Latest News From The NAC: Winter 2022

NAC Chair, Rowland Bareham, provides an update on the key activities of the NAC membersThalidomide Trust NAC member Rowland Bareham

Update on Diageo Review Beneficiary Consultation

As explained in the last newsletter, the Diageo Review discussions are taking place this year.  Before Christmas, I wrote to you all asking for your ideas about what to focus on in these discussions, explained in this Q&A. I am pleased that we have had over 120 responses – so many thanks to you all.

We are analysing the responses to summarise the ideas you have given us and will be discussing these with staff and trustees in the Diageo Chairs’ Review Working Group. I will write to you in March to explain the shortlist that will be put to Diageo during the discussions.

NAC Elections

You should have had a letter from Craig Millward, the Deputy Chair of the NAC, who is overseeing the elections process. This time, we have four vacancies on the NAC because Maggie Boyd, Nick Dobrik and I all reach the end of our current term and are eligible to stand again. However, Maggie has decided not to do so, and Phil Williams has made the decision to stand down as an NAC member in March 2022.

This is a good opportunity for new candidates to come forward and I encourage you to think about standing for election. If you are interested in standing but still have questions, you can come to a Zoom Q&A or talk to a current NAC member, email the NAC for details.

Grünenthal Foundation

There is no further update at the moment on our ongoing dialogue with the Grünenthal Foundation about their grants programme.

Obviously, our historical connection with the German manufacturer of thalidomide is an emotional topic for us. That’s why we want to understand your level of awareness of, and attitude towards the Grünenthal Foundation and have included a question about this in the current Beneficiary Feedback Survey. Your answers will help to inform our next steps.

Health Grant renewal for devolved nations

Nearly a year ago, the Chancellor, in his budget, announced the lifetime renewal of the Health Grant for beneficiaries living in England. This announcement came very early – a whole two years before the start of the 2023/24 financial year, which is when the Health Grant renewal kicks in.

There have been no similar announcements yet for the devolved nations (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) and we recognise the anxieties of beneficiaries in these nations given the lack of news. However, we are not unduly concerned at this time, given that the devolved nations have not yet developed their budgets for next year. It’s fair to say that the Chancellor’s announcement for England came very early, rather than that the devolved nations are running late.

We continue to be in dialogue with officials in the devolved Health Departments and are maintaining the behind-the-scenes tactics that have proven to be effective in the past. Please be reassured that NAC, Trust staff and the trustees are keeping a close watch on this.

Sarah, our Comms/Admin Officer, is leaving us

I’m sorry to have to tell you that Sarah is moving on. Sarah says:

"As well as working for the NAC, I write children's books. Before Christmas, I had a contract for two new books, and I have decided I need to focus my time and energy on developing as an author, which means scaling back on other work. I have very much enjoyed getting to know the beneficiary community over the last year and have learnt lots from all of you. I will be doing a full handover with whoever takes over the NAC role."

We have started a recruitment and selection process to find a replacement and I wish Sarah well with her writing endeavours. Please see the role advert for full details (note: the advert will probably be closed by the time you see this).

Future Money Matters

The FMM events have been very successful in helping beneficiaries organise their finances, do some planning or simply offering reassurance by providing accurate information.

Our next FMM event will be online in June or July, with presentations recorded for beneficiaries to watch later – details to follow. Please contact Jeff Prevost at the Trust or Phil Williams if there are any issues you’d like to see included.

Read more from the NAC in the full Winter 2022 Newsletter (PDF)