SELHuG AGM 2017 Minutes
Present: Asad Abbas, Audrey Simmons, Barbara Chandler, Barbara Smoker, Christopher Ejugbo, Denis Cobell, David Lewis, Hester Brown, James Dobson, John Battison, Joseph March, Paul Riggott, Pip McCormack, Sally Stevens, Sam Becker, Tony Brewer, Frank Dingey
Apologies: Trevor Moore, David Smart, Libby Oakden
1. Sam Becker: Chair’s Report
SELHuG enjoyed another successful year with the usual traditions – Mythmas, two ethical discussions, and attendance at Nunhead Cemetery Open Day and Lewisham Interfaith Peace Walk. At monthly meetings we discussed Shelley; broadcast religion; secularism; fundamentalism; climate change, and death.
Other events: visit to Natural History Museum for Colour/Vision exhibition; public talk by Julian Baggini jointly organised with South West London Humanists; public meeting at Goldsmiths with Andrew Copson, jointly organised with Goldsmiths Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society; wine tasting thanks to David Lewis; and an outing to the CrossRail exhibition still to come.
Looking back over the last three years – worth reviewing as the committee is now changing. As well as our monthly meetings (with refreshments!) and the regular external events, we also organised:
9 exhibitions and trips to interesting places;
9 other social events;
4 external public talks (including at House of Commons)
and have taken a couple of collections for Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL).
The website which we created three years ago continues to be updated with all our events, plus every meeting/event is reviewed.
Website – as an example – had 151 users in the last 28 days
Newsletter currently has 140 subscribers
Meetup continues to connect us to new members of the community – 111 subscribers
Twitter active – 1,577 followers
Facebook some more interest this year but still quite quiet – however, now has 86 follows
Thanks to the committee for hard work, time and energy. We are now having more offers of help from members and hope to continue building our community and influence.
• Thinking about expanding numbers and positioning ourselves to better reach into the wider SE London area, we are proposing a change of venue for the monthly meetings – more from Hester later.
• We hope to continue offering a varied schedule of monthly meetings and one-off events such as exhibition outings.
• In addition, we plan to have another ‘regular’ event each month which will alternate between a walk and a brunch. These will be ‘drop in’ events for whoever wants to join in on the day.
2. Hester Brown: Treasurer’s Report
Total income: £767.40, the biggest chunk being £345 from monthly attendance subs.
Total expenditure: £679.02, with £220 going on rent, £200 on donations and £145 on the social networking portal MeetUp.
Closing balance: £277.40.
• We’re in the pink – more income than expenditure after two years when we spent more. The main reason is putting up the monthly attendance contribution from £1 to £2. We had an average of 18 people attending meetings.
• We kept above £200 in the bank as I proposed at last year’s AGM
• Membership subscriptions are going in the right direction – 24 paid-up members this year thanks to David’s gentle reminders!
• We’ve managed to repeat last year’s donations of £100 each to our two chosen charities, Ugandan Humanist Schools Trust and Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL).
Thank you to all who made donations in cash and in kind
• February food and cash collection for AFRIL, as well as individual donations to SELHuG at the last AGM
• Books for the Christmas and Nunhead sales
• Lending of equipment, thanks to Colin and David especially for ensuring our Nunhead stall was equipped
• Time – thanks to all who volunteered to run or help at extra events eg Julian Baggini talk, Goldsmiths ‘What is humanism?’ discussion, Nunhead, Interfaith walk, wine tasting, Crossrail outing etc.
• Bringing refreshments to socials, thinking up the Christmas quiz…
3. Change of meeting venue
Hester explained that an opportunity had arisen to move SELHuG’s regular meetings to New Cross Learning, the community library in the centre of New Cross. There was one evening slot left, the first Thursday of the month, and we needed to make a decision in the next few days. The majority of the committee supported the move and wanted to know what members thought before taking the final decision.
In summary the New Cross venue would benefit the group by being even more central to, and known in, southeast London than Catford; by having a bigger space, and by being itself a community hub which would help us network more widely.
The committee had been talking about finding a different venue for the last three years. While the Lewisham Unitarians had been very positive and gracious hosts and the Meeting House had worked well for us, the committee dreamed of a bigger venue, more centrally located near public transport and next door to a pub! New Cross Learning offers all this at a rent of £30 per meeting. It has disabled access and is across the road from Goldsmiths University.
Denis was disappointed that the officers had not circulated news that we would be discussing a venue change at the AGM before the meeting, on social media. Several people said it would be inconvenient for them personally to have to travel to New Cross, but the general view was that it would be good for the group and help us reach more people. The committee made the decision to move.
4. Election of officers and committee
Statements from those standing for a post or for the committee for the first time were circulated.
Officers: the only person standing for Chair was Hester. She was elected with a show of hands. No one stood for Treasurer or Secretary. Libby has agreed to be Interim Treasurer. Sam has offered to continue to do all the digital information work – updating the website, sending out the newsletter and publishing events on social media. He will take on the Secretary’s role of creating the newsletter. Hester will deal with the email account and new members on an interim basis. The committee will carry on sharing responsibility for organising speakers, social events and public meetings as it has for the last three years. We will seek volunteers to stand as Secretary and Treasurer again, later in the year.
Committee: Barbara Chandler, Tony Brewer and David Smart have offered to join the committee. They too were welcomed and elected with a show of hands. Libby, Sam, Denis and Trevor remain on the committee.
5. Any Other Business
• The group supports the idea of having regular walks and brunches, taking it in turns to organise the walks and ‘host’ the brunches. The brunches will take place at the same venue, we just need to choose one. 11am on the third Sunday of the month is the most likely time.
• Asad thanked Sam on behalf of the Bromley Group for SELHuG’s support, eg publishing Bromley’s news and events via website and newsletter, sharing the Nunhead stall etc. Bromley’s reciprocal support at its stalls etc was appreciated.