At the NODA National Conference on 30th September 1978 in Cardiff the membership had refused to agree to the dissolution of the Association as proposed by Council. A letter sent out to the members in October 1978 by Andrew Potter, General Administrator, on behalf of Council and signed by all Councillors proposed:
- the transfer of most of the administration to Areas (now called Regions),
- retention at National level of administration of summer schools and educational activities,
- retention at National lever of representation of the national movement to other national organisations,
- discontinuation from 30th November 1978 of employment of paid staff and sale of HQ at the earliest opportunity,
- continuance of NODA Ltd. in its own premises,
- collection of all outstanding subscriptions,
- retention of National Conferences in principle.
That is a much reduced summary of the letter which was sent out and of which I have a copy. After sale of HQ at Crestfield Street and this retrenchment it was anticipated that the Association would have approximately £8000 left. The outlook for NODA was extremely bleak when the Scottish conference gathered at Peebles at the end of October 1978, just a month after the Cardiff AGM.
At the 1978 Scottish AGM there was felt to be a strong possibility that NODA would not survive in spite of these measures. The membership in Scotland wished to ensure the continuance of their involvement in an organisation such as NODA and at the Area AGM Councillor George Gold promised that by the following AGM Scotland should have an organisation planned which would step in should the worst happen and the dissolution of NODA become a fact.
During the following 12 months the Scottish committee investigated how they could meet the wishes of the membership. A constitution was drawn up and Counsel’s opinion sought on the choice of a name.Counsel’s opinion was that the word “Noda” didn’t exist and could be used as a name. Hence the constitution which was put to the membership at the 1979 Scottish AGM was for the organisation “Noda Scotland” which sounded like the colloquial name used for NODA in Scotland for many years, though that had really been “N.O.D.A. Scotland”. At all times Noda Scotland was to be supportive of NODA as long as NODA existed.
The support for NODA from the membership in Scotland has remained strong but, having gone through the necessary processes to put Noda Scotland in place, it is retained as Scotland’s lifeboat should NODA ever get into trouble in the future.The formality of a short AGM each year is the annual maintenance of the lifeboat. At all times Noda Scotland has supported NODA, including bursaries for Summer School and additional support for the groups which represented Scotland in London on the two nights at the Albert Hall at the NODA Centenary in 1999. Scotland was one of the few Areas which very strongly supported the Centenary in the number of delegates attending.
The Areas effectively took over all administration of membership issues from 1978. The collection of NODA subscriptions in Areas, membership records etc. remained devolved to Areas until quite recently. There was no NODA News for some time and gradually Area magazines appeared, taking over the show reports which had previously appeared in the National NODA News.
If other Areas had also held scheduled Area AGM’s around the time of the 1978 Scottish conference they might well have been equally pessimistic about the outlook for NODA and gone down similar paths.