Chairman’s Letter October 2018
The role of the Friends, FMNH, is to support Manx National Heritage. In the past that role has been largely discharged by our providing grants from our resources to enable MNH to augment its collections and to purchase land of national or scenic importance. In recent years that support has been broadened with FMNH members providing volunteer support over a wide range of tasks. That “hands on” support has become invaluable to MNH and a rough calculation of the value of it suggests that volunteers provide the equivalent of three full time equivalent staff to MNH over a year.
But our financial and volunteer support has become even more important to MNH – with the constraints on Government expenditure, MNH is having to become more dependent on its own fund raising from a variety of sources, relying on its charitable status to do that. However MNH’s own fund raising efforts do lead to occasional overlaps with what FMNH does and has been doing – your Board is working closely with the Trustees and staff of MNH to ensure each body plays to its strengths and does not duplicate effort unnecessarily. In simple terms, FMNH will concentrate its efforts on you – the members of FMNH, both individual and corporate. We need to ensure our contributions, both financial and practical, continue to make a real difference to MNH. So if you have some spare time and can offer to do some work, whether it be gardening, painting, fixing the web site or ushering at events, do contact our Administrator who will be only too delighted to hear from you. We are grateful to those who have performed so many valuable tasks this past year.
FMNH is the largest voluntary member organisation on the Isle of Man, and we realise many are attracted to membership by the significant benefits of access to MNH sites and sites of equivalent heritage organisations further afield. But we need to remember that such benefits come at a cost – to MNH – of lost income from admission fees for both FMNH members and members of reciprocal organisations who visit our sites. That imposes a duty on us to ensure that our membership fees remain realistic and bear some comparability to both routine admission fees to MNH sites but also membership dues of analogous heritage groups. Whilst we obviously try to ensure rises are not too onerous, we all need to bear in mind that all funds raised go to support MNH. Those of us who became life or fixed term members some years ago also need to remember that our generous support is still needed, particularly when appeals for specific heritage projects are made.
The past year has been as active as ever with a mixture of events, talks, and opportunities to give practical support. Our energetic and enthusiastic Administrator ably supported by our Membership Secretary has not only organised a very full list of activities, but has also sought to keep members in touch with news from both FMNH and from MNH. The intention is to communicate with members by e-mail on a monthly basis – but there have been glitches with electronic communication, hopefully now resolved. If you are not receiving that newsletter, do contact our Administrator – it may be that she just needs your current e mail address!
This year, FMNH has not only provided grants to enable MNH to buy specific artefacts, but has also agreed to provide support, both practical and practical to the proposed new Motorsport Gallery. More practical items have also been donated such as gardening equipment for Cregneash.
But the success of FMNH largely depends on you, its members. Do get involved, encourage your friends, and your employers if they could be corporate members, to join, and attend an event! In addition to FMNH activities, MNH organises its own events and open days with details available on the MNH website https://manxnationalheritage.im
A big thank you to all who have contributed this past year.
P.S. The AGM Agenda can be found at the top right hand side of this page.