At our recent Annual General meeting, our Chairperson presented the following Annual report.
SeniorNet Kapiti Inc
2019-2020 Annual Report
Our membership at the end of the Financial Year (31 March 2020) was 333 including 9 Honorary Members. Unlike many SeniorNets around New Zealand, our membership numbers are holding steady year on year despite around 90 resignations annually. Our recruitment efforts are clearly reaping rewards in new membership and I believe it is a testament to the quality and relevance of the courses and workshops we offer our members.
Courses and Workshops
We undertook 1,212 Learner hours during the year and received $2,020 in reimbursement from The SeniorNet Federation. It is pleasing that the Learner Hours Grant has been increased from $1.50 per hour to $2.50 effective 1 January 2020. The overall decline in attendance at multi-day courses has continued and is a common trend seen in other Learning Centres across the country. Members are showing a distinct preference for shorter (two or three session) courses while numbers attending single session Workshops have been steady throughout the year. During the winter and spring of 2019, we saw several courses cancelled due to lack of enrolments. After a number of internal discussions, the Committee agreed that we needed to be more targeted with our advertising to members and develop a closer link between the email advertisement of a course/workshop and its start date. Recent attendance numbers have confirmed the benefit of this approach with no courses or workshops cancelled in Term 1 2020.
We are also seeing a steady drift towards the use of portable devices amongst our membership with more and more equipped with smartphones for daily use and tablets for their more intensive computing needs. While Windows courses are still sought by many members, numbers attending our Introduction to Computing Course have declined noticeably in recent years.
In 2019, a new Smartphone Photography course was rolled out and refined while workshops were introduced to demonstrate how to undertake research on gardening, write your memoirs and create Christmas Newsletters. When COVID-19 locked us all inside, our Tutors quickly developed (very popular) How to Use Zoom workshops across all device types and then adapted the OneDrive and Internet Banking to the online format with the former proving more popular that we expected. In addition, the regular Monthly Android and Apple Workshops were changed to fortnightly online Zoom Meetings during LockDown with excellent overall attendance.
Our lease with KCDC is now firmly locked in and most of the essential building maintenance was completed during the previous year. A number of smaller items have been fixed during the past year. In particular, our air conditioner has been fully overhauled and cleaned, with noticeable results (and fewer complaints) during the cooler months. In addition, we have fitted new LED downlights above the computer workstations to give better lighting for our members during classes. A new Tutor Laptop was purchased in early 2020. A key project completed in late 2019 was the funding and installation of an AED Defibrillator on the outside of the nearby Arts and Crafts Centre where it is visible to the entire community. We are extremely grateful to The Pelorus Trust and Kapiti Lions for their generous financial support and the Kapiti Rotary Club for facilitating the installation and maintenance of the unit. Special thanks to Barry Bailey for all the running around to get the AED funded, installed and publicised.
Meeting Members Needs (EFTPOS)
The Committee has discussed the use of an EFTPOS Machine on a number of occasions in recent years and we have always found the costs to be prohibitive given the small dollar volumes we handle. The issue was revisited again in late 2019 and after further detailed discussions with our bank (ANZ) we were able to find a solution that meets our needs without imposing undue costs or security issues. Since the EFTPOS has been available, we have seen a huge change in our member’s payment preferences with the vast majority now using EFTPOS to pay for courses, workshops and often membership as well. We appreciate the support from our members and feel this has been timely given the recent announcement by 3 more of the major banks around the termination of cheque processing. In parallel to the move to EFTPOS we are also seeing a steady increase in members paying us by Internet Banking. We encourage both these electronic methods of payment as they significantly reduce the manual effort for our (volunteer) Treasurer. We will of course, still accept cash and as long as our bank will accept them, cheques.
After a number of well earned retirements from the Committee at the last AGM, we have managed for most of 2019-20 with a somewhat smaller Committee. There are many essential tasks to be performed to keep SeniorNet Kapiti running and a number of the remaining Committee Members have stepped up and offered to take on more than one area of responsibility. In addition, several tasks have been performed by members outside the Committee and we are grateful for their ongoing support and assistance. In early 2020, Bob Butler accepted our invitation to join the Committee and it is pleasing that he is willing to stand for the new Committee in 2020-21.
While the impact of COVID-19 has mostly occurred outside the 2019-2020 Financial Year, it has none-the-less had a significant impact on our ability to run classes during Term 2. Fortunately, the foresight of our (Committee) predecessors has put us in a strong financial position to ride out the various LockDowns and movement restrictions without threatening the viability of our organisation. More will be said in next year’s report but I cannot let the opportunity pass without thanking all the Tutors and Committee Members who stepped up to the plate during the Lockdown, taught themselves to use Zoom Video Conferencing and then ran dozens of online Workshops for our members as well as several groups of Tutors in other Learning Centres. In total, we have almost 500 Learner Hours on record during the 2 month period when people were restricted from face to face meetings. Our LockDown Helpdesk has also been a huge hit with members and helped many during a time when they couldn’t otherwise attend our How Do I…? Workshops or call their usual technical assistant. A huge “Thank You” to everyone involved.