John Tapsell writes: Coronavirus and IPMS (UK)

The last month has seen a seismic change in the traditional modelling schedule for the year. Show after show has been cancelled and club meetings are also now something that isn’t possible as we all adapt to the realities of Coronavirus and social distancing. It’s easy to get downhearted when you look at all the things we can’t do at the moment, but on the brighter side, the very fact that we have a hobby we can pursue indoors and in solitary confinement means that we at least can find something to do to occupy our time.

For those of us who are currently working from home, the pressures are slightly different. My normal modelling workbench in the man cave also doubles as my office desk so during office hours it hosts my laptop. That means developing a level of discipline I’m not used to. I have to clear my workbench every evening so that I have room for the laptop the following morning. At the end of my working day, the laptop goes away and the modelling projects come back out – and so the cycle repeats. Nonetheless, during the day I remain surrounded by all the things I’d rather be doing.

As you will already know, we have had to postpone the AGM, not only on Government advice but also because our venue is closed until this crisis is over. In order to keep the Society running over the coming weeks and months we have asked the membership to permit us to extend the terms of office of those committee members who were up for election in 2020. If you’ve not already received a letter in the post, you should do so within the next day or two.

It is incredibly heartening to see so many positive responses to our request in so short a period of time. We posted the letter just than three days ago and already we have received more 270 responses, with a 100% approval of the proposal. ‘Thank you for your support’ doesn’t seem an adequate thing to say, but I’m not sure how else we can acknowledge that support.

In other areas, IPMS has been turning to technology to solve some of our challenges. Like many Branches, the Executive Committee is experimenting with online tools for meetings. We had a test ‘conference’ on Saturday, just to see if it was set up OK. Some of us are familiar with this technology since we use it at work most days, but for others it has been a new thing to learn. My own Branch is planning to have our first-ever virtual meeting this week.

With all the other shows being cancelled there has inevitably been speculation that Scale ModelWorld will have to be cancelled too. At this early stage of the year, I can assure everyone that we are fully intending to run Scale ModelWorld as planned. Of course, we can’t be certain that we can do so, or that the show will follow it’s normal format, simply because no-one can predict how long any restrictions will be in place for and how extensive they may remain in the latter part of 2020. Thankfully, our planning schedule means that we hopefully won’t have to make any critical decisions on the show for another three or four months yet.

Over the next couple of weeks we should be re-introducing online sales for our Seam Tools and maybe one or two other of our small merchandise items. The logistics of selling the larger items such as mugs and getting to a post office to post the parcels doesn’t make it viable. However, the seam tools can go out as standard letters so it’s just a case of dropping them into the postbox once a week.

The plan for this Blog is that we will update it each weekend. If anything significant happens, you may see an extra blog entry during the week.

John Tapsell
IPMS (UK) Publicity Officer