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SGUK exhibitions - end of an era

23 May 2017

Over the last 13 years Mike and Cathy Nixon (currently both Trustees) of Safety Groups UK have volunteered to run exhibition stands at various events on behalf of the charity.

Their final show is expected to be Health and Safety North in their home area of Manchester in October 2017 and they have been deemed by many to be the public face of the organisation. At present, it is unlikely another Trustee will be in the position of taking on some, or all, of the mantle and presence at future events seems remote, unless on a very limited basis.

Mike Nixon commented: "Over the years, assistance to run the stand has been supplied by volunteers from several of the local Groups, many of these are now deceased. To name a few stalwarts: Liz and Andy Chappell, George Allcock, Liz Prophett (BHSEA), Gordon Hicks, Lisa Hayes (London), Jim Flynn (Coventry), Roger Kevern (IOW), Andy Joseph Green, Malcolm Sutcliffe (Thames Valley) Susan Moore, Shelagh O’Sullivan, Elaine Humphries, Irene Essington (Manchester), Norman Stevenson, John Sproul (SGWS) and Mark Wait (Sheffield) along with many others too numerous to list - but like Charlotte Henderson, our then assistant secretary who worked for RoSPA, to whom we are very grateful over the years, even if it just allowed us to have a lunch break."

During these 13 years, more than 100 days were spent on the stands at 44 major exhibitions and a further 34 at conferences/seminars. "We have registered over 3560 visitors to the stand with up to 80 on one day and an average of 38 per day," Mike added. "It is extremely difficult to know how many joined their local Group but on at least a few occasions Manchester and Birmingham actually received membership fees at the Exhibition and TISA reported they once got three members from five contacts provided.  Many more visitors took away details but did not leave contact information.

"We are of course grateful to the organisations that supplied free stands at exhibitions or conferences, without their considerable support, it is unlikely any of the events would have been attended. Back office duties are particularly time consuming, keeping publicity, contact details and Group programmes updated requires dedication and attention to detail. Purchase of storage and display equipment, tables, chairs, stationery, annual event insurance, etc has been necessary over the years to eliminate considerable costs like furniture hire. Transporting display items to/from exhibitions requires use of a full estate/MPV vehicle, lots of mileage and travelling, setting up, breakdown time of up to three hours per exhibition and the need to stay in numerous budget accommodations like Travelodges and Premier Inns.

"Design and supply of the larger stands and banners was undertaken (following competitive quotes) by our nephew Graham. Publicity material was supplied over the years by printmeit.com, Instantprint.com and Helloprint.com at very low prices helping to keep our costs down.

"You may ask at what overall cost, my records as treasurer show <10% of our total annual sponsorship income i.e. about £22k in this period was spent which equates to approx. £6 per visitor. It may seem a lot but has to be offset by the amount of publicity achieved.

"We feel that having retired from mainstream health and safety activities, and will shortly be stepping down from our roles in NWRA and MOHSG that other interests beckon in order to keep us active in future years."