Stafford Rambling Group Affiliated to the Ramblers Stafford Rambling Group Produced with Xara -  Stafford Rambling Group 2014 -16
Dinner Ramble with two walks from Bramshall and dinner at the Robin Hood (which everyone eventually found although not totally without difficulty). The meal and the staff were first-rate but we are worried that there is not enough good walking in around the village so will probably look for another venue next year. Thanks to John, Chris J and Marian for organising and leading the walks. Two points about the special events. Because   we   were   concerned   about   numbers   we   had   collaborative   coach   rambles   with   Mid   Staffs   Ramblers. This   gave   our   members   the   chance   to   sample   the   Cotswolds   Way   in   September   with   wonderful   scenery   and weather.   In   both   cases   there   were   relatively   few   people   who   went   who   were   not   a   member   of   the   organising group.   In   both   cases   however   this   did   change   a   small   deficit   into   a   small   surplus   and   your   committee   agreed that this was worth continuing. It has also persuaded us to be slightly more ambitious in our 2016 trip. It   was   clear   from   early   on   that   we   would   struggle   to   get   the   usual   numbers   on   the   Oxfordshire   trip.   We   were about   5   down   on   the   three   previous   trips   and   we   were   below   the   minimum   number   for   the   trip.   Fortunately   Just for   Groups   agreed   to   go   ahead   but   we   did   make   a   small   deficit.   Your   committee   anticipated   this.   It   normally aims   to   make   a   small   surplus   on   each   event   but   for   this   year   we   agreed   to   aim   for   a   surplus   across   the   three events   involving   a   coach   and   this   was   achieved.   More   positively   we   had   a   bumper   number   on   the   recent   trip   to Ilfracombe   (which   falls   outside   the   period   of   my   report)   and   following   consultations   with   the   group   as   a   whole we are confident about numbers for the Autumn trip to Bridlington. Our   only   social   event   was   the   Christmas   meal,   for   a   third   time   at   Stafford   Golf   Club   organised   by   John.   Thirty-three members   attended   and   as   before   was   a   really   good   evening.   Thanks   again   to   John   for   organising   it.   Numbers   were slightly   down   and   a   message   emerging   has   been   that   we   need   a   change   of   venue   but   ideally   one   which   also   offers us a private room. We have been successful in this – look out for news of it! We have been trying really hard with our communications. To some extent this has been the result of concerns which I have expressed previously about the viability of events which can incur a deficit. I mentioned our survey on weekends away which revealed a high level of satisfaction with the package on offer and influenced the choice of Bridlington as our next venue. We are also trying to organise the special events earlier so that we can give everyone lots of notice about when they will take place. I can remember the time when there was considerable secrecy about the venues and they were only really known when the mail shots went out. We are now getting the dates out there anything up to a year in advance. Thanks to modern technology we are no longer reliant on word- of-mouth and mailshots to communicate with you all. Almost everyone is now on e-mail and we have a lively web- site and Facebook presence to enhance the experience of being a member of SRG. This does of course cut two ways. Beryl always takes her laptop when we go away and on checking my e-mails one Sunday well away from Stafford there was one from a member detailing issues with the walk that day! On    another    occasion    someone    was    having    a    moan    (or    should    that    be    “was    making    direct    but    constructive comments”)   about   something   when   I   suggested   that   he/she   might   like   to   be   more   involved   in   more   involved   in organising   the   next   one.   The   response   was   “But   I   couldn’t   do   that   –   I’m   not   on   the   committee”.   Can   I   be   very   clear here   –   you   do   not   have   to   be   on   committee   to   be   involved   in   organising   events.   We   would   struggle   to   organise   our weekends   for   example   if   others   did   not   get   involved.   In   other   words,   volunteers   are   always   welcome   and   don’t   wait to be asked! My   final   performance   indicator   Is   about   finance   and   I   will   leave   that   to   John   to   cover   in   the   next   item.   In   short   I   think that   we   have   had   another   successful   year   and   I   will   finish   by   thanking   yet   again   everyone,   but   especially   the committee, who has helped to achieve this. Trevor Whincup