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Notes of the Half Year meeting held on board SS Shieldhall – 5th November 2013

The meeting opened at 11.00 hrs with 42 members in attendance plus the following representatives of the Executive: Doug Brodie (Chairman), David Rice (Treasurer), James Robson (Secretary), Barry Eagles, Tony Holley, Rosie Jacob, Edwina Cooke, Peter Roberts and Peter Sheppard.

The Chairman welcomed all present. He explained that the Half Year meeting was a less formal event than the AGM and served primarily to keep members updated and to answer questions. No formal business would be transacted but notes of the meeting would be made available to members.

DB reported a busy year for the Charity with the preparation and successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. He offered thanks and congratulations to the lottery team in securing a grant that would greatly enhance the future prospects for Shieldhall and enable her story to be told to future generations. Work had now begun on delivery of the Lottery project and he would invite the Project Manager to provide more detail in due course. 

DB stressed that delivery of the Lottery project would present numerous challenges both financial and managerial. The organisation recognised the need to become more business-like in its dealings and elements of restructuring were already taking place. Within the Trading Company a new Chief Executive Officer had been recruited and Councillor Derek Burke would be taking up this role as Graham Mackenzie stood down to concentrate on delivery of the Lottery project. Board members were taking on designated roles which would help to share the workload, provide clarity of responsibilities and support the recruitment of new skills over time.

DB expressed thanks to the working crew for maintaining the ship in good order and supporting a busy sailing programme. He particularly considered that thanks were due to the partners of working crew for their support and encouragement. A small presentation of a gift for Mrs Mackenzie was made on behalf of the Executive.

Graham Mackenzie (GM) reported on behalf of the Trading Company. He expressed appreciation for the support provided by Board and Lottery Team colleagues and welcomed Derek Burke to the organisation.

GM summarised the highlights and challenges of the past season and referred to planning now taking place for a busy season in 2014 following the major dry docking. He emphasised that delivery of such an ambitious programme would necessitate further recruitment of volunteers with particular emphasis on operational crew in all departments. Outside of direct crewing much needed to be done to engage the wider membership base if the work and sailing programme was to be delivered. He drew attention to the urgent need to recruit a Ticket Manager. A suggestion from the floor that the function might be outsourced was discussed and acknowledged to be a less favoured option for reasons of cost and effective marketing.

DB reinforced the need for recruitment of new members both operational and to support functions alongside as well as the delivery of specific skills to support the organisation. He urged all present to support this aim and invited ideas to attract increased membership and deliver an attractive sailings programme. Ideas put forward from the floor included:

  • A leaflet campaign delivered by members and with Christmas cards
  • Greater television exposure for Shieldhall
  • Incorporating an appeal for new members in annual membership renewal reminders
  • Recruiting directly via ticket sales and young persons activity days
  • Selling places on sailings via coach companies
  • Secure a presence at the Southampton Boat Show
  • Support Heritage Open Days
  • Arrange an early brochure distribution with the sailing programme included

The suggestions were well received by DB and GM who were able to report work in hand with a number of the ideas put forward.

Finally GM reported a disappointing level of support from members for sailings over the past year and urged all members to book at least one sailing in the next season.

The Treasurer confirmed a satisfactory year-end financial position with all creditors paid to date. Progress with the raising of “matched funding” for the Lottery project had progressed well and we were in sight of our target. The Trading and Catering companies had both operated profitably and the current bank balance was healthy. DR noted the programme of Lottery works which would likely create a cash flow challenge in the coming financial year, the Executive were addressing this issue.

The Membership Secretary reported a current total membership of 907 which was a reduction on the previous year. Terry Brook reported that he would be standing down as Membership Secretary in the near future to be replaced by Edwina Cooke.

GM presented an update on the Saving Shieldhall project. He reminded members that the Heritage Lottery Fund had awarded the ship a grant of £1.4 million pounds for the preservation and presentation of Shieldhall to future audiences. The programme of preservation would take place over 3 years. Work had begun on delivery of the structural elements of the project with construction of a deck awning now well advanced and asbestos removal nearing completion. Future works would include the dry docking in April 2014 for major steel works and an upgrading of facilities for passengers. He noted that delivery of learning and participation had begun with the young persons training days and Nuffield theatre projects, both having been well received. Appointment of a Learning and Participation Officer was expected very soon.

The Chairman invited items of AOB:

  • A request was made for reinstatement of a “Captain’s Dinner”
  • A number of photographs of the ship taken from Azura were made available.
  • In response to a question regarding the future colour scheme for the ship, the Chairman reminded the meeting of discussion at the agm and the decision that the hull would remain black for the immediate future.
  • A suggestion was made that car stickers should be made available for members.

The Chairman informed members of the presentation of two pictures of Shieldhall by the Merchant Navy Association that would be framed and hung in the saloon. He invited Gareth Peaston to describe the work of the Association and requested that thanks be conveyed for their generosity. Gareth outlined the purpose and membership arrangements and described the close association between Shieldhall and MNA.

The “Grand Draw” took place under the supervision of the Draw Administrator Mrs Jill Tulip. Jill informed the meeting that a total of £2865 had been raised. Winners were drawn as follows:

  • 1st prize, a picture of SS Shieldhall won by Phillips
  • 2nd prize, a family trip on Shieldhall won by Smith
  • 3rd prize, a presentation set of port wine won by Powell
  • 4th prize, a meal at a local restaurant won by Packman

Norman Tulip informed members of the recent death of Jim McAllister and condolences were expressed on behalf of the membership.

The date for the Annual General Meeting of the Society was set as 23rd March 2014 subject to dry docking arrangements.

The meeting closed at 12.40 hrs

JR

Hon Secretary

05 November 2013