Highlights of 2018

  • Early in the year, we acquired a permanent home at the Peace Hall, Albion, for our trading days.
  • Our local hub meetings kicked off for the south-siders.
  • Mailchimp was introduced to emailing the monthly NewsLETS and events notices.
  • The website was upgraded with some much-needed new features.
  • There was a team restructure.
  • We celebrated our 30th Anniversary.

 

Trading days

We now have our main trading day in the one place: the Peace Hall at Albion. We have a good venue, but it’s not perfect. It has a kitchen, two smaller rooms suitable for workshops or meetings, and a main hall. It doesn’t have a restaurant licence so we may not cook meals; due to food regulations, proceeds of sales of snacks must go to the organisation, not an individual.

In the past year we have had some great workshops; thanks to everybody who has run one.

Josephine Brown’s regular Storytelling sessions are well received, and offer a great way for people to connect while being entertained. Not everyone participates; it’s not compulsory.

We have also introduced the concept of a theme for our trading days, where we have stalls and sell goods related to the theme. This has been a mixed success.

 

Hub meetings

In July, we held our first hub meeting for south-siders at Coopers Plains, in the St David’s Neighbourhood Centre. The idea of a local hub meeting is so neighbours can come together and get to know each other over some lunch or a cup of coffee. These occur on the first weekend of the month so they don’t compete with our main trading day at the Peace Hall; if you have something to trade, then bring it along. (Reminder about insurance below.)

 

Mailchimp

We have introduced Mailchimp for our newsletter and event-update emails. Mailchimp offers four benefits.

  1. We can create a richer experience with media and pictures, provide links to external websites and present information in line with current trends in the publishing space.
  2. Our newsletter can be viewed easily on mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers.
  3. We are able to offer the newsletter to non-members and interested parties.
  4. We can track the number of people actually opening our emails and clicking on the links. Mailchimp is an excellent tool that lets us engage with members and the public alike.

 

Website

Our website was upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, with a new theme and long overdue features, notably the ability to list our events. It’s still a work in progress, and we’d welcome suggestions to improve its information, form and function.

Team restructure

In July it was decided to change the way the organisation is structured.

At the top we have our elected officials: President, Secretary and Treasurer, making up the Management Committee (MC). This satisfies our legal requirements of incorporation.

The idea is to make these positions as minimal (and therefore as attractive) as possible, because it’s been difficult to fill these positions year-on-year. In the past (in my opinion and experience) there has been too much reliance on committee members or the expectation that they will do everything.

These positions are important and necessary, and ultimately the persons in the role are responsible for guiding the organisation.

Under the constitution, the executive has the power to appoint sub-committees. Ours are:

  • Management Support Team (MST)
  • Events Team
  • Promotions Team
  • Trading Team.

A minor change has been the grouping into teams; the major change is that the MST  is responsible for and has decision-making power over all non-incorporation-related business. In other words all Units-related business such as the CES Website Admin and oversight of all the other teams. It has 3-5 members nominated by members, approved by both the MST & MC and appointed by the MC.  The MC makes decisions to administer the organisation ($ expenditure still needs to be approved by the treasurer). The MC, as the elected representatives, still has overriding power. This is explained in the website (in brief) on the Committee page under About Us.

 

What would we like to achieve in 2019?

To increase attendance at trading days:

  • Get more, new people though the door to our trading days. So we need a Promotions Coordinator, someone with marketing skills.
  • Let’s get BrisLETS members who live in the Windsor area to come along to our trading day market – that would be a start.
  • Let’s have a garage sale and advertise it as such – maybe we need to accept $ AND units for our goods. Should we call our trading day a MARKET to broaden the appeal?

 

To improve the quality of goods offered at trading days:

  • Do we need an incentive to encourage stall-holders to trade new goods and crafts at our trading day?
  • Should we refund the transaction levy on sellers who attend a trading day and sell new items?
  • Should we extend this to people who offer a service?

 

To hold more workshops:

  • Perhaps one of the strengths of the trading days has been the number and variety of workshops held over the past year. Let’s continue with this.
  • Perhaps we could pay workshop presenters in units; if they forget to ask, offer?
  • Would you like to hold a workshop in the new year? If you held one last year and would like have repeat it, then please get in contact.

 

To see more members at hub meetings:

  • We encourage hub meetings in the other regions around Brisbane, even if it is simply meeting in a cafe for a coffee, or a meeting in a public park. (Reminder about insurance below.)
  • Get in contact with the events team if you’d like to hold an event.

 

To introduce a member rewards system:

At the last AGM (as a part of the proposed restructure) it was mooted that people who volunteer their time and talents building/organising BrisLETS should be rewarded in some manner.

We are putting together the final touches to the proposal and will announce the results in the February 2019 newsletter.

 

To make members more aware of insurance implications:

BrisLETS is incorporated, so the personal property and assets of individuals working on our committees are protected, unless another host organisation, such as the Peace Hall or St David’s, covers us.

However, BrisLETS doesn’t have public liability insurance, so anything organised in our name isn’t covered.

Member should get their own Household Workers Insurance policy which is cheap and available from the Queensland Government for anyone employing workers at home. Accident Insurance covers tenants you also employ. However, if you have invited members to your home or a public park for a market event and they provide services to another member, they may not be covered.

Meetings at private homes are at your own risk. Events open to the public are better held at public venues.


On a personal note:

I will be stepping back this year as I have some personal projects to attend to. So we are advertising the position of a Mailchimp assistant, to help with the newsletter/event reminder emails.

Are you a creative person looking to upskill your talents? Maybe you could contribute, using a different approach? Contact me at gandella2012@gmail.com. I give free training!

I won’t be attending every trading day, but Isabelle Derouet does a great job on these days.

If you would like some honey, let me know and I will bring some along.

I plan to stay in the role of Planning and Technical Support (PTS) as this is where my talents lie. So I will still be actively involved and answering the events@brislets.com email address as an on-line events planner, until we can get an Events Coordinator who is dedicated to the task of organising trading days.

So much potential remains untapped, so come along on the exciting journey to see where it takes us.

— Andrew Gaydon (BLCE1498)
Editors: Simon Cole and Josephine Brown

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