Coachlines - August 2023

28.08.23 The Master Julian Leach

Master’s Message August 2023

A view to the future

As you will all be aware, I will be handing over to my very good friend Bettine Evans, subject to election, on Friday 1st September. I started the year with an explanation of how our Livery works. You can look back to the first three or four Master’s Messages on the website, if you missed it first time round. I’ve kept you pretty much up to date about what I’ve been doing during the year, so I have decided to return to the Livery in this final message with a look to our future aspirations.

Our Immediate Past Master, Sarah Sillars left us with four aiming points for our 350th anniversary in 2027, as follows:

1) Grow the membership to 500 fee paying members by 2027.

2) Increase the participation and involvement levels of Liverymen and Freemen in the Company’s social, charitable and governance activities.

3) Increase the awareness and profile of the Company, both internally amongst members and by targeted communication within the coachmaking, automotive and aerospace industries, in the City and amongst the Coachmakers’ charitable partners.

4) Grow the Coachmakers’ Charitable Fund to £3m by 2027, supplementing asset investment growth with internal fund-raising initiatives, and with 2022 levels as the baseline, increase the sum given by the Coachmakers Charitable Trust to targeted external beneficiaries up to 7.5% of the total fund value per annum.

Most of the delivery of this strategy sits with the various committees in various degrees.

The reason that we need to grow our membership is for three reasons. First of all, membership is the primary source of income for the Company (not the Charity). This increase of 50 makes a significant difference to the income of the Company and, myself and the Wardens, have identified areas where significant efficiency savings can be made without impacting the day-to-day activities and ambiance of the Livery. Also approved by the Court.

The second reason also impacts on aiming point number two in that it increases the number of people who are available to attend our dinners and events.

Finally, also encapsulated in number two, it increases the number of people that can participate on our committees etc. It has been noticeable that a large number of the people that have joined this year, as well as being dyed in the wool automotive, coaching or aerospace people, are also interested in involving themselves in our charitable activities.

I must also say that the Membership Committee has embraced its new targets and has made a cracking start towards this new target, without compromising the quality of candidates.

The second and third aiming points really speak for themselves. The second in fact is to a large part, in the hands of the Livery at large and relies on the membership to attend things and for individuals to volunteer for things. Look at the committees and decide where your talents or interests lie. Any Committee Chairman will willingly find a space for anyone who comes forward.

The fourth is our BEHAG (business speak – our Big Hairy Audacious Goal). This has required a great deal of thought. The Charity Committee has formed a Fundraising sub-committee under the chairmanship, currently, of the Renter Warden. It has attracted a number of people with great fundraising credentials but please do not be shy. It can accommodate more.

At the moment, the charity fund receives a few ad hoc donations and benefits from any surplus from the annual Banquet which is supported by some corporate sponsorship – this year the Banquet put about £10k into the fund. Occasionally there is the odd bequest. So, I guess you would call that a kind of organic growth. The fundraising committee is tasked with accelerating that growth from all sorts of sources and you will be hearing more from the Fundraising Committee in due course.

Our charitable aims are laudable and expanding and that is what is sparking the interest of new and current Liverymen alike. We are an active livery investing in young people. By which we mean that we support talented young people aiming towards our affiliated industries. We are currently setting up a mentoring programme to make the Coachmakers the ‘go to’ place for help and advice for these young people to enter employment and exploit opportunities that occur.

In our 350th year we have an ambition to contact 350 young people senior school age upwards, from all backgrounds and whether heading towards university or not. And ultimately to see some into employment or college. This is a huge undertaking and will require input from our Liverymen both physically and financially. Nevertheless, I’m sure you will agree that it is a great goal to go for.

To finish I would like to express my sincere and unending gratitude for what has been, for me a fabulous, rewarding and stimulating year. Thank you for all your backing and kindness. I hope that you have enjoyed the year that I have tried to give you and that it will spur you on to continue to support and cherish this great Company.

I will still be around. The Coachmakers has become a very important part of my life for many years, and I will continue to give it all the support that I have given it in the past. I look forward to seeing you all soon.