Here we are into 2015, which I hope will be a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous year, and a new season of summer outings that will be of interest and pleasure for you all.
Looking back I note that this time last year I was commenting on, and from some aspects, looking forward to our return home to the Bannockburn centre. Looking forward to the stability we found in the old centre, but also aware of the limited space available to us in the new building. As it was it turned out to be a complete disaster, with lack of space, ventilation, excessive noise, both internally and externally, and generally unfit for purpose. However, over the summer period, thanks largely due to a lot of time and effort by Sandy and Margaret Moreland, we finished up with two other venues, in addition to The Smith which we tried out last year, for the purpose of our winter meetings. Both of the most recent venues referred to having been recently refurbished. With three meetings in each of the Mayfield Centre and the St. Ninian's Church Hall, it is hoped that you will all have found the opportunity to measure the potential of either as a more permanent home for our winter programme. These meetings have been very successful, and both venues found to provide ample space for our purpose without having to resort to waiting lists. Mayfield Centre has free "on street" parking if their car park is full, and the St Ninian's Church Hall convenor has advised that an agreement has been reached with Lidl to use the area of their car park nearest to the hall if necessary. Attached to this newsletter is a questionnaire asking for your opinions of both in order to finalise that matter. Unfortunately neither, due to the numerous organisations already using them, is able to offer any great capacity of storage space for the Audio/Visual property which we own. That property being stored elsewhere and conveyed to meetings as required.
It would appear that we were somewhat spoiled at the old Heritage Centre, Bannockburn, where arrangements for storage and the booking of a date for a speaker were a simple matter. Now we have to compete with other organisations, using the same facilities, in order to fix a date which is suitable to both the speaker and the management of the new venue. However those arrangements appear to be working reasonably well, and should be helped if we, with your assistance, can settle on one venue from those already visited.
The question of disability and mobility has recently come under discussion. As an aging group disabilities may occur and provision should be made for same. It was felt that where the member applying requires extra assistance, other than merely ascending and descending the steps of the bus, for instance, requiring the constant use of a wheelchair, the application should also include a request for a carer to accompany them. The carer, attending the outing under those circumstances, would attend free of the basic trip and entry fee charges.
A further point under discussion, due to recent legislation, is the service of wine along with "nibbles" at the close of our winter meetings. At the end of the January meeting only a small amount of wine was used, although it may well be that the weather played a large part in that. Certainly the individual measures served at our meetings do not amount to that measured in a standard wine glass, but we are aware that many have decided not to drink before driving to any degree. It was decided to continue making wine available for the rest of the winter programme, but also to carefully monitor the situation.
I believe I mentioned, at the AGM, that we had made a fairly substantial donation to The Hill House, Helensburgh, in order to assist them to purchase items of furniture currently loaned to them for display purposes, their appeal having been lodged between the date of my autumn report and the AGM. I am very recently informed that the target price of £100,000 is very close to being achieved and almost certainly will be by the end of their financial year, which is the end of February. This is also the closing date for the purchase of the property. I am also informed that the success of this venture has been largely due to the contributions made by the Members' Centres and Friends groups, and that we shall be informed of the eventual success of this project upon completion of the sale.
Once again your committee has been able to organise a full, varied and entertaining programme of outings for the coming summer, commencing with a visit to Scotland's Mining Museum, on Wednesday, 22nd April. Once again we shall be starting off from Springkerse, before picking up at The Smith and then travelling on to our intended venue. Once again I should remind you of the agreement we have with PC World and the parking authority that we use only the northwest part of the parking area, that is, to the left of, and not in front of PC World. I should also point out again that late cancellation, by any member of their ability to attend a trip, should be passed directly to the organiser of that particular trip, details of whom are contained on the programme card.
In closing may I wish you all a pleasant season ahead.
Jack D. McGregor,
Standing L-R : Donald Way, Jack Sutherland, Bob McKean, Neil Pollock, Sandy Moreland, Ian Watson, Jack McGregor, Robert Jackson.
Seated L-R : Margaret Moreland, Liz Bryce, Gill McGregor, Kate Luke.
We currently have 200 memberships representing 265 people.
If any member who currently does not pay his/her subscription by Standing Order or has not completed a Gift Aid mandate and wishes to do so, please contact Robert Jackson, our treasurer, who will supply the appropriate form(s).
£1,000 to The Hill House, Helensburgh towards the appeal to acquire two pieces of furniture at Hill House - an armchair and lamp designed by Mackintosh.
Mrs Jean Parker of Dunblane - She had been a member since 1998 and died in July 2014. We would like to offer her family and friends our deep and sincere sympathy on their sad loss.