In 2016 the Court decided to wind up the very successful ‘500 Club’ – the group of Freemen whose donations had financed the Company’s 500th Anniversary celebrations. However, a number of those Freemen indicated that they were keen to continue making voluntary contributions to support the Company’s objectives.
The result was a new fund, to be known as ‘The Postquincentennial Fund’ or ‘The PQs’ for short, whose objectives would be to assist the financial health of the Company and to develop Watermen’s Hall and its assets.
Membership of The PQs is open to all Freemen paying a minimum donation of £180 per year.
The regulations of the fund are very simple – members make voluntary donations by monthly standing order and those subscribing at least £15 pcm will be invited to an annual, free lunch hosted by the Master and Wardens. Prior to that lunch, a list of three proposed projects to support the above objectives (but concentrating on the maintenance and enhancement of the Hall) is circulated to all subscribers and, at the lunch, a vote is taken on the project to be supported. Postal votes are allowed for those unable to attend the lunch. The activities, membership and contribution made by the PQ Fund is to be reported in the Company’s Annual Report.
The justification for the PQ Fund is that the Company’s charities are reasonably well funded, but charitable funds are restricted to the support of apprentices, trainees and Journeymen Freemen in need of financial assistance. Where the Company lacks funding is towards the Hall: its maintenance, improvement and activities. To this end, the PQ Fund has already amassed over £25,000 and at the recent lunch, the subscribers voted to purchase tabards for those apprentices rowing in City events and to hold over the remaining funds with the probable intention of refurbishing the Freemen’s Room in 2019.
The PQ fund has now been running for three years and, having proven it is a viable scheme, it has now been decided to invite all Journeymen Freemen to participate. A Standing Order can be found here and I do hope you will feel able to join me in supporting the PQ Fund which will have a major impact on the Company’s finances and the Hall’s appearance!