Firstly, let me apologies for the time it has taken to provide you with this newsletter. It has been an incredibly busy time for the branch and there are several matters that have required our attention.
Since the AGM the committee and I have been fully engaged in ensuring that our branch is represented properly within the RAFA community, which has necessitated in doing a certain amount of ‘housekeeping’. This has ensured that we are fully compliant with the law and also the regulations that RAFA have in place. Your secretary, Dewi Humphries, has done sterling work to ensure that we are now properly compliant with Data Protection, as well as putting in place measures to ensure that members are contactable.
This work has complimented that being carried out by the Vice Chairman, Martin ‘Taff’ Turner, in setting up the members only Facebook page and migrating all confirmed members of the branch (who subscribe to Facebook) to the page. If you have not yet been migrated, please be patient. Taff is endeavoring to make sure that members details are correct and up to date. He is cross checking the details with RAFA Central HQ to ensure that their database is also up to date and matches our records. Taff is being ably assisted by Mal Clarke who will be taking on the role full time in due course.
In addition, both Taff and Dewi have taken the time to represent the branch both at area and national conference. Their report is being drawn up as I write this, so I shall not steal their thunder, suffice it to say they have done an excellent job in representing the branch and raising issues that concern us.
I must also take the time to acknowledge and commend the work being done by Ian Thomas (President). Far from resting on his presidential laurels, Ian is working extremely hard behind the scenes to promote and develop Virtual Branches such as ourselves. He has engaged with the other virtual branches to put forward a joint proposal for our own ‘Virtual Area’, this will focus on the matters of importance to virtual branches that often differ from those of physical branches. With that in mind there is likely to be an inaugural virtual branch conference in December this year. As promised at the AGM, we are looking to take the lead in regards to this area. We want to help to define the look and feel of virtual branches and how they fit into the modern Association. To that end, any suggestions for ideas are welcomed.
The daily business of the branch continues apace. Sadly, we have said a last farewell to too many of our brethren since the AGM. We have endeavored to ensure that our condolences are with the families and, where requested, either a wreath has been sent or a donation has been made. In cases where the branch standard has been requested, Podge Middleton has gone above and beyond to ensure that wish has been fulfilled.
On a more positive note, our finances are in good order thanks to our treasurer, Shaun Vasey. He has tirelessly pursued our rebate from Central HQ and has successfully ensured that this will be paid. Donations continue to come in to the branch from several sources.
I am most grateful to all who take the time to raise money and make donations to the branch. In particular, I must mention the fantastic work done by Bob Hedley and the Bradford Arms Hotel. Bob has recently agreed to run a local lottery at his hotel which has a potential of raising £400 funding for the branch every year.
I am always grateful for any suggestions or offers to help raise money for the branch. As a virtual branch, we aim (and have been successful to date) to ensure that 90% or more of the money we raise is used for welfare purposes.
I am pleased to announce that our website (new and improved) has been subject to a revamp and is now up and running. Mike Blundell has done a fantastic job in bringing the website up to date and relevant to our needs. You can visit the website at www.plumbersrest.co.uk.
I would now like to appeal to all of you working for corporations and companies out there who are looking to hire new employees. We would like to include an area on the webpage for members seeking work. Please talk to your HR departments with a view to allowing us to advertise vacancies on the page. The page is there for your benefit, if you have suggestions for improvements, please contact me with your ideas.
Martin Tangen, Chairman RAFAAB.