was the AGM that wasn't
of this web page will know a few members were and are concerned at
the conduct of the 2017 Annual General Meeting but it is difficult to
be too critical of the Executive Committee when faced with the
lethargy of the membership and in particular the shareholders.
again it may be unfair to accuse these same members because it may
more complicated than just plain lethargy or disinterest in this
aspect of the business in running the Society. All over the country
organisations are suffering from the same malaise. The same few
people offer themselves for committee work and about the same number
of members turn up to rubber stamp the proceedings each year. In our
case only 51 out of a shareholding membership of 307. (Barely 17%).
There also seems to have been no sign of associated members
interested in attendance.
number of critical issues could have been raised but there is no
point in doing so when such disinterests prevails or perhaps the
problem is not so simple. In a couple of years the Society will be
fifty years old and does have much to celebrate but one inevitability
of this is the core and founding membership are getting older and
many have passed away. The last fact being praiseworthy acknowledge
by the Trustees in the form of a silent moment of thought and the
promise of a remembrance book to be construed for those that are left
behind and hopefully those who take on the future of the Society.
this does not solve the problems of a near fifty year old Society.
Almost inevitably some members will resent change and vote against
even the most mundane housekeeping amendments to the original rules
that govern the organisation. We are all discomforted by change and
the older we get the more difficult it becomes to adapt. There was a
lot of grey hair at this AGM. The Trustees have a big problem to
resolve and it is significant that some are not so old as the
attendant membership. It was good to hear that positive moves are in
train to gather advice on how to revise the Rules of the Society (the
Governing Document), to align them with the charity expectations
formed from the 2014 legislation. (Co-operative and Community Benefit
Charity as opposed to an Industrial and Provident Society).
apart from the Rules the two most significant problems for the
Society remain money and labour hours. On the one hand if we had lots
of money we can purchase labour hours but if we don't then the
substitute is volunteer hours. A venue populated by volunteers is
generally a happier place and many of the QRS visitors attest to this
in the visitors book and to those of us in attendance during public
open days. Inevitably some less public work needs to be assigned to
outside agencies and professional people where equipment, expertise
and experience prevail. There is no point is asking willing
volunteers to undertake tasks outside of their capabilities or
without proper equipment. (One such task is the repainting of the
Rewley Road building. Work that has to be completed at high level
with experienced preparation and quality materials otherwise it will
not last and less proficient work will largely be wasted.)
the circle between volunteer and purchased labour is not going to be
easy especially where both money and volunteers are in short supply.
Breaking this circle requires at least a more dynamic effort towards
communication a subject that was identified by professional
consultation as long ago as 2014. The Society continues to expend
disproportionate sums of money on postage a few times each year just
to run AGMs or send out the Quainton News and News from Quainton
which bring minimum returns in terms of volunteer hours as these
publications are preaching to the already converted many of whom
cannot contribute more than they already commit. The QEL, (Quainton
Email Letter), is calculated to reach about 180 mainly converted
members again in the same category as those that receive the other
publications. What is required is more use of the internet media
directed at none active members illustrating the wide diversity if
active involvement available that will interest many age groups.
web site has been available to the Trustees for two years and it is
a pity the Executive do not have broad enough shoulder to stand a
little constructive criticism and that they withdraw into their shell
of secrecy whereas a dynamic dialogue may actually encourage members
not active at the moment to join in. It will cost them nothing but
their pride and we all know what comes after pride.
up our vision on these possibilities is just as exciting as those
aspirations of earlier years when the Society was first formed and
will fall in line with the concept of a Co-operative and Community
Benefit Charity as opposed to an Industrial and Provident Society
that is inwardly focused only on restricted members interests.
doing steam trains is not enough as the younger generations have
little nostalgia for this form of locomotion except in the make
believe world of Thomas the Tank engine. We claim to be a museum and
museums are about history and railways are an important part of our
social history which if embraced widens the scope of our offering not
just to the general public but also to prospective volunteers.