Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

British Society AGM Minutes 2015

Annual General Meeting

British Society of Amsterdam

Held at the Bilderberg Garden Hotel, Amsterdam

24th September 2015, commencing at 19.30

Present:  Tracey Taylor, Nick Nugent, George Titan, Steward Warburn, Gillian Brooks, William Tweddle, John Cameron-Webb, William Laird, Ian Cherington, Geoff Dudley, Kirsten Pyle

 

Apologies received from Stephen Huyton, John Richardson

 

Proxies

There were no written proxies received. Notice of attendance circulated.

 

Agenda

There were no exceptions to the agenda, so it was adopted for the meeting.

 

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, held on 4th September 2014

There were no objections to the minutes, which were therefore taken as read.

 

Annual Report from the Chairman – Ian Cherington

 

The Chairman gave a vote of thanks to:

  • John Cameron-Webb
  • “Zine” team – Alison, John, Andy and Benjamin
  • Nick and Dee (Zine content)
  • John (website)
  • Kirsten (secretary)
  • William (treasurer)
  • Gillian (membership)
  • Geoff (tennis)
  • Paul Huxley (Shakespeare’s birthday, squash)
  • Sharon (soft tennis)
  • Laura (badminton – taken over by David)
  • Craig and Naomi for Bonfire night
  • Jane for Ball (with Nick’s help)
  • Tracey
  • Simon (golf)
  • Stephen for his help generally
  • Alison and Elizabeth (Burns night)
  • David Raleigh/Dee for Expatica fair
  • Nick for help with the Committee

 

 

Overall it has been a healthy year, but the Chairman felt that we were somewhat static, and it was time to re-assess the society for the future.

 

He felt that we should ask ourselves a number of questions:

  • Who exactly is our target audience?
  • What do we do?

It was his view that it felt like we spent a lot of effort organizing events for the benefit of non-members (example – Christmas ball 2014 – 27 members, 93 non-members attended).

There was discussion amongst those present of the points brought up. The possibility of doing a survey amongst members to see what events they would like was raised. The possibility of doing more children’s events was also raised. A suggestion that we could use the Bonfire as a means of attracting members was discussed.

Ian said that for the coming Christmas Ball, the strategy of getting “bums on seats” by offering an early bird discount had been a success. However it also meant that because the uptake on it had been so great, that the Ball was likely to make a EUR 4/5K loss.

In relation to the coming Bonfire night, Ian mentioned that the tickets had only been on sale for 8 days, and already 300 out of 500 had been sold. The permits had been applied for in January but only came through in September. The possibility of doing Bonfire night on a bigger scale had been considered, but the costs became much more expensive for an event of more than 500 people. The point was raised again that it was an event which primarily non-members attended. Ian felt that we should consider the orientation of the event in future – whether it should be a Britsoc event or a bigger commercial event? And in which case, do we wish to take that kind of risk on?

For info, Ian mentioned that we had recently received a lawyer’s letter for copyright on a photo used on the website. We had removed the photo from the website and were in contact with the lawyers to see how the issue could be resolved.

Ian ended his report by saying that he felt that it was time for new blood and new energy as Chairman, and therefore he felt that it was time to step down. He continued that he had managed to see many of his goals put into place during his tenure – digitization of the membership, moving the Society’s effects into a storage place, and setting up a web shop with Ideal payment facilities.

Further to his resignation, Ian concluded by saying that Nick had offered to stand as chairman to replace him.

 

Treasurer’s Report and approval of the accounts for the Year ending 30 June 2015

 

  • Membership fee income has declined by EUR 0.6K to EUR 2.8K (fully paid up members fell by 41 to 70).

 

  • Advertising income increased by EUR 0.4K to EUR 6.4K.

 

  • Admin costs decreased from EUR 3.3K to EUR 3 K.

 

  • Website costs decreased from EUR 5.5K to EUR 5 K.

 

  • Income from activities had a surplus of EUR 4 K, increased from EUR 2.1 K the previous year. This was principally due to the Bonfire night which made a surplus of EUR 2.9K in 2015 compared to EUR 0.4K in 2014.

 

  • In total, there was a surplus for the year of EUR 5.6K, in comparison to EUR 3.1K in the previous year.

 

  • Cash balances increased to EUR 41.9K (39 K in 2014)

 

William said that he would make an accrual to take into account any costs incurred with the use of the photo on the website, and that the accounts still had be audited.

 

Subject to the accrual being made, and the accounts being audited, the accounts were approved.

 

Election of Officers

 

The following nominations to the Committee were made and approved:

 

Nick Nugent – Chairman

William Tweddle – Treasurer with Mike Wardropper as auditor

Kirsten Pyle – Secretary

John Richardson – Webmaster

Andy Symmonds – Marketing and advertising

Gillian Brooks –    Committee member

Stephen Huyton-   Committee member

 

John C-W gave a vote of thanks given to Ian for all his hard work during his time as Chairman.

 

Closing Remarks

The incoming Chairman, Nick made some closing remarks. He said that there would be a transition period, in which he would try and speak to everybody. We needed to consider the question of membership; we needed to consider whether to have more events. There would a committee meeting called in November, at which everything could be discussed.

He felt that it was important to promote “Britishness”, especially now when people have so much choice in relation to expat organisations/events.

There was no further business, so the meeting was closed.

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