Kairos AGM 2023: A night of celebration and community

It was a time for togetherness on Tuesday (28th November) as staff, volunteers, trustees, residents and friends past and present gathered at Linden Grove for Kairos Community Trust’s 2023 Annual General Meeting.


From formal addresses and our inspirational guest speaker Serina Aboim to live music from the brilliant UC50s and traditional, heaving buffet from Sandra Ginnelly and her team, the evening was a true celebration of Kairos’ spirit and achievements. 

Chair of Trustees Paul Carter opened proceedings, welcoming everyone assembled before introducing Trustee and Finance Officer, Duncan Aitkins.  Duncan emphasised Kairos’ strong financial position and commended the fully audited accounts.  He then thanked the Finance and Admin teams of Oye Oke, Dorothy Woodward-Pynn and Judy McLellan.

This year, we were privileged to welcome Kairos Trustee, Serina Aboim, as our guest speaker.  Serina is Clinical Lead for the Homeless and High Intensity User Service at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.  She shared her experience as a specialist in healthcare provision focusing on addiction services and supporting people experiencing homelessness.  Serina emphasised the importance of clinical relationships and trust in providing effective care, celebrating Kairos’ holistic care and wraparound support.  Her compassionate leadership and dedication to working with people in need resonates deeply with our organisational ethos.

Serina also reminded us to take pride in our collective accomplishments, as “we should be really proud” of Kairos’ achievements, staff, and volunteers.  She closed by addressing clients directly, reminding them too that, “whatever stage you are [on your journey], you should be really proud.”  Her words were both a message of congratulation and a powerful reminder of the impact and importance of Kairos’ work.

Director Mossie Lyons took the floor to celebrate Kairos’ 32 years of “presence in the community; of touching lives, of drawing people in and sending them out as they were always meant to be: full of life, full of health, full of aspiration.”  He remembered all who have passed through Kairos in these 32 years, especially those who have died, paying tribute to the late John McAuley, Chair of Trustees from 2005-2006.  Mary O’Sullivan was then invited to place a memorial card to late trustee John O’Sullivan on Linden Grove’s olive tree, which is dedicated to those who have died.

Mossie invited Kairos’ Co-founder, the “tremendous” Fr John Kitchen, to present the award in his name, the John Kitchen Award for Outstanding Service to Kairos Community Trust.  This year, it was awarded to Marsha Dunstan.  Having presided over Kairos’ media and communications output for fourteen years, Marsha put together (among many publications) 2016’s spectacular 25th anniversary celebration book The Gift of Time.  She also founded and maintained this website.  We thank her immensely.

After extending a warm welcome to friends gathered in the room, Mossie gave special recognition and thanks in her absence to Francesca Roberts, CEO of CRASH, the charitable wing of the construction industry.  He paid homage to the enduring relationship between Kairos and CRASH and encouraged everyone to read CRASH’s contribution to this year’s Kairos Community Trust Annual Report.

Other notable highlights Mossie recognised this year include: the six colleges represented with trainee counsellors in Kairos; the impact of Kairos’ work with individuals transitioning directly from prison, generously supported by the National Lottery Communities Fund; Kairos’ diverse environmental and creative endeavours, ranging from the Kairos beekeeping project, Bee Kairos, to collaborations with the BRIT School and mindful photography workshops with Mindful Photo Lab.  Safeguarding officer for Oblates, Suzanne Phelan, had flown over from Ireland for the occasion and great appreciation was shown for the annual trip to Lourdes, in which many Kairos residents participate.

Mossie’s final words were rich with purpose:

“The real and meaningful celebration – everything we do – is for the people we work for.  It has no meaning otherwise.  Kairos is the place where people turn their lives around.  Kairos is the great equaliser, the place of our vulnerability, of our fragility.  We, Kairos, are here to bring the best out of each other. 

“Let’s bring out the best in one another.”

As Paul concluded formalities by thanking Vincent Mahe, the Linden Grove and kitchen teams and everyone who had worked so hard to make this year’s AGM such a success, the evening shifted fully into party mode.  Friends old and new gathered around the buffet and trifle, sharing stories and catching up with one another, before the atmosphere became livelier still as the band UC50s took to the floor.  The whole night was a real Kairos celebration of community and joy.

  • Our thanks to Dave Newman for photos of the event and speakers