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Reflecting on 2020, Looking Forward to 2021

From the start of 2020, news of dark times ahead was creeping in. But no one could have predicted a global pandemic causing millions of deaths, enforced lockdowns and festivities cancelled. For some of us, final goodbyes to loved ones in hospital were said over telephones. The notion of ‘freedom of choice’ in our day-to-day lives was stripped from us. Some people faced being furloughed (some still are) or were even made redundant. The level of uncertainty has been profoundly discomforting; future planning now boils down to individual survival and financial security. 

At Sunday Assembly, ‘connection’ has been at the heart of everything we’ve done since our creation in 2013. Our values to Live Better, Help Often, and Wonder More have been the very pillars that have sustained our positivity and motivation as we continue Trying Our Best.  

The determination of our Board, Organising Team and volunteers has led us to find innovative ways to continue creating activities and events. And our successes are all thanks to you. Without your interest, attendance, and generosity, it would be impossible to reflect on our achievements in 2020. 

Against all odds, we found new ways to sing and dance with each other. We listened to poetry and people trying their best in the face of hardship. During our annual picnic season in August, when we could actually meet in parks again, so many people volunteered their time and energy to make our in-person gatherings possible! Many went above and beyond to ensure others weren’t alone during this difficult time by hosting online meetups, social activities, Live Better groups, and even online gatherings on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Being ‘proud’ of our volunteers is an understatement. On behalf of the Board, I can’t thank you enough!

Knowing that this year would be very different financially due to all of our physical events being cancelled, we nervously took the plunge and launched two online fundraising campaigns to raise money for Sunday Assembly London, and by gosh you shone! I want to personally give a huge thanks to our 56 amazing regular donors, all the people who contributed to our “2.6 Dance Challenge” in April, and those who generously gave both time and money to our “12 Days of Giving” campaign in December. 

Throughout this most turbulent year, your generosity raised over £20,500! 

Your efforts have sustained Sunday Assembly London during one of the most difficult times the charity sector has ever faced. Your support has been essential for our survival during Covid-19. Amidst tragedy, the strength of this community has prevailed.

As you can probably imagine, connecting our community virtually has been a huge learning curve for us, but we have grown by leaps and bounds and achieved more than we ever thought possible. In moving our assemblies online, we also realised that we could and should make this part of Sunday Assembly London’s usual activities when we return to the post-pandemic world. And we are excited to tell you that towards the end of 2020, we successfully secured £7,000 in funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to make this happen! 

This grant means that in addition to live-streaming our events when we return to Conway Hall, the funding will also help us improve the way we operate. In 2021, we’ll start making strides toward strengthening our infrastructure, with particular emphasis on our volunteers and governance. We are also going to kickstart some much-needed work on accessibility, diversity and inclusion in our community by hosting workshops, requesting your involvement, and asking for your feedback. 

Watch this space! 

We are excited and optimistic about what this new year holds, but one thing is certain – we couldn’t have achieved what we did in 2020 without you! Thank you. 

Annie 

Trustee and Fundraising Lead

[E] annie@sundayassembly.com 

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