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LAST CHANCE - Your society needs you!

posted 1 Jun 2015, 14:47 by Newbury Society
In the Society’s newsletter of a year ago, we described the current vacancies
that exist on our Committee. In summary, we do not have anyone to take
care on a longer-term basis of (in no particular order):

- Talks;
- Publicity;
- Heritage Open Days;
- Our web site;
- Social media;
- Excursions;
- Refreshments at meetings;
- Transport policy;
- Liaison with Civic Voice.

Moreover, the lack of sufficient active Committee members means that we
cannot rotate the officer functions of Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer, as
is the generally recommended practice for voluntary bodies of our type. The
present Committee members are fully stretched fulfilling all their present
commitments. It is the same few Committee members who offer articles for
publication in our newsletter.

We have also publicised this lack of Committee participation at our AGM in
October, at our subsequent meetings, via the Volunteer Centre, in a letter to
the Newbury Weekly News last June, and in discussions with many individuals.
Despite these actions, no-one has come forward to fill any of these positions.
This does not appear to be due to a lack of membership, which has
remained at about 150 (with a burst of new members during the period that
we ran Heritage Open Days) throughout the history of the Society since it
was formed in 1972.

A Society such as ours depends entirely on enthusiastic and active volunteers
to keep it going. The rationale for the Society has always been to promote
the wellbeing of Newbury, through its architecture, planning, transport, heritage,
and amenities, with the advantage that we are a voluntary body independent
of elected authorities. If volunteers do not come forward to serve
the Society, the only conclusion that we can reach is that its function, however
desirable, is no longer necessary. This may be due to the establishment
of Newbury Town Council in 1997, or for some other reason. There is an
obvious circular cause-and-effect - more active Committee members will
enable the Society to provide more services, which will attract more members,

It is sometimes argued that this is a general situation for all voluntary bodies.
The evidence of (for instance) the Newbury and District National Trust
Association and Newbury Twin Town Association, which have large and
active Committees, shows that this is not necessarily so.

In any case, we cannot go on as we are doing at present. The Committee has
to make clear to members that, if these vacancies are not filled, we will not
be able to carry on and will be recommending closure of the Society at the
AGM later this year.

The Committee