by Terry Hansen Published 01/01/2003
Firstly, can I wish all readers a belated happy New Year!
These words are being written between Christmas and returning from the Roadshows for inclusion in the next magazine, which will appear in time for Focus. Our last magazine came out at Christmas and I am sure you will agree that it was the best ever.
Looking back over the last year I have seen the Society and BPPA grow amazingly in strength, due to the hard work of Phil and Juliet with the help of their staff and under the new editor, Mike, the Society magazine was relaunched as the Professional Imagemaker. This relaunch brought in many new readers and also gained increasing support from the trade. Their willingness to advertise in the magazine is evidence of this. Their ongoing and increasing support is a recognition of the growing status of the SWPP/BPPA within the industry. They came in large numbers to the Awards Dinner and donated generous prizes for our Print Competition. Two days after the Awards Dinner, we hit the road again for a road show with Adobe, Nikon, Epson and our own Mike McNamee, Michael O'Neill, John MacDonald, Emma Lomax and Peter Maes.
As I am partly writing this on the day after the judging of the Print Competition, I thought it might be an idea to show you how much time and effort goes into running the SWPP/BPPA.
2002 has seen an extensive programme of well-attended seminars the length and breadth of Britain, and in early December while Phil and Juliet were on the road between seminars, the idea of an Awards Dinner was broached. Within days the venue was booked and support from the trade was promised. Juliet undertook the bulk of this work and it is very much her baby (as well as looking after her other baby, Lucy, who was born earlier in the year and the five other children in the family). Prints were coming in for the December print judging and the Digital Road Show was being organised and publicised. Two thousand e-mails were sent and fourteen thousand leaflets were posted and then the booking hotline phone started ringing. With three venues and six hundred seats to fill, there are hundreds of phone calls, names and addresses and payment details to be taken. It was very time consuming but very rewarding as the response confirmed the popularity of such an event.
While all this was happening, the normal running of the Society was taking place and, in addition, more members were applying for the Criminal Records Bureau child protection validation. This came about from my own experience during the year when I became aware of the need for anyone working in schools, nurseries etc. to be checked for any criminal record. As I work mainly with children, I wondered if it would become necessary to voluntarily become accredited. After numerous enquiries and being passed from one department to another, I eventually
found out that as an individual I could not apply on my own. I had to apply through an "Umbrella Organisation", but there was no one in the photographic profession who was doing this. I realised that this was something the SWPP/BPPA could do for our members. The idea was immediately embraced and we are now an "Umbrella Organisation" through whom photographers can obtain a background check and accreditation. You might wonder how necessary this is. Well, during the summer I did a mailshot to nurseries in my area and within days two nurseries contacted me to ask whether I had been checked. Gaining accreditation is now legally required in many situations and it can be used as a powerful marketing tool to show that you take the situation very seriously. There is a growing hysteria regarding paedophile activities, as seen over the furore about parents videoing nativity plays. If you have any doubts, ring head office for advice.
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