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Letter from the Chair of the South West Fed

Letter from the Chair of the South West Fed

March 2023

Dear Members,

Despite the recent dreary weather, spring is certainly in the air and the South West Fed is looking forward to seeing you at the exciting online talks and in-person events we have in the pipeline for 2023.

We kicked off the year with three outstanding talks on topics both current and relevant to the sector, including oceans at risk and engaging communities during the cost-of-living crisis. In March, to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we held an online talk about heritage at risk in times of conflict, donating £1 of every ticket sold to the United 24 Rebuild Ukraine campaign. 

We’ve got some fantastic online talks and in-person events for members coming up, including on 20 April, a talk from the Wells & Mendip Museum on reinvigorating the local museum post Covid (tickets on sale now), and on 18 May we are excited to welcome Joe Rush, Artist and Art Director for Glastonbury Festival to talk about the artistic vision for this world-renowned festival (tickets on sale now). For both talks, we are trialling a new evening time slot of 6:30-7:30pm, in response to a recent decline in attendance at our lunchtime online talks and member feedback. We hope that the evening time will allow more of our members and others to join and benefit from hearing from these great speakers. Please help spread the word!

Another date for your diaries is Tuesday 13 June, the next South West Fed AGM which will be free to attend and held at The Box in Plymouth. We are hugely grateful to The Box for hosting us this year and look forward to sharing more details about the meeting and associated networking events with members shortly. As ever, you can keep up with all of our events programming on our website here.

As with most organisations, the South West Fed has been struggling with increasing costs. As a ‘lean’ organisation, there is limited scope for us to reduce our overheads and since we introduced a free membership model in 2020, we rely solely on income from our events programme. It is extremely important to us that we continue to offer benefits to our members at low cost. However in order to keep the current membership model sustainable, we will be increasing the ticket price for our online talks starting in May, as follows:

Student/concession: £2.75

Member: £3.75

Non-member / suggested donation: £5 minimum

We are grateful to everyone who buys a ticket and takes the time to attend our events. Your support enables the South West Fed to continue to operate for the benefit of all of our 1000+ members. If you haven’t been to a talk or in-person event in some time, I encourage you to attend. Equally, if you don’t feel that you have the time to attend our events but would like to support the Fed, please consider making an annual or more regular donation using the donate button on the home page of our website. Thank you.

Finally, in June this year at our AGM, we will see two of our longest serving trustees step down. Laura Service, our Communications Secretary, and Emily Worsdale, our Events Secretary, collectively have given more than 12 years of generous and invaluable service to the South West Fed and will be sadly missed. 

This means we are recruiting for new trustees to join our dedicated and talented Board this summer. Specifically we are looking for a new Communications Secretary and Events Secretary, and we are always looking for more Creative Programmers to support our events programme. 

Being a trustee for the South West Fed is a fantastic opportunity to give something back to the sector as well as to develop skills and experience, and extend your professional network. If you have communications, marketing, events and/or website skills, we would be particularly interested to hear from you. If you are interested in these areas, we can train you up too. We are also keen for both experienced heritage professionals and those passionate about the sector with diverse skills and experience, to join our Board. I encourage you to apply to become a trustee (details can be found here). If you don’t feel that the opportunity is right for you at this time, you can help us by spreading the word through your contacts and networks. Without the trustees, the South West Fed cannot operate, so we ask for your help to fill these vacancies.

As well as looking forward to some sunshine and warmth (hopefully!), I look forward to seeing as many of our members as possible at our upcoming talks, and in-person at the AGM and networking events in June at The Box in Plymouth. I hope you’ll agree that meeting in person with folks from the sector across the southwest is always a highlight in the diary and a great professional revitaliser. Hope to see you soon and in the meantime, enjoy Easter.

Kristina Broughton; Chair of the South West Fed

Katherine Nichols