All of us require a sense of purpose in life. Something to give us a feeling of fulfilment during our stay on this planet.
Sometimes people get that from their family, their work or their faith in a religion. Sometimes from a desire to achieve another burning goal in life. It can often be a combination of things. It is an important part of our health and well-being to find that inner purpose.
And it’s no different with organisations! When the new band of voluntary trustees and secretary took control of the WCA in September 2012 we had to make some decisions on where the charity was heading.
After discussions with several potential partners and a review of community space locally back in 2014 we decided, at that point, to invest our resources and set up the Wimblecomm website to connect people and venues across the borough. We use the dividend from that investment to support the website, which now has 76 venues registered at last count.
However, our survey at the end of 2017 and a recent technical report from Superhighways has led us to consider our wider long-term purpose, the way we finance ourselves and our internal structure.
To that end we have also invited some students from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) based in the USA, to work with us on reviewing our model and how it operates compared with elsewhere – both in the UK and even across the world! The students are currently doing some research back home but will be joining us at the beginning of May to continue their work.
One of our members, the New Horizons Centre, which has successfully worked with the WPI before, has kindly agreed to host the students during their stay. We will also be seeking to fix up meetings with several members and other local organisations before the WPI presents its report later in June. Further details of that will be sent out shortly.
The WPI team will be looking at other ways that the WCA can generate income in future and the extent to which we can rely on voluntary input. We are gradually building up a team of new volunteers to help our existing small team but also need to challenge how that model works in future and what our other options might be.
At the present time, even the country itself is having to challenge its sense of purpose and role in the world. So, the WCA is certainly not alone in this! Once we have developed our thinking further the trustees will be engaging once more with our members and the wider Merton community. But for the moment watch this space.