Thursday, 11 February 2016

EG: Council Communique 27th January 2016

Meeting of the Council of Regional Chairs
27th January 2016


1. Members and Branches Consultation
The initial consultation exercise has indicated that there is no consensus within the Guild membership on a remodelling of either the Branch or Membership model.

However, the profile of the Guild has to be in the forefront of people's minds. Membership was 13,500 in 2008 and is 7,500 in 2016. There has been success in slowing the rate of loss from 500 per year to 280 per year but a different gear is needed to raise the public's awareness of the Guild as a charity and to re- build membership numbers.

Recent initiatives such as the Magna Carta Embroidery, the Capability Brown Festival and the Game of Thrones project have demonstrated the enhanced impact all elements of the Guild working together can have on its public profile and this ‘combined efforts’ approach will be pursued on other occasions.

The Board will be considering the outcomes of the consultation exercise and, as a result, the need to achieve significant savings in overhead and administrative costs.

2. Branches at risk of closure
There have been a number of closures of branches in recent years and Regional Chairs are being asked to monitor branch sustainability closely. Branches are asked to give early indications of problems to Regional Chairs so that help can be given to prevent possible closures. The majority of closures have been in branches with less than 30 members but it is acknowledged that some of the smaller branches are among the most stable and committed.

3. National Celebration of Stitch Day
This will be on 6th August in 2016 and building on the partnership theme it is hoped to raise the number of branches participating from 65 last year to 100. Guidance notes will be sent out to branches during February, a new poster is being designed and , to link to Capability Brown, there will be a common theme for participating branches of Landscapes and Gardens. Public involvement in stitching can be encouraged in ways which relate to this theme EG.' Stitch a leaf ' and add it to a tree branch etc.
Branches are asked to indicate to regional Chairs if they intend to participate by the end of May.

4. Capability Brown
Plans for Capability Brown exhibitions are now well under way and branches and Regions are encouraged to utilise all social media and press outlets to publicise events in their areas.

5. A Game of Thrones
All designs and materials have now been sent out to those people participating in this initiative and Press and PR issues will be handled centrally by the production company. The CEO is seeking ways to capitalise on the publicity and to mount exhibitions of the work produced around the country. It is felt that this has the potential to significantly raise the profile of the Guild and to generate income.

6. Inspired to Create Courses
These new courses were publicised in the previous issue of Contact. Branches, clusters of branches and Regions are now able to offer these courses to existing members and potential new members in order to promote learning. If sufficient indications of interest are received by HQ by the end of May then further resources will be devoted to their development.

7. National AGM.
This will take place on Saturday 7th May in Manchester when the speakers will be Susie Vickery and Sian Martin. Full details are available on the national Guild Website.

8. New Guild Trustees

New Trustee posts have now been announced and can be accessed via the Guild web site Members page - About Us – Our Organisation/Trustees

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