It has been quite a difficult year for the Society in what is still very much a transitional time following the positive platform left to us by the “Triunvrato” of three ex-Chairmen who we succeeded. When I accepted the Chairmanship of the Society last year, I did so in the knowledge that it was to be a daunting task in trying to move the Society into the 21st century with all the social and economic changes. However, I do feel that the Society is now about to emerge from its transitional metamorphosis stage. It is our belief that the measures we have taken during this past year will begin to stand us in good shape for the longer term.
Our most important challenge has been to build up a favourable financial position, and at the same time to modernise the Society and increase membership, particularly aimed at the younger generation. To this end I believe we are succeeding.
- · All the Fundraising Events held were profitable and we were most successful in gaining an exceptional profit for the annual ‘Flagship Asado” event.
- · We have transformed and completely modernised our Society website which will allow it to compete commercially and add revenue. It has also given us a social media platform, so important to the younger generation. Our next big step, once we have sufficient extra funds (approx £500), will be to further enhance our site by featuring the added choice of Spanish and English languages. Finally 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 News Letters.
- · We have had a big drive to encourage membership, especially aimed at the younger generation, and this is now beginning to pay dividends, as can be evidenced by the much younger and professional Committee that is gradually taking shape. We are also about to embark on focusing our attention to increasing our lagging corporate membership, and we will be crucially targeting those companies with historical links to the Society, as well as the new and emerging entities we are now witnessing. It is vital for us to increase our membership across the board going forward.
- · A constant perennial headache is to ensure timely payment of annual subscriptions. Late payment or, in some cases non payment, is not only hugely time consuming, thus detracting us from making far better use of our time, but it is also very costly and deprives us of our much needed cash flow. We have therefore now introduced a “Direct Debit” system for annual subscriptions, and we anticipate that this will be in place by the middle of 2012. We are grateful to those who have already signed this mandate, but please do sign up if you haven’t already done so. 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.
As part of the new measures taken, I am very pleased to announce the inauguration of our new monthly “Electronic News Letter” This I hope will expand readership not only among existing members, but also to a growing number of people who it is hoped will be attracted to joining the Society by making them aware of our events and aims.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the tremendous help and assistance of the Committee, and I would like to thank each and every one of them for the strong support they have given me during this last year. I would like to thank the officers of the Society, in particular Annabelle Wood, for their wise counsel, enthusiasm and commitment which they have shown to me and the Society. I would also like to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of Marilita Marco, who has been a real linchpin in helping us to get to where we are. Recognition and thanks is also due to all those who will be retiring from the Committee this year for all their good work and benevolent generosity throughout. In doing so I would like to also welcome on board all new members to the Committee.
Finally I would particularly like to thank The Chargé d’Affaires of the Argentine Republic, Minister Osvaldo Marsico, and his members of the Argentine Embassy in London for their strong enthusiastic and tacit support. I feel that as a result of this close co-operation we have now built up a tremendous rapport which we hope will also begin to filter through to the Anglo Argentine and Argentine community here at large in the UK.
Thank you for all your continued support, and please maintain to help us in our cause whenever possible. Whilst we are not out of the woods yet, I do believe we have a hard working, enthusiastic and devoted young Committee that will help us to achieve this aim. We have a wonderful Society, which I believe you can be justly proud of, due to the dedication and support of you all. Next year promises to be even more exciting than this, with a host of new social and cultural events being arranged, in addition to the Gran Asado, Gnocchi Nights, Christmas Party, Borges Lecture, Art Exhibitions, Music Concerts and ever-popular Wine Tasting events. We are hoping to arrange an event to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic games, too.
Please also remember that I am always open to new ideas and suggestions, both in terms of the Society itself and events throughout the year.
John M. Wilson ( Chairman)