Thursday, 17 April 2014

UK Society of Celebrants Newsletter - April 2014

Hello everyone
Mmmmmm...Chocolate.....

Welcome to this months offering and a big welcome to our New Members & Subscribers. I hope you all enjoy the upcoming long weekend eating chocolate eggs, having DIY disasters and stuck in traffic jams or perhaps officiating Wedding & Naming Ceremonies or Tutorials - many of us will experience all of the above.

Who can train with us?

If you live in the UK, we need say no more. If you are an English speaker living in an English speaking community anywhere in the world - you can train with us. We have trained and continue to train celebrants all over the English speaking world. Wherever you are from we will help you to become the best celebrant you can be.

How busy are you?
The feedback we have received from our Funeral Celebrants is that it has been an unusually quiet start to the year. Not that we are wishing ill on anyone, but the very mild weather we have been experiencing has manifested itself with lower mortality rates attributed to cold weather. On the other hand our Family Celebrants are experiencing a surge in demand, particularly in relation to the recent overdue legislative changes regarding gay marriage.

Ongoing Training
Thanks goes out to those of you who have responded to our appeal for feedback regarding our intended Regional Ongoing Training Seminars. Broadly speaking, ongoing training availability is welcomed, however, there are a number of issues that need addressing.

With the above in mind, weekend training seminars are understandably, unlikely to be well attended , although, there are 4 geographical exceptions to this with our Celebrants in the North East, North West, West Midlands & South East who appear to be universally enthusiastic and intent on attending seminars whenever they are held. Dates and locations will be forwarded to Celebrant Members in these areas when confirmed.

  • Costs - Although the Seminars would be FREE of charge - there may be a need to ask for a contibution form those attending to cover venue costs (£5-20 per day, per person)
  • Family Celebrants - due to the nature of their work, particularly in the spring and summer months, family celebrants availability at weekend seminars / workshops are hit and miss to say the least.
  • Funeral Celebrants - weekends are not usually a problem.
  • However, around 60% of our Celebrants practice both Family & Funeral Celebrancy: 25% Family Celebrancy & 15% Funeral Celebrancy.
Another option under consideration was providing Centralised Ongoing Training Seminars to be held in either Lincoln or Nottingham. This option was considered cost prohibitive for those attending with regards to potential travel and possible overnight accommodation costs.

The final option under consideration seems favourite to be the one we will run with. But first we need your feedback on the following.

Over 80% of our members have been trained by us,  utilising (via Skype) Distance Learning. This method of training is tried, tested and trusted, but more importantly familiar to most of you. Yes, there are some limitations, however, they are most often concerned with the quality of the internet connection during periods of high bandwidth demand.

Since January, our / your Tutors / Mentors have been trialing Pod Casts & Live Group Seminars over the skype network as part of their Continued Professional Development. We are delighted to inform you that the trials have been successful and as individuals we have all saved a small fortune in travel costs alone. As a result, we are redeveloping our Seminars (written last year) to make them suitable for both Pod Casts and Skype Seminars.

When compared to potential travel, accommodation, parking and food costs - a subscription to Skype is negligable. We may have found a way to make Skype Seminars FREE to our Members if we limit the numbers attending- we are just waiting on Skype to confirm the arrangements.

How will it work?
Each Member will be sent invites to Live Skype Seminars or Pod Casts by email. If a particular Seminar is of interest to you, you can register to attend. You will then need to login at the time of the event and join in. Pod Casts will be 100% FREE of any charge to those attending, however, Live Skype Seminars may require you to pay a small subscription to Skype for the privilage (Less than £7 per month - no contract plus other extras).

An Eight Way on Skype | Upto 25 Participants
The benefits of Live Skype Seminars and Pod Casts are many, but worth noting:
  • NO Travelling
  • NO Parking
  • NO Hotels
  • FREE Training
  • Interactive (with Tutors & Group Members)
  • Live
  • Segmented (Multiple 1-3 hour sessions) or Full Days (with comfort breaks)
  • Minimal Cost
  • Choice of Seminars
  • Can be saved on your computer
  • NO hassle

Please, Please, Please...

Please make your thoughts / ideas known to us here regarding ongoing training. If most or indeed all of us can benefit, we will implement it. Thank you.






The Celebrant Shop?

We have received several enquiries, particularly from our Family Celebrants regarding the supply of materials / products for their Special Ceremony Elements. There is some great stuff available online, but the best stuff seems to come from the USA and is very reasonably priced, however, the cost of postage / shipping / duty and the inherrant excessive delivery times is not acceptable to an individual.

The following are examples of what we would keep in stock to suit different price points ie Gold or Platinum or Diamond standard for each product and each including instructions, script and all materials required. The different standards reflect the meterials used and the level of personalisation required.

All prices would be similar to what you could expect to pay for each component online, except they would all be in one place - just for our Members and delivery will be free.

Until now, we have never recommended any particular supplier of products as they are so wide and varied. Furthermore, many of our Family Celebrants are quite creative with their hands but others (like me) are good with a hammer and screwdriver but little else on the creative front.

With a view to plugging this gap, we are looking at two options:
  1. Provide a Celebrant Kit - to all New Family Celebrants Trainees ( at cost - added to course fee - optional)
  2. Provide an Online Store to supply Kits and consumables for Family Celebrant Members which would be accessible from and part of the  UKSOC  website
Kits

Consumables

  • Parchments
  • Ribbons, Wraps, Rope
  • Candles / Spills
  • Vases (Unity Sand)
  • Wine Box (Singles)
  • Besoms / Brooms
  • Memory Books

Miscellaneous

  • Portable lecturns
  • Presentation Folders
  • Umbrellas
  • Blutooth PA Systems
  • Wireless Speakers
  • Wireless Mics
  • Sony Xperia Tablet (For Celebrants)


Any sensible suggestions you have for a Celebrant Shop will be warmly welcomed. Just drop us a line here.

NB* Please remember that there are numerous celebrant related articles on our blog - be sure to follow or subscribe to the Civil Celebrant here.



Help Us Help You!

Well that is it for this month, thanks for reading this far.
Stay Safe & Be Well!

James Convery
CEO-Lead Tutor