New blood sought!

WE NEED YOU for the committee of the NUJ's biggest and liveliest branch, the London Freelance Branch. So now we're setting up training to help you serve on it. Elections for committee members: Chair; Secretary; Treasurer; Freelance Editor and Assistant Editor; Welfare Officers; auditors to check the books; and New Members' Reps to welcome new members - all are held at the Branch Annual General Meeting on Monday 12 January 2009 - only three months away.

That meeting will also elect representatives for union "Industrial Councils" - the bodies that deal with policy concerning freelances, magazine publishing, etc - and for delegates to go to the next NUJ conference. Nominations are open right up to 12 January.

The committee meets at the NUJ HQ at Headland House every month, on the Monday evening following the Branch meeting. Committee meetings last a maximum of two hours. We expect all committee members to commit themselves to striving towards an ideal of turning up to at least six of the 11 committee and Branch meetings a year.

To encourage and support potential candidates for the new committee to be elected in January, only three months away, the present committee offers training and mentoring for new committee members. This could take the form of advice and an explanation of what's involved, shadowing Branch officers to see what they do, or time set aside by outgoing committee members once they've stepped down to show new committee members the ropes.

Last year, for example, the outgoing Secretary agreed to handle the minutes and follow-up for the February meeting to help ease the new Secretary into their post. The current Secretary will be standing down at the January meeting, in the expectation of setting aside quite a lot of time to support the new one over at least the first six months.

There's a new two-day training course especially for freelance NUJ officers on Friday 14 November and Saturday 15 November. Potential candidates for LFB officer posts are welcome to attend this course, which ends with a qualification accredited by the Open College Network. It's at The Beeches conference centre, Bournville, Birmingham, starting at 4pm on Friday and finishing by 4pm on the Saturday. More details from the NUJ Freelance Office.

The Branch can also arrange to send those who are interested on a free day course in minute-taking at the National Centre for Voluntary Organisations in London.

All courses are without obligation - going on one doesn't tie you into standing for election. All posts are open to job-shares. There's a list of all London Freelance Branch posts and what they entail at www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/jobs.html. Contact a member of the committee if you are interested in standing and want more information.

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