Birmingham Branch Embroiderers’ Guild
Chairs Report October 2014
Birmingham Branch has had a very successful year thanks to the hard work of branch members and particularly of the committee. It is also thanks to the enthusiasm and friendliness of all of the branch members and to the knowledge and ideas you all contribute.
We have welcomed new members and enjoyed a varied programme with fantastic workshops including one usingLutrador with June Parkinson and another on Stump Work with Kay Dennis. This year two of our current members talked about their lives in embroidery Angela Atwood and Margaret Richards led a fantastic evening with beautiful textiles to take inspiration from. Angela has also been published in Stitch Magazine and many of us have bought her kits. We looked at Guild folios in September and have hadwonderful speakers including Felicity Howatson on Ecclesiastical Embroidery and Greta Fitchett on making fabric chocolates. We have also enjoyed stitching together and this year completed the branch banner thank you again to everyone who produced a letter. The Tolkien Inspired display is on its way to completion and we hope to have it finished early in 2015.
That banner is now used when we meet informally at Birmingham Library on the first Saturday of the month at 11 am. This new development has proved to be a lovely opportunity to sit and stich together and to meet members of the public and tell them about the Guild. We have welcomed new members to the Branch as a result and have also been visited by members from other Branches. Lots of members have participated during the year which also gives us a chance to get to know each other better.
We have again been involved in CoCoMad, the local park festival in July where we had a stall selling kits and finished items and providing a chance for others including children and their parents to join us in stitching. This was fun and also helped to generate funds for the Branch. Some branch members including Clare Wilkins, Elizabeth Parker Janet Lee and Betty Rourke made a very significant contribution to the Staffordshire Hoard Hanging congratulations.
This year was the 40th Anniversary of the young embroiders and the local group have had another excellent year with numbers increasing to 18 during the summer months. They have been in several exhibitions locally and nationally and the work has been well received and a lot of interest shown (hence our increase in numbers). They have made badges, butterflies, book marks, and seashore panels, and will be completing firework panels and Christmas wreaths before the year is ended! They are also making a “Celebration Panel” which will be on display next year at the Guild’s AGM and other occasions.
They also came to our summer party and the children really enjoyed the lecture on making cakes and especially loved the birthday cake which was made for them to celebrate the 40 years of Young Embroiderers. The children were thrilled with the stitch books and packet of needles they all received as a gift in July.
This year’s committee; with Anne Haigh as Treasurer, Clare Wilkins as secretary and Heather Ramsden as vice chair, will continue. I will carry on as chair but want to stress how heavily I rely on all the other committee members. I would like us all to thank them for their hard work on behalf of the guild. Among other things Jayne has taken over much of the responsibility for the blog, Lorna manages the raffle, Margaret the day schools and Angela meets and greets and organises refreshments. Meriel took the lead in producing our bannerand runs the sales table. Next year we will need some sub committees, including one to plan the regional day and while we will be involved we really want to encourage others to join us. We have fun as well as working hard. We are also continuing our raffle with a slightly different theme and hope that lots of members will have a go at producing a bag.
We have started a DVD library. The blog continues to thrive and that and email are really useful ways of communicating to each other and to others outside of the branch. We must however also keep in touch with members who do not use computers and endeavour to always send key documents separately to them. We try to be responsive to the needs of members so please let us know if there is anything we can do differently. We have taken note of the findings of last year’s survey and are seeing if we can do anything to make it easier for members to hear what speakers and those giving notices are saying.
On a national level the national AGM is being held at the Library in Birmingham giving us a great chance to build contacts. The Sustainable Future strategy is being developed with a national consultation meeting with invited members at the beginning of November. There will be a report and recommendations going to the national AGM in Birmingham in 2015. Congratulations should also be extended to Clare Wilkins who as well as being a brilliant branch secretary is also to be the regional secretary. Heather also sits on the regional committee so we are well represented and look forward to growing those links. Clare and heather are attending the consultation meeting.
So we are looking ahead to another busy year and with some trepidation to 2016 when we are hosting the regional Day we have already provisionally booked Cas Holmes to speak and are in the process of finding a venue.
A copy of the accounts were given to all those who attended the AGM. Branch ended the year in profit with money coming in from increased membership, CoCoMad festival, reclaim on Gift Aid and the new raffle with the themed bags. This has taken the burden from Betty Rorke who has managed the raffle for a number of years, and we do thank her for all her efforts on this.
Day Schools continue to make a small profit so we’ve held the cost the same for 2014/15 as we feel given the variety of topics we should be able to get sufficient members attending.
Monthly meetings made a small profit when branch subscriptions, sales table and raffle are included.
So overall a good financial year for the branch.
Budget for the new year is looking ok, as we’ve already had 37 members join this year including 5 new members, and assuming we maintain a good attendance at meetings as we did last year.
The room rent stayed the same last year as the previous year, and as yet Cotteridge haven’t told us of any planned rent increase.
We are looking to invest in things that the branch can utilise and in the past few months have bought the DVDs and the lights for everyone to use at meetings/day schools etc. If people attending the library want a committee member to bring lights along please let us know in advance so we can arrange it.
We are investigating the possibility of a portable PA system and headset microphone for speakers to use during meetings for notices and talks.
We are considering buying small portable equipment e.g. more small ironing boards and if members have suggestions of small equipment please let us know.
We still hope to provide a decorative folder for the welcome packs.
In last year’s report I also suggested we would be investing in more extension cables however when we tidied the cupboard we found a lot so these are not needed.
If you’ve any questions please contact our treasurer, Anne Haigh