Report of meeting on 21st October at Kingsbury Barn
This was the first of our meetings to include a social element – what the majority of members who responded to our questionnaire told us you would like. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the barn (where we didn’t need our warm woollies) and 27 of us met to have an update on the Society’s activities and to discuss the results of the members’ questionnaire. Following a short presentation summarising the results of the questionnaire (slides available here) there was a lively discussion which continued over refreshments. All those present were pleased to receive our regular emails and there was a clear view that when we are seeking views or offers of help a single topic email is preferred. We will do that in future wherever practicable.
A number of areas of interest to be taken forward in working groups were identified- including blue plaques, environmental issues including traffic impacts and better liaison with other Civic Societies. We are delighted that some members immediately put their names forward to be actively involved in these activities – and if others may be interested then please let us know.
Our next steps are to incorporate these ideas into our draft five-year plan and we will be holding another meeting in the spring of 2019 to discuss and finalise this draft plan. The date and venue are not yet fixed but we will again include a sociable element as everyone present felt that was worthwhile.
We were disappointed by the relatively small numbers attending. We recognise that members have busy lives and maybe Sunday afternoons are not ideal. We will try another time of the week for our next such meeting and do hope that as many members as possible will be able to come along – settling on our plan and priorities for the future is important for all of us.
What’s it all about
The Civic Society committee has decided to start a review and ask some serious questions about its activities and how it involves members. In the coming months it will be consulting not only with its membership but also the wider public. This, dear reader, includes you.
This means pertinent questions like: as a civic society are we meeting our remit; keeping up with the city’s development challenges; protecting and promoting St Albans’ heritage and amenities; communicating enough with not only members but the public and the Council. Are we offering what people want with our various talks, visits and other events?
Of particular importance is the need to engage with younger people who are the city’s future. They are key to things but are, inevitably, busy working and perhaps have little time to really dwell on what’s happening in the place where they live. Many of us know this because we have been through that stage of life already. Therein lies a clue to our deliberations. None of us are getting any younger!
Take any Civic Society and you invariably find that it has a mostly grey-haired membership, just like our committee! How to attract new members is a pressing issue and raises the question – what do people want from their Civic Society?
Fortunately for us this is not really about money, for the Society’s finances are healthy and we are able to offer funds to worthy local community projects. The key to the future is remaining relevant, keeping and attracting members who support our aims and who can help influence the Society and the city’s future.
As Cilla Black sang ‘What’s it all About?’ The Society has had some positive results and campaigns like saving the cinema; opposing the railfreight depot; the tree sponsorship scheme; supporting projects such as the new museum and gallery; promoting Heritage Open Days; scrutinizing planning and licensing matters. Inevitably we have ruffled some feathers. And why not? Sometimes somebody just has to say something and be there to take up an issue or offer advice and support. We really do want to hear your views.
To let us know your comments please go to the contact form page
The survey has now closed, thank you to the 117 members who replied.