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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Tuesday 9th May 2017

Numbers are important! Well at least that is what my primary school teacher told me when I was learning my tables back at Leith Academy. Have you noticed how much numbers feature in our lives each day? Whether it is dialling a mobile, working on a spreadsheet, buying a newspaper or even just checking the time we are surrounded by numbers all day…

Numbers are key to many aspects of our work in the BB too. The Brigade Executive recently agreed the budget for the 2017/18 session. The staff, the Finance Committee and then the trustees spent a considerable time reviewing the figures and agreeing just what we can afford to do in the months ahead. Like all charities we would always like to do more but are restrained by just how much we can afford to spend on different aspects of our work. Whatever we do it is always difficult to make the right choices.

Numbers of young people are also very important. When I was a Company Captain we always kept a good eye on numbers in each section to ensure we could deliver a successful programme and make the meeting nights as enjoyable as possible. I would be the first one to agree that big doesn’t always mean best; some of the best events I have run in the BB didn’t rely on massive numbers, but I think most leaders would agree that you need a certain critical mass to be able to organise a lot of our activities.

It looks like across the Brigade numbers have dipped again this session. In many areas numbers are very healthy and a good percentage of young people access the BB each week, but in some areas there are reasons why it is more difficult to do this. It is not always easy to grow a Company. Where I grew up in Edinburgh, as the council has been closing primary schools over the years and there are now actually more pensioners than young people. For similar reasons, Companies in inner cities often find it hard to recruit and there is much more competition from other activities (sports clubs, games consoles, etc) than when I was a Boy.

One of the main aims in our development plan is to grow the BB, and it would be great in the next few years if together we could get our total membership back above the 50,000 mark (currently around 47,000). The One for All campaign has made a start and has certainly boosted numbers in many Companies. Attracting new members to every section would of course be a massive boost to the Brigade, but as we know, it would also provide a real encouragement to our current members and our Churches.

Every blessing for all your plans for the remainder of the session!

Bill Stevenson

Brigade Secretary & CEO

Follow Bill on Twitter at @BillBBHQ

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