Our membership service is now 70 years of age and, like our Member Groups, it has faced a changing world since its inception. A world that is full of challenges, but also opportunities. Through overcoming this adversity, we recognise that a huge amount of history exists in our groups. We feel very passionately about the story our Member Groups have to tell, and so in the upcoming year will be looking at ways in which their histories can be shared.
For other groups, they are just starting their history. We have 21 new friends groups that are associated with Care Homes join us as Member Groups over the past year. Each and every one is playing a vital part in creating a community within the Care Home, rather than one that stops at the gates. As the world of healthcare moves more and more into communities, our Membership Service must too, and draw upon the years of experience we have gained in order to support local groups in the best possible way today.
New Member Groups continue to join Attend, and we now have a more diverse portfolio of members than we ever have before. This challenges us to be better, to adapt and look at the ways in which we can provide the support that is most needed. As the sector continues to battle against diminishing finances, this year we offered a referral incentive for Member Groups which allowed them to claim back part of their subscription if they referred another organisation. This has been well received and several groups have benefitted from the scheme since its inception.