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Message from the Chairman

The BCS Council is reaching mid-term in your present Chairmans second year of tour of duty, so I thought it would be a good moment to update our members with Council news.

Stubborn inflation has led Brazils Central Bank to raise interest rates in 2013, leading to a fall in bond prices and rise in property yields. This has negatively impacted the BCSs investments since we started the year with 30% in inflation-adjusted government bonds and 11% in property funds. For the first 8 months of 2013, the societys investments fell 1.7%. This negative investment income follows several years of good results, which means that we can withstand it. But it shows the need for strong reserves when our activities depend so much on our investment income. We are also very dependent on rent from the property, which not only pays for property maintenance but also contributes towards our other activities. These go beyond our membership and into the wider community. For example, our welfare and charitable activities benefit non-BCS members, our office provides services for other societies and we continue to subsidise The Umbrella for the benefit of the whole English-speaking community in Rio.

Membership and Communications

Membership: I am pleased to inform that members have been very supportive regarding payment of subscription fees. Some 10% are delayed, who will hopefully settle up after a friendly contact. The society is in need of boosting membership and we would appreciate any assistance from our members in this respect. Events: I highlight the QBP 2013 which took place on 8th June in the Jubilee Hall with the presence of our Consul-General Paula Walsh. A lovely high tea event was put on, with focus on family, children and the special ladies in our community. (See BCS website.) BCS Yearbook The society was fortunate in the choice of 200 years of the publishing of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as theme of Yearbook 2013, which is being celebrated in Britain and throughout the world. A Digital version of Yearbook 2013 in pdf format a light megabyte model (4.MB) of the whole 2013 yearbook has been launched in pdf. For data-protection reasons the Council decided that it should only be available upon request. Any member is welcome to this light edition and I kindly ask them to contact the BCS Office who will send them a copy. BCS Yearbook theme for 2014 Discussion of the matter at our Council meeting rejected an st initial theme proposed by Robert Hartley of 1 World War 1914-2014 for the Yearbook 2014. It was suggested that perhaps we should not celebrate the beginning of the war, but the end of it in 2018. The Council did approve an alternative theme of FIFA World Football Cup 2014, which will take place in Brazil, especially since we invented the game! Umbrella hardcopy: 600 Umbrellas continue to be printed each month at an annual cost of approximately R$42,000 against advertising revenue of some R$10,000, giving a net loss of around R$32,000. To get advertising requires a constant effort and we would welcome anyone who might like to help with this or who would like to advertise. Eventually I believe that we will manage to cut costs by going online. My weekend British newspaper has recently stopped delivering in Brazil and given me a free Ipad subscription for the rest of the year, which I was not happy about, but am now finding to be excellent as I can pick up the reports immediately without needing to wait a few days for delivery. At the same time, reading on a tablet is much more convenient than on a desktop as it is possible to sit comfortably on the terrace or lounge on a sofa while doing so. Unlike the printed version, the Umbrella online is in splendid colour and available on the BCS website at the beginning of each month. We hope that most members will quite soon switch to this new format. BCS website continues to serve for more permanent membership information (please make sure your details are up to date) and at present supports social network information. Even so, following the trend a BCS Facebook is in development and we hope to be in a position to invite our members to participate before the end of the year.

The BCS continues to undertake significant welfare initiatives for the needy and vulnerable in the British community. In consideration to those involved no details are mentioned here, but any member is welcome to contact me or Noreen Smith regarding BCS Welfare work, In the current year it is expected that total Welfare and Charity expenditure will reach some R$260,000.

The Real are the societys main asset and focus of attention. Run jointly with The British School and Christ Church, we are always seeking ways to improve efficiency. PRC- The Trustees of the Properties have set up a Property Review Committee (PRC) to review the way RG99 is run. This is formed of two members each from The BCS, The British School and Christ Church. The PRC has had three meetings and is progressing with a modus operandi Electricity Project this project involves replacing much of the old wiring, switches and fuse boxes throughout the Real Grandeza 99 property and is of great importance and complexity. nd Due to the ongoing activities at RG99 in the 2 semester, the Council decided to postpone the projects implementation until January 2014, during the school holidays, since the work will involve a blackout for 4 or 5 full days. This has also given us more time to obtain quotes. RG99 Drainage project:The society gives it sincere thanks to the British School which in the July made a major repair to all the drainage system around the inner sports patio and along both site entry- and exit-roads. The drainage system had collapsed over the years causing localised flooding during heavy rain. Refurbishment of BCS Offices and Church vestry You will be pleased to know that the BCS Offices are being smartened up with refurbished offices due before the end of this year. Across the corridor, the Church Vestry is also undergoing a small revolution with repair and varnishing of the parquet flooring and elimination of mould on the walls. We apologise for any inconvenience due to works underway on the properties, but there will be a benefit to all soon and maintenance as you know is a constant necessity. We are grateful for your patience.

Lastly I would like to mention that we have been able to give our friends of the St. Andrew Society some logistical assistance to enable their famous parties to remain amongst us for the enjoyment of all.

As always, we welcome comments from members and any who would like to be involved, especially in the Membership and Communications area. Thank you Robert Barclay Chairman The British and Commonwealth Society of Rio de Janeiro