This event was organized by the Ramblers Association held at the Palace Hotel in Buxton on 19th March 2017.
There were about 80+ members attending from all around Greater Manchester and High Peak areas including East Cheshire Ramblers.
There was a morning and afternoon session of workshops:
- First aid for walkers and basic navigation
- Introduction to walk leading
- Getting more people walking
- Recruiting and Retaining Members
- Basics of Rights of Way
- Supporting the volunteer journey
- How to run successful short walks
- Managing challenges on group walks
There was an introduction from the Membership and Retainment Officer. A couple of videos were shown one featuring June Mabon (ECR member) and her Trafford Footpath team and then we headed to the various workshops.
Steve Osborne wrote “I chose First aid for walkers and we had 3 scenarios with instructions from a trainer from The British Red Cross. The next hour was on Basic Navigation, an introduction to maps given by a young member of staff. After a hot buffet lunch the afternoon sessions were introduced by the chairman of the ramblers trustees. Were you aware that the Ramblers have more female members than male but the proportion on the government team is low. Of the 15 candidates for 7 places in the forthcoming election only 3 are female.
In the afternoon I attended Managing Challenges on group walks. This was a joint presentation with again young members of staff. Good to see that there are younger staff members and also some young delegates at the sessions.
Plenty to discuss in this session and hopefully all gained some knowledge and practical advise which will be used on future activities.
There are plenty of useful resources (volunteer toolkits) in the Ramblers website. Have a look.
There will be future roadshows, have a look and enjoy a day out, meet head office staff and fellow ramblers and improve your knowledge.”
Adrian Flinn wrote “ In the morning I attended the Introduction to walk Leading workshop. This was an interactive session. All the basic information used in this workshop can be found in the Ramblers website www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/support-and-development/volunteer-toolkits
The following toolkits are particularly useful and I would recommend that all walk leaders visit the website to refresh our knowledge:
- Walk leader: key resources to support individual walk leaders
- Insurance: a guide to the Ramblers Association insurance including incident reporting. During the session it was explained that if you appoint a back marker for your walk (not mandatory but highly recommended) this person must be a current member of the Ramblers otherwise the insurance will be invalidated
- Ramblers Routes: advice on devising good walking routes and using the Ramblers Route system as a route developer – see in particular the Route Development Manual
In the afternoon I went to the workshop on Recruiting and Retaining Members. Some key information from this session that I picked up:
- the majority of new members find out about the Ramblers via web searches and recommendations from friends or family. Therefore is important that the groups have a good local on line presence, a website that is regularly updated and informative ideally with links to social media (ECR have an excellent website managed by our webmaster Roger Fielding)
- the majority of our members join for social reasons (eg. walk with a local group, meet new people and improve their health)
- why people walk? The 3 top motivators were to exercise followed by for fun and then to enjoy time with friends and family. This information helps to understand what we need to do to keep members interested.
- Why members leave? Health and age are an important factor. Can we do more with these leavers? (ECR runs a full social and events programme that members of our group have access even if they don’t walk)
The workshop leader will provide in due course an electronic copy of the workshop notes which I will share with our Membership Secretary and Webmaster and the rest of our ECR Committee.”
23 March 2017