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The ABS is not on its last legs just yet!

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I was sorry to read the title you gave to Stephen Arthurell's letter about the cancellation of this year's ABS Ball (AJ 28.11.02).

It is certainly true that our income has fallen sharply in the last two years and that we have had to make drastic cutbacks in spending - but our last legs are a little way off yet.

The ABS spends just under £1 million a year helping more than 520 people of whom 72 are children. Almost all of this money comes from investments built up be careful management since the society was founded more than 150 years ago. But the stock market situation has meant that our income is greatly reduced and we are eating into the capital. The situation is not desperate but it is serious, and will get more so it economic recovery is slow.

What I find disappointing is the small amount of help we get from the profession. Last year less than £30,000 or about £1 per registered architect was raised. Surveyors manage an average of more than £6 per RICS member making more than £500,000 a year for their charity, Lionheart.

The help we give to our beneficiaries is desperately needed. It is not true, as some would believe, that everyone is provided for by the state or their own insurance or pension arrangements. We need more money, and regular money to continue to help these people. If every architect who reads this letter gave just £5 a month our financial problems would be solved. If you feel you can help in this way visit www. absnet. org. uk or phone for a Gift Aid form on 020 7580 2823.

John Lane, chairman, ABS

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