The countryside champions

Setting Course for the Future

Anthony McEwen, Director

It will be just under a year since I took post when you receive this newsletter. It has been an interesting and challenging time in a number of ways and not just for me. Many of our challenges and a number of our opportunities were explored in a recent CPRE Hampshire Strategy Day. Some 30 members and volunteers from other organisations were kind enough to give up the day whose theme was "Setting Course for the Future". The day started with a review of our achievements and campaigning opportunities for the future led by our chairman, Christopher Napier. These certainly caught the attention of attendees but what was slightly worrying was that some of the achievements listed were new to a number of members in the audience.

Future course workshop

Communication, which was to be another item of discussion later in the day, is a two way process. I believe any perceived gaps can only filled by us all working together - that is members, District Chairs plus staff at Branch and National level - to ensure they are covered.

The optimistic start was somewhat dampened by the next session which covered our financial position as portrayed by the volunteer Treasurer, Tony Fessler. In summary we have made significant inroads into our reserves over the last 2 years and particularly since April 2010. The situation is summarised later in this newsletter. It needs to be turned around. We believe we have the will and skills to do this if we, as a Branch, pull together.

These sessions led into a series of presentations and discussions designed to raise questions about what we wanted our branch to be. Subsequently attendees considered 3 major areas in smaller syndicate groups covering:

  1. How we might increase membership and what opportunities could help us achieve this goal
  2. Structure for the future
  3. Potential partners or funders and additional sustainable methods of raising funds.

A number of useful ideas and inputs were developed in syndicate before being shared among all attendees. The details will be taken forward separately. Our Chairman then summarised by indicating that attendees had concluded that:

  • CPRE Hampshire needs to be to be a county wide organisation of influence and impact. This requires reach into and status within both local government and voluntary organisations.
  • Our effectiveness can be enhanced by partnering both commercial and voluntary organisations.
  • The key to future success and financial stability lies in increasing our membership, making best use of personal contacts, our new leafl et and logo, and working in partnership with National Office.
  • Neighbourhood planning and localism provide a real opportunity for us.
  • There is a natural affinity of members to their local areas, so Districts continue to be important; but at the same time we need to be flexible in our structure and make best use of technology.

Given these conclusions the ball, so to speak, is now clearly back in the members' court.

We, in Bridgett's Farm Offices, need your help to identify more organisations with whom we can partner and then, importantly, to introduce CPRE Hampshire to them.

In like manner it is up to you to support the recruiting of more members. Becky and I are more than willing to speak on appropriate occasions but ultimately it is your own personal belief and passion that will make the difference.

It is my fervent hope that we can achieve our joint aims. Good luck.

This article first appeared in Hampshire Views No.3, (Spring 2011) (PDF).

This page last updated 19th April February 2011.


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