Committee Members' Reports 2000/2001

Chairperson - Chris Hunt

I don't suppose any of us will forget the year 2001 in a hurry. Foot and mouth disease hit much of Britain's countryside in the spring and whilst most paths have now re-opened, we still haven't seen the last of it. Nonetheless the group has managed to flourish, thanks largely to the ingenuity of event organisers in finding things for an outdoor group to do when all the footpaths are closed.

One notable success this year was to win the overall President's Award at this year's Local Groups' Conference. This was due to winning three of the eight individual categories for Best Web Site, Best Fundraising and Best Publicity, as well as securing honourable mentions in the Programme and Newsletter categories. One of the joys of being chairperson is that I was able to bask in the glory of this award whilst relying on my fellow committee members to do most of the work!

I have conducted four committee meetings, which took place at my house. This arrangement, which enables business to be done away from the hurly-burly of Wednesday nights, does not mean that such meetings are closed to ordinary members. If you wish to attend one as an observer, have a word with me (or my successor) to find out when the next one is.

I continue to build up and improve the group's web site, www.leicesterhya.org.uk, and am still keen to use members' photographs on the site - let me know if you have any. You can also sign up for an email newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest group news.

As noted above, event organisers have performed especially well this year, managing to keep our programme full despite all difficulties. I hope a positive outcome of this year will be to open our eyes to the range of events and venues that interest the group other than just hillwalking. If you've never organised an event because you're not confident leading a walk in the hills, why not try a city hostel or a social event?

Finally, my thanks go to committee members, event organisers, drivers and everyone else who helped make 2000/2001 a success. Let's see if we can do even better next year!


Secretary - Phil Humphrey

This year I have not been able to devote as much time to the group as before, but I am willing to stand for re-election.

Collating and sending off the entries for the President's Award for 2000 was a worthwhile task. Winning the three individual categories, Best Publicity, Best Website and Best Fund-raising effort, was entirely due to the hard work and dedication of Phil Worden, Chris Hunt, and Dave Self respectively. Collecting enough points to also win the Trophy itself was an added bonus.

I have continued to deal with enquiries that come to me in the same manner I established previously ( send a copy of the current programme and suitable covering letter to enquirers, and repeat this when the next programme is printed unless they have already become members ). Since the last AGM I estimate I have dealt with about 14 serious enquires. Sending out the second programme is probably not worthwhile.

I have re-drawn the group's logo. Thank you to Chris Hunt for digitally enhancing it. I hope members feel it is an improvement on the original design.


Treasurer - Dave Self

With this report you will find my Financial Summary covering the last financial year 2000/2001. Any queries you have will be answered at the Group Annual General meeting (AGM) on the 7th November.

In that last financial year our highest point must have been winning the President's Award Trophy, with its 100 prize. Since this meant we gained the highest overall score out of 'seven' judged categories (one of the usual eight had no entries) we also won three 1st Prizes of 20 each for:

  1. The Best Fundraising Effort,
  2. The Best Publicity Campaign, and
  3. For the second year running - The Best Local Group Web Site.

Overall we won 160 and the committee agreed to divide and use this 'windfall' as follows:

For the NHLGC appeal to improve the members' kitchen at Cynwyd hostel, our members raised another f40. So, overall the Group donated 90 to YHA fundraising appeals in 2000/2001.

The Foot & Mouth Outbreak hit shortly after our 'windfall', due mainly to the hard efforts of our weekend organisers', the Group did not lose money from any lost deposits. Unfortunately Llwyn-y-Celyn, Elterwater and Kentmere weekends were cancelled and their surplus lost. Other events were either moved to alternative dates or held at different hostels. However, to off set any lose in surplus, I increased Admin Charges from 25p to 30p per member per night hostelling from May 2001. The Group has held its own during this national crisis; we have continued hostelling. Our Group events putting 12,365 in overnights into YHA, helping them in their crisis. So, my thanks must go to all those members who organised hostelling events for the Group in 2000/2001, also to all of those members who attended them.

In the immediate future we have our own internal financial problem to face. The hospital print shop where have had our programmes and publicity materials printed at 'very low cost', closed at the end of July 2001. If the Group returns to using the 'high street' print shops our printing costs are quite likely to rise by half or be doubled. Hence, we will either need to reduce the amount of printing that the Group needs or raise our Programme Subscriptions and/or Admin Charges, to increase our surplus in order to pay for more printing. So, please ask yourself:

These are important problems where Leicester Group needs to know your views, those of all of its members, to find its best path forward. Therefore, I urge you as a member of Leicester Group to attend the AGM on the 7'h November 2001. Where your opinion can be heard and will be valued!


Social Treasurer - Mick Nice

As everyone can see from the figures, it has been a particularly good year for the Social Account as we were close to achieving a 50.00 surplus.

This is due to various factors, one being the raising of Admin Charges on social events, from 10 pence to 20 pence, back in January; another has been the decision of the Committee to grant a share of the President's Awards prize money to the Social Account. With the devastating effect that "Foot and Mouth" has had on some of our weekend events, alternatives were sought like weekend citiy breaks and extra emphasis applied to social events.

But the key as to why this has been a successful year is many varied and colourful social events that have taken place and the volunteers that organised them. My special thanks therefore go to Phil Worden, Tony Dodson, Judith, Pam, Myra, Brian, Dave and Sheils. They have proved that the active involvement of group members is crucial to maintaining a vibrant social account.


Editor - Paul Jennings

Due to the foot & mouth crisis, it has been a less busy year for the Group. Even so, since the last A.G.M, I will have hopefully produced 6 issues of "Milestones" (one every 2 months). There have been a number of different contributors, but my main thanks again go to Phil Worden, who has contributed no fewer than 10 articles (and all in very good time!).

Each Newsletter has had 6 or 8 pages. All weekends have been recorded for posterity and where possible, day walks and social events have also been included.

The corresponding web site has been kept up to date and a few additional features have been included. There is a huge amount more that could be done, but it is time consuming trying to ensure that information is easy to find and there are no problems with navigating within the site, or linking to other sites.

My time with the Group has been limited to only one weekend event (Beer) since the last A.G.M. This is partly due to work commitments, damaging both my ankles and finally, and most importantly, becoming engaged to Jackie, whom many of you will have already met.

However, I will still have sufficient time to do the Newsletter. I hope to make some improvements, mostly to the paper copy and am always open to suggestions (within reason).

An obvious first step is to get more short write-ups included. A second is to ask all weekend organisers to ensure that someone is appointed before a weekend to do its write-up and that it is produced within one month of the event.

If it's time to welcome someone new to the role (perhaps high time, since I've been in it since the December 1990 edition), then I would be happy to offer any assistance that I can, if required.

It has always been rewarding, if demanding and has enabled me to keep in touch with Group activities, be involved on the Committee & experiment with Internet web design. Not to mention a free license to pun and insult without too much comeback (well, so far!).

Thanks to everyone who has given me so much encouragement and help over the years.


Publicity Officer - Phil Worden

Though I haven't been able to contribute, to the role, the time I did before the last AGM, the standard, fundamental methods -

- have proved, I believe, sufficiently effective.

Unfortunately the direct mail leaflet campaign has had to be suspended until the New Year due to a reduced budget; the effect of the Foot and Mouth situation.

Phil Humphrey's telephone number and the group web-site address has been kindly placed by Dave Self in the local group's section of the Triangle's directory, the small cost involved outweighed by its publicity value.

I receive satisfaction by helping the group in this way and I would be pleased to continue for another year if re-elected.


Regional Representative - Alan Summers

The YHA year started off with the introduction of the new Chief Executive. There was to be a new Chairman in twelve months time. With all new brooms they sweep clean. There was a threat to hostels that were not paying their way. There was also the threat of changes in the democratic structure of the Association. Members of Central Region Council were asked early in the year to consider two papers urgently. This was done at St Pancras hostel. YHA was hardly touched upon as the time was devoted to possible changes to the Volunteer structure and the future of Regional Councils. Another paper to consider "YHA in the wider society" was never discussed due to lack of time. An NEC sub committee has been set up to look into the structure of the area panels and the other YHA committees. It has yet to report to NEC. One change that has been implemented and agreed at National Council is that the National Executive Committee will in future select the Chairman of each of the standing committees from amongst its (NEC) committee members.

The biggest problem has been an increase in the debt due to the foot and mouth disease causing visitors to the countryside to stay away. Some hostels had to be closed as we in the group are well aware. This seriously affected the hostelling programme. There is a deficit of 5M. It has not been possible to make cutbacks to cover this amount. Since the Foot and Mouth disease there has been the terrorist occurrence in New York on September 11. This shocking disaster has affected tourism as a whole and not just YHA hostels. Without Government help there could be several hostels that will not reopen at the start of the 2002 season. We can only wait and see if your favourite hostel is one of them.

There is a five year financial strategy for the years 2001 2006 published on 31 August 2001. This may need revision. National Council debated two motions from Wales Region. The first on the financial cross subsidy of hostels was lost. The second that National Council "instruct the NEC to operate a Small Hostels Fund and give positive consideration each year to allocating money from the fund" was carried. It is expected that a new web based booking system will be operational by March 2002. It is expected also that the Compass management and booking system will be operational as soon as the teething troubles are overcome.

National Council elected Chris Boulton as Chairman, Chris Darmon as Vice Chairman, and Alan Bourne as Treasurer.