Ramblers: Bromley Group

Registered Charity No. 1093577

Minutes of a meeting of the Committee

held on 10 March 2014

at the Ripley Arts Centre at 7.30 pm


Nicky Ashley, Roy Bareham, Annie Brough, Anne Clark, Lawrie Smith (in the Chair) and Philip Wall


Richard Bickell and Chris Dee-Crowne

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 1 October 2013

Approved without amendment.

Matters Arising

There were no specific matters arising.

Treasurer’s Report

Anne tabled the current financial position that showed income of £1392.57 and expenditure of £1183.80 – a surplus for the year to date of £208.77. She confirmed there was nothing of particular note in the accounts; but pointed out that £17.98 had been taken from the Social Fund for the refreshments served on the Christmas lunch walk, and that £264.00 had been spent on the first aid course (which Annie confirmed had gone well).

Anne felt that it might be possible to stop the voluntary donations in the summer, for a period of time, give that advice had been received from Kent Area’s Treasurer that any money received from The Walking Partnership/Ramblers Worldwide Holidays had to be spent on walking-related matters, and not on social events.

It was confirmed that money from The Walking Partnership/Ramblers Worldwide Holidays could be spent on upgrading/improving our web site. It could also be used to buy a PC or a lap top specifically used to manage our website and on-line communication. There was general consensus that, if possible, our website should reflect the general branding and modern look of The Ramblers and needs something of a ‘facelift’, although everyone recognised that it fulfilled its current need and that we did not want to simply adopt the model used centrally, or lose the facility to upload walks directly to the web. Roy confirmed that The Ramblers has a group of people willing to help with internet issues and that he would look at what we use currently (Wordpress) and what might be done in the future to make our website more ‘wizzy’ (RB)

Secretary’s Report

Annie confirmed there was nothing specific to report on this occasion.

Feedback from Bromley Ramblers 2013 AGM

The feeling was that the AGM had been well attended and had gone well. There had been no specific issues raised (other than our 25th anniversary) that required any form of action.

It was agreed that this year’s AGM should again be held at Farnborough Village Hall (Saturday 8th November); Annie confirmed she would make the booking (AB).

Feedback from Kent Area’s 2014 AGM

The thanks from both the Chairman and Treasurer of Kent Area was noted. Many people on the day had said how well things had been organised and had been complimentary about the quality of the food provided.

Walks & Programme Matters

Lawrie confirmed that the April to July walks programme had been checked and was about to go to the printers. It contained a good variety of walks. It was noted that Jean Portsmouth is concerned about the lack of short Sunday walk leaders and had asked for the need for additional volunteers to be included in the programme booklet.

He also mentioned that reference has been made in the programme to some leaders not being able to undertake a walk-out due to the recent wet weather and muddy conditions.

Countryside Matters

It was noted that Jenny McCarthy had forwarded details of Bromley Council’s Local Plan consultation that ends on 24 March, and that it contained positive comments about safeguarding open spaces and public rights of way. Lawrie to email the link to the committee for information (LS).

Footpath Matters

Philip tabled an article he had sent for inclusion in the next programme about reporting footpath/stile problems to a variety of local councils. He also confirmed that he had submitted no objections to the re-routing of a footpath in the Westerham area. (POST COMMITTEE NOTE: Philip’s contribution was received after the programme had gone to the printers and, given its length, would have needed an additional 4 pages – 3 of which would be blank - to be added to the booklet. It was therefore decided to add it to the website and to include something in the autumn programme instead.)

Roy raised the issue of The Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 that introduced a cut off date of 2026 for all rights of way already in existence in 1949 and not recorded on the definitive map. It was agreed that we should put something on the website and in the next programme booklet; as well as about responsibilities for the maintenance of footpaths/stiles (PW/LS).

It was also agreed that Lawrie would ask Bromley Council about the possibility of Bromley Ramblers members helping with such things as footpath clearance and the maintenance of stiles (LS).

Website Matters

Roy confirmed there was nothing additional to discuss.

Membership Matters

The charts produced by Kent Area showing the percentage change in Groups’ recruitment and lapsed membership rates were noted.

Social Events

Christmas walk & lunch – this was considered to be a great success with many positive comments – Sue Jackson and her team to be asked to organise a similar event this year (LS).

Petanque – noted that this would not take place this year but would be held again in 2015.

Quiz Night – Lawrie volunteered to organise another quiz for the autumn.

Silver Sizzler: 14 September 2014 - Annie referred to the discussion at the 2013 Group AGM about celebrating our 25th Anniversary in 2014, and the general support for a hog roast/barbeque/barn dance type event. Diane Linford had volunteered at the AGM to undertake some research and to see what might be available. In discussion with members on various walks, it had become apparent that a hog roast had good support, so long as it was associated with a walk or walks; but a barn dance would not be well attended. As a result, and having looked at another venue, Salomons near Tunbridge Wells was considered to be an ideal location for both a hog roast and the start point for a variety of walks. Salomons had offered the venue, hog roast, salads and one free drink for £17.60 per person.

Following an email exchange between all committee members, the consensus had been to charge £15.00 for the event, and to subsidise the remaining cost from the Social Fund by £300. A minimum of 70 people would be needed to cover costs. A deposit of £300 has been paid to Salomons. It was noted that Lawrie has agreed to organise walk leaders for a minimum of five walks of different lengths and variety. Annie confirmed that she was happy to organise a ‘free’ raffle for those attending, and to obtain prizes by writing to local companies.

During discussion it was agreed that 70 people attending should not be a problem, given the good attendance at the 21st anniversary BBQ/walk and at the last Christmas lunch.

Anne made the point that only £48 would be left in the Social Fund if £300 was used to subsidise the event; she felt that a number of members would be concerned if most of the Fund was used to help pay for it; and that it might lead to questions being asked at this year’s AGM. She mentioned that it might also lead to comments from the Hon. Auditor. She asked the committee to consider a lower subsidy of £200.

The general feeling during the discussion that followed was that the Social Fund was there to spend on social events; that we should subsidise the hog roast by £300; and that the majority of members were unlikely to object to such money being spent on a 25th Anniversary event.

Lawrie said that he did not consider there would be an issue of financial impropriety, or of any failure of the committee’s duty of care when dealing with charitable money given:

·  the support by members at the AGM for a hog roast type event;

·  that the committee was acting reasonably by debating the issue and making a decision based on views expressed by committee members and with all the relevant facts to hand;

·  that a subsidy had been agreed by the committee, only the amount was an issue; and

·  the likelihood of the Social Fund being topped up by over £100 from a Quiz Night planned for the autumn.

Of the six present, five members of the Committee agreed that £300 from the Social Fund should be used to subsidise the hog roast event. Lawrie agreed to record Anne’s vote against in the minutes and her preference for the subsidy to be £200.

Kent Area Matters

Lawrie went through the agenda items for the meeting of the Kent Area Council on 14 March, but was not able to thrown much light on them as Council members no longer received any explanatory or background notes on matters that Groups needed to give feedback on. Given there was an item on South East Walker, the general consensus was that it was not particularly interesting and that people were unlikely to want to read about anything outside of their area/County.

Any Other Business

Nothing was raised.