MINUTES OF EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS MEETING HELD
Thursday 1 October 1.30pm via Zoom
None, all present
- MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the previous meeting held on August 11 were approved.
- MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES
No matters arising.
- WALKS PROGRAMME
It was generally felt that the programme was going well. People were managing to socially distance and were doing so without prompting. It wasn’t a concern that there were gaps in the programme as the Covid situation could rapidly change the current rules.
People weren’t complaining about doing the risk assessment so that was good. It isn’t anywhere near as onerous as it maybe first appeared.
The higher numbers had been on the short walks. Pub lunches were sorted out by the walkers themselves as this was not appropriate for the walk leader to do so in times of Covid. Jane had 21 on her walk and this proved a little challenging with different walk speeds. It would be a good idea if easy short walks were put on the programme, say on a Friday, until the stroller walks return next spring. This would require a different co-ordinator. Mid-week short walk numbers are getting into the high teens. This raised the matter of the leaders and back markers keeping in contact and it was suggested that the back marker wear a fluorescent gilet which the walk leader could take along. Any expense incurred in its purchase would be reimbursed. Perhaps it would be a good idea to try out.
- WALK LEADER RESPONSIBILITY
The most important job is to return to base with the same number as that starting out. We don’t want to keep reminding leaders of the mantra to keep in visual contact with the back marker, but committee members, when on walks, could instil this by gently reminding the walk leader to wait at stiles whilst people catch up, and, especially where there is a turn off. A gap in a group can quickly develop and group numbers need regularly checking.
It was suggested once again that backmarkers and leaders should have each other’s mobile numbers but it was remarked that not all walkers carry mobiles though this is to be encouraged. It is also a good idea for the register to have mobile rather than landline numbers and for the register to be taken on the walk. It is of course acknowledged that not all walkers have mobile phones.
- AGM MATTERS
The AGM will be held at 3pm on Saturday 14 November via Zoom. It is anticipated that there will be far fewer participants than usual. The short walk led by Frank and Jane will go ahead in the morning as usual. Medium and long walks can go ahead as the AGM will not be a “physical” meeting. There will be no lunch or afternoon tea. The affair will be as simple as possible.
The AGM has to go ahead. The Area AGM is proceeding on the same lines. Steve Butterfield is keeping it as simple as he can with only 10 attending.
We will ask for questions 10 days (by 4 November) in advance of the AGM. Only tabled questions will be addressed at the AGM rather than questions being taken on the day, something which would be done in a physical meeting. An information sheet will be posted on the website 3 weeks before the meeting (by 25 October). Maggie will kindly draft this. This should mean that emails do not need sending to members.
Audited ECR accounts don’t go to Ramblers Head Office until 19 October.
There is a chat facility on Zoom which needs checking out. There needs to be another meeting in advance of the AGM to examine just how the system will work with more people logging in.
The Area AGM will be on Monday 30 November around 7.30pm.
- COMMITTEE MEMBERS
It was great news that Jane, Colin, Keith, Dave, Maggie and Sue will serve on the committee for another year. Kathryn is the fly in the ointment due to her planning to move to North Yorkshire. It was agreed, however, that she will continue via Zoom as secretary until a replacement is found. Maggie would be prepared to be secretary if a replacement social secretary is found.
It must be indicated in the AGM material that a new secretary / social secretary is needed plus another person to come onto the committee.
- REPORTS FROM OFFICERS
Ken Hobbs is the independent reviewer. The bank balance stood at £6210.30 as of last night. There is no news on the budget approval or otherwise. As previously stated, audited account will go to Head Office by 19 October.
There is little to add to the previous report. The sherry walk on New Year’s Day will be kindly led by Melanie and Lorraine. Christmas meals will be cancelled. There will be no carol singing though the walk of 5 December will go ahead.
There were ten new ECR members in September, five of these being new to the Ramblers.
It was suggested that the register form could have a column to say if walker is a member of Ramblers. Of course registers could take different formats. Sue said she could quickly check whether someone was a member. She had recently done this for someone within 24 hours.
ECR work is on hold at the moment.
Central Office work (Don’t Lose Your Way – DLYW Project) is progressing. Central Office currently passes Diversion and Modification orders to local groups for consideration but the DLYW Project is planning to submit new Order Applications (DMMOs) direct to PROW offices. This is raising concerns.
There is good collaboration with Nicola Swinnerton (ECR PROW Officer) and the group remains in touch with other footpath secretaries across Cheshire East.
We have again achieved 100% coverage of all ECR paths for 2020, despite COVID lockdown problems. Thanks to Tony Battilana for coordinating the arrangements and Roger Fielding for maintaining the outstanding database record of our history of inspections.
There is still a need to find a coordinator for the planned “Maintenance Team”. There are various ECR members who are willing to participate, including those who previously helped with Brian Richardson’s Projects Group but the gap is for someone to plan and coordinate the work. This remains an important task for the ECR Committee to address, although it is recognised that progress is very unlikely while the COVID pandemic restrictions apply and finding a volunteer will not be easy. (Keith suggested that perhaps this role could be split between an administrative role – prioritising jobs, workers and equipment required, and a more physical one.) Several existing walkers are happy to be a participant. Many footpath inspectors are already authorised to do routine minor maintenance with secateurs and this is to be encouraged.
Dave agreed to draw up a job description for the maintenance team.
Information comes from the footpath inspector database and Nick Brierley looks through that for suitable jobs and work suggestions also come from PROW because of funding cuts. There is plenty to do with waymarks and vegetation jobs. Inspectors are given authority from Cheshire East to carry out such work.
Historically Cheshire East has paid for stile maintenance and similar, while legally this is the responsibility of the landowner. PROW has the authority to pursue landowners whilst the Ramblers do not.
- DATE OF NEXT MEETING
There will be a short meeting prior to the AGM on Wednesday 4 November at 7pm.
|Draft of AGM information sheet for posting on website by 25 October||Maggie|
|Bullet points of job description for footpath maintenance team.||Dave|
|Reminding leaders of keeping backmarker in sight.||All|