It’s that time of year where everyone feels better as the days get longer and warmer - even here in the north-east! The lambs are in the fields and daffodils are blooming.
That said, the stresses and strains of year end and annual billing certainly put a damper on the “feel good” factor. For some it will probably feel even worse, as the next phase of welfare reform kicks in and the poorest in our society see further cuts hit their pockets.
In years gone by, I was a member of Round Table, an organisation which does a lot for its local community in terms of raising money for local charities. Whilst this is a commendable attribute, another main aim is fellowship and helping to develop its members by undertaking tasks they might not otherwise do, such as public speaking, chairing meetings and organising the events.
One of the highlights of the year for the Warwickshire area is a weekend away called “High Tiddle”. This is basically a group of men going away for the weekend, undertaking a hike to over 2000 feet, where they play Tiddly Winks and walk back down again! The purpose of Tiddly Winks? Simple - the winners organise the following year’s event! I was invited onto this year’s walk, as it was my old Table that had won the previous year and organised it this year. It was great to meet up with old friends and to meet a few new ones as we worked our way up and down the mountain and, of course, a few bars.
The weekend had me thinking about all the things that I had done as a member of Table, including travelling to Germany, Holland and South Africa to meet up with Tablers from those countries.
Many members of our Institute ask me what they get for their money when they pay their subscriptions, besides a monthly magazine. I try to explain that it does many things, such as keeping the professionalism of their vocation, giving them the opportunity to train and develop through our courses, representation at government level and the opportunity to meet with others who work just as hard in the same field of work in difficult environments - and of course to learn from others.
It seemed to me as I walked along in the beautiful dales that lovely sunny day in March that members of the two organisations are not dissimilar in many ways. They are like minded, have similar goals and harbour a desire to do well. But it also seemed to me that those who get involved in their respective organisation tend to get more from it than those who don’t. So perhaps the answer to those who ask the question, “what does the Institute/organisation do for me?” should be “what can you do for your Institute/organisation?” It is easy to get involved with the Institute at a local level and I urge you to do so - you will be very welcome. It’s true in life that the more you put in, the more you get out.