John Catt wrote:The change in the group structure was I believe introduced to facilitate the formation of new groups. I believe one of its aims was to avoid resentments over territorial claims.
Trying to deal with your points, one at a time.
Firstly, as I understand it there are no longer any District Associations, just groups, and to quote from the websitesee http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=5365#eight.Since we started getting substantial funding from external bodies we have been able to divert more resources to support for CTC volunteers. Our Member group development officer’s post has become full time as has the Right to Ride Development post. (Both were previously required to carry out other duties as well as support for their networks.)
With regard to the "expansion of the group network" charitable status might well provide additional funding from outside sources for the development of existing and new groups. Again to quote from the website (link as above)In particular Member groups are strongly encouraged to take part in activity which promotes cycling to new participants in order to attract new people to their rides or to get resources for their volunteers.
Groups can be supported financially and with staff time to put on a wide range of events and activities for new cyclists. Staff funded by external funders have helped support Member activities such as the York Cycle Show, Birthday Rides, Challenge Rides, CTC local groups conference, Wales Festival of Cycling and the CTC Scotland Members’ gathering.
Member groups are strongly encouraged to contact national office to request any additional support that they would find useful, CTC now has 30 staff whose purpose is to support local cycling champions; we want to hear from you!
I'm not sure what you mean by "inter-group exchanges". I presume you mean people getting around to share best practice. Yes, where appropriate, if there is a group that believes it can learn from another, then I'd be happy to see resources used to facilitate this. It would be fully in line with both the existing charitable objectives of the Trust and of the CTC if it becomes a charity. I'm a great believer in test and learn. So trying it out a few times to see if it works and then either building on it or dumping it depending on results would be my favoured approach. I would also use this for testing any other proposals that members or groups that came up with that looked practical.
As to "'interference' for those who require promotion and central support" - no, I don't think this would work. Encouragement yes (but expecting some to ignore it).
We are dealing with volunteers who have a perfect right to tell National Office what to do with their "initiatives" if they so choose and walk away from the organisation .
Of course this doesn't mean that we can't encourage new and different groups in those areas where existing groups aren't particularly proactive. The cycle champions have been reaching out into communities where cycling is not exactly endemic.
By way of example in my locality Elizabeth Barner is working to this brief:The CTC Cycling Champions Development Officer will work with 35 community groups over the four years of the project. The groups will come from communities typically under-represented amongst existing cyclists. Beneficiary groups might include women’s groups, disability organisations, and members ofblack and minority ethnic communities. The project will be based at York House, Granby Street, Leicester LE1 6FB in the Sustainable Transport Team of the City Council.
For an example of what is happening see http://www.bbc.co.uk/leicester/content/articles/2008/09/01/cycle_challenge_feature.shtml
The Bike Club initiative http://bikeclub.org.uk will hopefully seed new groups as well in due course.
As to "advice and resources for those less proud and keen to expand?" I believe National Office is very keen to support groups who want to be proactive.
John, I'm afraid that this is disappointing. History tells us that the removal of geographic boundaries was supposed to let new member groups flower wherever, but the level of support to new groups is derisory - and I remind you of the campaign run by the Chair against the resolution I proposed to the the Belfast AGM in 2008. If you have any doubts on this whatsoever please
- ask yourself why the pitiful subvention from central funds to member groups for 2009 has not yet been sent out
- ask yourself why updated membership records have not been sent out
- ask yourself why references to member groups in Newsnet are so few and far between
- ask yourself why Newsnet still has no regional input from member groups - which could have been done at next to no cost in 2006
- ask yourself why the contact details for member groups on the National Office website are out of date
the bit about member groups being strongly advised to involve themselves in charitable activity is disingenuous and patronisng, given that the 18p allowance is only sufficient for one letter to members every two years (and given Arvato's inability to collect e-mail addresses, letters would be the only way to get in touch with half of our members). And as for National Office wanting to support groups who want to be proactive - is there any evidence of this at all? And what is 'proactive' when it's at home? And, given the near complete neglect of member groups do you seriously think that putting all the money in one pot is going to make a difference, or is it going to make the kind of 'inventive budgeting' that allowed the expenses incurred on a government contract that carried on after funding was cut (and after NO forgot to send out the bill) to be re-labelled 'support for volunteers'?
I really do think that before channelling National Office stuff on to this forum a bit of research might be a good idea. Why not speak to CTC Peterborough to see how much support National Office gives to new groups? Why not read the Minority Report?
Oh - and District Associations are still with us.