Members’ Forum Report

Summary of the Members' Forum

Key points:

  • Over a hundred members took the opportunity to participate in the conversation, and their care for the Club and desire to see it overcome past challenges is encouraging.
  • There was an opportunity for all viewpoints to be expressed and this was successfully done in a respectful manner without personal animosity or abuse, which is essential to progress.
  • Emotions and criticisms were expressed freely and accepted as valid perspectives, everyone who wished to speak was heard.
  • The need for a more inclusive Celtic Club with a more open and transparent relationship between the Committee of Management and the members was accepted by the majority of attendees.
  • The outline of a new business plan was shared, alongside the strategic direction, and the rationale for this. The text of the President’s Welcome and the full presentation are available online.
  • A commitment was made by the Treasurer and President to conduct a detailed review of key decisions and the financial performance of the Club over the past 5 years and report the findings back to the members.
  • A strong desire came through to return to the heart of the community and be relevant to a wider range of potential members.
  • The clear wish of the members who took part was that the Club should actively collaborate with other organisations within the community, looking outwardly with confidence rather than inwardly with distrust.
  • Irish Clubs all over the world are facing challenges and we must build inclusivity and collaboration if we are to flourish.
  • The consensus was that decisions and actions taken in the coming months will impact on whether or not the Club thrives into the future, recognising that the members, at the September election, will have the opportunity to indicate their support or otherwise for this direction.
  • The search for a new venue is active, however further discussion needs to be held regarding the core features that are essential for a new home and venue for the Club. This included the capacity to host cultural events within a multipurpose space and should be more flexible and ambitious than merely a bar or gaming venue.
  • Gaming, currently declared in the Club’s purposes, was presented as essential for the immediate future financial viability of the Club, but further discussions on the feasibility of transitioning to other income sources were foreshadowed.
  • There is a desire for a more appropriate corporate structure and a modernisation of the Club’s rules, to support more contemporary practices.
  • An outline of planned events for the year ahead was shared with the attendees.
  • The financial responsibilities of the Committee of Management were emphasised, as was the fact that they are acting in a voluntary capacity.
  • As the Club embarks upon the next chapter, it was communicated that there will be a need to broaden the range of skills within the Committee of Management and various working groups.
  • The need to realign subcommittees with the strategic plans was highlighted along with a process to open Expressions of Interest for members to volunteer their services.
  • The need to attract new and especially younger members was stressed by several speakers and we should be working with the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce, Gaelic Games Victoria, Comhaltas, the Irish Australian Support & Resource Bureau, regional associations and others to enable this.
  • A goal was formulated of building relevance for the club across the state and beyond, through a more diverse range of activities, and not restricting ourselves to a purely Melbourne footprint.
  • The attendees agreed that future forums on a bi-monthly basis was desirable.

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