We had our most recent 'management meeting' / voice conference call last Wednesday - and there is one topic we feel that needs immediate attention: What is the current state of the UKPS and what should its point be?
I, and the other members of the board are agreed that we must continue to offer and actively encourage opportunities for training, personal / professional continuing development, and advise on routes into the industry for those seeking to follow an interest or even a career in the pyrotechnics industries. It cannot be denied that, we, as the UKPS have not achieved what perhaps many of you would like to see: A permanent, tangible facility for usage by the membership to conduct research and possibly exploit commercial opportunities. Recent discussions have not gone unnoticed by the UKPS, it we felt it important to make an announcement.
To go back to my point about 'What is the current state of the UKPS'. Our articles set out our purpose:
To preserve the heritage, science, history and art of British fireworks manufacture
You will all be familiar with the Amberley project - despite a good deal of effort, we haven't realised the plans, and there needs to be significant investment of funding through donations, sponsorship, and also man power. Without these, the project won't go ahead.
To promote and encourage pyrotechnics as a practical subject and science
We believe there is a good deal of interest in pyrotechnics - and increasing use of fireworks at major events shows this. We are frequently contacted by the media to provide commentary and over recent months our members have made several TV appearances.
To promote the safe and responsible storage and use of fireworks by members of the general public
All pro-firework bodies, trade associations and such would encourage this - us included. The leaflets produced by UKPS have found their ways into several specialist retailers - and we spend time talking with the public at events.
To amass an archive of literature relating to many aspects of pyrotechnics
We continue to accept historical items, articles etc - although it is not clear how these will be safeguarded well into the future.
To clarify the laws relating to the manufacture and storage of explosives for our membership.
I think we are making very good progress on this one. The work done by Wayne Robshaw and several of us, with much constructive input from Danny has not gone unnoticed by HSE - we still await outcomes of this process.
To establish the society as the liaising body with the HSE and other regulatory agencies in relation to the subject of firework construction by enthusiasts
We have made a good start on this through our input into the MSER ELR process with HSE and other bodies involved. I believe there is a lot more we could do and this needs further discussion with our membership.
To support the UK fireworks industry as a whole
While the display side is well covered by the BPA, and retail by the BFA - anything we can do to spread positive messages and liaise with the trade, public etc can only be a good thing.
To represent the general public in legislatory matters relating to fireworks
We are well placed as an organisation to make representations in response to specific concerns. This must continue.
When you look at the UKPS, compared to the likes of the PGI in the US, we are a tiny organisation, representing a minority interest. Our greatest problems are a lack of funding, and a lack of man power. Without the time of our members, or money - we are limited in what we can do. All of our activities require both. From organising events, attending public displays (firework champions events), organising meetings, publicity materials - the list is endless. Without the input of literally a handful of people, the current UKPS would grind to a halt overnight.
Our articles state that, every two years, we shall hold an election to appoint the principal officers of the society. Since 2006, I have held the position of Chair. 2012 is an election year and this means we will be writing to each of our full members to provide them the opportunity to stand for election as a principal or executive officer (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer.)
We need more people to actively contribute and engage in the running of the UKPS. With this in mind it is my feeling that a new Chairman should be appointed in 2012, and that person will take the UKPS forwards as an organisation, and through their leadership, and with support of myself and the board and memebership, we will start to achieve the things our membership want. I strongly believe that a new chair would be a welcome change - I have held the position since 2006 - and I think this is largely because no-one else wanted to stand in previous years. I have decided I will not be standing for election in 2012 but would be pleased to continue to be involved heavily with the UKPS in a non-executive capacity.
Essentially the board feels it is vital that we must encourage new blood - and it is our hope that the UKPS will develop as an organisation.
I and the other board members remain fully committed to our aims and objectives - we are determined to see the ELR process through. What happens next is down to you all - our members.
I thank you all for reading this rather lengthy post and look forward to supporting our society in the years to come - so over to you!
We will be formally contacting all members to outline the process of elections soon. I encourage all of you to get involved and the make the UKPS - it is your society - you all have an equal responsibility to make it a successful organisation. What you get out is what you put in.
I suggest we use this thread as a starting point for you all to give your own thoughts, opinions etc.