Castle Chronicle – AGM Edition


Many thanks to everyone who made the effort, on a dark and stormy night, to attend the club annual general meeting. This report is to update members who weren’t able to attend.

  • Reports were received from the president, the treasurer, the meets secretary and the membership secretary. It was noted that the club membership is currently a very healthy 112 members.
  • Two changes to the constitution relating to membership were approved.
  • The new committee was approved as follows: Geoff Nichols (President), Steve Leather (Vice-President), Kathy Burgess (Treasurer), Paul Embley (Secretary), Kial Wright (Meets Secretary), Lorna Nicholson (Membership Secretary), Matt Biggins and Rosie Twambley (Communication and Publicity Secretaries), Bill Boley, Vanda Boyd, Julian Brooks, Helen Dunnett, Pete McGlynn, Andrew Milne, Eli Shannon (Committee Members).
  • Thanks were given to the retiring members of the committee: Chris, Gemma, Lin and Richard

The main item on the agenda was discussion of the committee’s recommendations for communications and publicity. Matt and Rosie have done a huge amount of work completing a review of club communications which Matt presented to the AGM. Three options considered by the committee were outlined and comments and questions were received from the floor:

  • Option 1 – UPDATING OR REPLACING THE WEBSITE: Issues were highlighted with the message board and the need to make the website more smartphone-friendly. The problem with this option would be the expense of commissioning changes from Digital Nomads, who currently maintain our website, or from a different website developer. One quotation received was for £5000. However the discussion indicated that we might have “in-house” expertise which could be used to update the website at reduced cost.
  • Option 2 – USE OF MEETUP FOR ALL CLUB COMMUNICATION: MeetUp is a cloud-based subscription service which would meet many of the club’s communication needs and be relatively cheap and easy to administer. It was suggested as an option by Digital Nomads and other website developers. This option was the recommendation of the committee. However the feedback from the MeetUp trial was mixed and concerns were raised at the AGM. These included whether signing up for meets was helpful and problems with instant messaging using MeetUp. The trial had only been for climbing meets so other club groups needed to be involved in trialling it. Many members find WhatsApp useful and it is likely that they would continue to use WhatsApp resulting in splintering the club.
  • Option 3 – NO CHANGE: Andy is not planning to retire as webmaster at the moment. He estimates that he spends about 4 minutes per-day managing the website. It uses a popular operating system and it should be fairly straightforward to train people to administer and maintain the website when he retires. Other members already use the website as administrators though it was noted that this could be complicated especially when troubleshooting was required.

The opinion was strongly expressed from the floor that members had not had enough information to make an informed decision if a vote was held at the current AGM. The decision was therefore taken not to vote on the recommendations but to extend the period of consultation to involve a wider range of club members including walkers and cyclists:

  • A working group involving a wide range of club members will be formed to plan the way forward.
  • All members of the club will be encouraged to put forward their comments and suggestions to the working group.

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