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Message from the President
The bulk of my report for this issue of GR is a revised version of the one included in  the papers for our AGM held on July 5th at the Society’s 40th anniversary conference in Plymouth. However, before that, I have to reiterate my heartfelt thanks to Catherine Hennessey and her organising team for a conference which will undoubtedly find its rightful place in BSG history! It was a great mixture: a full and rewarding academic programme; excellent plenary speakers; smooth and efficient organisation; and a truly memorable evening and conference dinner to celebrate our anniversary.

As members know, we are working to a five year (2009-2014) strategy 'Raising the Profile of Ageing Research'. As we come to the end of Year Two of our activities, it is timely to take stock of where we have got to and where we are heading. Detailed accounts are given in the reports of our working/strategy groups in the AGM papers and in regular updates in Generations Review so, below, I draw attention to some of the key developments over the past year.

The Executive Committee – Building on the foundations established by our predecessors, we have worked hard this year to streamline and revamp how we manage both the Society’s business and the activities required to progress our strategy. Our Executive Committee meetings are now structured such that the first part of each meeting is devoted to a discussion of one or two substantive/strategic items. This is followed by our business meeting with Chairs submitting written reports ahead of time detailing both strategic developments and progress on activities/tasks. As I reported in the last issue of GR, this is part of the ongoing professionalisation of our activities and our drive to deliver improved services. Much of this is largely invisible to the wider membership, but has been made possible through the hard work and dedication of the Executive (and other BSG members co-opted onto/linked with our groups) and the outstanding administrative support we now have from Rachel Hazelwood.

Strategy - As we reach the end of Year Two of our five-year strategy, the Chairs and members of each working/strategy group have been making progress with reviewing the remit, functions and priorities of their groups. We have tried to bring our varied activities together so that they are all now under the purview of one or other group and this was reflected in the restructured agenda of this year’s Annual General Meeting. Each group has been firming up its proposed activities for Years Three and Four of the strategy and, following our discussions at the Executive Committee meeting on the evening of July 4th, we will shortly be issuing an updated strategy document.

As part of our desire to raise the profile of BSG and ageing research, we nominated 13 people as possible panel members for REF2014 and are delighted that Professors Judith Phillips (Swansea University, Wales) and Alison Bowes (Stirling University, Scotland) were appointed to the Social Work and Social Policy sub panel (sub panel 22 of main panel C); and Professor Sara Arber (Surrey University) to Sociology (sub panel 23). We see this as important for our visibility and our congratulations go to all three of them.

We have also furthered our strategic partnerships with other organisations this year. Our agreement with the UK International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) has seen the production of the first BSG/ILC-UK ‘Think Piece’. Written by Simon Evans and entitled Climate Change and Public Services, it will be launched at a celebratory event in the House of Lords on July 18th. In addition, I and our Pres-Elect Robin Means, have spent much of the year in detailed discussions with Age-UK and a Memorandum of Understanding (which includes support for our Annual Conference) was signed off by both organisations at Plymouth and announced at the AGM.

Awards and 40th anniversary celebrations – This year, Dr Chris Gilleard (UCL) was nominated to become an Academician of the Council of the Academy of Social Sciences and this was conferred on him in March. Nominated by the BSG, Professor Alan Walker was the recipient of the first IAGG-ER ‘Award for Advances in Gerontology and Geriatrics’ in social and behavioural sciences. Alan’s work in gerontology was recognised at the opening ceremony of the European Congress in Bologna in April, with the award of a new medal and official diploma.

At Plymouth - and in this our 40th anniversary year - we awarded two BSG fellowships to former Presidents Kate Davidson and Judith Phillips. The BSG Outstanding Achievement Award was also shared – this time by three key figures in British gerontology and we warmly congratulate Professors Sara Arber, Chris Phillipson and Tony Warnes.

The Executive has decided to mark our 40th anniversary with a year-long set of activities beginning in Plymouth and extending through to next year’s annual conference at Keele in 2012. We recognise the need to capture and record the society’s history and the Publications’ Group has begun to review and document the BSG archives held at the Centre for Policy on Ageing. There will be a 40th anniversary edition of GR in October and coverage of other events – such as the House of Lords launch event on July 18th - throughout the year. Our President-Elect Robin Means is co-ordinating these activities so if members have any other suggestions for how you would like to see us celebrate, please do contact us.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Society this year and especially our outgoing Secretary Wendy Martin and our administrator Rachel Hazelwood. Under their leadership the website and our associated publicity materials have been completely overhauled and the regular bulletins we all receive are, I know, much appreciated by members. The ERA group, under the guidance of outgoing Chair Christian Beech, has been developing ways to reach out to our early career researchers in addition to postgraduate students; and the Executive has paid close attention to ensuring that we remain on a sound financial footing under the scrutiny of our Treasurer Kate Bennett. It has been a pleasure to lead the Society this year and to know that, despite the constrained times we are living in, there is enthusiasm and support for what we are trying to achieve.

Thank you to everyone…….

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