- What has been achieved in 2014.
- What’s our present problem.
- Where this leaves us – and what might be done about this.
Achievements in 2014
- We presented 8 Lunchtime Talks, the last one on 26 August.
- We mounted a total of 8 new displays, 7 in the Pictor Room at Arnold House and 1 in the Entrance Foyer of the Springfield Campus (a 2nd one was prepared in 2014 and erected 3 January 2015).
- We led Corsham Area’s participation in the following History Centre (Cocklebury Road, Chippenham) projects:
- Pass It On (centred on Corsham’s Maternity Home).
- Wiltshire at War (Corsham’s involvement in WW1).
- [We have recently been invited to lead Corsham Area’s participation in the ‘Story of Wiltshire in 100 Objects’ project.]
- We participated in Corsham Town Council’s “Corsham Commemorates” project, marking the town’s contribution to WW1. Our representative on the steering group has been Pat Whalley. She personally took responsibility for “delivering” the highly-successful WW1 Concert, held on18 October.
- We provided Heritage Support to the First Corsham Walking Festival (participating in the walk that went to Lacock and back).
- We began collaboration with the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) in September, initially motivated by our interest in the John Hanning Speke memorial on Neston Park estate and its relevance to the Second Corsham Walking Festival, now scheduled for 12-14 June 2015. (Speke was one of the ‘Nile Explorers’, currently a project being undertaken by BRLSI.) The collaboration resulted in CAH being invited to broadcast live on BBC Wiltshire Radio – affording us the opportunity to express the merits of our town with appropriate awareness and enthusiasm.
- In the interests of keeping the name and purpose of Corsham Area Heritage in the Public Eye, we submitted, and had published, articles in the following:
- 5 editions of (the bi-monthly) Corsham & Box Matters.
- 8 editions of (the monthly) Spring Spirit.
- We published 4 editions of our flagship newsletter, Arnold’s News (the 4 seasonal ones). Per edition, we distribute 150 hardcopies around the town. We also distribute over 700 copies “electronically”, i.e. as email attachments. It is also uploaded to our website www.corshamheritage.org.uk
- We met with Corsham Town Council to discuss its Strategic Plan priority, ‘Destination Corsham’. They made it clear that the history and heritage of Corsham is key to that initiative and that they would look to CAH to take the lead in representing these in their plans to encourage Tourism and visitors.
- We have continued to develop and enjoy supportive relationships with Corsham Print and Right Angle Picture Framing. Both provide their services FOC to CAH. We are extremely grateful for this.
The Present Problem
Basically we are suffering from having too much to do with too little resource – resource of the human kind. We’re not short of cash. We’re short of people who have the enthusiasm to identify how to spend it and ability/interest to make those “things” happen.
It was not always this way. Our situation has changed over the last year or two. Our ‘stalwarts’ have served us well. They have brought us to the point where we can declare the above “Achievements” with some satisfaction, even pride.
However, for a variety of reasons, they are now looking to reduce their commitment. Some have other interests that they feel they have ‘let slip’ for too long. If they don’t get back to them now, they never will.
Some have interests which are capable of bringing them in an income – ‘capable’, but only if they get started now. Perhaps the opportunity hasn’t been there over recent years, but it is now – and pursuing that opportunity now might make all the difference to their later life.
Some simply want to complete a task they have set themselves, but never seem to get to grips with. Pat feels she has another book in her – and is eager to crack on with it!
None are burnt out. All want a life where “things CAH” are not so all-consuming and where the achievement of CAH objectives does not revolve exclusively around them.
CAH needs New Blood. Without exception, every one of CAH’s current stalwarts is willing to tutor those new resources – just as long as there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Where this leaves us / what’s to be done?
Without that light at the end of the tunnel, the present CAH Team has collectively decided that it is prepared to throw in the towel. It feels that the present CAH is going nowhere – better to ‘end it all’ now than to struggle on, increasingly frustrated and lacking in satisfaction. None of its Management Committee members are prepared to offer themselves for re-election.
The thought occurs that perhaps CAH has the wrong structure for what it tries to do. Presently, it is a membership, subscription-paying group – having a Constitution appropriate to such a group. Maybe it would be better if this were abandoned, and that a ‘looser’ form of structure were adopted – with no formal Constitution and no expectation that an annual subscription should be paid. That wouldn’t prevent those ‘driving’ the group addressing the present members as if their right to receive news concerning CAH’s activities by electronic means and by such methods as newspaper articles and postering remained, but the ‘quid pro quo’ aspect of the relationship would drop away. Perhaps we would see a greater willingness on the part of the ‘members’ to contribute towards ‘making things happen’, if this were the situation.
So what would this new ‘body’ require? It would need New Blood to contribute towards the following Needs;
- Basic Historical Research.
- Lunchtime Talks organisers.
- Meeting the Need for the Scanning-in of Documents (ongoing).
- Mounting displays in the Pictor Room (Arnold House) and at Springfield Campus.
- Editing/Assembling Arnold’s News.
- Distributing Arnold’s News.
- Writing articles for: Arnold’s News, Corsham & Box Matters and Spring Spirit.
- Co-ordinating the relationship with Wiltshire Council’s CMAS Group.