MINUTES OF THE STOKE/NEWCASTLE GROUP COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 13th OCTOBER 2016 AT BUCKNALL BOWLING CLUB
Present: D Poole, J Hammond, H Caton, M Caton, D Fowler, S Merry, S J Merry, A Clamp, R Clamp, D Wynn, B Wood, A Bell, C Bigley, L Bourne (group member)
Apologies: L Wynn, T Adair, D Adair, K Twigge
1.Minutes of Previous Meeting
Following agreed amendments to Items 11 and 13, the minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a valid record.
Item 2 – H Caton advised that the proposed group trade stand at Trentham was still being sought and ongoing.Other matters will be addressed within the agenda.
3.Future Group Meeting Venues
Various potential venues were discussed with a view to finding a more central location. A Clamp advised that Bucknall Bowling Club was already booked for the forthcoming 19/1/17 and 23/3/17 meetings.
A motion to use the upstairs room of the White Star PH in Stoke for a trial period beginning 23/5/17 was agreed on a show of hands with 3 abstentions.
4.Location of Approved Minutes
As requested by the 22/9/16 Group AGM, the committee discussed the location of the group meeting minutes on the website. It was agreed that approved minutes should be made publically available since they are likely to be of interest to potential new members. Furthermore, this is the practice of other Ramblers groups.
5.Christmas Ramble and Lunch Update
A Clamp reported that the Rose and Crown PH at Stanley has been booked for 4/12/16 and J Hammond has released funds to cover the required deposit. D Adair and Mavis H are the organisers. A Clamp agreed to organise a raffle draw at the event.
6.Boxing Day + 2 Event Update
SJ Merry reported that the Izaak Walton PH at Cresswell has been booked for 28/12/16. A menu will be made available for participants to choose their lunch before the walk. Further details will be made available on the group website.
7.Group Events in 2017
S Merry stated that a meeting with interested members had been arranged for 10/11/16 at The Holy Inadequate PH Etruria to discuss the feasibility of a 2017 group weekend away in terms of where, when and who would contribute. However there was a need to consider more broadly the future viability of coach rambles, holidays and social events.
B Wood and C Bigley agreed to organise an additional meeting with interested members to consider these broader issues.
C Bigley presented a proposed code of conduct for web contributors. The purpose of this is to keep the website a friendly place and to present the group positively to potential new members. The code of conduct was approved and will be added to the members’ document library on the website. Its presence will be highlighted to existing and new website contributors.
More broadly, C Bigley reported that the development of the group website was ongoing. He was available to provide technical help should members experience difficulties in posting blog messages. Steve J would be responsible for the development of the group’s Meetup site.
S Merry reported that he would place the agenda for the next meeting on the website rather than circulate it as an Email attachment. Committee members should send their agenda items to him 2 weeks before meeting.
9.Reports from Officers and Representatives
We thank all who have contributed to the success of the weekend away in Keswick.
All members are invited to sign up to contribute to the blog and join the available Emailing lists. Four such lists have been set up. Three can be seen at http://www.stokeandnewcastleramblers.org.uk/members/subscribe-to-mailing-list.html and are available to all members to join. The last is one of the committee members. To address data protection concerns, these lists contain Email addresses only. They do not contain names or any other personal information.
Stoke/Newcastle Ramblers had 325 paid up members on 1/10/16. This compares with 333 on 1/9/16 and 342 on 1/10/15. Following a discussion on non payment of fees, I Bradley agreed to advise future meetings of new and lapsed members enabling committee members to endeavour to integrate new members more efficiently and to challenge defaulters. HQ have authorised C Bigley as a second person in the group to be in possession of members' personal data.
Group promotional material has been left at libraries and pubs, but no special promotions currently booked. Ramblers are currently trying to increase their profile on the national media.
So as pro-actively welcome new Stoke/Newcastle members and to contact lapsed members C Bigley requested that he receive three separate CSV files each month:
a. those members who have joined in the previous month
b. those members who have let their subscriptions lapse in the previous month
c. those members who have updated their contact details in the previous month
I Bradley agreed to provide these data.
D Fowler reported that the Stoke/Newcastle Ramblers were mentioned in high regard at the Area Council meeting on 6/10/16 as a very good progressive group. H Caton and A Bell agreed to represent Stoke/Newcastle at the next Area Council.
D Fowler also expressed concern that shortage of funds seems to be causing Staffordshire County Council to investigate commercial ventures in the countryside parks it oversees. This is likely to have an adverse effect on the Rights of Way and Concessionary Paths within these venues.
Group Footpath Coordinator:
A Bell reported that H Caton and he would be leading the planed memorial walk for George Shufflebotham on 6/11/16. It would be a figure of 8 walk starting and finishing at the Boat Inn at Cheddleton and the landlord is kindly allowing us to park our cars there. The event will bring together both full and half day walkers and a motion to provide funds for sandwiches was passed on a show of hands. George has done a great deal for the club and it is our way of saying thank you.
A Clamp reported that the Hard copy winter programme was now ready for distribution. Despite hand delivery whenever possible, postage costs of £130 were required.
J Hammond reported that the group’s accounts are £560 in credit at present
T Adair will replace D Fowler as the second cheque signatory required by our bank
10.Any Other Business
A Bell expressed concern that the effects of the HS2 railway on local footpaths was receiving little attention and publicity. C Bigley agreed to invite Harry Scott to make a blog contribution on this topic
D Fowler reported that Vanessa Griffiths from National Trust Wales has been appointed the Ramblers new chief executive. She has a background in organising charitable events and seems to be a career charity executive.
I Bradley circulated a business card used by Doncaster Ramblers. It was agreed that the Stoke/Newcastle group could distribute a similar ones to new potential members and it would be useful to have some available to support the forthcoming Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks. In addition to contact details, the cards might have a photograph of Rambling Away, the Stoke/Newcastle Eggheads winners together with views of the Roaches. H Caton and I Bradley agreed to investigate this possibility and a cost limit of £60 was agreed to purchase cards.
I Bradley also suggested that the Sunday programme included some shorter walks of 4 miles to meet the needs or our less able members. He had been approached by some members with this request. A Clamp said she was fully supportive of having shorter walks on the programme and suggested that now we have replaced the grading of walks with the mileage, the length of walk could be at the leader's discretion. S Merry noted that shorter walks were already a component of our social events such as Christmas and Boxing Day+ lunches and the Middleport Pottery tour. It was agreed that this matter would be further discussed at next meeting.
The meeting ended at 21:35