THE INSTITUTION is to set up a £300,000 fund to present local associations and ICE boards with the finances necessary to run major profile raising events and conferences.
The fund is to be financed by the balance of the Marshall legacy - a £500,000 bequest to the Institution from former member Gerald Marshall who died in December 1997.
The scheme is expected to yield £20,000 a year to prime initiatives in the ICE regions.
Preservation of the legacy was strongly advocated by President Mark Whitby.
'We are preserving the Marshall legacy as a legacy, with the purpose that it will fund activities that will really add value, ' said Whitby. 'It is something permanent and, hopefully, something that can be built upon.'
Whitby was unhappy with previous proposals to spend the remainder of the fund on further enhancements to Great George Street (NCE 10 January), where £35,000 has already been splashed on reception area improvements.
'We should be seen as buying betterment, ' Whitby told ICE Council. 'I have grave doubts that improvements to the reception were for the good of the Institution, and I have similar doubts about renovations to the Great Hall.'
Whitby himself chaired a committee formed to weigh up the options available, and NCE entered the debate by challenging readers to come up with their own ideas.
The challenge was heartily accepted, with ideas ranging from investment in schools to the establishment of a shrine to Brunel (NCE 7 February).