Reducing numbers, an ageing population, technological advance, and less activity are all contributing to a reduction in both the profile and the perceived relevance of the hobby.
With few exceptions, the structures that have traditionally sustained the hobby are no longer fit for purpose. Without swift evolutionary change it is inevitable that a number of the region’s clubs will increasingly struggle, leading to further reduction in access to the hobby, reinforcing decline and the potential loss of bandwidth. In rural communities with low population and isolation, the problem is even greater.
We believe that in a climate emergency, with expanding globalisation, and increasing pressure on local government resourses, Amateur Radio Communication is more relevant than ever, and we have both the skills and the technology to reverse the decline. But we need fresh strategic thinking.
Within the Amateur community there is resilience, technical knowledge, and the energy to put in place new structures that can create better connectivity and expand both the relevance and scope of our hobby. However, we need to do this ourselves. No one will do it for us.
So we are proposing a day conference at the end of May or beginning of June, located in central Somerset, for Radio Amateurs in the Somerset area to begin to identify new ways of connecting with everyone interested in wireless communication of all types, and to develop a new strategy for for Amateur Radio in the area.
The conference is being organised jointly by the MidSomerset ARC and the RSGB Region 11 team. It will not be simply a ‘talking shop’. We plan practical outcomes that will transform the way we engage together with wireless communication. We seek nothing less than transforming the structures that connect Amateurs and those interested in wireless communication.
We want to explore ways of strengthening existing clubs so they can become strategic 'hubs' in a much wider network, supporting each other and individual Amateurs, and to explore ways of creating new communities of interest.
This is an initial call to ask if you or your club would like to participate in this conference. In order to judge the amount of interest, and therefore the level of resources to commit, we are writing to all Clubs in the area inviting expressions of interest. You can download a copy of our letters below. With a small subsidy from the RSGB, we aim to keep conference costs to a minimum.
We invite you to discuss this proposal with other Club members and other Amateurs in the area, both online and on air, and let us know the answers to these questions:
If there is sufficient support, we will invite new thinking and call for papers to get us started.
The following invitation letter has been sent to Clubs in the Wessex area: