This journal continues the format of the previous edition and attempts to provide a record of the recent activities of the association. There have been the inevitable small changes in council membership which has ensured a continual advance in ideas. General membership remains static in that retirements have been matched by new members.
The attendance at meetings has remained relatively low, except where lectures and visits include wings or wheels. However when the percentage of membership attending our meetings is compared to other organisations with much larger membership we have greater attendance figures, which clearly means that our programme is better.
Factory visits are still difficult to arrange, as more companies cease to exist, and safety concerns are increased for those still operating. Just as an example, one of our members has tried to organise trips to breweries for another organisation and 50% of the small breweries asked, refused because of increased insurance costs, and they are not now insured for visits. One well known large brewery in Lancashire refuses to have visitors over 60 years old because of the steepness of stairs. All have started to charge a fee, which usually allows a couple of samples. A sad reflection on progress!
A dedicated few spend much of their time arranging lectures and visits which is not helped where cancellations occur, and other arrangements need to be made in a very short time. Events other than lectures and visits are held during the year, including a mid-summer evening walk and buffet at a nearby hostelry, the Annual Dinner, Church service, and Golf day. The association owes much to these individuals, as without a full programme of events interest would quickly be lost.
There have been a few administration changes. The council examined the possibility of becoming a charitable organisation in order to be able claim tax back on subscriptions. This resulted in a great deal of work, and many heated arguments within council meetings. We did apply to the authorities but we were not granted the charitable status. The council decided not to continue with the application. W. Shelton Esq., spent many hours of his time revising the applications for charitable status and changes to the Rule Book, no easy task!
In order to comply with some of the conditions for charitable status the opportunity was taken to review the Association Rules. Several rules of the association were changed to reflect a more modern approach. The rule book was therefore revised (last revision was 1990) and issued to members at the end of April 2008.
The most significant changes were to membership qualifications and to the financial organisation. Membership now comprises of Full Members, Life Members, Corporate Members, Honorary Life Members and Student/Associate Members. The past qualification of Honorary Member is now incorporated within the Full Membership. Corporate Membership entitles all staff employees or group members to the same benefits as full members except that the corporate member has only one vote. These changes are reflected in the List of Members at the end of the journal where members are listed in alphabetical order only, which was considered to be a more convenient method for locating membership details. The Honorary Life Members are highlighted under the membership number, and Corporate Members are listed separately.
Membership of the association is still of concern to the council as recruitment of younger members is very difficult. The subject is discussed frequently at council meetings. However, we do get new members through individuals inviting people they meet to join the Association. In the past when large engineering companies employed many apprentices, they were encouraged to join with their associates and attend meetings together. Unfortunately, at present young people only see the wrinkles of the present attendees and the age gap is assumed to present a problem. We are of course still young at heart, even though the brains are willing but the bodies less so! Coloured leaflets have been distributed around the district and at various exhibitions to try to recruit members but without much success. We also had a stand at the Model Engineering Exhibition a couple of years ago where the University of Leeds racing car was shown. We had lots of interest in the car but hardly any interest in the association.
The Ordinary Fund and Benevolent Fund have been discontinued, to simplify and reduce the administration. The accounts now are a Current Account limited to a sum agreed by council and the trustees, and a Deposit Account created by surplus from the Current Account.
The Annual Church Service was supported, for various reasons, by only a small number of members in the past few years. The attendance has now increased to more reasonable numbers since a lunch has been organised following the service, which makes for a more sociable event. Our Chaplain has been known to join us when he can.
The Annual Dinner continues to be a popular event and the Leeds Association of Engineers is now becoming one of the few engineering organisations to hold such an event to include the Lord Mayor and an Honorary Chaplain.
Please regularly visit the web site www.leeds-engineers.org.uk
Table of contents
President’s Report 2010
Officers of the Leeds Association of Engineers
Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Association 1865 to 2010
Secretaries of the Association
In office 2004 to 2010
Young Engineer Award or Project Scheme
Anniversary Dinners 2005 to 2010
Extract from the “Rules of the Leeds Association of Engineers”