Tom Milne, Spike Bernard and Stuart Dixon.
The minutes of the meeting will come out in due course, but it was an interesting one with many of the committee members from the local branches and some opportunities to meet old pals. Kindly hosted by the Group Director, CO of 1 RSME Regiment and RSM Crossen. Lt Col Cuniff responded warmly to our update.
Radio Branch Update
06 June 2015
Situation as at 2014 AGM
From our AGM last year we were near to disbanding because we could not find enough active members to form a committee.
Membership numbers were vague and we didn’t hear much from anyone apart from the committee and we were about to close the branch.
Family of Royal Engineers
After reading an address by the Chief Royal Engineer to the association in 2013(?) we picked up his theme about building an inclusive community comprising serving soldiers, TA – veterans and anyone who had an interest in the corps – essentially a whole life approach was more preferable to isolated communities. (I was really pleased when the director included that in his opening address – SD).
This approach came at the right time for us.
Our problems were various. In our branch the veterans weren’t coming together well enough to form a community and we were too weak even to sustain our own membership. There were a number of separate membership databases for the treasurer and newsletter editor and we had an outdated web presence.
The common view was we had very low numbers of members and very small assets , i.e. very little to offer.
The CRE had set the pace so we accepted the challenge.
To get to where we wanted to be we just needed to change the approach (to a more modern one). We set the aim from just surviving as a branch to one of creating a community.
We did a root and branch review of the problems and began to change – we had to basically:
- locate and increase membership
- Restructure based on community aspects
This meant creating meaningful assets and events that appeal to everyone in answer to the question what is it we have to offer?
The membership database review revealed a membership in excess of 90 members in several groups and no serving members. We had previously not been able to identify more than a dozen members. No serving members – just veterans.
The branch is currently in the process of change expected to take 18 – 24 Months. The approach is a staged approach to a transition where work packages create opportunities which can then be exploited.
Stage 1 – Membership and Funding
A working database is shared online across committee. Members@reasignals.net gives the branch members a focal point for two way communications and a corporate Identity.
The database has spawned Two mailing lists – one email and one postal.
This leads to more frequent and targeted communications.
The opportunity is there to save money on postage and establish funds and appropriate subscriptions.
Stage 2 – Concurrently Build the Online Community
A means to widen the membership and information about the branch using online assets like Facebook, Twitter and a BLOG called On Net… which gives regular updates on activities and meetings.
We also have an online Registration process etc.
This has led to the opportunity for veterans to engage with serving soldiers.
We recently were able to appoint a serving member of sufficient rank to the committee. And this is expected to promote the veterans within the corps, via various events notably at the Signals Wing Annual Technical Update at Minley in June this year.
All being well, this should have a catalytic effect and create further opportunities.
Given the above and the rate of any further work between now and Mid 2016, the feedback received suggests a mission to establish a number of events that appeal to all interests and which can form a routine going forward.
The current idea is to hold an AGM in 2016 which represent the whole family of signallers, radio operators and IT Operators and which includes a dinner and a keynote speech from a senior member of the corps.
Our special interests are:
- Radio and electronic hobbies which are common to all members (but we realise so is Rugby). We aspire to hold a field day and at least two special event radio stations per annum. Possibly one at the AGM and Another at the RE Museum.
- Sharing experience and friendship across the community and having a shared identity.
- To make enough funds to support the above and donate to a charity.
Stuart Dixon, Branch Secretary