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

News from The Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust, February 2020

We are delighted to tell you that since we last emailed many of you in June 2019, the Trust has continued to gain momentum, as you will see below.

In June we explained that, in order to send you future emails and newsletters, the Trust needs to get your permission to hold your email address We asked you please reply with the words, “I agree to the Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust holding my contact details securely and from time to time sending me information including updates, newsletters and information about events.” Only half of the supporters we emailed replied. If you think that you may not have replied in June, please email the words “I agree to the HLMT holding my contact details securely” or sign up for our newsletter on the website. We require your agreement in order to satisfy data protection requirements. If we do not receive your permission, we will not be able to send you updates, newsletters or information about events.

We have recently launched our new and much-expanded website, www.hlmt.org.uk . Please go to it and have a look. You will find information about HLMT – forthcoming and past events; the trustees; Liberia; Helen Loewenstein; how you can get involved; and much more. The website was designed by Alex Mottier, who donated a lot of time and great skills to do the work voluntarily. We would be really interested in any feedback you have about the website.

As a result of the generous donations of so many of you – friends and supporters – the HLMT has continued to grow. We haven’t been able to contact everyone personally to say “thank you” because we are still taken up with the impact of Helen’s death, but if you have contributed, please accept this as a very BIG thank you: together with the other Trustees we are so grateful for all the support we and the Trust have received. Supporters have also organised a range of fundraising activities, as you will be able to see on our website, www.hlmt.org.uk . Due to your generosity and hard work, the HLMT is a third of our way towards our target of £100,000, having raised over £35,000. That’s a great start in less than a year.  We plan to invest the funds ethically in order to gradually increase the number of midwifery students we can support using the income generated.

There are a number of events in the pipeline. The first is a music and words fundraiser on Saturday March 7th.  Rosa’s Lovely Daughters & Friends invite you celebrate International Women’s Day with songs, poetry and readings, at the same time assisting the HLMT to support Liberian midwifery training. Please put the date in your diary and buy a ticket from Rosa’s to avoid disappointment. Details of this and other events are on the “Upcoming Events” section of the website and will be regularly updated.

We leave the best news until last! It is very likely that the first midwifery 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 of Nursing and Midwifery in Liberia. HLMT trustee and consultant midwife, Carol McCormick and her colleague, Maureen Raynor from Leicester De Montfort University, visited Liberia in January 2020 with the aid of a grant from a charitable trust. 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. Supported by Abdul-Rahman Bah, Helen’s colleague and friend, they met the Liberian Minister of Health, the Directress of the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery, the President of the Liberia Midwife Association, the Director of the Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery, key officials in the Ministry of Health, and the British Ambassador. Some details are still to be finalised, further work will be done with colleagues in Liberia. HLMT trustees will meet in February to make decisions and to progress the work undertaken by Carol and Maureen with Abdul’s wonderful support. This is great news.

 If you haven’t donated and even if you have, could we please urge you to consider filling in and sending us a Standing Order form (copy attached) – regular monthly income, no matter how small or big, adds up, and our target is to meet the annual cost of training at least one midwife (just under £1000 per midwife) through standing orders. We would also ask you to please consider including The Helen Loewenstein Memorial Trust in your will.

If there is anything else you’d like to know, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
For now, thanks again for your continued support – please don’t forget to email back by return to agree for us to keep your contact details.

With very best wishes,
Pete Stella and Nick (on behalf of the HLMT Trustees).