SUES Committee Meeting: 03/09/2021

Present – Alan Potter (Chair), Margaret Boneham, Peter Firth, Roger Mitchell, Mary Ormsby, John Sharp, Christine Vasey

Apologies – Bob Neate

The meeting took place via Zoom.

Minutes

The minutes of the Committee Meeting on 23rd July were approved with a minor correction on dates. It was agreed that, useful though it was, the written comment from Andrew Wilcockson should not form part of the minutes. The minutes now become ‘Archive’ and will be available on Website

Matters Arising

  • The Society was represented at the funeral of Mrs Joan Eaves, a member of SUES for many years.
  • The Secretary has contacted Mrs Walmsley at Scarisbrick Hall re our postponed visit and we both hope that this can be rearranged for Spring 2022.

Finance

A summary of Bob’s financial update was given. There have been no significant changes, but Bob has received via John, cheques and bank transfers to the value of £1,030. Future payments for laptop update (health check and renewal of Microsoft Office), website development and public liability insurance are in hand. John suggested that it would be useful to have a copy of the financial files on the Society’s laptop. Regular financial updates will be required for the public liability insurance.

With the 2021 – 2022 Programme in place and with membership and course enrolment fees being paid, we need to establish a budget for the coming year. Alan will raise this with Bob.

Membership

John reported that we now have 32 paid up members for 2021-2. This includes some new members and we expect more existing members to renew. 14 members are enrolled for Peter’s Course, 16 for Roger’s and 10 for Alan’s. This ensures that all courses are viable with plenty of time for further enrolments. It was agreed that if course numbers reached 20, we should check accommodation because in present circumstances we need to avoid any sense of overcrowding in the smaller room.

There is no pressure to recruit more people for courses but we remain keen to increase membership and raise the profile of SUES.

It was agreed that Forum would include a reminder about membership renewal and that from October onwards, Forum would only be sent to those who had paid their 2021-2 membership fee.

If any non-members come to a meeting (lecture or course), they will be welcomed for a free taster and invited to join in order to attend future events.

Programme

A great deal of work particularly from Alan and John ensured that a full programme was published in Forum 22. The February dates for Roger’s Course and Mary’s talk have now been agreed as follows.

Mon 14th February – Roger’s Course Session 6

Mon 21st February – No meeting (unless we have had a cancellation date earlier in the course)

Friday 25 February – Mary’s talk

Mon 28th February – Roger’s Course Session 7

Mary agreed to send information of title and content to Alan.

Event Management

Alan’s draft guidance on Arrangements with All Saints had been circulated to all committee members and it was welcomed as a basis for event management. It would be developed to include Health and Safety arrangements.

There needs to be someone ‘in charge’ for each event. All three 2021-2022 courses are being given by committee members and so it makes sense for them to take on that role but, as in the past, class members will help with room set-up and refreshments. For talks, committee members would supervise arrangements.

For Christine’s talk on Friday 17th September, John will send an email reminder to all members. Alan will organise the technology and bring the ‘SUES bag’ including milk. Margaret will organise the serving of refreshments.

It was agreed that on 17th September we will use the large hall, with plenty of space but potential problems with audibility and screen size. To some extent, this will be an experiment. The hall has a sound system and it was agreed that, if it seemed easier to use our own, then Alan should be authorised to go ahead with purchase. The available screen is small, but we might be able to use the wall at the far end of the room. Heating should not be a problem in September, but if we need winter use, we must check on heating (and on any additional cost). The large hall is well ventilated, but there are concerns about ventilation in the smaller room. Peter and Roger expressed a strong preference for using the smaller room for courses. It helps create the right atmosphere and has worked well in the past, but can we make it work in changed circumstances?

Health and Safety

We need a nominated Health and Safety Officer and Alan agreed to take that role on a temporary basis. Training, particularly for First Aid, will be necessary and our insurance company may have suggestions as to how this is best done.

Promotion and Publicity

Healthy course enrolments take pressure off this, but we remain keen to promote and extend the work of the Society. Rather than needing to advertise individual events, the focus should be on advertising the Society. The three main methods are

  • Website. Alan asked for any suggestions.
  • Posters. Southport Library seems an obvious place with space available (Christine).
  • Via other societies e.g. U3A (which recently re-opened with a large meeting) are willing to advertise events by other organisations.

Common to all three methods was a strong feeling that we need a professional approach eg Mary suggested that rather than ‘one off’ advertising, we should develop a recognisable template that could be updated. Christine raised the possibility of putting lectures on line and it was agreed that we might move towards this, but we needed more skills to be able to do this properly. For the moment, we should continue to put Powerpoints from lectures and courses on the Society’s website.

FORUM

John has sufficient material for Forum 23 (Membership reminders, Roger’s article on ‘When did England look its best?’, report on Christine’s talk and review of Roy Watkins’ book on his Southport childhood). It will be published slightly later in the month than usual, so that the report on Christine’s talk can be included.

John would like to build up a ‘bank’ of articles for future use. Variety is important – both topics and writers. Short comments on previous articles help make Forum a two way publication. [Roger’s article specifically requests responses – perhaps the Committee might set the ball rolling?].

Connections with H.E.

In the short run, Roger was asked to contact Glenn to update him and Liverpool CE with our plans and generally to maintain our links. In the longer term Peter and Alan will draft a general letter to go to a number of institutions in the region and ideally to go to specific, known people. Alan reported that Lancaster University was involved in outreach work.

AOB

We had a quick check on arrangements for Sept 17th. Christine, Alan and Margaret will be there from 1.30pm. There might be the opportunity for a brief committee update at the end of the session but it was agreed that the next committee meeting will be at 4.30pm on Tuesday 21st September using Zoom.

Roger Mitchell
September 2021

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