On Monday 21st October, Open Road hosted its Annual General Meeting at the Community Stadium in Colchester. 

The 2019 AGM was well attended by staff, volunteers, patrons and trustees from across the service as well as many representatives from partner agencies, funders, supporters and delegates. 

Following the initial breakfast meeting, Robert Smith, the Open Road Chair of Trustees opened the annual event sharing successes of the service from the previous year and reasons for optimism moving forward.

Essex Police's Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills, was the Keynote Speaker at this year's event; providing insight into the work that the police are doing and how this links to the widespread connection of drugs within Essex. In an interesting presentation, data shows that at least 70% of those arrested in Essex have a drug or alcohol problem. Further, DCC Pippa Mills reported that there has been a 30% increase in drug driving cases across Essex in the last year. 

This year, attendees of the AGM were treated to a production on CountyLines Drug Gangs provided by AlterEgo Creative Solutions. This powerful and relevant play demonstrated the model of exploitation and manipulation that children and other vulnerable people can face from organised crime gangs to traffic drugs and weapons.  

The hard hitting production detailed the 6 stage plan for Countylines Gangs:

1. Identification

2. Engagement

3. Relationship Building / Grooming

4. Developing Dependence

5. Entrapment

6. Checkmate - Making the vulnerable person in debt to the gangmaster. 

The final stage of the morning was the presentation of the new Open Road 2019 film. Each year Open Road produces a video to demonstrate the impact on lives that the service can offer. 

Robert Smith, who has been a trustee at Open Road for 15 years, bought the AGM to a close. During closing he announced that he will be stepping down from his role as Chair of Trustees whilst remaining as a member of the board with Nick Alston taking on the role of Chair of Trustees going forward. 

Check out our Annual Review 2018/19 Publication