Malvern Hills

LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN

I would like to start this, my first Chairmans letter, by offering a huge thank you to everyone that I have met so far in my new role. You have all given my wife Felicity and myself a really warm welcome to the fold. I have encountered massive encouragement and goodwill, nowhere more so than the Committee, and I feel sure that this bodes well for ensuring a fruitful and rewarding future for our Centre.

One of my first tasks was to attend a group meeting of fellow Centres at Packwood House. In my conversations with them I became firmly convinced that here at Worcester/Malvern we have a strong and vibrant membership that can continue to go onwards and upwards based on strong foundations.

As a new Chairman I am grateful to have around me a dedicated committee offering experience and advice. Of course, this did not happen by accident, and credit is due not only to the existing team, but also our recently retired Chairman, Sheila Collis, and magnificent contributions from Peter & Marina Riley, Hazel Cartledge, Gill Richardson and all of the others who went before them. As they stand down of course they will be missed, but their legacy will support us as we look to the challenges ahead.

A new Chair offers a time of introspection about our aims and values. We are acutely aware of the challenges faced by virtually all organisations around us. In common with them, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find volunteers for the many roles and tasks that we need to cover for us to exist or operate effectively. In the short term we need to find a new treasurer to take over from John, and a new Vice-Chair to cover my role when I am unable to attend. We would welcome any help you can offer, with any aspect of our Centre, from refreshments at our talks, to organising talks or for leading outings. With almost 500 members, I am convinced we have people who could just do a little something to help, even if only once or twice a year. Every little helps and this is YOUR Centre.

For the longer term, your Committee will seek to not only continue to provide our well-tried format of outings, talks, social events and holiday trips, but also examine how we can respond to the changing world around us.

It is abundantly clear that many organisations, our own included, are facing a large demographic gap. Younger generations have increasingly busy and complex lifestyles, often with very different pressures from our own, and we must learn how to understand this and engage with them accordingly.

Through the National Trust we are successfully preserving our Heritage for future generations to enjoy. What we need to do is find younger team members to join us and share that mantle and that will mean adapting our offering and communication methods to reach out to them in their daily lives

Our Centre has 500 members, and through them they must have many children, grand-children and great grand-children, covering a wide range of ages. Could we ask them what type of Centre would appeal to them or their families, what type of events could bring all generations together. For example, should we hold a couple of family-style days or exclusive events to cover all generations a couple of times a year? We have some fantastic National Trust properties on our doorstep, and they are keen to work with us on this. Please ask and we may discover a new way forward. We are surrounded by lovely bright and engaging youngsters, so let us all find a way that we can enjoy together, thus ensuring a stronger future for our Centre and in turn everyone`s heritage, the National Trust. 

A core benefit of Centre membership is shared fellowship. The more often we can meet in convivial surroundings the more we can hope to experience the value of our times together. We have organised a three hour River Severn Cruise starting out from Upton on Severn on the 27th September. You will notice that you are able to invite a non-member to join us and hopefully this will help us to demonstrate the value of Centre membership as well as giving us all a great afternoon out. Please do join us. 

With very best wishes for a warm summer and safe travelling for those on the move

David