Reflections on 2015 – a year of growth

April 21, 2016

Humanist Society Scotland’s AGM will take place on Sunday. At this meeting the Board of Trustees will present the Annual Accounts and Impact Report of HSS’s activities throughout 2015.

We hope you can join us there, but if you can’t – here’s some highlights from last year.

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2015 was an important year of consolidation and development. The major focus was on completely revamping our digital tools. Having become a large organisation with over 14,000 members we lacked the sophisticated tools needed to engage with our supporters. Digital technology develops so fast, that it was time for our website to get a facelift too.

There is never an easy way upgrade such a complicated system as ours, and we’re grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding. We are now in a much better place, with a range of robust and sophisticated tools to help us engage with our many thousands of members and supporters.

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2015 saw some important events, such as celebrating a decade of Humanist marriage in Scotland; the launch of our twinning project with Malawi and many more. We are, we hope you will agree, now much better placed than ever to have our strong voice heard. For those who want to defend and protect a woman’s right to choose; for those who want to see an end to undemocratic religious influence in education; for those who want to support Humanists, secularists and freethinkers around the world – we are the organisation for you.

We celebrated our ‘tin’ anniversary in 2015 with 10 years of legal Humanist marriage in Scotland.  The occasion was marked with an event at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, where the first Humanist marriage in Scotland took place.  We were delighted to be joined by HSS Registered Celebrants, couples who we married over the years, partners from key wedding publications, our colleagues from the Scottish Government and MSP Marco Biagi.  We continue to be one of only a few countries who enjoy legal Humanist marriage and are proud to be the organisation who made that possible in Scotland.

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Through times of celebration HSS Registered Celebrants continued to support thousands of couples celebrate their love, parents celebrate new arrivals and families say farewell and celebrate the life of their loved one.  In 2015 our Celebrants conducted around 6500 ceremonies. HSS Ceremonies continues to have an important role in Scottish society on which we will develop.

During 2015 our recruitment and training led to new Celebrants and new skills for those Celebrants who have been with us for longer.  We are pleased to be an organisation that is committed to ensuring our celebrants have access to opportunities and support, ensuring they continue to work to the highest of standards for our members and all those they conduct ceremonies for.

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We also continued to build on our relationships with stakeholders including the Registrar General’s Office and the Scottish Government.  We will continue to strengthen those relationships moving forward and develop new relationships as we grow and develop our provision.

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2015 was a year of review and development for the Ceremonies division.  Following extensive consultation with our celebrant body the relationship between HSS and HSS Registered Celebrants was formalised.  In addition, the division was restructured to increase capacity within existing resources and ensure we had a staff team in place to support growth in the coming years.

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The review time of 2015 has allowed us to better understand our position, including the opportunities ahead of us, of which there are many.  As a team we are excited about the future and the role of HSS Ceremonies and Celebrants in Scotland.

2016 is already shaping up to be our busiest ever year of campaigning activity. Thank you for your ongoing support!

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Members can view the Annual Accounts and other documents by logging in to the members’ area.

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