Newsletter November 2020 from the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust – HLMT Online Shop Open, Liberian developments, New Trustees, generous friends of HLMT, successful online Music Festival

Dear friends and supporters

Covid-19 has impacted on everyone and everything this year including our Trust. Nonetheless the work of HLMT has continued to develop well, and since our last newsletter at the end of May, quite a bit has happened. Starting with the most recent development, hot off the press!

HLMT Online Shop

A chance to do Christmas and gift shopping online! Since our usual outlet of a HLMT merchandise stall at a variety of events isn’t currently possible, we decided to set up an online retail presence. Nick Loewenstein’s partner, Angel, and Stella Nickolay have worked very hard in the past few weeks, and we now have a shop open on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HLMTMerchandise?ele=shop_open  Please go to the site and have a browse, where you will find not just Christmas cards but a variety of other lovely items with a Liberian flavour, many of them hand-made by a team of wonderful volunteers from Liberian lapa fabric.

In Liberia…

In mid-2020 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery (EBS) in Zorzor, Liberia. This will involve the HLMT paying the college fees and essential study costs of two midwifery trainees in the coming academic year, being involved in their recruitment and receiving regular feedback from the EBS on student progress.

Earlier in 2020, Liberia entered Covid lockdown, and the EBS was only able to open its doors in mid-October. EBS will now interview its new midwifery students in mid-December, assisted by Abdul Bah, who will represent HMLT at the interviews. The first two HLMT-sponsored midwifery students should begin their 3-year degree course in January 2021.

Two New HLMT Trustees

Your trustees have continued to work hard, and we have held two further meetings on Zoom, in early July and late September, with the next meeting scheduled for January 2021. We decided to further strengthen the group by appointing two Trustees to the vacant places. We’re delighted to announce that Aïcha Daffé and Charmaine Daley agreed to be Trustees, and they attended their first meeting in September. Find out all about them on our site, at https://hlmt.org.uk/?page_id=334

Phil O’Keefe

Phil and his wife, Di Jelley, knew Helen for all of her life and have been generous supporters of the Trust from the start. Very sadly, following an illness, Phil died in September. Di and their four children asked their friends to donate to the HLMT in memory of Phil. As a result of their and their friends’ generosity, we have received just over £5,000 in donations, which is wonderful. You may want to read obituaries of Phil at  https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/oct/18/phil-okeefe-obituary and https://www.ucu-unn.org.uk/news/270-obituary

Fifty/Fifty Folk Festival Saturday 13thJune 2020

You may remember that this live online music festival took place in June. You may have even been there! Thanks mainly to the efforts of HLMT Trustee Roger Williams, six great sets of artists on the folk & festival circuit played for six hours. The event was attended by several hundred people, and £2,200 was raised, split 50/50 between the musicians performing and the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust. There’s a report at https://hlmt.org.uk/?p=786  And if you go to the festival site, https://www.facebook.com/groups/303279940667750/?epa=SEARCH_BOX and scroll down, you can still view most of the performances.

And finally

This newsletter is currently emailed to over 300 HLMT supporters. We intend to send out future newsletters and other information from the HLMT site via Mailchimp. For you to receive these, we need you to give your permission for HLMT to hold your contact details securely. And we require your agreement in writing in order to satisfy data protection requirements. Many of you have already responded to our previous requests.

If you haven’t emailed your permission yet, please email us back now, saying, “I agree to the HLMT holding my contact details securely.”

Just to let you know that we have amended our privacy policy, so that we will now not contact you every three years to ask for permission to retain your personal details – you can simply let us know at any time if you wish to be taken off our mailing list and have your details deleted.

If you have any queries or comments about this newsletter, the HLMT website or anything else to do with the Trust, please get in touch.

Keep safe and we’ll keep you in touch with developments over the next while.

With best wishes

HLMT trustees

The Fifty Fifty Folk Festival Saturday 13th June 3.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.

This brilliant virtual festival, with SIX great artists on the folk & festival circuit ,was organised by Roger Williams, with help and inputs from Stella Nickolay, Carol McCormick and Pete Loewenstein, all HLMT trustees.

The event was viewed by several hundred people, and £2,200 was raised, split 50/50 between the musicians performing and the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust

HLMT would like to thank Roger for his creation and work, and all the musicians who performed – Kirsty Merryn, Pete Morton, Katy and Mike from Truckstop Honeymoon, Louise Jordan, Greg Russell and Dave and Kip from Winter Wilson (in the order they performed.)

Newsletter, May 2020 – an online Music Festival, Annual Report and Liberian developments

Dear friends and supporters

We very much hope that you are ALL safe, well and managing OK through the Covid-19 pandemic – and even managing to enjoy some of the sunshine and fresh air! What follows is news of HLMT’s work and some exciting developments, supported by photos that are attached.

Live Music Festival Saturday 13th June 2020

Most immediately we have a live Fifty Fifty Folk festival for you on 13th June – online and live! HLMT trustee Roger Williams has arranged six top-drawer music acts to perform from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. UK time. During the current Covid-19 crisis many people and organisations have had their income dry up. Among them are performing artists and charities. The Fifty Fifty Folk Festival will split income between The Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust and the artists who are performing at this virtual event.  They are Greg Russell, Kirsty Merryn, Louise Jordan, Pete Morton, Truckstop Honeymoon and Winter Wilson. You’ll find more information about the festival at https://hlmt.org.uk/?cat=3 and at https://www.facebook.com/groups/303279940667750/?epa=SEARCH_BOX Please go to the site and sign up to view it. Acoustic and visual quality will be excellent, and if you’re able to connect your laptop/ phone/tablet to your TV with a HDMI or SCART lead, it’ll be even better. Please support both HLMT and the musicians by signing up for the festival.

Annual report and annual meeting

HLMT AGM on Zoom

HLMT Trustees held their first AGM on 22nd April via Zoom software and agreed the Trust’s annual report and accounts for the period February 2019 until 31st March 2020. The report and accounts have been independently examined and approved by a chartered accountant. The attached report contains sections on the Trust’s beginnings, trustees, goals, supporters and its activities both in the UK and in Liberia over the period. It ends with an outline of plans for the coming year.  https://hlmt.org.uk/?page_id=337

There were four very positive events in March 2020 before lockdown, details of which are at https://hlmt.org.uk/?cat=4 The annual report shows that, as a result of the magnificent support of so many people, we have reached just under halfway towards our initial financial target of £100,000. Whilst our plans, like those of so many other organisations, have been badly affected by Covid-19, the forthcoming music festival is an indication that the Trust continues to move forward positively. If you are willing to contribute to our work in any way – such as organising or taking part in fundraising events, making cards, cushion covers etc. or staffing the stall –  please let us know.

HLMT cushion covers

In Liberia…

In our January newsletter we described the very positive visit that our Trustee Carol McCormick made to Liberia – a report is also on the HLMT website https://hlmt.org.uk/?p=672

HLMT trustee Carol McCormick meets Willimai Weetol-Geninyan, Directress of the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery

Since then we have been in discussion with the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery (EBS) in Zorzor, Liberia. The excellent news is that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EBS. This will involve the HLMT supporting the college fees of two midwifery trainees in the academic year 2020-2021, being involved in their recruitment and receiving regular feedback from the EBS on student progress. Recruitment was due to take place in June/July, with the study year starting in September. Liberia, however, is also currently locked down to contain Covid-19, so we await developments once colleges reopen, hopefully later this year. We are confident that our support for Liberian midwifery trainees will be ongoing and will grow over time.

And finally

This newsletter is currently emailed to over 300 HLMT supporters. We intend to send out future newsletters and other information from the HLMT site via Mailchimp. For you to receive these, we need you to give your permission for HLMT to hold your contact details securely. We require your agreement in writing in order to satisfy data protection requirements. Thank you if you have already responded to our previous requests – most of our supporters have done so. If you haven’t emailed your permission yet, please email or message it now. If you’re not sure, best to send it again than not at all. If we don’t receive this, the HLMT will sadly not be able to send you information in future.

Also, if you have any queries or comments about this newsletter, the HLMT website or anything else to do with the Trust, please let us know.

Keep safe and we’ll keep you in touch with all that develops over the next while.

With best wishes

HLMT trustees

HLMT Annual General Meeting, 22nd April 2020

The trustees of the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust met on 22nd April 2020 via Zoom software, to scrutinise, discuss and agree the annual report and accounts for the period February 2019 to 31st March 2020.

The HLMT Annual Meeting 2020, using Zoom

Thanks were given to so many magnificent HLMT supporters and to trustees for a sound first year and for all the work put in including running stalls and events, card making, banner making, organising and supporting music evenings, gaining sponsorship, drafting and reviewing policies and procedures, grant applications, liaison with Liberia, finance and investment strategy, accounts, and fundraising. The meeting concluded that the trustees and key supporters have been a good team, supported by sound leadership.

Very positive visit to Liberia

Meeting with the Minister of Health

HLMT trustee and consultant midwife, Carol McCormick and her colleague, Maureen Raynor from Leicester De Montfort University, visited Liberia in January 2020. The purpose of the visit was to build relationship with partners, establish procedures for the recruitment of trainee midwives who HLMT will support with grants, and gather information about initial midwifery training in Liberia.

Meeting with the President of the Liberia Midwife Association

Supported by Abdul-rahman Bah, they met the Liberian Minister of Health, Dr Wilhelmina Jallah, the Directress of the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery, Willimai Weetol-Geninyan, the President of the Liberia Midwife Association, Wilhelmina Flomo, the Director of the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery, Mary Tiah, John Harris and others at the Ministry of Health, and the British Ambassador David Belgrove.

Meeting with the Director of the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery

They also visited several hospitals and clinics where Helen Loewenstein had worked, and met a number of people who had known, worked with or befriended Helen.

Meeting with the Directress of the Esther Bacon School

The visit was extremely useful and very successful. The upshot is that it looks very likely that the first student to receive a grant from the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust will be recruited at the end of the current school year in June, and will start training in September this year at the Esther Bacon School.

Meeting with John Harris, Ministry of Health

Some details are still to be finalised, further work will be done with colleagues in Liberia and the HLMT trustees will meet in February to make decisions and to progress the work that Carol and Maureen have done so brilliantly with Abdul’s wonderful support. This is great news.

Meeting with the British Ambassador