South West of England Branch
The South West of England branch has witnessed a lot of change over the past year. We welcomed a total of six new members covering a range of roles, including Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Press and Media Officer and two Ordinary Committee Members. We have also been sorry to see valued committee members leave due to work commitments, such as one of our CPD Officers and our Website Editor. We will seek to replace these positions over the coming months and would gratefully welcome any volunteers.
The other key vacancy is for a Chair Elect (nomination forms will be sent round in February). This role is crucial to the future of the branch and I would be delighted to discuss this further with any interested members.
It has taken time to get familiar with our roles and put plans in place, but we’re excited to now be in a position to be able to do this in 2012. I would like to thank the committee for their hard work and dedication over the last year and I very much look forward to working with them over the coming year.
In 2011 we personally organised three successful events, purposefully spread across the South West, which were applicable to a range of psychological interests. Topics included The Principles of Success, An Introduction to Hypnosis and Psychology & Performance. In 2012 we will be putting on more events but we will also be liaising with other local institutions (universities, professional bodies, etc.) to help raise awareness of other events that are going on in the region.
As with previous years we were delighted to be asked to support the SW Undergraduate Conference, which was held at the University of Bristol. It was organised by Dr Chris Kent, Prof Jeff Bowers and Sal Allman from the School of Experimental Psychology. The event was a huge success and brought together around 100 students and staff from all the universities in the South West: Bath Spa, Exeter, Bath, Bristol, Plymouth, and the West of England. We look forward to working with Dr William Simpson at the University of Plymouth to support 2012’s Undergraduate Conference.
Introducing local hubs
During 2011 we scoped interest in attending and presenting at Psychology in the Pub events, an event format widely requested by our members. We are very excited to be holding the first event in Bristol in January 2012. We’re using this as a pilot and will be launching monthly events across the region over 201, including: Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Truro. We urge our members to continue to get in touch if they have any suggestions with regards to speakers, venues or topics.
Working with other member networks
I had the privilege of meeting a range of colleagues at the Representative Council General Assembly in November. Representatives from other Branches, Divisions, Special Groups and Sections attended to share their activities over the previous year and share their plans for the forthcoming year. I look forward to learning from ‘what works’ for other branches and also working more closely with Divisions, Special Groups and Sections to provide a more joined up service for our local members.
We have been regularly updating our members using the monthly e-mail announcements and we have also set up social networking groups for the SW branch including Facebook, Twitter and Linked in. These have been invaluable in facilitating real time discussions and feedback from members and we look forward to continuing to use these over the coming year. The social networking sites are intended to facilitate networking both with the committee and other local members so we invite all our members to please join us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Member Feedback and Involvement
We have recently launched a membership survey to enable us to hear our members’ views on their current experience of the Branch and how we can better serve them. We also continue to invite ad hoc feedback and suggestions to help us better meet our members’ needs.
We are also trying to establish our student members working group to help us better understand and meet the needs of this particular membership group. We would like to invite interested parties to get in touch and help push this forward.
We continue to welcome any contributions from members, including: newsletter content, raising our awareness of relevant local events, co-ordinating local hubs, and suggestions for speakers. Together we can make the South West an active, supportive network that makes psychology more accessible for all!
Clare Wanless, Chair