Review of GRAM 2023 – by Tony Brewer
Chris Weir and Tony Brewer attended the Group Representatives Annual Meeting (GRAM 2023) on Saturday 28th October in Islington. This is an event organised by Humanists UK (HUK) to encourage dialogue between the central organisation and the independent partner groups such as SELHuG. Because of Covid there had not been a GRAM since 2020 and, for the same reason, various administrative arrangements have not been working satisfactorily.
Andrew Copson, chief executive of HUK, explained the organisational structure of the British Humanist community. In addition to the partner groups, which are independent entities linked loosely with HUK via a Partnership Agreement, there is a network of branches that are set up and administered by HUK to provide services for HUK members in local areas. A recent survey has shown that groups are lacking in ethnic, age and class diversity. Also, although membership of HUK is growing, membership of groups is shrinking. The purpose of this particular GRAM was to discuss ways in which we might remedy this situation.
The day was divided into sessions covering how to explain and promote humanism, sharing of groups’ problems and successes, updating the Partnership Agreement, attracting young people and members of minority groups such as LBGQT and Faith to Faithless, and building a sense of community.
Those present came from all over England and there was a high level of discussion and exchange. It was very noisy – a good sign! Compared with previous GRAMS that Tony had attended this one was much more useful and motivating. Now to put into practice some of the ideas that were suggested. We will definitely be looking into this in more detail so that we can grow SELHuG.