There were a lot of items on the agenda for the November Board meeting, but the ones that took the time were all connected thematically. You could simplistically boil it down to: "What do we want to do and how do we tell people about it."

A week beforehand, there was a volunteers' meeting attended by four or five who mainly staff the shop and five or six who are directors. The shop volunteers wanted to know more of what was gong on in WREN and better resource materials and training, so as to be more confident in helping people who came in. Following on from that meeting there was a proposal to do a proper analysis of the communications needed by WREN, to volunteers, members and other interested parties.

One of the directors, thinking about the things WREN was involved in doing and its capability to do them, presented a SWOT analysis to the board. SWOT is a classic management tool to analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of or to an organisation - hence the acronym. A SWOT analysis can make uncomfortable reading. You think you're doing pretty well and then someone points out the areas where you aren't, which often you knew about really but didn't want to face. (But it's wrong to take it all negatively as well. The strengths and opportunities are there to build on, to become stronger.)

There was a paper about optimising the use of resources available in Cornwall which operate independently but could be co-ordinated to great advantage, in areas of interest to WREN - health, economics and, of course, energy in Wadebridge. Which is all very well, but it will take more effort and resource, and where is that going to come from?

I'm not sure whether one of these ideas prompted the others, or it was just the right time for them to emerge, with WREN starting to undertake more activity, but they are certainly connected, going to the fundamentals of what WREN wants to do, how to do it, and how to let people know. How it will all be done, exactly, remains to be seen. There are a number of discussion sessions planned for the near future to address this systematically.

These are personal opinions and should not be misunderstood as representing the opinions of WREN.