MINUTES OF THE STOKE/NEWCASTLE GROUP
COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 5th July 2017
AT THE WHITE HART PH, STOKE
Present: D. & T. Adair, A. Bell, C. Bigley, I. Bradley, M. & H. Caton, A. & R. Clamp, J. Damarell (group member), D. Fowler, J. Hammond, S.J. & S. Merry, D. Poole, K. Twigge, B. Wood, L. & D. Wynne.
1. Minutes of Previous Meeting:
These were accepted as a true record.
Proposed: C. Bigley Seconded: H. Caton
2. Matters arising
(a) The group map collection has now been placed on the website at http://www.stokeandnewcastleramblers.org.uk/members/map-library.html. T. Adair emphasised the fact that more recent maps are often available from public libraries.
(b) A. Bell thanked the 7 members who attended the secateurs walk on 1/7/17, but more volunteers would have been useful. More publicity for the next secateurs walk was, perhaps, required.
3. AGM 2017 committee nominations
D. Poole expressed her intention to resign from her post. Her last contributions will be the AGM minutes.
In the absence of other nominations from the membership, all other current members of the committee expressed their willingness to continue in their roles for a further year.
M. & H. Caton, S.J. & S. Merry and K.Twigg notified their intention to resign from their posts at the 2018 AGM.
4. 2018 Meeting frequency, schedule and venue
After discussion, it was agreed that there will be three committee meetings plus the AGM in 2018. These would take place at the White Star PH, Stoke.
Dates for committee meetings will be March 21st, July 18th and October 17th.
The AGM will be held on September 26th
5. Group annual report for Step Out
A draft copy was agreed as being ready for submission to the October edition of Step Out.
6. Walk leaders’ mobile numbers
It was agreed that leaders’ mobile phone numbers could be useful, but also might be abused. They should only be made available with the explicit permission of the leader.
D. Fowler proposed that the Walk Secretaries should ask individual walk leaders if they were comfortable with their mobile numbers appearing on the website and the printed walks programme.
This was seconded by K. Twigge and the motion was carried.
7. Event updates
(a)The Christmas walk and lunch will be on Sunday, December 3rd from the Red Lion PH, Market Drayton. It will be organised by S.J. Merry and D. Adair. The cost will be approximately £14 per person for a carvery meal with meat, fish and vegetarian options. Details and booking arrangements will be publicised at http://www.stokeandnewcastleramblers.org.uk/forthcoming-events.html and in the printed winter programme.
(b)The Boxing Day walk and lunch will be held on Thursday, December 28th from the Rose and Crown PH, Stanley. It will be organised by L. & D. Wynne and participants will be able to choose their meal before the start of the walk. Details will be publicised at http://www.stokeandnewcastleramblers.org.uk/forthcoming-events.html and in the printed winter programme.
8. Written and Verbal Reports from Officers and Representatives
●T. Adair advised that after a discussion he initiated with Central Office he was advised that up to three additional members can be co-opted onto the committee between AGM elections without the need for a membership vote.
●A revised, extended version of the fingerpost logo has been received from the graphic designer. We can crop this image ourselves to adjust the length of the post as needed. It will replace the current image on the printed programme cover.
●All arrangements are in place for the 23-25/9/17 weekend away in Ilkley. They have been publicised at http://www.stokeandnewcastleramblers.org.uk/forthcoming-events/128-23-25-sept-2017-weekend-away-ikley.html. The Walkleaders’ mobile phone numbers were distributed by Email on 4/3/17 to those signed up to the weekends’ away mailing list.
●In addition to the dates for the Festival of Winter Walks (23 December 2017 – 7 January 2018), Ramblers have now announced the dates of the 2018 Walk About Festival as Saturday 26 May – Sunday 3 June 2018. Further details can be found at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/support-and-development/volunteer-toolkits-alphabetically-sorted/festivals-and-events.aspx where the document ‘National Walking Festival Plans One Team Vision’ is particularly informative.
●It has been also confirmed that grants of up to £1000 are available to groups to fund publicity associated with the festivals such as leaflet production or social events targeted to attract new members. It was agreed that the bureaucracy associated with such funding and the imminent deadlines of 20/8/17 and 24/9/17 respectively make a Stoke/Newcastle application unfeasible.
●Nicky Philpott, Ramblers Director of Advocacy and Engagement, has advocated that groups contact their MP to invite them to join them on a walk. It was agreed that, using the guidance provided by Ramblers central office, S.J & S. Merry contact the three Stoke and one Newcastle MP with such an invitation. It was also noted that ramblers central office may wish to send representatives to join any walk with MPs.
●J. Hammond advised that there had been little financial activity since the last meeting. Our current balance is £1,141 and next year’s budget application needs to be submitted by July 15th.
●Current membership remains at 320 which includes4 new members and two reinstated members since the last meeting. Our membership numbers have been maintained only by active recruitment which has compensated for members who retire from walking. Leaflets have been delivered to sports shops, hostelries and libraries.
o Group Footpath Coordinator:
●£18 from the donation from L. Berrington has been used to purchase gloves.
o Countryside Officer:
● D. Fowler requested that all members be alert to fly tipping and to report any instances to the Local Authority. It was suggested that high charges for the disposal of commercial and large domestic waste by Staffordshire County and Stoke City councils were exacerbating this problem.
●D. Fowler also advised there is a public meeting scheduled at 10.00 on November 7th to discuss the Moneystone Park planning application. The venue is the Churnet Room in the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council offices, Leek. Support would be welcomed as three footpaths may be affected by the outcome of this meeting.
o Programme Coordinator:
●Winter programme templates have been emailed to the three walks secretaries for completion and return by early/mid-September.
●New printing functions have been provided to make it easier to get up-to-date details of our walks. Print buttons have been added for:
i. Our Sunday walks
ii. Our full programme
iii. Any of the daily programmes that incorporate walks from neighbouring groups.
In all cases, these include the most up-to-date description of the walk, and the start point. I hope these reports will help some people decide they no longer need a printed programme.
o Specific reports were not provided by the following officers:
Full day walks secretary
Half day walks secretary
Midweek walk secretary
9. Any other business
(a) D. Fowler advocated more liaisons with other Ramblers groups. It was agreed that S.J & S. Merry would write a letters to both the Biddulph and Leek groups congratulating them on their 20th anniversaries.
(b) A. Bell advised that the route following Checkley Footpaths 29 and 31 is disputed at Upper Whitley Farm, Hollington. A farmer challenged a group of walkers on 3/6/17 and an Email was received from the land owner on 6/7/17. Staffordshire County Council were contacted. They report that they are aware of ‘ongoing issues with this route’, but it is not currently a priority. S.J. & S. Merry plan to raise this matter at the Staffordshire Area Ramblers meeting on 13/7/17.
10. Time, Date and Venue of next meeting 19.30 on Wednesday 18th October 2017 at White Star PH, Stoke.
The meeting closed at 20:48