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With NADFAS boasting morethan 90,000 members and350 Societies in the UK andmainland Europe, it's easy to forget thatthere are still pockets of the countrywhere the Association's presence islimited. Reading, Banbury, GreaterManchester - all have been identified asareas where there are far fewer NADFASSocieties than elsewhere. Which is why the New Societies teamat NADFAS House is activelyencouraging prospective foundermembers to help fill in the gaps andbring the NADFAS experience to a wideraudience still. Perhaps you have recentlymoved to an area where there is noNADFAS Society and would like to setone up yourself? Or maybe you aresomeone with a wealth of NADFASexperience who embraces a challengeand would like to give something backand bring lasting enjoyment to others. If this sounds like you, then don'thesitate to contact the New Societiesteam at NADFAS House. Led byChairman of New Societies WendyPrice, they have the resources andexpertise to help guide you through theprocess and ensure that everything runsas smoothly as possible. In addition to agenerous grant to help cover startupcosts - including your first lecture - youwill be allocated a New Society Advisorwho will provide moral and practicalsupport. From finding a venue, tocompiling a business plan andgenerating publicity, your advisor,assisted by the team at NADFAS House,and available to you for a full year afterNew beginnings Founding a new Society may sound daunting but help is always at hand and the experience can beenormously rewarding. We speak to recent founder members about their experiences and outline thewealth of assistance available to those who decide to take the plungeNEW SOCIETIESyour Society's inauguration, is there tomake everything run as smoothly aspossible. A programme of inductiondays is also available to guide foundermembers in anything from accountkeeping to chairmanship. For thoseSocieties thinking about starting asecond session there is also a granttoward helping to set it up. BettyStringer, who founded Waveney ValleyDFAS last year, says how impressed shewas with the support from the NewSocieties team. "NADFAS providedleaflets, posters and encouragement, andSally Sturcke (New Societies Adviser) wasinvaluable for her sensible advice andmoral support, unfailingly and cheerfullygiven. I'm sure my calls were sometimesat inopportune times but she wasalways positive and encouraging."New Societies can often rely on thesupport of neighbouring Societies tohelp get things off the ground. ChesterDFAS is one such 'Good Samaritan'Society. Having benefited itself fromfunding and assistance from itsneighbour Tarporley & District DFASwhen it formed in 2002, the Society hasbeen quick to offer its own help,including financial donations, to fledgingSocieties Llandudno, Macclesfield and,most recently, Fylde, looked after byNew Societies Adviser Pauline Booth.The sense of reward involved infounding a new Society cannot beoverstated. Patricia Dugdale, who set upOxford DFAS a year ago, keen to pursueher interest in the arts having recentlycompleted a course in art history atOxford's Department of ContinuingEducation, describes her ownexperience. "It's very rewarding at yourvery first session when you arrive to seethis audience of people, all of whom aregoing to enjoy the programme that youhave worked hard to put together. It hasfilled a gap in Oxford and it's a very nicefeeling to have been instrumental inmaking that happen."Betty Stringer echoes the sentiment:"The gratitude and enthusiasm of themembers has been very rewarding. Andthe whole experience has introduced meto likeminded people I might not haveencountered otherwise." Betty is aperfect example of an individual whofeels that through setting up a newSociety she has been able to givesomething back to the Association shehas gained decades of pleasure from,while passing on that experience toothers. "I have enjoyed my membershipof NADFAS over 20 years and I am atrue educator, being a retired teacher!  Ifeel that people will enjoy the best if it ismade available to them. The Society hasbecome an asset to the town."Some readers may be deterred by thecommitment required to set up a newSociety. But with astute planning, thereis absolutely no reason why being afounder Chairman should be a lifelongcommitment. 'Reading, Banbury, Greater Manchester - all have beenidentified as areas where there are far fewer NADFASSocieties than elsewhere''As a founder member you become part of an elite groupdating back over 40 years that has helped grow NADFASinto the nationwide force for good that it is today' 42NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN forSouth CambridgeDFAS (ChairmanAudrey Williamsis pictured topwith NADFASChief ExecutiveDavid Bell); FyldeDFAS and Oxford DFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN201043NEW SOCIETIESPatricia Dugdale advises. "It's mostly amanagement issue. You just need to dosuccession planning early on, and startthinking about who might take over. Wedon't have a problem at all. We have asub group looking into visits and otheractivities and we have been absolutelystaggered at the talent available."Wendy Price offers her ownreassurance: "If Societies do havetrouble recruiting, there are ways ofmanaging the situation and that is thekind of thing we can help with atNADFAS House." Wendy also stresses that far fromposing a threat to Societies already inexistence, new Societies often help toboost neighbouring Societies'membership by generating a renewedflurry of interest. "Existing Societies oftenbenefit from the formation of a newSociety in the area," she points out."They may experience an influx of newmembers as peoples' interest is whettedby all the publicity and promotionalactivity that accompanies the creationof a new Society.."Dorothy Hunt describes theexperience of having a new Societyopen its doors nearby as an enrichingone: "It has been very valuable makingcontact with new Societies. It hashelped us build our own network ofcontacts and, of course, it is verygratifying to see fellow NADFASSocieties flourish."And don't forget, as a foundermember you become part of an elitegroup dating back over 40 years thathas helped grow NADFAS into thenationwide force for good it is today. Readers interested in starting a newSociety should contact Wendy Pricethrough the Communications,Societies and Membership Departmentat NADFAS House on 020 7430 0730