What Do We Need A Membership For?

Why did we form a membership for the Group? The TV/TS Group had been happily running for around 9 years before the membership was formed.

Yvonne had realised, years before it happened, that the position at London Friend was tenuous at best; the TV/TS Group were sub-tenants of Friend and Friend were tenants leasing a run-down property: 274 Upper Street.

Originally, the idea was to somehow run the TV/TS Group in conjunction with a dress shop, selling clothes at reasonable prices; preferably the Group would be held above the premises. After a number of impractical ideas were dismissed, the idea was to gather enough funds to rent or buy a property preferably in the St John Street area; an area that was relatively quiet during the evenings when the Group would be held.

The Group had a good, regular attendance, which we could build on and a feeling that something, somehow, needed to happen to move the Group forward. The natural idea was to offer a membership to raise funds and the main driving force of this idea were Yvonne, Andrea, Irish Brian and Camp Terry.

After running the first Boat Trip, in September 1982, it was decided to see if there was any interest in these ideas and ask those present at the Group one Saturday evening if they felt it was a favourable idea. Except for a few dissenters, who predicted the whole thing would collapse in a couple of weeks, the idea was accepted and a membership was formed.

Previously, the Group had virtually no organisation at all, since the collapse of the committee some three years earlier. The responsibility for everything at the Group was Yvonne's, who was forced by the sheer apathy on the part of those attending to run it on a week by week basis.

Due to the ever increasing costs of the Group, Yvonne decided to raise the evening admission to £2.50. Members paid an annual fee of £12 and paid the old admission of £2.00. They also received discounts on future events.

However, we had to offer something in return so the idea of a club Magazine was mooted - The Glad Rag. Andrea B. would become the editor and surprised everyone by turning up one Sunday evening with around 50 copies of The Glad Rag, issue 1, for which a pound was charged to non-members. A small discount was introduced for those who had taken out a membership.

Food and drink were also a source of revenue although they brought in very little profit at the time. Another idea was to hold a boat trip up the River Thames on one of the river boats, in the evening, in full view of the general public.

A trip to Amsterdam was also mooted but didn't take off because not many people were interested in going.

As the membership took off, so did The Glad Rag and so did the idea that we could own our own property!

The BABS Fund

Around 1985, Yvonne divised a Buy A Brick Scheme (BABS). The idea was to encourage members to help the Group by donating gifts of £10 plus; some members generously donated £1000 gifts. We also offered life memberships to the group.

However, such schemes show up the good and bad in people. One Group member, nicknamed Cripplegate because he used a crutch to gain people's sympathy, bitterly grumbled that the BABS fund would do no good and it was a waste of money. However, a married couple, who drove all the way down from Northampton because they enjoyed the Group so much, overheard him. The wife took Cripplegate to task claiming she didn't think the BABS fund was a waste of money, in fact she regularly donated to it. At which point a number of other people joined and embarrassed Cripplegate, showing him up for the mean-minded person he was.

It has to be noted that the Group was a complete cross-section of society; some people good and kind, others bitter and miserly.

The BABS Fund did a lot to help raise the money needed to fund the new home for the Group: 2 French Place.

Forming The Group