Some of you have been asking why the association has been so quiet in recent times. Unfortunately, our committee positions are mostly vacant. We’ve had a period where we didn’t manage to get normal replacements for guys who were leaving (people tend to come and go) and then a general feeling of being worn down by the enormity of the task caused two of the remaining committee members to resign at the same time. As such, we’re down to a single committee member at the moment (out of 5 positions). To add to our misery, our membership database has broken down at the same time.
Bearing these facts in mind, James (our Treasurer) has stopped all new member registrations and member renewals. It just wouldn’t be fair to take your money if we’re providing none of the promised services. We did recently discuss the idea of dissolving the association, in a worst case scenario we’d rather that we closed shop than allowing it to limp on with no-one at the helm.
UKAPU was set up with the sole aim of becoming the manifestation of players will, a tool for you to use. But after 5 years of successfully defending many players who have been wronged by the law, and representing members to the media and different parts of government, UKAPU still doesn’t have the weight of the airsoft community behind it. It seems like the majority of players don’t want to be involved in airsoft outside of playing or don’t care to research the precarious situation. Threats to players rights aren’t just coming from outside of airsoft though; as with anything in life if you don’make your voice heard, someone else will talk on your behalf, and we know, for a fact, that the people illegitimately holding the power in UK airsoft right now are petitioning for things like a ban on persoanl RIF imports. Sadly, other new airsoft groups also have deep inherent flaws; an absence of transparency, democracy and management with heavily vested interests. So, you can see, the need for a strong players association hasn’t reduced one iota.
In spite of these recent issues our South East Representative, Bruce Clark, has volunteered to step up as Chairman and lead UKAPU. Bruce is a Captain in the Merchant Navy, ex forces, has allot of spare time on his hands and is extremely keen on Airsoft. He is the perfect man for the job. This week we’ll get Bruce officially slotted into the Chairman position, and I’ve high hopes that Bruce’s fresh ideas and enthusiasm will knock UKAPU back into life from the stagnation which has come about this year. Massive thanks to Bruce for stepping up.
Lately we’ve also had a respectable volume of volunteers step forward to fill the other vacant positions and I promise to be in touch with them during the next week (sorry its not been sooner, I have allot going on in my personal life at the moment). So, with a fresh team on the job and the old guard on hand to pass on their knowledge and experience, I can see UKAPU achieving great things in the near future!
Despite the new committee, the association still won’t last without more support from all airsoft players, and active participation from more members. My thanks to those who have continually talked us up and the core of awesome people who been loyal members over the years. UKAPU wouldn’t be here without you. But for those who have refrained from ‘picking a side’ or generally haven’t taken an interest in the future of airsoft, this could be your last chance to get behind a resource which is created for you and could be extremely valuable in your future.
Please post on our forum if you are interested in working for the association as a volunteer
For those of you who aren’t currently members, we’ll ask you to sign up (or renew) soon. Keep an eye on our our facebook page, twitter account, website or our articles in gun mart and airsoft action maazines. We’ll let you know as soon as the new membership database is back up and running.
Matt Furey-King, Consultant UKAPU