Dear Members

Looking back, I am not sure that anyone could have foreseen the enormous impact that the Coronavirus pandemic would have on our way of life.

Despite the huge negative effect of lockdown on us all as individuals and on our Society, it has been of the utmost importance to us that we continue to communicate with you and try to keep our family of members together. We have tried to reach you all not only by email and via our website but also, especially for those of you without internet, by post and telephone.

We know that the virtual world is no replacement for the real world but we have found that it can be a very welcome opportunity for us to meet and see each other. Following virtual events via Zoom in June and July with another to come in August, we have now organised Lectures via Zoom for this autumn, together with a Study Day, our AGM and an additional Christmas lecture.  Immediately it is possible to return to Trinity we will do so, but in the meantime we will continue to try and find ways to add benefit to your membership wherever we can.

Over the last few months, we have had to pay particular attention to our finances as we faced the challenge of lockdown, not knowing when we might be able to resume our lectures. Fortunately, we were in a strong position in March and only one of our cancelled lecturers charged us a (small) cancellation fee. The Committee therefore took the decision in May to support the Trinity Theatre by paying for the venue costs of our cancelled bookings for April, May and June. We felt this was a justifiable use of some of our funds in order to add our support to a much-loved local arts venue and one that is essential to our Society.

Given that we are offering members online lectures and events for the foreseeable future, we have paid for a Zoom licence which will allow us no limit to the number of uses or participants. The cost of this licence has been negotiated on behalf of local Societies by The Arts Society so we are very grateful to them.

We are very proud of the fact that our annual membership subscription is one of the lowest of all UK Arts Societies and although we had been considering the possibility of having to increase it this year, under the circumstances we will not be doing so.

Our finances remain viable for the coming months but we will need our loyal members to renew their membership subscriptions as soon as possible in order to ensure we can continue to offer the variety and high standard of lectures and events that you have come to expect from us. And, of course, we warmly welcome new members – so do spread the word!

The committee and I are very grateful to you for your patience, understanding and support and we look forward to meeting you in person again in the not too distant future.

With warm wishes

Sandra Hitching

Chairman