We ended our financial year having achieved a considerable amount in terms of re-positioning the Society to cope with the new environment we now live in. A major part of this transition unfortunately goes unseen, and to some it may appear we are remaining inactive. However, I can assure you that this is not the case, and to this I owe a tremendous thanks to the Officers and the Committee who have very selflessly donated their valuable time and effort well above the call of duty.
We have this year completely transformed and modernised our Society website which will allow us to compete commercially and add revenue. It has also given us an important social media platform to reach out to the younger generation and increase our visibility within this community. Our next big step will be to further enhance our site by featuring the added choice of Spanish and English languages. Our new website will also soon be helping us to cut costs by allowing members to book events on line and by reducing the postal costs of notices and e-News Letters.
However, just as we were beginning to make some real headway we have been completely knocked right off course by something unexpected and totally out of our control, and as a result we now have a much more immediate emergency on our hands that will affect the Society long term. As an occupant of Canning House, having also been founded by the same creator Lord Davidson, we along with the other occupants of Canning House have been given very short verbal notice that will involve a major restructuring and relocation of Canning House. In essence this will be a life changing situation for us and will reshape our Society’s future long term. These proposed details will result in the need for us to vacate possession of our current premises, whence it will then revert back to the owners ‘The Grosvenor Estates’. The suggested intention is then for the entire occupants of Canning House to then subsequently (still provisional) move to No. 14 – 15 Belgrave Square, which is the home to the Society of Chemical Industry. In essence we are being given a “fait-accomplis”, and the Anglo-Argentine Society is basically being given no choice in the matter and would hence be compulsorily obliged to vacate as well.
As a result of the above, I have been forced to write to all Life Members asking for financial help and assistance in this matter and to help us with the anticipated move. The Life Members have been amazing in their magnanimous response, and without going into individual names I would like to thank each and every one of you so very much for your extreme benevolence and generosity at this crucial time of great need. The Argentine Embassy have also come to our need and have very kindly agreed to store some of our Asado equipment and files. As we are currently in a very precarious plight, we would really appreciate any further donations from all members to help us through this difficult time.
On the brighter side, once completed, such a move as anticipated could also have a silver lining for the Society by providing it with a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-generate itself and become a powerful and appreciated force in the future. The facilities provided by the SCI, pre-supposing we move there, are vastly superior to that which we have been accustomed to at Canning House, including a state of the art auditorium with a good seating capacity – excellent meeting rooms and a small outside courtyard that can also be used for functions. In addition they also have a Members Room / Lounge which would be available to all our Membership, and would provide a social meeting point where light refreshment would also be on hand for a small charge.
We are beginning to see younger members joining the Society following our endeavours to encourage this area of membership. Our new Committee is now both youthful and professional, as well as being very hard working and much dedicated to the cause. Details of this new Committee can be found on our website.
Late payment for membership dues still remains a major concern and is actually very damaging to the Society both in terms of costs, wasted time, and depriving us of our much needed cash flow. We have now introduced a “Direct Debit” system for annual subscriptions, and although many have kindly signed up to this, there are still a few who have not done so. To those who have not subscribed to the Direct Debit System we do kindly urge you to do so as soon as possible as it is our hope to have this fully in place by the middle of 2012. The “Direct Debit” system is the safest way to pay subscriptions, and the most efficient and cheapest method, as well as being the easiest for members.
Finally I hope that you and your families enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. To stress again, we have a wonderful Society, and justly so, due to the dedication and support of you all. If any of you would like to help us with the move, or have space to store equipment, files etc. we would be most welcome to hear from you.
John M. Wilson