DTI001 20_09_17

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Cheshire society assigns its first liaison officer to target beginners

eric-littlehalesA NEW COMMITTEE role has been created for South West Lancs Budgerigar Society (BS) to nurture and retain beginners.

Eric Littlehales, 70, from Wrexham, North Wales, is the club’s first new member/beginner liaison officer – a role that was introduced in April this year.

The idea was proposed by chairman Geoff Corser. Club secretary Eric Gibbons explained: “Geoff recently wrote an article for The Budgerigar, the Budgerigar Society (BS) magazine, titled ‘How do we keep beginners in the hobby?’, something he feels strongly about. He’d also noticed in Cage & Aviary Birds that another society – South Cheshire BS – had introduced a similar role and thought that this was a good idea [see Club News, March 29 issue].

“The remit of the liaison officer is to welcome new members and beginners into the club and to make sure we keep them. If a new member/ beginner needs a question to be answered, but might feel embarrassed to ask out loud, then they can turn to the liaison officer.”

The officer’s role is to make sure that beginners are as important to the club as is the secretary, treasurer or chairman. South West Lancs BS’s aim is to keep people in the hobby and in the society.

Mr Gibbons continued: “All too often newcomers come and go within 12-18 months of joining. We want to challenge this.”

Champion Mr Littlehales joined South West Lancs BS in March and volunteered himself for the role. Mr Corser told C&AB that he couldn’t have found a better fancier for the job. He added: “The club attracts a good number of beginners, and we currently have 12. I’ll introduce newcomers to Eric Littlehales, who then becomes their first point of contact for any queries.

“The main thing newcomers are unsure of is sexing birds and which class to enter birds in at shows. With Eric on hand, it will help them get over their fear of being new, which often holds many back from exhibiting.

“It’s about making beginners feel wanted and not neglecting them. Eric will get them involved and introduce them to other birdkeepers.”

It’s not the first time the club has specifically targeted beginners. In 2013 the club held its first beginners’ day filled with guest speakers and group discussions, which attracted 59 beginners.

● Get in touch with Eric Littlehales on 01978 253 073.

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