WCEC Report

WC Chair report from the WCEC meeting 24th September 2016

The following are notes from some of the items discussed at the WCEC meeting last week in Cardiff.

Welsh Council Annual Meeting April 2017
Planning for this is in hand and Diane and Gwyn have agreed to manage this, with Admin support from Cardiff office. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, I will be writing an update to all 2016 delegates, and will be inviting suggestions for what people may like to see next year at Stackpole. The feedback from Lampeter was generally positive so currently we are planning on a similar format with not quite so much in the agenda for Sunday.

September is normally the WCEC meeting when budgets for the following year are formally accepted. This year we seem to be a bit behind – the budgets have been formally approved by the Trustees but breaking the overall figures out for Wales is not yet available. This means that you will have no information on Area and Group budgets for a few weeks.
The delay may be caused by having an interim CEO and/or having a depleted staff in Cardiff.
With staff having left Cardiff, Angela has taken another view of the ideal requirements, and proposed (supported by WCEC), and has had approved, a core staff including a full time person to work on Engagement and Communications. In my (limited) experience, this is the first time we will have had such capacity, so hopefully we can get better in this aspect.
By the way, did you like the Ramblers Cymru Newsletter that came with the last Walk magazine? Did you see it? If not, you are in good company as no one I have asked so far picked up on it! :-)

Area Review
A very big chunk of the meeting was spent on the report produced by Kate McKabe on the status of Areas in Wales. Many of you will have met and talked with Kate over the last 6 months as she has been going around Wales.
I had a similar presentation the previous Saturday at the Board of Trustees meeting, the report being on the whole of GB.
Both reports paint a picture that we all could have guessed – that we have some good Areas and some less good Areas, and although Groups weren't surveyed, that some Groups are doing really good things, and some are doing not much more than organising walks.
Both BoT and WCEC have set up sub groups to work out “what next”. And because I feel VERY strongly that we need to do more to support volunteers, I have volunteered on both sub groups.
It is very early days, but if I was forced to predict, I cannot imagine anything coming out like the proposals in the Governance review that was rejected at the General Council meeting in York this year. And there is a strong feeling at board level that we should be trialling any proposed changes and learning before trying to roll out any changes, rather than “sitting in a room” and coming to decisions.
As always, in Wales, we can decide for ourselves what we want to do (although dramatic differences from GB as a whole might require BoT approval).

It may or may not be relevant to the previous item, but it would be good to know when your AGMs are. Personally, I would like to attend those I can – it is an opportunity to meet more of you, and it is always a pleasure meeting members. It would be good to have a member of WCEC and/or a Trustee at all AGMs, to show a bit more of Ramblers as a whole, and also to try to answer any questions about the whole organisation.

Big Welsh Walk 2017
I only know very brief details of this, but an event is being planned, and the date is fixed as Saturday 6th May 2017. I particularly asked for this as the North Wales Area walks programme for January to June next year is being brought to a conclusion over the next few weeks, and it would be good to have the date in our programme.
You may also be in the process of planning your programme for May soon.

Best wishes from myself and the WCEC team.
Alan Norton


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