Malvern Hills

Dear Member

I wrote to you earlier this month about the dire future faced by your Centre without further committee volunteers to come forward and help with the running of our Agenda. We cannot operate without such a group of Leaders and would therefore be compelled to close.

To recap, we require a Chair, Vice-Chair, Trips Leader, Events Leader, Talks Organiser and a Web-Site manager. We would also need to extra members to assist with Trips and Events.

I am grateful to two members who have kindly considered and volunteered to Lead Trips and Events. But as you can see from the list, we are still woefully short of the required team.

With the existing Committee members who are still prepared to stand for election, we now have two more. However, at the very least, and by no means belittling the other positions required, we could continue if we could also find a Chair and a Talks Organiser as that would fulfill the NT Constitution requirements.

So, how about it? I have set out below the main tasks of both roles. Surely, someone reading this could step forward. Or know someone who will - for example I came in three years ago "from outside." the Centre.

TALKS ORGANISER 
Briefly, the Talks Organiser identifies Speakers (Lists available) and books, up to 18 months in advance. Talks venues are booked to match Speaker dates. Organiser usually checks that all is well prior to scheduled date and ensures Speaker has address details and confirms time and date.There are a couple of other linked duties but this is a quick resumee of the role.

CHAIR.
The Chair is the Leader of the Committee. 5 meetings and one AGM are held throughout the year. The Chair usually attends Talks and introduces  theSpeaker as well as any relevant notices, such as up-coming events, trips, holidays etc. The Chair oversees the Newsletter (2 a year) and monthly Mailchimp Newsletter. Chair generally acts as central contact and sounding board for all Committee Members. As above, there are a number of other minor duties. However, everyone "mucks in" at meetings and so on to share the workload. It is NOT hard work, and much is done from home. 

 WE HAVE SCHEDULED OUR NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING FOR THE 29TH JULY 2020. THIS IS A CRUNCH MEETING. EITHER WE HAVE A FULL TEAM OR WE DO NOT.
BECAUSE OF A NUMBER OF ORGANISATIONAL FACTORS WE MUST DECIDE YES OR NO ON THAT DAY                           
EVERYONE HAS UNTIL 28TH JULY 2020 TO RESPOND AND HOPEFULLY SAVE OUR CENTRE.



 
 
 
 
David Ebsworth 
Chair

This message has been sent to all members either by E mail or surface mail.
 
The future of the Centre is in your hands!
 
 
 
 
THE BEACON - It can be very lonely at the top.
 
Dear Member

I hope that this letter finds you well in these unprecedented times. 

Businesses and Organizations, locally and nationally, have been forced to restructure or indeed close down in recent weeks. Some will not re-open. This brings both recognition and sadness that our way of life and culture, as we have known and enjoyed for so many years, will be impacted far beyond "Lockdown". Sadly, nothing is forever.


At our AGM last February, I announced that I would not be standing for re-election next year and we were short  of a number of places on our committee (and that situation is now much worse). I further announced that without fresh volunteers the future of the Worcester Malvern NT Centre was in jeopardy. That cry for volunteers has been a consistent feature of meetings and Newsletters for many years, and has largely fallen on deaf ears or fallow ground.

That was before the current pandemic. Now, exacerbated by the stringent controls placed on all of us, and our daily lives, we have reached a critical stage, and, unless a considerable number of you come forward, we will be left with no alternative but to close.

We require volunteers to replace (at the very minimum) the Chair, Vice-Chair, Outings organiser, Social Events organiser, Website Manager. A number of helpers who give amazing support behind the scenes (organising coach trips, refreshments etc) are also stepping down after many years of service. Many of the current committee have served beyond the stipulated time of 5 years. Some are stepping down for private, family or health reasons.

Traditionally your  committee plans and books a Calendar of Events well in advance of our Newsletter publications. The pandemic guidelines have forced us to cancel the rest  of our 2020 programme. Your committee would normally by now have sketched in, and in many cases, booked events for 2021. Many of those bookings, (Speakers, Village Halls, Coach Operators) accept our bookings in good faith. However, without a complete team to run those events next year, we would need to cancel them. It would be irresponsible to make such bookings. So currently we do not have a programme for 2021.  

SO WHAT NOW?

IN SHORT, WE DO NOT HAVE THE NECESSARY NUMBER OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO MEET THE NATIONAL TRUST CENTRE CONSTITUTION OR RUN OUR CENTRE FOR NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND. 

ALL INTERESTED MEMBERS ARE INVITED (URGED) TO HELP RESOLVE THIS PROBLEM BY URGENTLY FINDING VOLUNTEERS TO FILL THE VACANT ROLES.

WE HAVE POSTPONED OUR NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING UNTIL THE END OF JULY TO ALLOW AT LEAST 4 CLEAR WEEKS FOR YOU TO RESPOND. YOUR RESPONSE WILL ASSIST THE COMMITTEE WITH THEIR DECISIONS ON WHAT TO DO NEXT. PLEASE RESPOND BEFORE THE 24TH JULY 2020.

I TRUST THAT THIS MESSAGE IS CLEAR. NO VOLUNTEERS -  NO CENTRE.

Of course, this would be sad. Many have selflessly worked hard over the past 49 years for the benefit of membership. Much enjoyment, enlightenment and companionship has been shared. Should the Centre close, it will not be because of covid-19. All that has done has accelerated what has clearly been an ongoing dilemma for many, many years now - the lack of volunteers.

We are not expecting or seeking any more suggestions for events, trips, talks, holidays or general correspondence. Your current committee are disconsolate. We only wish to hear from those who are volunteering or know of someone who will. 

THERE WILL BE NO FUTURE FOR OUR CENTRE UNLESS WE HAVE IMMEDIATE COMMITTEE SOLUTIONS

STAY SAFE
DAVID
Chair

 
 
 
 






 

A deserted Church Street in Malvern.
 
I hope that this finds you and your loved ones safe? We repeatedly hear the word `un-precedented` when applied to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, what other word could we use? The long-lasting impact on every citizen, business or government is, at this early stage, to difficult to call. Who could ever have predicted this scene in Church Street on a Saturday afternoon in April? When will our beleaguered businesses be allowed to open again? When will National Trust be free to open its doors and grounds?

But we all have to deal with the situation in our own way, and are fortunate to live in a wonderful part of the county; lockdown must be dire for those living in urban areas, possibly with no outside space. April turned out to be the sunniest on record and has, for many, made this enforced self-catering holiday more bearable. 

There is much talk now on how and when Lockdown will be eased. Your committee anticipates that our agenda of outings will continue to be affected for the next few months. Social distancing cannot be easily practiced by coach travellers, and of course many of our visits are in group form. So we all await Government rules and guidelines to be released, which in turn will inform our decision to proceed or not.

Some members are due for re-imbursement for events that were cancelled. Please spare a thought for Stephen Lawrence, our new Treasurer, who has the unusual task of sending out lots of cheques as his first role with us. The process  has been a tad slow, held up by the need for two signatures on cheques. With one signatory in Worcester, one in Great Malvern and the Treasurer in Malvern Link and social distancing that has slowed us up!. Stephen has also undertaken to collate as many cheques into single return payments as possible. Please be patient. Thank you Stephen.   

 
 
Felicity and I live near the centre of Malvern, and we are fortunate to be able to choose some wonderful walks to all points of the compass from our home. This view of bluebells in woods near to Malvern College grounds a few days ago was quite inspirational.

Janet Bailey, our Membership Secretary, has forwarded some information on National Trust Membership renewals. In summary, National Trust has decided to allow 25% discount on membership renewals this year if paid by cheque or annual DD, and a three month payment break if paying by monthly DD. These discounts have to be requested as they hope most people will pay the full fee.

For those of you who attended our AGM in February, you will recall that we unanimously voted to increase WMNT Centre annual membership from £7 to £10 for First member and £5 for each additional member from October 2020. It is at least 6 years since our last increase, and many costs such as postage, have risen since then. However, these are unusual times and your Committee remains uncertain whether to implement the increase this year. What do you think? Please write back to me with your views. We wish to act in the best interests of all, so the more input we have, the more informed our decision will be.
I thought that you would appreciate this picture of the "Handkerchief Tree" in Priory Park. It`s Official name is Davidia involuctrata (I looked that up!) and is also known by other names such as Ghost tree, and Dove Tree. For just a few weeks each year it really is quite spectacular, this year being no different.

Many members tell me that their gardens are getting some un-divided attention and providing welcome distraction to the pandemic. The absence of traffic has improved the quality of the air we breathe, trees and shrubs have never looked more colourful, and the birdsong can be heard so much more clearly. We must take our pleasures where we can.

I did not write the words below. I wish that I had (or even could have!)

LEISURE by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when wood we pass
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn to Beauty`s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare. 


Stay strong and safe; one day this horrible period will be over, but until then we must be thankful for Nature reminding us what a wonderful world it can be.



 
David Ebsworth 
Chair



 

 
DEAR MEMBER

On behalf of your Committee, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Easter.
Felicity and I took this photograph yesterday whilst out on our `exercise time`. The scene is Swan Pool in the Priory Park, and is a reminder to us all of the wonderful spaces that we can enjoy in our area. They will still be there when these strange times are over.
We were scheduled to hold a Committee Meeting on the 8th April which was obviously not possible, but we managed to successfully conduct affairs via email. Like so much of everyday life, we are subject to government guidelines and therefore not able to predict when we can resume with our programme of Talks, Trips and Holidays. It would seem highly unlikely that anything will be possible before July at the earliest, but we will be in touch once things become clearer.
However, we are delighted to share some good news - we have two new Committee members. Stephen Lawrence has agreed to become our Treasurer and Carol Rosier has volunteered to take on the role of Newsletter Collator. Both were formally proposed, seconded and unanimously voted for by Committee at our email meeting.. On your behalf we would like to offer both of them a very warm welcome.
We took this view looking down Avenue Road to highlight just how strange and surreal the current times are. Normally this road, and others near to Malvern Railway Station are full of cars. The interesting corollary to this is that occasional traffic seems to be going much faster!
 
Unusual times unearth unusual talents. We spotted this poem in an empty shop-front in Barnard`s Green. We are unable to attribute this as there was no name but the words do hold a certain poignancy.
 With the hope that you and your loved ones all remain strong and healthy and Best wishes
 for Easter

David Ebsworth 
Chair