in 2020 of €92k. These are significant achievements in a challenging environment.
Coolmine’s Vision is clear. We believe that abstinence is not enough. Coolmine’s Board members, management and staff are committed to a vision of recovery where everyone has the opportunity to overcome addiction and live a fulfilled and productive life. In practical terms this means not only creating pathways to high quality treatment but also in developing recovery capital for our clients and their families which enable effective reintegration into their community. Our services are targeted at improvements in physical and psychological health and well-being, re-engagement with family, developing positive peer relationships, supporting access to housing, gaining employment and accessing education, training and development. We are focused on delivering quality outcomes which address the whole life needs of the individual.
STRATEGIC PLAN 2019 – 2022
We have an ambitious strategic plan which reflects our commitment to delivering evidence based high quality services and also our commitment to expand Coolmine day and residential services to meet the growing demand for services nationally. The Board monitors progress of our Strategic Plan at every board meeting. This Annual Report outlines in detail to our stakeholders, the strong progress made as we head into the preparation stage of our next Strategic Plan.
As we approach the end of the period, work has commenced on a new Strategic Plan for 2023 and beyond. The launch of the Plan will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Coolmine. We have commenced preparations on how we will mark this event. We are keen to showcase how we support the most marginalised in Irish society and how we plan to continue to help clients into the future.
In 2021, our services underwent a rapid expansion in the Midwest and South West. This expansion necessitated the preparation of a strategic growth risk assessment which was reviewed at all Audit & Risk Committee and Board meetings in 2021.
Our expansion plans include the establishment of the first residential service for homeless women, pregnant women and women with young children in Ireland’s Mid West. The first phase of this project was achieved in 2021 with the opening of day programmes in Mahon House in Limerick City.
CULTURE, ORGANISATION CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY
In the context of accelerated expansion of services and staffing, we commissioned an external consultant to review organisation capacity and capability to meet the growth challenges, addressing the continued delivery of high quality and safe services.
Given the necessity of building a positive culture in times of growth, transition and change, a consultant was commissioned to undertake a Culture Audit in 2021.
These two exercises have proved key in the successful expansion of our services in the Mid West and South West Regions.
Coolmine is committed to upholding the highest standard of corporate governance. Board members are appointed on the basis of skills, knowledge and experience. Having identified required skills, we welcomed Tony Quilty as a new Director in 2021.
During 2021 we have focused on our capacity to achieve compliance with legal, statutory and regulatory compliance and we actively reviewed our risk register. The management of risk is continually reviewed through our Audit & Risk committee, our Clinical Quality & Safety Committee, associated workplan, internal audit programme, Health and Safety audits and workflow as well as our GDPR portal/action plans. We shall continue to seek to increase resources for our compliance and quality standards work programme in 2022.
Coolmine have systems and procedures in place to ensure the safety of our clients, to ensure internal controls are in place and to manage presenting risks. This includes the annual work programmes of our five board sub-committees: Clinical Quality & Safety, Finance, Audit & Risk, Research Advisory Group and Nomination & Evaluation Committee.
The Board has also invested considerable time in reviewing the organisation’s compliance with the six principles of the Charities Regulatory Authority’s Governance Code.
An annual evaluation of the effectiveness of our Board and sub committees takes place and is reviewed at our annual board away days. In 2021, we commissioned an independent, external review of Board effectiveness and succession planning , which was undertaken by Consultant, Bob Semple. The work involved the consultant attending a board meeting, conducting detailed interviews with individual board members and with selected members of management, followed by a board workshop. We will implement the recommendations of the review over the next twelve months.
We would like to thank all of our stakeholders, our funders, donors and strategic partners for their continuing support and engagement with the work of Coolmine. We are particularly grateful to our corporate partners for their timely support to us in this unprecedented year.
Board Members played a significant role in 2021 and gave extraordinary service, time and expertise to Coolmine on a voluntary basis. I thank each one for their guidance to me and their strong engagement and commitment to achieving Coolmine’s objectives.
In particular, I wish to thank Patricia Doherty who has recently stepped down from the Board. Patricia’s contribution to the Board and the work of two committees over her five years on the Board has been outstanding and she guided the Company in ensuring its compliance with our regulatory requirements including the Charities Regulatory Authority’s Governance Code. We wish her continued success.
On behalf of the Board, I want to acknowledge and extend sincere thanks to the entire team in Coolmine for their professionalism and exceptional effort in an exceptional year.
Our thanks also to our Chief Executive Pauline McKeown who has provided outstanding leadership and commitment.