HBA calls for Special General Meeting to decide its future
Notice of a Special General Meeting for members went out Tuesday this week. The meeting, called for on Monday 8 August, will address the recommendations from the committee to voluntarily disband the Association. The meeting will be held at Skyfall (www.skyfallhove.com) on Church Road at 6pm. Chair Martin Harris has written to HBA members with a message to explain why this has come about.
Copy of letter sent to HBA members 5 July 2016
Re: Special General Meeting to decide on a proposal to voluntarily disband the Association
On behalf of the Hove Business Association Committee, I write to explain why we have called a Special General Meeting on 8 August, in accordance with the rules of the Association, to propose to voluntarily disband the Association, in accordance with its rules.
The Association has struggled for some time now to get viable numbers to attend events and last year following the AGM we took a slightly different path to enable the committee to spend time properly taking stock of the situation, better understanding members wishes and needs, and identifying future opportunities to make the Association stronger and more successful.
We reduced the number of events and aimed for higher quality in an effort to create a stronger base to grow from. Through the efforts of the committee, we were very successful in raising the breakfast events with some terrific speakers and some new venues, and I would particularly like to thank John Butler for his work in this regard. Nevertheless, attendances remained very modest. Social events were even less successful in attracting the support of the membership.
We conducted a member survey which made clear how members’ time pressures and other priorities had overtaken their desire to get involved with the Association’s events on a more active basis. We also had to recognise that for those that do want to actively network with other business people in the city, there are many choices available from other organisations, most of which are considerably larger than ourselves and better resourced.
Recognising that marketing and administration resource was to be essential if we were to put the Association into a positive upward spiral of growing member engagement, event support, membership numbers and sustainability, we very seriously considered a ‘rescue package’ of investing the Association’s funds into a resource to seek to create the momentum needed. Without this it was looking increasingly unlikely that the Association could be sustained effectively. The committee members carry out the marketing and administration on a voluntary basis, all having very busy day jobs and businesses to run themselves. Despite exploring a range of possibilities for this rescue package, the committee decided that none were likely to be sufficiently effective to make the resource self-sustaining.
In recent months, we found we had no alternative but to increasingly consider the very real possibility that the committee would have to ask the membership to consider closure. Previous efforts to add more committee volunteers to share the workload and increase member engagement had not been very successful, and the size of the committee had indeed shrunk a little over time. Looking towards the autumn’s AGM, with potentially further retirements from the committee, the prospects were not good.
At our June Committee meeting we finally conceded that we had no option but to call a special general meeting of members, to consider a proposal to disband the Association in accordance with its rules, and similarly dispose of the balance of its funds. The formal minutes of that decision will be available at the Special General Meeting or on request for members wishing to vote by proxy.
The formal notice of the SGM and the agenda is with this message to members, and I do hope that you will be able to attend. Details of proxy arrangements are included for those who are not able to do so.
I should make clear that whatever the outcome of the decision on the Association, the Hove Business Partnership will be unaffected and will continue to function. Indeed, the membership survey indicated continuing strong interest in the sort of business issues that the Partnership is established to address. HBA committee member and past chair Andrew Nichols continues to chair the Hove Business Partnership.
The Association has been running for many years, and enjoyed great successes at times. It is with deep regret therefore that I have to bring you this news. I took on the role of chair at last autumn’s AGM with a desire to see if we could find some new and viable niches for the Association to successfully occupy in a very crowded marketplace. I have not been able to achieve that aim. The whole committee has worked hard in pursuit of a strong and viable future for the Association. It is very sad that we have not been able to do so and that we now have no alternative but to recommend closure.