I did warn you that you would hear more from me, so here we go.
My apologies, you should have received a report on the last meeting giving an outline of what occurred and decisions reached. I understand that this did not happen, and suspect it was pressure of work on the Vice Chairman.
Pressure of work is a big problem for officers of the branch, but we manage to work around it. Having full time and in some cases highly pressured jobs does mean that time afforded to the RNLI sometimes has to take a “back seat” as after work our family life should and MUST take priority.
However we endeavour to provide the membership with an active programme in order that they may feel part of the fundraising team. We also try to make the events sociable so that we get chance to have a natter and get to know each other, but the problem of late is that not enough colleagues are coming forward to enable the “hard core” to relax. Whilst holding a collecting bucket is not in itself arduous it can be the maintaining of a happy sociable facade when you’ve been on duty 4-6 hours.
As you will have noticed I listened to the membership, when remarks about us not having many events forthcoming I “launched” myself and found venues and events that I hope will raise the very much needed funds. You may recall from my last message to you that my own goal is to beat the £11k that my predecessor achieved. Not quite sure but my Yorkshire “gut feeling” is that we should be nearing, if not already exceeded the £2.5k (that’s two thousand five hundred pounds, not twenty five thousand). I’m sure our efficient treasurer will let me know if I am wrong.
Being a generous sort I opted not to do an event over Easter, not just because I am away (my niece is having an engagement party to celebrate….well the obvious. Me in a night club in Durham….wonders will never cease) but we (the hard core) have been “eventing” since the 8th March and we need a break. We start again on the 14th April with a two day event at Frosts, the garden centre in Woburn Sands. We are then flat out until the end of May.
To give you some idea of the logistics involved, those of you who know Frosts will be aware that there are two main buildings. At the exits after the tills we would like to have 2 possibly 3 bodies on each door. We opt for 2 hour shifts and it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that over the 8 hour day we need 8/12 volunteers for EACH door, meaning that ideally we need 16/24 volunteers to “person” the event safely,socially and hopefully profitably.
Our fantastic secretary publishes a timetable/schedule on the web site that volunteers can fill in at their leisure for each event.
So I hope you can see, these events to raise the required funds are not that straight forward. Which brings me to the big events we have lined up.
As has been mentioned previously, RNLI HQ decided to close the Eastern Events Office. One of their “casualties” would have been the Milton Keynes Marathon on the 29th April, until it was offered to us. As it was all set up and it was simply a question of manning a water station I accepted it. The day will be long for some of us with the set up time being 1000hrs and finish clearing up at around 1800hrs. The bulk of the runners will come through 1130hrs and 1600hrs……that’s when we need some 30 bodies to hand out bottles of water (not too difficult). Our area for this is at the 22 mile marker in Campbell Park, and we will have a band with us to entertain the spectators.
Now the volunteers who are just handing out the water can be “anyone” BUT those collecting or working with the merchandise MUST be bona fide card carrying colleagues.
Two weeks later 12/13.05 we are at the Stoke Goldington Steam Rally, with the usual gate attendance exceeding 20,000 each day again I hope you can appreciate why we keep asking for volunteers.
Basically the service needs money…….the only way we can get it is to be out in the public view with our buckets.
It is my sincere wish, and hope that you want us to continue to grow, BUT we need YOU, we can only do it with you. Not your money, but your time and your body. It will make a vast difference if more volunteers can afford us just a couple of hours to shake (sorry…hold) a bucket.
Before closing I am sure you will join me in offering Alice (Souvenir Secretary) our best wishes for her speedy recovery from the operation she is scheduled to have soon.
Yes I am going to finish, but can I, personally wish each and every one of you together with your families a VERY HAPPY and PEACEFUL EASTER.
I’m gone….thank you.
Chairman – RNLI Milton Keynes