What a year!
It's important and useful to reflect on the year gone by - it helps to identify how well we did, how impressive our output continues to be and also reveals areas for concentration in the future.
Our One Blue Dot sustainability campaign has captured the imagination of the membership and equally those outside the BDA. Sustainability is one of the key topics and we are now seen as one of the leaders in this field and admired by others for it.
Our AGM saw one of the biggest changes agreed in our history. 2019 sees the recruitment of Directors based on a competency and skills framework, adopting good governance principles, and we will be rolling out our Future Leaders strategy to support members who want to lead the BDA in years to come.
Our membership grows and we are rapidly approaching the 10,000 member target: something I hope we can achieve in the very near future!
We have been recognised across the world for our leadership in nutrition and dietetics. I had the pleasure to travel to Mexico with Sue Kellie and our Global PEN partners to present PEN to Mexican and other central American dietitians. We have interest in the BDA, our members, their skill and expertise across Europe, from Turkey and further afield.
Our office team has grown which means we are able to deliver more to our members and develop new and innovative services to meet member demands. We have also raised our profile with political engagement and influencing. We challenged news stories which are clearly misleading, members and staff continue to influence politicians and policy makers with sound, evidence based information and we have challenged unfair proposals, such as the recommendation to increase your HCPC fees by 18%.
Our members have been award winning pioneers, picking up awards and recognition for their contributions in services across the UK.
The BDA office crowned the year with five nominations in the annual professional Associations Congress, picked from professional bodies across the UK for our significant success in member engagement and leadership.
We also saw a 34% increase in traffic to our website from Google, this means as a result of improvments that have been made in the past year - more members of the public are finding our website, and ultimately discovering the work dietitians do.
Looking forward I see significant opportunities. There is a growth in dietetic programmes and the numbers entering the profession could well increase into the future, depending on the support we have from you as members to offer training places, be innovative in service development and design.
There are challenges in funding which could lead to losses in some areas, but there is plenty of evidence to be optimistic that delivering services which meet funding and clinical priorities can grow and develop.
It's very much for the profession, and you as members, to take that lead like other professions have. Only through internal, member led growth strategies can professions thrive. We could reach the 10,000 membership target quicker than expected if we all work together and create a larger, more influential dietetic profession. That is something that fills me with optimism for the years ahead.
My thanks go to the BDA staff for their dedication, hard work, professionalism and contribution. I would also like to thank our Chairman, Caroline Bovey, and our Directors for having the faith and confidence to make the big decisions that need to be made for the business.
Our members also, whether volunteers in Groups or Branches, our trade union reps or our media spokespeople, have been fantastic.
2018 was another hectic year and there will be more to come in 2019. Together with your help and support we can drive the BDA further, to be a world leader in nutrition and dietetic thinking and innovation.