Minutes of the 2002 (25th) Annual General Meeting of Esperanto-Asocio de Britio,

2002 May 4th (Saturday) 14:00 - 15:30 at Stoke Town Hall, Glebe Street, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 1HH

Before approximately 40 members were Edmund Grimley-Evans (EGE, President and meeting chair), David Kelso (DK, Director of Development), Joyce Bunting (JB, Honorary Treasurer) and Bill Walker (BW, Minutes Secretary). 19 members not present had submitted proxy voting instructions.

The trustees’ report, summary accounts and AGM agenda had been distributed beforehand; the minutes of the previous meeting were distributed at the meeting. Before starting the meeting we remembered those members who had passed away during the past year with one minute’s silence.

0. Apologies had been received from Management Committee member Frank Spilsbury.

1. The minutes of the 2000 (24th) Annual General Meeting were distributed. With the correction to a typing error ("mayor" not "major"), the minutes were accepted by a majority with no objections and five abstentions.

2 & 3. The trustees’ report and summarised accounts had been distributed beforehand. JB presented the accounts and their highlights.

She explained that the Trustees’ report had been structured to meet legal requirements. She summarised the financial history, from the sale of Holland Park Avenue to the construction of Esperanto House. She thanked Viv O’Dunne and Lydia Arnold (the office staff), Derek Tatton and the staff of Wedgwood Memorial College for their support during the transitional period. She also thanks the trustees David Bisset and Bill Walker for their contribution in establishing the new building.

The ‘snapshot’ of investments at the end of the financial year (end-October) reflected the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy, but their value had recovered somewhat in the subsequent months.

JB appealed for volunteers to take over the role of Honorary Treasurer, reiterating her wish to stand down.

The meeting accepted the Trustees’ Report and Summary Accounts by a majority, with no objections and two abstentions.

4. The auditors had confirmed that the accounts passed their examination. JB expressed her thanks to the auditors for their advice and help. She recommended that we stay with the current auditors Kingston Smith, (at least) until the expenses of the new building had been finalised.

The meeting accepted the recommendation to re-appoint the auditors by a majority, with no objections and one abstention.

5. Having reviewed the subscription rates, the management committee had proposed that they remain unchanged for the following financial year. This was approved by a majority, with no objections and one abstention.

6. The nominations for the management committee were: David Bisset, Graham Blakey, Joyce Bunting, Helen Fantom, Edmund Grimley Evans, Grahame Leon-Smith, Geoff Sutton, Frank Spilsbury and Eric Walker.

Stephen Thompson asked that the membership elect named individuals to the offices of President, Vice-President, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer. BW explained that, because of the timing of received nominations and candidates’ statements, the printing and dispatch of the AGM agenda, and the receipt of members’ proxy voting instructions, it had not been possible to accommodate such an election into this year’s AGM. However the request would be noted by the new management committee when planning future AGMs and when reviewing the Association’s constitution.

A vote was taken for each candidate individually. All the candidates were elected, in each case the votes ‘for’ exceeding any votes ‘against’ (including proxy votes).

7. David Kelso, the EAB Director of Development, presented his report to the members. The highlights were:

DK stressed the important and essential contributions made by volunteers, and invited people to put themselves forward at any time, especially as "regional development champions".

He concluded by reporting that membership numbers have continued to fall, and were now below 500; the Association would need to set its goals accordingly. However the work of recent years had built a stable foundation for a new century, and would serve as a good platform for the future.

8. The meeting ended with an open discussion where members gave suggestions and comments, for consideration by the Management Committee.

Geoffrey Greatrex; do not rely on "number of members" alone as an indicator of strength; consider alternatives "measures of success".

David Bisset; within our small membership we have a relatively large proportion of activists, compared to some other ‘special interest’ groups.

Ian Fantom; look beyond the EAB membership to find activists.

Eric Walker; it is important to help those people interested in Esperanto to make practical use of it. The beginners’ service operated by the Esperanto League for North America (ELNA) is a good model.

Arthur Prent; it is important to target the "youth end", perhaps with increased Internet resources.

Ian Fantom; his "Esperanto Viva" course is aimed at younger people.

Derek Tatton; it would be instructive to analyse the comparable circumstances of other membership-based organisations; trade unions, the Women’s Institute, religions, political parties, the Workers’ Esperanto Association, etc.

Hilary Chapman; the press panel seeks volunteers to contribute to its operation.

Arthur Prent; our strategy should explore Eric Lee’s "Laboursite" website, with its translations into Esperanto, which allows online donations.

Rolf Fantom; the Flandra Esperanto-Ligo website accepts credit card payments.

Edmund Grimley-Evans closed the meeting at 15:30, with thanks to the outgoing committee members Paul Hewitt, Grazyna Mitchener, Bill Walker and Fennel Waters.

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