|Season 1 – Wednesday – 14/12/22|
|Walking through the Butts.|
|Letters for posting and letters and map for hand delivery.|
|Yesterday Suze and l hand delivered 25 letters around Sandwich on behalf of the committee of Gazen Salts and posted nine letters. In addition to that, Suze was working on the administration of the membership subscriptions and had emailed 23 FROGS [Friends of Gazen Salts] |
In February of this year, l attended the Annual General Meeting of the committee [my first introduction to the committee itself]. I remember them bringing up the old subscription list, and l clearly remember saying that considering the age of the details since it was last effectively managed, they should throw it all out and start again.
The last time anyone worked on the membership administration was in 2008 – 14 years ago. I raised the all-important introduction of GDPR. Their list should be deleted as it was most likely defunct, given the passing time between chasing active memberships and now.
Then in June, the list suddenly magically appeared again, and it came with a renewed instruction from the chairman that it was okay to use as the members had given their permission to be contacted. [Back in 2014]
No one in the committee wanted to touch it as it was long-winded and boring chasing people down for donations. So it went back into the TO DO pile archives.
I volunteered Suze and myself to tackle the issue with the added note that l considered the task entirely pointless given the absence of any active membership administration between 2008 – 2022.
That there would be a strong chance that many of the original fifty-plus FROGS would be dead, have moved, changed email addresses, forgotten what the bloody hell a FROG was in the first place and or, given the current climate, would not feel inclined to donate £15, £25 or £100 if there isn’t even a newsletter and one can enter the Gazen Salts for free anyway!
I suggested a new social media system was required.
But to validate any of these theories, there could only be one way to determine the facts: to put my money where my mouth was. Suze agreed. This is why we had this task that no one else had touched in nearly fifteen years.
The very basics of truth are even more straightforward. This chore should be tasked to the treasurer; after all, the treasurer is in charge of the finances and donations. However, he didn’t want it.
Anyway, Suze and l set off yesterday just after one and were finished by 2.30 pm, so 90 minutes of walking around the town in the biting cold wearing nine layers of clothing between us.
What we were learning before we even set off on the hand delivery from the emails, however, is that to date, of the 23 that have been sent, a dozen have already bounded back as no longer valid. One came back from a lovely lady who said she left Sandwich five years ago.
We are still determining what kind of result we will receive from the posted letters. Suze hand-wrote all the envelopes herself, and there is no guarantee that all the addresses on the membership lists are correct. Of the twenty plus we were to hand deliver, we found out through blatantly obvious signs [derelict and empty houses] and the postal lady we met on her route that three of the number had been long dead for three years plus.
She had been an early FROG in 2005 but gave up waiting for any membership news back then as it was and wished us good luck with the people still on the list as she thought a good 80% were either dead or had moved away or were in homes for the elderly.
It will be intriguing to see if anything materialises from our outing yesterday or if it was and is an entirely pointless task.
I have lost a lot of my passion for Gazen Salts mostly because l have watched the handling of it all and think the committee could better manage things. Yes, it would be an ideal role l would love to be warden, but l don’t believe that will arise in my direction.
Aside from when l am working as a volunteer on a Wednesday, l am trying to remember the last time l took a social walk around the environment for pure pleasure. If anything, it’s got to be a good six weeks, and that saddens me – yes, of course, l have been busy with other things and occupied with gardening, allotments, worms and piss poor weather, and so on, but still.
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