Local society forum addresses local issues

27 May 2008

The Local Society Forum met in Grantham on 13 May 2008 as part of Materials Congress. Nineteen local societies were present  at the meeting, with representation from as far away as Ireland, South Wales and Scotland.

The Forum provides an opportunity for the Institute to update local societies on matters of interest. Sarah Boad, National Co-ordinator, Regions, updated the meeting on this year’s winners of the Outstanding Service Award; changes to the grants formula and the new website. David Arthur, Head of Member Services, updated those present on the drive to recruit new members and the Member get a Member scheme.

Zoe Chiverton of the Magazines Team gave a presentation on Institute News in the 3 magazines – Clay Technology, Packaging Professional and Materials World. She gave advice on what makes a good news story, and tips on taking a good photograph. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion on the amount of coverage that local society events get in the magazines!

Sarah then updated the forum on how the Young Persons’ Lecture Competition had gone this year, reporting that Sinan Al-Bermani from the North East was the UK winner who would be going forward to the World Final in September. A debate was held on the timing of the competition – after a debate it was agreed to leave it the same in 2009, but to look at the timing the next time there was a review.

Sarah and Sheila Wright of the Member’s Benevolent Trust gave a joint presentation on the work of the Trust and its need for regular contributions. The Trust is now giving away more funds than are being donated each year. A standing order form will be circulated to all local societies.

The ‘Local Society of the Year’ competition was then launched – the details are still being finalised, but there will be two classes, depending on average attendance. Three criteria will be used:  membership; events and communication. More information will be available shortly; the application forms will be distributed in October and the Local affairs Board will decide the winners at their meeting in January 2008. There will be prizes, and the winning local society will be invited to the Awards Dinner in the summer of 2009.

A discussion was held on the best way of promoting local society meetings and whether or not the paper diaries are still necessary. It was agreed to dispense with the paper diaries and look at ways of looking at using the magazines more to promote local society events.

Finally the Forum considered two matters brought forward by the Manchester Polymer Group – being more proactive in responding to national issues re polymers (eg plastic bags) and working with design colleges.

The next Forum will be in Sheffield in October.

For more information please contact Sarah Boad using our online enquiry form, selecting Local Societies from the dropdown menu.