Previous Wecome Pages

25/02/17
Last minute advice
concerning the 48th AGM

05/01/17
Happy New Year
& Musing the next AGM

21/11/16
Paintings and being
appreciated

09/09/16
Chairman's three cheers
and Mail Rail at Quainton

25/08/16
Deep regrets and
Editorial Opinion

07/07/16
Blessed "St" Thomas

09/06/16
Time flies but
Oligarchies don't

25/04/16
That was the AGM
that was?

15/04/16
Whats happening at
Quainton?

01/02/2016
Observations about
News from Quainton

10/08/15
Resignations and
running the Society

04/03/2015
Original welcome page

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Current 1st Page

 

 
25/04/17

UNOFFICIAL QUAINTON RAILWAY SOCIETY MEMBERS WEB SITE
(The views expressed within this web site do not reflect the policies of the QRS "Trustees" unless specifically endorsed.)

 

That was the AGM that wasn't

Readers 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.

Then 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.

A 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.

However, 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).

Quite 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.)

Squaring 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.

This 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.

Opening 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.

Just 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.