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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

Fifteenth Annual Report of the Committee of Management of the Otago Benevolent Institution

Fifteenth Annual Report of the Committee of Management of the Otago Benevolent Institution

decorative feature

The fifteenth annual meeting of the subscribers was held in Farley's Building, on Thursday, March 7th, at 4 o'clock. Mr. A. Chetham Strode (President) occupied the chair.

The Secretary read the minutes of the previous meeting.

The President stated that he had just received a letter from the Rev. Dr. Stuart asking to be excused from attending, as he had another pressing engagement. He sincerely trusted the people would give the Benevolent Institution the support it deserved.

The President: Gentlemen—This is the fifteenth annual meeting of the Benevolent Institution, and the Committee elected last year render to-day an account of their steward ship. In the report which will be presented to you nothing very striking occurs. Immediately prior to last winter setting in, the Committee were under the impression that a severe tug on their funds was at hand, expecting a rather page 4 excessive number of applicants for out-door relief. In this we were most agreeably disappointed, finding from several favourable circumstances, particularly the mildness of the winter, the number of applications did not come up to what we supposed would be the case. It will be seen by the Medical Officer's Report we have had three deaths at the Institution during the year, and that the health of the inmates of the Institution, at Caversham, has been extremely good. We have tided over the scarlet fever epidemic, and altogether things are very satisfactory. I am happy to be able to state that matters connected with the Institution are in a thoroughly good and sound condition. With regard to funds, we have at one period of the year that is passed, been indeed in a dull condition, but I am happy to say we have made up lee-way, and can now show a balance—a small balance it is true, but one on the right side of the ledger—which is always satisfactory to begin a new year with. During the year we have had a correspondence with the Government about an increase to our Institution, the old men especially being packed much too closely. We asked the Government to provide us with £1,200 to increase the accommodation in various directions, but I am sorry to say we have had something like a refusal. Still I hope, from a conversation with Mr Macandrew, who has always been a good friend to the Institution, and always helped it in every possible way, that the sum will be got, or something like it. I told him we would take half if we could get it. There is another matter I should like to mention—the Charitable Institutions Bill. That, you are all aware, has been before Parliament during last session, but unfortunately, from various political causes, was shelved; and here we are another year without any proper constitution. I hope by this time next year that we shall have a proper constitution for this and other charitable institutions. I trust the House of Representatives will see their way to the passing of a Bill, so that we will be properly constituted. I do not know that I have any more to bring before you to-day, gentlemen, and I therefore call upon the Secretary to read the report.

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In laying before the subscribers the Fifteenth Annual Report, the Committee have pleasure in stating that the demands ma.de on the Institution for out door relief for the past year have not increased to such an extent as was anticipated, the increase for the year being only £115 7s. The prevalence of scarlet fever being one of the principal causes of this increase, additional aid in such cases has been imperatively requisite. More than the average number of deaths of heads of families, ordinary cases of sickness, and accidents, have also tended to increase expenditure.

On the whole, it affords the Committee pleasure in being able to congratulate the subscribers that the resources of the Institution have not been more heavily taxed.

The Committee have much pleasure in stating that applications from men out of employment during the winter months were to a considerable extent reduced. This in a great measure is attributable to the mildness of the winter and the smaller number of immigrants arriving, and also to the improvement in the class of persons sent to the Province within the last two or three years.

The Committee have carried out their usual practice, when desirable, of assisting people in distress to reach their friends in distant parts of the Colony, and even beyond it. This system has been found to work well, as it relieves the Institution at once, and the persons relieved are thereby enabled to procure employment. The sum of £135 10s. 3d. was paid for this service and for burials, which sum is included in the charge for out-door relief.

The Committee are glad to state that, as far as their information extends, the desertion of wives by their husbands is slightly on the decrease, the number relieved during the year being 32, with 116 children, against 44, with 114 children, the previous year. Only 8 deserted wives, with 26 children, were on the books on the 31st December last.

One hundred and two families, comprising 34 male adults, 95 female adults, and 251 children, received fuel, clothing, page 6 boots, blankets, and bedding. Rent to the amount of £781 15s. 6d. has been paid during the year for recipients of relief.

The total amount expended on out-door relief for the year has been £2410 5s. 5d.; the total number relieved was 1305, composed of 101 male adults, 316 female adults, and 888 children. Of those relieved 80 were widows, with 266 children; 32 deserted wives, with 116 children; and 9 women, (with 29 children), whose husbands were in gaol.

Sixteen male and eleven female adults were received into the Institution at Caversham during the year, and 19 male and 11 female adults were discharged, the number remaining in the Institution on 31st December being 37 male, 9 female adults, 12 boys, and 16 girls.

Nine children were received into the Institution during the year, the cases admitted being of a very exceptional character, and the pressing circumstances of each case leaving the Committee no alternative but to receive them. Five boys and 5 girls were sent to service, and 3 boys were taken out by friends. The accounts from their present employers are on the whole favourable.

Attached to this report will be found one from the Medical Officer on the sanitary state of the Institution, which is very satisfactory. The thanks of the Committee are due to Dr. Hocken for his attention.

Miss Wilson, the schoolmistress, and Mr. McFie, the religious instructor, continue to give satisfaction in their different spheres.

The Committee desire to acknowledge the great assistance they receive from Mr. Quin, the Secretary, and to express their satisfaction with the manner in which he and Mrs. Quin, the Matron, fulfil their difficult duties.

The average cost per inmate for the year has been 7s. 10d. per week; corresponding cost for previous year, 8s. 9d. This sum includes furnishings, repairs to buildings, clothing, books, school requisites, rates, insurance, fuel, doctor's honorarium, schoolmistress and religious instructor's salaries, servants' wages, &c,

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The subscriptions for the year amounted to £1990 4s. 1d., against £1334 5s. 7d. for previous year. The Committee have noticed with great satisfaction that in some of the up-country districts very laudable and successful efforts have been made in organising concerts and other entertainments, and devoting from the proceeds realized handsome donations to the Institution. They would fain hope that this good work will be attempted by other centres of population in this Provincial District, as it must be borne in mind that the Institution is one affording relief to the destitute, aged, and infirm, not only from Dunedin, but from the whole district without distinction.

The Committee desire to acknowledge the receipt of the following newspapers sent gratis to the Institution:—'Weekly Witness,' 'Evening Star,' 'Saturday Advertiser,' 'Morning Herald,' 'Bruce Herald,' 'Illustrated N. Z. Herald,' 'Church News,' 'Record,' 'Evangelist.'

Receipts and Expenditure.—Annexed will be found a statement of the receipts and expenditure for the year. The sum of £1500 received from the Government as subsidy on the sum raised by the Carnival Committee the previous year has been invested at the rate of 8 per cent.

The following gentlemen who retire from office are eligible for re-election, viz.:—A. Chetham Strode, President; Alexander Rennie and R. B. Martin, Vice-Presidents; Treasurer, vacant on resignation of Mr. John Hislop. Committeemen: Henry Wise, James Brown, James Fulton, Captain Thomson.

A. Chetham Strode

, President.