Southern Region returned to the Langstone Hotel on Hayling Island for their 2008 AGM and Business Conference.
Jim Barton of Portsmouth Branch was unanimously elected as Southern Region President for a further year, and thanked the regional members for their continued support.
Stuart McDowall of Oxford Branch continues as Regional Chairman, and commented in his report to Regional Council on the challenges that lie ahead for FMB members, particularly with regard to the regulatory and tax burden they have to deal with.
Eddie Galbraith of East Kent Branch was elected as Senior Vice Chairman, and Nick Harrison of West Kent Branch elected as Junior Vice Chairman.
The Apprenticeships Task Force being spearheaded by FMB National President Geoff Lister was the focus of this year’s business conference, and Geoff outlined the Task Force objectives with support from Robbie Beecher of ConstructionSkills.
Members were interested to learn of the new Programme Led Apprenticeship Scheme and some agreed to take on apprentices looking for work placements. There was a useful discussion on some of the problems involved with training, and how these can be overcome, to make sure we have the skilled workforce the industry needs for the future.
Presentations from Velux, on the Code for Sustainable Homes, FMB Insurance Services on the Health & Safety Risk Director available to members through Allianz, and B&CE Benefit Schemes on the range of benefits available to members left Southern Region members with a plenty to think about!
The social side of the event included a hilarious evening’s entertainment from Fred Wedlock, on the Friday evening. Roy Charles provided some magical entertainment, amazing everyone with his sleight of hand.
The Golf Competition, organised as ever by John Saunders of Reading Branch, was won by Chris Nicholls of The Loft Company, with Barry Fincham from Bournemouth as runner up.
Saturday evening’s gala dinner and dance was a great success, with the raffle raising £355 for the Chairman’s Charity (the Prostate Cancer charity) in support of Pat McGeever’s Great Tractor Run Appeal.