The National Association

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Thank you for all your helpful and informative responses to the work we’ve been doing to create a workable draft Constitution for the proposed National Association of Friends of Cathedrals and Greater Churches.

The working group met in June to take this forward and we’re now in a position to proceed towards a final draft, taking into consideration the feedback that we have received.

However, in the interim, we’ve been reflecting on what it is we are really trying to achieve. We have been asking ourselves what will provide best value for the members of the new Association.

WHAT DO THE MEMBERS WANT?

A frequent comment about the draft constitution was that it was “over-engineered”, or “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Although this was not by any means the general response, we felt that we should seriously consider whether, or not, there is an alternative approach to setting up a National Association.

On reflection, we now feel that there are two possible ways to progress the establishment of a National Association, which may be referred to as “Heavy” and “Light”. This group has been pursuing the ‘Heavy’ option so far. We now feel members may also wish to consider the Light version, as a more cost-effective and flexible alternative.

Here are details of the two versions, as we envisage them:

1. The Heavy Version

  • A formally-constituted National Association with a comprehensive and legally robust Constitution and with a clear and distinct identity
  • Membership criteria to be applied quite rigorously (and, if we go along this route, to be discussed further)
  • Membership subscription payable (amount to be decided, but sufficient to fund the Executive Committee)
  • Main functions:
        • Organise the Biennial National Conference
        • Organise an Annual General Meeting of the Association
        • Develop a national mutual support network
        • Gather, analyse and distribute useful information
        • Liaise and exchange information with external organisations
        • Promote and encourage the work and effectiveness of its members.
  • Structure to include an Executive Committee and formally elected representatives
  • Officers: Chairman, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer

2. The Light Version

  • An informal Association of like-minded people who belong to a national networking group, with the aim of mutual support, sharing information and exchanging best practice
  • Membership criteria to be minimal – any number of members can join from any one organisation – but only one vote per organisation
  • No membership subscription
  • Such a group would not need a formal constitution, though some Terms of Reference, or a Memorandum of Understanding, may be required
  • A local Association would be selected to host the next Biennial National Conference (BNC) and will be the lead organisation for the next two years leading up to the following BNC
  • Main functions:
        • Organise the Bennial National Conference. The only essential Agenda item at the meeting will be to select the local association to organise the next Conference
        • Develop a national mutual support network
        • Encourage the exchange of best practice, good advice, useful information and good companionship
  • Members will be encouraged to make their own arrangements for local or regional networking meetings, where appropriate, in between BNCs.
  • The group will be supported by a modest website which will enable members to keep in touch, update their contact details, and get in touch with other members. An online Discussion Group would also be established

NOW WE NEED YOUR OPINION

We now need to know which option, you believe, best suits the needs of prospective members.

To this end we have established a simple three-question survey which is being hosted on this website. It should take you only a few moments to complete and will be very valuable in determining the way forward.

Please click here to complete the survey now. This link will open in a new window or tab so you can refer back to this page if you wish.

Many thanks for your help and support.

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