This year’s Area AGM was hosted by Newark Group at the delightful village hall in the equally delightful Conservation Village of Norwell.
When the Group hosted the AGM previously they treated those attending to a wonderful range of homemade cakes and again this time they didn’t disappoint. Appreciation for their efforts was widely acknowledged by the 50 attendees. This year will be noted as a time of change: several serving Area Officers were stepping down from their posts including the Area Chair, the Area Countryside Officer – now re-titled Area Walk Environment Officer – and the Area Publicity Officer. A new Area Chair was voted in, Keith Wallace, Mansfield and Sherwood Group and also the Area Newsletter Editor. Unfortunately, the other two posts were unfilled but the Area Secretary would be more than pleased to hear from any member willing to ‘have a go’ – full job description details are available on the Ramblers national website under Volunteer Zone.
For the first time in a number of years we had a guest speaker attending the AGM. Area invited Des Garrahan, Chair of the Ramblers’ Board of Trustees who informed members on a diverse range of subjects Ramblers’ related. Also, we welcomed from the adjoining Areas of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire who had been specially invited to attend. In his speech to the meeting Des updated the audience on current events including, briefly:
- Membership – more women are members both at UK and Area level.
- Financial Resources – besides membership fees further income is generated from Ramblers’ Worldwide Holidays and the Post Code Lottery.
- Governance of the Ramblers – thought our current set-up is a little old fashioned. A debate on this followed after the close of official business – see below.
- The Big Pathwatch – a full assessment of the recently concluded six month project will be released later this year.
- A surprising fact: the Ramblers’ has 108,000 members and 25,000 volunteers; the RSPB has 1.5 million members and 33,000 volunteers. Speaks volumes about the dedication of our membership.
New Governance Proposals for the Ramblers
At the conclusion of the AGM proper, a lively, and at times, passionate discussion on this prickly subject began; it is currently a major topic for both the Board of Trustees and RA Areas. A good number of AGM attendees stayed on to listen, ask questions and have their say on the direction the business of the Ramblers will be decided in future.
Compiled by Alex Staniforth, former Area Publicity Officer