OUTGOING President of the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute (BMI) Ann Cato, said she was delighted to announce that the BMI had increased its profit margin by 37% during the past financial year. She attributed the increase to the marketing strategy that had promoted the BMI venues to a larger audience. The development of a new websitewww.ballaratmi.org. au reflecting a contemporary approach to promoting the BMI as an iconic, historical building will also have a significant impact on future developments. Mrs Cato said that she had enjoyed what had been a challenging year and she was confident that the BMI would now have in place initiatives and policies to meet certain legal obligations and risk management issues and take the BMI into a more sustainable future.
Mrs Cato said that she believed that the completion of the Finishing Kitchen has the potential to increase the usage of the Minerva Space, making it more attractive to hire for weddings and other events.
A number of fundraising events have been held at the BMI during the year that have raised much needed funds as well as the profile of the BMI facilities to different members of the community. Mrs Cato said the commitment of those involved in the management of the BMI could not be underestimated. The hours of work by members of the Board was quite extraordinary. The dedication of the library volunteers to catalogue the Heritage collection was to be admired and the support given to the BMI in general by staff and volunteers was to be commended. A number of Board members did not stand for reelection: John Blythman, Jan Ross, Michael Morrow, Michael Unwin and Fiona Watson. Mrs Cato thanked them for their support during their time on the Board. While Michael Morrow is stepping down from the Board he will actively be focussing on establishing the BMI Foundation. Jan Ross will be remain a member of Friends of Minerva, the fundraising arm of the BMI as well as a member of the Finance Committee and Fiona Watson will manage PR and media for the BMI. Incoming President Graham Gooding said he was looking forward to working with the new Board including three new members Terry Lloyd, Andrew Oliver and David Berry. The new members bring to the Board skills in business management, education and the arts. He thanked sincerely Mrs Cato for her work as President. He was confident that the new Board would build on the excellent outcomes that had been achieved during 2014/2015.