Perhaps one of the main points of note in the last year has been the continuing drop in the number of members. Last year I reported a fall from 56 to 46, and over the last year this has continued to fall and now stands at 34. We have had 19 enquiries during the year but this has resulted in only 4 new members. It is difficult to say why numbers are dropping, but we suspect that the increased cost of walks (i.e. the mileage cost to them) is a major factor.
At the AGM in 2009, 3 years ago, we made the decision to increase mileage payments from 14p per mile to 21p. We have inflated that rate to rising petrol costs and the rate is currently 30p per mile. So the rate has doubled in the space of 3 years. Is this a reason for the fall in numbers and should we do something about it? If so what?
The committee has decided to resurrect the leaflets and notice board adverts which is something we used to do but have not done for some time whilst numbers have been high. Any other ideas would be welcome.
Over the year, the committee has been reviewed our approach to risk and this has lead to a number of changes. The one you will be most aware of perhaps is the grading of walkers; this is to address the issue of whether walkers have the fitness and ability to safely undertake walks. Other things that we have or are undertaking are:
- A review of our walking risk assessment
- Vetting of walk leaders
- The issue of guidance for walk leaders
- The preparation of walk plans prior to walks to let people know where we are going and what time we should be back
- Greater use of GPS to improve navigation
Another change we made during the year was to move our insurance from the BMC to the Ramblers which is costing us significantly less. More of that in the treasurer’s report. But I would like to especially thank Roger for the time and effort that was necessary to make this change.
Our weekends away had mixed success. We had 10 for our trip to Coniston at Easter last year and then 11 for a fantastic weekend in Pembrokeshire. Who will forget the table tennis? And there were 6 on our recent Easter in Eskdale. For some reason our September trip did not come off. We started with a proposed trip to Cantabria in Spain. Having cancelled this due to lack of support, we arranged a scrambling trip to Wales. And again there was insufficient support.
Other events we have held have been cycling around Rutland Water in July, beer by rail in July, barbecue in August, a pub/music evening in October, Christmas drinks, the annual meal at the Fitzwilliam Arms in Marholm in February and most recently greyhound racing in March.
Attendance on walks has been lower than in recent years, perhaps because of the lower number of members, but we have found some good walking prepared by our route planner Nigel. We had no takers for one walk in February, but this might have been down to the snow on the ground and -13 degree overnight temperatures.
As always, I would like to thank the committee members for all the effort they put in during the year which is essential for the running of the club.
That concludes what I have to say, except to wish you all an enjoyable year of walking.
The committee for the coming year was confirmed as:
- Chairman – Alan Parsons
- General Secretary – Dawn Sadler
- Treasurer – Andy Williamson
- PR Representative – Sue Baines
- Transport Co–ordinator – Chris Carmichael
- Route Planner – Nigel Arkle
- Special Events Co–ordinator – Judith Neal
- Editor – Alan Parsons
- Membership Secretary – Roger Hall