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An AGM? Res ipsa loquitor – 2 May 2018

How do you assess the health of a club that has been running for nearly 50 years? Our club’s Annual General Meeting last week may have provided a few indicators.

In the first instance, approaching thirty members turned out for a gathering that could hardly claim to be the most alluring of our weekly meetings. There was still however the usual buzz and exchange of stories that precedes most meetings. Secondly, the retiring President’s comprehensive report provided ample evidence of a club continuing to flourish with a packed agenda of keynote speakers, member-led workshops, competitions and read-around evenings. Thirdly, the club has increased its membership and continues, as in previous years, to excel at the competitions run by the Scottish Association of Writers to whom the club has been affiliated for many years.

If the above sounds immodest and complacent, the contrary is in fact the case. The club recognises that there is an increasing need to avoid stagnation, to continue to attract new members of all ages and to make an impact in more diverse social areas. For the latter there might be an added side effect of assisting in our applications for supportive public funding. There appears to be no doubt that the club has suffered like many organisations from the squeeze on public funding of the arts. Sponsorship for competitions and introducing lyric writing to the club’s agenda were two of the ideas that floated across the horizon in response to a request from the chair to dabble in blue sky thinking.

The club’s busy year culminates next week in the Annual Dinner and Prize Giving at the The Savoy Park Hotel. Only four tickets were left last week. Next year’s programme is already compiled, the new committee has been voted in and summer read-arounds at members’ houses are planned. The club’s google chatline is alive with details and thanks for a generous donation of a painting by a member’s husband for the club raffle. The new club year at The Mercure Hotel is already fixed for Wednesday 5 September 2018. Club members are reminded of local and national writing competitions. We contribute to a weekly slot in the Ayr Advertiser. And that’s just some of what is going on…….

The health of the club? The Latin legal phrase comes to mind. Res Ipsa Loquitur. The facts speak for themselves.

Chris Palmer

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