Minutes of the 2000 (23rd) Annual General Meeting of Esperanto-Asocio de Britio,
Sunday 23 April 2000 11:00 - 13:00 at Appleby Grammar School, Appleby

Before approximately 56 members were Edmund Grimley-Evans (EGE, President and meeting chairman), Eric Walker (EW, Honorary Secretary) and Joyce Bunting (JB, Honorary Treasurer).

The accounts summary and agenda had been distributed beforehand, the annual report and minutes of previous meeting were distributed at the meeting. Three additional agenda items were announced:
3a. fix subscriptions, 3b. interim journal and 4a. Director's report.

The names of those members who had died during the (reporting) year were read, and we stood for a minute in silent thought.

1. The minutes of the 1999 (22nd) Annual General Meeting were distributed. These were accepted by a majority with no objections.

2. The annual report was distributed. EW apologised for the missing information on courses, exam successes and membership numbers, and promised to show these in the next issue of EAB update.

Arthur Prent noted fewer Federation reports than usual; this provoked a short discussion on the operation of the federation system and a replacement for the advisory commission. EGE and EW explained that ways for EAB to provide support and encouragement to the federations were under consideration, including the role of a paid employee and a possible newsletter for groups.

David Featherstone asked about the frequency of EAB update; EW replied that the early issues were "occasional", but more recently it has been issued every two months.

The meeting accepted the report by a majority, with one abstention and no objections.

3. A short-form treasurer's report had been distributed in advance with EAB update, and the full (10-page) report was made available at the meeting. One erratum was noted: the constitution reference should read "section 4.5". JB reported on the highlights of a busy year:

JB expressed her thanks to Doreen Dunbar for her assistance and advice over the finances of the association. She also highlighted the importance of succession planning for the treasurer role.

Bill Nesbitt and Joyce Sunderland asked that the association provide advice or fact-sheets on making a will (for gifting book collections) and on tax implications of membership subscriptions, respectively.

Gillian Cartledge asked about federation funding, JB explained that an amalgamated federation account exists to assist federations who ask for support, while federation agents who hold stock on behalf of EAB have individual federation book accounts. EW explained that current stock valuations should be reviewed and written down if unrealistic.

Terry Page asked about the implications of falling membership numbers; EW explained that two thirds of the membership is over 60 years old; the management committee recognises the importance of recruiting and retaining members of all age groups. David Bisset highlighted that Esperanto has a particular appeal to the 55+ age group, which provides a fertile source of new recruits.

The meeting accepted the Trustees' Report by a majority, with no abstentions or objections. Stephen Thompson initiated a public thank-you to the people who had prepared the report.

3a. EGE presented the proposal to leave subscriptions unchanged this year. The meeting accepted this proposal by a majority, with no abstentions and one objection.

3b. EW explained that, following the retirement of Bill Auld as editor of the association's journal La Brita Esperantisto, we are taking the opportunity to consider its future. He presented a range of proposals for an interim journal to complement EAB update, and a straw poll showed most favour for a regular mailing La Ondo de Esperanto, albeit with the caution that subscription to a Russian publication must be explained sensitively, to head-off any potential adverse publicity.

4. The nominees for the management committee were presented:
President: Edmund Grimley Evans
Vice-President: David Bisset
Honorary Treasurer: Joyce Bunting
Honorary Secretary: Eric Walker
Committee Members: Fraser Dunbar, Grazyna Mitchener, Frank Spilsbury, Derek Tatton, Bill Walker and Fennel Waters.

Derek Tatton explained that, given his role as director of the Wedgwood Memorial College, he would abstain from any committee votes on that subject. Terry Page asked that in future elections, a summary of the nominees' backgrounds and positions be published in advance of any vote.

The meeting voted to elect each committee member individually; all nominees were duly elected.

4a. Paul Hewitt summarised his work over the last six months as a paid director of EAB: Operating procedures and policies, including a handbook for trustees, have been established. The massive book stock is being tackled. The publicity commission has worked on promotional material with an emphasis on activity in the Esperanto world, a publicity contacts database has been set up, and around 700 press released dispatched. A free-standing exhibition is being prepared, as is material for schools. Esperanto will appear on the "Free Stuff" website and in the prestigious BBC book and CD "routes of English".

Rosalind Walter asked that such encouraging publicity news be shared in EAB update.

5. EW reported on the current state of the relocation of the Office and Library to Barlaston: the contract exists in draft form and is being finalised, for a target opening date in the Autumn.

Derek Tatton presented a summary of the situation at the Wedgwood Memorial College : LEAs are legally bound to get good value from any financial arrangement, as is EAB, so discussions between the solicitors have of necessity been protracted. The college has existed for 55 years, and has a 40 year association with Esperanto. It is part of the ARCA network of short-term residential colleges, and has strong links with the Worker's educational association. As part of the arrangement with EAB, members will be able to book Bed and Breakfast facilities at reduced rates. A marble statue celebrating Esperanto is being created and funds are being sought to pay the outstanding £2000 shipping costs.

EW explained that the construction fees for the new office and library are budgeted at £160,000, representing under 20% of our capital. For this we will have a 99 year lease, which is guaranteed even if the college closes. He emphasised the potential synergy of sharing a site with a residential college, whose visitors are more likely to develop an interest in Esperanto than are people passing by a shop in a high street.

EGE closed the Annual General Meeting at 13:00.

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