Minutes of the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the South East Region
Of the Caravan and Motor home Club
Saturday 10th November 2018
held at , Faversham, ,
Mr. Paul Funnell : Chairman
Mr. Mark Sinclair Watson : Vice-Chairman
Mr. Stuart Johnson : Treasurer
Mrs. Karen Shipper : Secretary
Mr. Rodney Lambert : CAMC Vice-Chairman
Together with 74 members
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 2.30pm and asked the Secretary to read the notice convening the meeting. She also informed the meeting that Liz Manning would be taking the minutes and that the meeting would be recorded for accuracy. There were no objections.
1. Chairman’s Welcome:
The Chairman welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending especially those who had not attended an AGM before. He also welcomed the Vice Chairman, Rodney Lambert and his wife Diane, Past Regional Chairmen and Nominated Member.
He also thanked the West Kent Centre Chairman and his Committee for hosting the weekend and making all the arrangements for this meeting.
He asked that all mobile devices be switched off or put on silent mode during the meeting. The fire exits were pointed out.
The Chairman confirmed that everyone present had a copy of the Minutes of the 21st AGM held on 11th November 2017, a copy of the 2017 Balance Sheet and the Chairman’s Report.
Members were reminded that if they wished to speak during the meeting, to raise their hand, wait for the microphone, and to assist the Minute Secretary, to clearly state their name. Only those who reside in the South East Region and who have not previously spoken or voted at any other Region’s AGM’s were eligible to speak.
The Chairman then introduced the platform party: Mr. Rodney Lambert, Vice-Chairman of CAMC;
Mr Mark Sinclair-Watson, Vice-Chair; Mr Stuart Johnson, Treasurer; Mrs. Karen Shipper, Secretary; himself and Liz Manning acting as Minute Secretary.
2. Apologies for Absence:
He then asked the Secretary to read out any apologies for absence. There were none.
There were apologies from the floor from Roger Smith, member.
3. Minutes of the AGM held on Saturday 11th November 2017:
The Chairman asked if everyone had access to the above minutes.
There were no amendments to the above minutes and the Chairman asked for a proposer for the acceptance of the above minutes – Mr. Darren Charnock and a seconder – Mr. Steve Hornsby.
The minutes were then accepted by a show of hands. There were none against.
4. Matters arising from the Minutes:
There were none.
5. Chairman’s Report:
Paul confirmed that everyone had a copy of his Report.
There were a lot of facts and figures about what had happened over the last year, but Paul said what he would like to do is to give the meeting background information on some of his report.
Question time was at Gatwick. For members who have not been to Gatwick, this is an excellent site for rallying. It is well kept and a lovely venue. It was a busy meeting, but the main man at the meeting was Brian Savage. He took a good 90% of the meeting. He did well and also spent an hour after the meeting talking to people one to one.
The National this year – it is a long way for some of us to go but when we arrived, we had good support. Ken and Ann Sumpter were our Marshals. Paul thanked them for their hard work.
Karen, who was their Co-Marshal struggled due to her car accident and arrived later with a poor hire car. She arrived one day after planned which was a relief to Paul as she is his helper. She had further mishaps getting home, none of which were her fault.
For the first time we had a Regional Marquee which meant we had access to a lot of the Members who haven’t rallied or don’t know what they are. 80-85% of the people going to the National do not understand rallies, Centres, Regions or even the structure of the Club. It enabled access to these people, and Paul urged Centres to get involved with that so we can pass the word along regarding what we do and what we enjoy. It is an opportunity to let the Centres get involved. The next National is nearer to us and should allow people from the South and South East to attend.
Meet the Members was held at Dalacres and was well supported. Jan Moore attended and is good that the Executives get out amongst us to learn about people’s experiences. She was then able to take this back to the Club so that some of the issues can be addressed. This is the first time this has happened which was brilliant. The reason that weekend was chosen is because it is the first weekend of the school holidays and to be able to entertain the children so that the parents can relax gives them a better opportunity to talk to the Regional representatives. This gave Paul and his team a chance to explain about the Club and its workings and to give the Members an insight as to where the Club is.
Centre information. The Region do their very best to get the information back to each Centre. Communication back from the Region to the Centres is quite difficult because there are two Members there who report back to their Committee and it is getting the information out from the Committee to the individual members. We are not sure how we can improve this apart from going out to the different rallies and places and actually stand up and say what is going on. Paul explained that that was why he had written his report so that those present could get a better idea of what was going on.
Centres have got some good topics coming up from the Club which Mark will be undertaking. The first weekend in September, the weekend after Southern Centres, the Club is going to set up different sites for the Centres within the Region to come together with a plan of how we can attract people into rallying. The club is going to support us on this, but as yet, we are not sure of the details. There will be a big spread going into the Club Magazine. Depending on what sites are chosen, the idea is to get people to come along for an hour, for a morning, afternoon, day or even for the whole weekend to try and get people to understand what the Regions and Centres are about. This is important because travelling around it has become obvious people do not understand how the Club works. We need to get people involved to explain what we do and to dissolve misconceptions about what happens at rallies.
Paul is pleased that Mark will be taking this on as there are criticisms that the Club does not support the Region or Centres. This will be rolled out across the country, not just the South East Region.
Paul finished by saying that he was pleased this is taking place as it was his passion and he thinks we have a special way of life, but we don’t share it enough and tell the outside world what we do.
Paul concluded by saying he hoped everyone enjoyed his written report which follows:
This past year your Committee continue to make forward steps in promoting the Region and its Centres. It is therefore, a great pleasure to present my final report as Chairman for 2017 / 2018.
Question Time held at the , Charlwood on Saturday 7th April 2018.
On our behalf this year one month prior to the event, the Club sent out 23,721 email invitations to encourage membership attendees. We also, as in previous years distributed posters to Club sites and dealers within the local area.
Our main speakers this year were Rodney Lambert – Vice Chairman, Brian Savage – Director of Membership Services, Rebecca Newman – Division, Regions and Centres Secretary, Martin Spencer – Head of Technical.
We had 118 members in attendance with 32 different questions or points being raised, this was up from last year by 58 members. The questions stemmed from sabbaticals on club membership, to reserving pitches at club sites for family and friends and refunds for none used nightly stays. Although, we did receive a question which was asked by a member present asking us why they had not received an email invitation. Please be informed that if you have opted out of receiving ‘Junk Mail’ then you would not receive this invitation as it would be classified as ‘Junk Mail’.
After the main Question Time, we also received enquiries from 2 couples who were showing a keen interest in becoming volunteer wardens for Slinfold and also a gentleman approach us about becoming an overseas Red Pennant Driver. This just goes to show how important events like these are.
At the end of our meeting visitors were offered a guided tour of the museum and also invited to stay and continue talking to members one to one, whilst enjoying tea and cakes.
National held at Sledmere House, Driffield, on 25 – 28 May 2018.
This year our regional block marshals were Ann & Ken Sumpter ably assisted by Karen & Tony Shipper and Mel & Jen Fuller. They sited and took care of the 85 units in attendance within our Region, offering a well need cup of tea after the long journey. We held our Regional Reception on Saturday between 11am to 1pm, to give everyone in our lines chance to catch up and meet fellow caravanners for the weekend. With the weather holding out and the excellent entertainment, this was a great weekend for all the family. I hope to see you all there next year at Ragley Hall, Park and Gardens, Alcester.
This year for the first time and with the help of our fellow Regions, I organised a marquee to help promote Divisions, Regions and Centres at the National. For our region we advertised just a few of the events which were our very own Southern Centres Rally, West Surrey Centres Flower Show at and the SER Bluebell Railway Event. Due to its success the Events Team would very much like to build on this for next year, so take this opportunity to have your posters and information ready to promote your Centre.
UK Summer Motor home and Caravan Show held at , on 8 – 10 June 2018.
This is the second year at this event and it is proving to be very beneficial. We were well supported by the Club and had the assistance of 5 members of staff over the weekend. With the staff’s vast amount of knowledge and our caravanning experiences, we found that we were able to answer a wider variety of question and queries from the event attendees.
As the previous year the ‘Great Savings Guide’ was the hot topic, being most popular with members and non-members alike. This year due to the Club staff’s presences we signed up 27 new members.
Meet the Members held at Daleacres Club Site, Kent on Saturday 28th July 2018.
Invitation were given out to all members on site over the weekend. Being the first weekend of the school holidays there were children in abundance, which meant the parents were encourage to attended due to the entertainment provide from the hugely popular ‘Froggles’. We also had arts and crafts for the children to enjoy with Cakes and Wine for the parents.
The ‘Great Savings Guide’ was once again the hot topic of conversation.
Janet Moore - Vice Chairman with the support of her husband Darrill, attended to offer their knowledge and assistance whilst taking the opportunity to do a little glamping, making advantage of the site’s new yurts.
Slinfold Club Site
The South East Region is responsible for the club site at Slinfold, which is headed up by Brian and Shelia Taylor who are the volunteer site Co-ordinators.
Over the past year Brian and Shelia have worked extremely hard to keep the site in superb working order. From organising the volunteer warden rota, first aid training, health and safety, tractor training they really do it all. They even find the time to raise a few hundred pounds for the local village scout group.
Please join me in thanking Brian and Shelia for such dedication and very hard work.
Over the country this past year Centres of the Club ran approximately 2500 events, in our region we held 152. At several of our main events this year we made an emphasis on promoting Centre events, we would like to encourage Centres to send us information or to provide posters to help advertise such events. Large events for example Steam Shows, Flower Shows, Bonfire Events are of great interest to Centre members and non-members alike. Remember over 80% of the membership attending the National alone are not Centre members but could still bring Centres great revenue at such events.
As a note to all Centre Committees there are a few points from this year I would like to emphasis in my report –
· 4b requests as per GLC’s, National Park Applications into club and any event or rally over 5 days must be submitted to the Club office without delay.
· The accounts for rallies need to be kept by a member of the Committee for 7 years. This information is not passed to the accountant.
· General Rules - The length of dog leads has been reduced from 3M to 2M.
· GDPR – With the new laws in place, this effects the information we hold and send out on members. Please remember that If you are still unsure, contact the Club who will be happy to give you further guidance.
The Club would welcome ideas from any Council member as to how to increase the numbers of members rallying with Centres, so please do approach your Committee in order for them to have these points raised.
A big well done to West Kent Centre as this year they won 2nd prize in the Rally Book Competition.
We again produced the ‘Regional Rally Book’, this was distributed at all Regional Events and helped to showcase the many different events taking place in our area. Please once again send your information into the Region as soon as possible and if you have any large events, we can help promote them.
It is with great sadness that this year that we reported the passing of
· Pam Bailey wife of Past East Kent Chairman Mike Bailey, passed away peacefully on 7th September 2018.
· Janet Pereira, former Divisions, Regions and Centres Secretary, passed away peacefully on 16th August 2018.
· Janette Black, wife of the Past Club Chairman, passed away peacefully on 27th February 2018 with her family by her side.
· Lesley Coell, the Clubs Head of Insurance, passed away peacefully on 25th February 2018
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends and they will be remembered within our Region.
Over the past year we have held 5 Regional meetings, these were well attended by all Centres, 2 Independent Members, Executive Officer and a Nominated Member.
I have also attended 2 Club Council meetings, 3 Divisions and Regions meetings and the Caravan & Motor home Club AGM.
The meetings are very informative and many different topics are brought up for discussions.
These are a few bits of information from such meetings:
· In partnership with Bailey and Prima Leisure - The Club is pioneering an online shop within the shop giving members access to over 2,500 products at 10% discount, such as awnings, sat navs, outdoor furniture.
· The Experience Freedom brand was proving successful with its alternative accommodations. With the SPods in place at Alderstead Heath and Abbey Wood and the Yurts which are being trailed at Alderstead Heath and Daleacres, family and friends can now join members on site.
· 148 club sites now have WiFi hotspots with a focus on improving member experiences. Variable bandwidth solutions had been successfully tested at the Gatwick Club Site.
· The Director General Nick Lomas had recently taken up a board position with the Tourism Alliance, which enabled the Club to influence legislative and regulatory matters of concern to Club members, such as some of the implications arising from Brexit.
· The Club has negotiated over 400 promotions on attractions across the and over 50 member offers. There were also a number of promotions with a variety of car manufacturers, with 2,000 members had taken advantage of and which had saved members a total of £6 million (£3,000 per new car.)
· New caravan units are consuming a far greater usage of electricity on sites with new units are typically consuming 25 KWhr compared to old units at 5 kWhr. This along with the costs of National Living Wage, Apprentice Levy and revised Business Rates are contributing to the increases in Club sites.
Our region has been actively promoting communications between all Divisions, Regions and their Centres. With the help of the Club we have been the force to organise the marquee at the National and continue the meetings for Regional Officers at the National, Club Council and at the Club AGM in . My hope is that this continues growing strong into the future.
Let us not forget the team of Officers who have supported me for the past 3 years.
Mark Sinclair-Watson - Vice Chairman
Mark has attended all the Regional Meetings, Question Time, Meet the Members, Detling Show and the National Rally.
Karen Shipper – Secretary
Karen as secretary deals with all the box information, bookings, invites, meetings, correspondences from Club to Centres and the minute taking. Karen has attended all the Regional Meetings, Question Time, Meet the Members, Detling Show and was a block marshal at the National Rally.
Stuart Johnson – Treasurer
Stuart keeps us all on track with our finances and presents the accounts at every meeting. Stuart has attended all the Regional Meetings, Question Time, Meet the Members, Detling Show and the National Rally.
Let’s not forgot the support and help from the partners that stand behind our Officers. To Karen, Tony, Sue and not forgetting my very own Jen, thank you for all your understanding, help and support that you give at all of the Regional events.
Rodney Lambert – Vice Chairman Executive Committee
Rodney attends our Regional Meetings giving advice when required and keeps us updated with Club information. Rodney also attended our Question Time bringing a wealth of knowledge new and old from the Club.
Janet Moore – Vice Chairman Executive Committee
Janet attended our Meet the Members at Daleacres giving her guidance and advice to members on site, she also supported us at our Question Time Event.
Each Centre has 2 members that attend our meetings. These members are the Centres voice to relay information back to their Centre and ask any questions or queries that may have been put forward by their Committee.
Independent Members and Nominated Member
We have 2 independent members who relay information and ask questions from Sites, CL’s and events in our Region. We also have 1 Nominated Member who is able to sit on the Club Council and provide advice at meetings.
Tony Shipper is our Region Webmaster, Tony works hard to keep our website informative and provide the base for Centre Event advertising.
I would like to offer my eternal thanks to all the loyal volunteers who contributed towards the success of the Region over my term in office. A special thank you should go too…
Rodney and Diane Lambert and Jake.
Janet and Darrill Moore
Brian and Shelia Taylor
Tony Crawford for supplying the PA System for all our events.
Ann and Ken Sumpter – Head Regional Block Marshals at the National 2018
Mel and Jen Fuller – Question Time and Regional Block Marshals at the National 2018.
Caravan and Motorhome Club Staff who helped and supported us at a number of events.
Time for me to say goodbye
As you are aware it is time for me to step down as your Chairman at this AGM. It has been my privilege to serve as your Chairman these past 3 years and I hope that my time has been productive for our Region and the Club. Mark Sinclair-Watson will be taking over from me, with his appointment, I am confident that he will continue to pro-actively serve our Region.
Paul then asked if anyone would like to ask any questions.
He asked if everyone was in agreement with what he had said. He asked for a proposer: Gary Potton and a seconder: Laurie Manning.
6. Treasurer’s Report:
Stuart began by wishing everyone Good afternoon. He then checked that everyone had a view of the two pages of the 2017 accounts? These two pages are the only pages in the accounts that have figures on them. The rest of the document contains narrative of the workings of the accounts.
I have a copy of the full report if anyone wishes to look at this after the meeting.
These are the accounts for the Year Ended 31st December 2017 for the Caravan & Motorhome Club South East Region.
If we look at the Balance Sheet first you will see that we had £2934 in the current account at the end of the year. We had £228 owing to us from the club for VAT. The Prepaid Receipts figure shows as a minus £2500 because this was the grant from the club for 2018 which was paid into our account in December 2017. This left us with a balance of £662.
If we could now turn to the Income & Expenditure account.
You can see on the first line £2500 as our grant for 2017. This figure was significantly less than the £5500 we were awarded in 2016. Having said that I would just like to pick out a few figures where we made savings through our actions in 2017.
We decided that we would not have separate Regional Officers meetings. We would combine these meeting dates to co-inside with the Regional Council meetings. The Regional Officers would have their meeting an hour or so before each of the Council meetings. We also tried to have a lot more car sharing to meetings. This meant our Petrol Costs were down significantly on 2016, £489 less.
The AGM figures overall were similar to 2016 except for secretarial expense which was down by £359.
The Other meetings/Events were funded by additional monies from the club except for the Train Trip which was self funded but the auditors had to place the figures somewhere in the accounts.
The figure of £5375 against Other Income – Events at the top includes the monies collected for the trip.
The rest of the figures speak for themselves; I think.
Does anyone have any questions? There were no questions from the floor.
I would just like to say thank you to Mark Sinclair-Watson for his help this year.
Could I please ask that my report be accepted?
Stuart’s report was proposed by Ken Wellard and seconded by Laurie Manning.
The report was accepted by a show of hands. There was none against and no one abstained.
7. Election of Officers:
Paul asked all current post holders to hand in their badge of office and leave the platform.
He asked that the meeting show their appreciation for the work they have done over the past year.
The audience applauded.
Paul announced that there was only one nomination for the post of Regional Chairman, which is from
Mr. Mark Sinclair-Watson. Paul asked if it was the members wish that he be duly elected.
The audience applauded and Mark was invited back onto the platform.
Paul congratulated Mark.
At this point, Gary Potton, Chair of West Kent, thanked Paul for all he had done for the Region.
There is only one nomination for the post of Secretary from Mrs. Karen Shipper.
Again, Paul asked if the members wished to elect her.
The audience applauded, Karen re-joined the platform and Paul congratulated her.
There was only one nomination for the post of Treasurer from Mr. Stuart Johnson.
The members agreed to his re-election by applauding.
Stuart re-joined the platform and Paul congratulated him.
There is only one nomination for the post of Vice Chairman from Mr. Nick Childs.
Paul asked if it was the members wish that he be duly elected.
The audience applauded and Nick joined the platform. Paul congratulated him.
Paul said this was the Regional Committee for the coming year and his personal wishes go with them and he felt sure they would do a very good job.
Paul then asked Karen to read out the Secretary Notices.
Karen said we are obliged by the Club to nominated each year, delegates for positions within the South East Council, the first of these is a representative to attend the Club Council. At a meeting of the Region Officers on 18th October 2018, Mr. Mark Sinclair-Watson was nominated.
Those present were asked if they wished Mark to be our Representative. This was agreed by applause.
Secondly the confirmation of Independent member representation, that is, other than Centres, on the
South East Regional Council. There is one nomination for this post, Mr. John Hoy. The audience agreed to the nomination by applauding.
Three independent members can be nominated and Paul asked if anyone else would like to be nominated. Paul thanked Ken Chivers who is stepping down from being and Independent member representative after four and a half years. He is retiring due to ill health and our thanks and best wishes go to Ken. He sent his apologies but he was not well enough to attend today’s meeting.
8. Mr. Rodney Lambert, Club Vice Chairman:
Rodney greeted the audience and said that Karen has asked him to keep his address short!
He had attended all the South East Region meetings which were very productive and he congratulated Paul for his three-year Chairmanship of this Region. He thanked Paul for his commitment to the Region. This was followed by applause from the audience.
The Club survives with volunteers, without whom there would be no Club! And that is what we all are – volunteers.
The Club has always worked on the basis of people helping one another, overcoming adversity and helping enjoy life.
Rodney hoped that we could continue with volunteers, but all Centres are struggling to find Committee members.
We also struggle to find independent members in some of the Regions. We need to do something about this.
Due to the reasonable summer weather, the Club Sites have done well and there has been an increase in the number of members rallying.
Rodney reported that there is a three-year lease on Baltic Wharf, a six-month break, so it could stop at any moment (but there is no sign of that) and Crystal Palace has another year’s lease. This is good news as the club does not have much around .
Rodney then read a paragraph from what part of our staff do which was delivered by Grenville at ’s AGM. It highlights what goes on in the Club that you very likely do not hear much about.
It was entitled “Celebrity 5 go motorhoming”. The Club’s Public Relations and Media Team continue to promote caravanning as a pastime and the
Club in particular.
As well as the usual attendance at the National and Regional Caravanning and Outdoor Shows the team supported dealers and manufacturers with promotional events. The club sponsored British National Surf Championships, popular with campervanners, and continue with our summer holiday
Bank Holiday initiatives – the Big Little Tent Festival which was on Oval Cricket ground. Not on the pitch but on the out ground. This encourages people to try camping and for the first time we promoted that they do it in their back garden also with their family and friends. We hope this will have longer term benefits in raising the awareness that the Club has camping and tent pitches and yurts / pods available. Members are now bringing other members of their family into pods or yurts while they have got their caravan or motor home on site. 40% of the hiring’s were to Members bringing other family members along.
We collaborated with Chanel 5 series with “Celebrity 5 go caravanning” staying on a site in . In total the Club features in 16 TV programmes, 41 National press articles along with 220 National and Regional radio programmes. That is what our Club PR department has done over the last year for us. All of that press coverage is where we get seen for what we do and it is about all of the Club. Rodney thought this would be of interest.
Rodney said the other thing that Paul did mention was that while I was Events Chairman, I would see if I could get a Regional marquee and we achieved that last year. I attended a meeting with all 10 Regional Divisional Chairman the other day and they were so positive about the benefits. It encouraged people who were not in Centres to join local Centres by using that initiative. It will continue next year. He has asked his successor to continue with this initiative.
Rodney finished by saying that as long as we can still get people to volunteer, we will still have a Club. The important thing is for us to get together and meet on a regular basis. It is all about volunteering.
9. Appointment of Auditor:
Paul asked Stuart to appoint an auditor for the accounts.
He proposed we use the continued services of Feist Hedgethorne at , .
They have now changed their name to Plus Accounting. Stuart asked if there were any objections.
There were none and the proposal was adopted by a show of hands. There were none against.
10. Slinfold Report:
Paul then invited Brian Taylor, as co-ordinator of our Slinfold volunteer site to give his report.
The week before the site opened saw most of the volunteer wardens on site to help with cleaning the site in readiness for the opening day.
All of us had first aid training from our regular trainers and some advice on the legal matters concerning how the club and the wardens operate and work from the club’s solicitor. Lantra training was also undertaken by those who were new this year or whose certificate had expired. (For your information a Lantra certificate is required to be able to operate mechanical equipment such as driving the tractor). Throughout the year during our time on site all of us have had to undertake an E Learning course and take an exam on the new GDPR requirements to keep any information that we see safe.
Sadly, one long serving couple left the team last year but a new couple took their place and are joining us again next year. Another new couple came to the training weekend but unfortunately, they decided not to join us just before their two weeks was due meaning that Sheila and I had to stay on site for an extra week to assist the couple taking over. It looks as though I have two possibly three couples joining us next year which will be good.
The 2018 season has been an improvement on the previous two years with occupancy remaining about the same as last year which considering the very wet March and April which has affected site occupancy over the whole of the network, is very good. Hopefully the weather will be kinder next year and we will see more members using the site.
There has been a big problem of noise from the factory situated at the bottom of the site due to it being demolished prior to a new one being built in its place. This has meant keeping guests at the top of the site as much as possible to keep the disturbance as low as possible for them which they have all appreciated.
Following last year’s replacement of fencing it looks as though the service points fencing is to be replaced during the winter period. This will improve the appearance of the site no end although the road way is still in urgent need of resurfacing. Maybe that will happen next year.
We held our villagers party again at the end of the season which approximately 70 people attended and presented the local Scouts Group with £300 from the sales of books and the proceeds from the raffle. I must thank Jen Funnell for her presentation of the raffle which was superb as usual.
Again, at the villagers request we organised a coffee morning for Macmillan cancer charity and raised £150 for them.
I will finish on a happy note in that we have constantly received high scores in the network’s customer experience section of the customer survey. Last year saw us getting the highest score for meet and greet and overall customer satisfaction of the entire site network with a score of 9.7 out of 10. I did not think that could be beaten but it was, again by us by achieving 10 out of 10 in one month. This is all down to the hard work that my team of 38 volunteer wardens do at Slinfold in the way we all meet, greet and look after the members staying on site and maintaining the appearance of the site. I am proud of all the wardens who work with me and pass on to them a huge thank you not only from me but the Club as well.
A couple of thanks first to Rodney and Diane for their support throughout the year. Rodney is always at the end of the phone should I require any help and I am grateful for this.
Finally, to Sheila for her continued support without which I could not continue in this post.
Paul thanked Brian for his report and in appreciation of all their hard work made a presentation to Sheila and Brian.
11. Any Other Business:
John Hoy commented on how well Slinfold was run, the Wardens being in close contact with members.
He has raised the fact that the Club does not always greet new Members. This is not always picked up on Club sites. The Other Club does it for every single Member and gives them help and shows them around. Why can’t we do this at the Club? Brian has just explained how it works and the results you get!
Paul said this was a good point. Some Club staff members need to visit Brian and his Volunteers.
Rodney said the Other Club have pre allocated pitches whereas we allow Members to choose their pitches. Across the network 5 families of wardens have come from rallying and give a friendly member greeting. Customer Care training has been given in the earlier part of the year with good effect. We need to maintain standards and finding wardens is not easy. Rodney said he would take this back to the Club.
Brian Taylor said Rodney had spent the last 11 years chairing the National rally. He had done an excellent job and was applauded by the meeting. Paul thanked him.
Bob Elkington said Rodney has told us the Club was doing reasonably well but there has been a cut back by half of the budget. What was the reason for this?
Paul said the whole Club has been involved in a cost cutting exercise. The club has re looked at this and some things are going to be re-instated. Rodney said we can do reasonably well with 17,000 more pitches this year than last year and at a higher price than last year.
But we are hit by this National minimum wage which is a wage increase each year for all of the wardens and staff and we try so hard to maintain a lower price for pitches as we possibly can. Although we had extra people out and the weather was good, we still did not have a big enough surplus to cover all that we wanted to do. We therefore look at every opportunity to save money. Rodney talked about another Region as he knows their costs. They are into £550 for a Regional meeting. If you can cut one of those out and it can be done in 10 places that is £5,000. in the overall budget, it is peanuts as we turn over £114million every year, but it is money that can be used elsewhere. This year we froze the cost on over 30 sites which brought a 7% increase in occupancy. We are always trying to find ways of making the best value for money we can without pushing prices up. Some of this reflects back onto the Region Centres and this reflects what we can do.
We all have to feel the pain at the same time but we try and make it as painless as we possibly can. We are trying to balance it as best we can across all we do every year. We now have yellow pegs on sites which can be booked for tents on line. This is all extra money we did not have. We struggle down in the West Country sometimes and we have decided to make member only sites available to non members as well and these pitches are £12 a night more expensive. That could be higher occupancy with increased income.
Mark sits on Grants and has to agree to some of the things that may not be in the best interest of the Region on its own but are in the best interest of the Club as a whole. Rodney asked if this addressed Bob’s query. He said it did.
Mark commented that Rodney had explained the why’s and wherefore’s about this, but it is no secret that it has been agreed our funding for next year will be £5,000. So, the Club does appreciate the amount we need and the figures will reflect this. We are not alone as this is the same up and down the country. Rodney added that the Region wanted to do Dettling Motorhome Show this year and he helped them get through Marketing to be able to do that. The Region needs to be able to do more work for the benefit of the Club to encourage people to join and make use of the Club. There are some opportunities that we need to take up: they make take some money to do but they may benefit the Club overall. So, we need to look at things for the future to improve.
John Hoy asked at the National, do we make a loss and if so, why should that happen?
Dettling was mentioned, the big show that was organised back in October, and John wondered how the panel felt the two Clubs presented themselves. He felt that the other club presented themselves better than we did.
Paul said we took on Dettling a year ago to try to see if it would work. The Region wanted to see what the response would be. It worked quite well. Paul explained to the Club that more support was needed and this was provided this year. Club staff were provided and they were in the back of the marquee. Volunteers were in front and were talking to people so gaining their interest, and then the Club staff took over. It was an excellent combination, we need to make staff more aware of what we do, and vice versa. John was not referring to the people involved, rather more about the support given from the Club and the equipment provided. Paul confirmed that Region are looking for that support. The Other club come with their booths and motorhomes and all are older volunteers. The Region’s objective was to present a younger, fresher look and that is perhaps how we need to go forward as a Club.
Paul said a written report was sent in from Dettling outlining the good and bad points. A lot of work has been done to get Centres involved with the Club. It is ongoing.
Rodney said that the National had been mentioned. Income from pitches are about £140,000; sale of tickets £56,000; cost of event £450,000 covered by sponsorship, trade, and some subsidy from the Club. We have been as near as £4-5,000 out during the last 11 years. The year I took it on it was £189,000 out, so we have improved over the 11 years I have been there. But it is a real challenge which keeps coming because there are not that many people to provide sponsorship. The big costs are always transport. There are about 80 articulated lorries come in during the course of the building and break down bringing in tents and stuff on site. They cost a fortune to bring in. It is not easy, but it is really The Club. That was the start of the Club when the National started, so to have it not happen would be tragic.
Ken Sumpter () congratulated the team on the Region’s 2018 book for the 6 regions. It is brilliant and he hoped it would be produced again in 2019. Excellent places for non-members
within our Region. It was done really well last year.
Thank you very much. This was followed by applause.
Paul said the book and the Website all depends on members. If we give Region the information, they will gladly advertise it for the Centres. If Centres want help, they need to give Region the information; important events – we now have the canvas at the National. got excellent results for their flower show with some 80 units attending. Mark and Karen are doing really well on the Bluebell Railway. It’s just being out there and telling people what is going on. Paul said tell them what we want; give them the information and it will be produced in the 2019 book.
Bill Wright () was wondering about the change of Logo and name. Do we know how much was involved money wise? Paul said it roughly cost about £1.2m to change but the change in name to add motorhome brought us in another 52,000 members. This increased the revenue to the Club which was very beneficial. It cost a lot of money to change things, but in the long run it will be far better. Rodney said some of the above costs are annual costs anyway: uniform for wardens happen every year. The change of Logo is in the eye of the beholder. Red pennant which has been flown for a long time is our historic logo: we still use it for the National. The Club Chairman flies the Red pennant as we have at the top of the flagpole at Region. It depends on where you sit as to what you are looking at.
The growth in motorhomes is indicated by what the manufacturers are actually making. Caravan manufacturing is static around 21,000 new units a year and most of those are going to people who already have a caravan and are changing. Whereas the motorhomes (the growth is in campervans) is where we are going to see the biggest growth because they are more usable to go travelling in than a motorhome with a tag axle. A campervan is more able to travel into towns and supermarket car parks.
We have to encourage all of these people to join us and enjoy life with us. And that is why we have added the tents to our portfolio of opportunities.
Rodney felt that the changes were what we needed because the Other club has motorhomes in a similar percentage as we do, but they are the Camping and Caravanning Club and we refer to them as the Camping Club and they refer to us as the Caravan Club still. We live by what we do and that is trying to make ourselves open to caravans, motorhomes, campervans and tents. If it keeps us with membership, that is what matters.
Dave Suckling said going back 12 years or so, when he stood up and mentioned about tents on the rally field. It was like some shock / horror! In recent years the Caravan Club has sites with pitches for tents. It’s a progression and he was pleased to see it. They are on holiday rallys: can we go one step further for tents on rallies for weekends? He strongly feels this would recover some families back to camping / Club sites. Paul said this was “work in progress”. It has been spoken about. The Club is a big machine: it takes a long time to turn the wheel round, but as you said 12 years ago, we are there now.
I think it is ongoing.
Gary Potton commented on the banning in some cities () of diesel vehicles. It is getting more difficult for caravanners with older vehicles to travel abroad. What sort of influence has the Caravan Club got on the future of electric vehicles, towing capacities and so forth? Are they fighting our corner to help us? Or do they not have much say in the industry?
Rodney has run “Tow car of the Year” for the last 11 years and have tried to get Tessler to enter one of their cars that has a tow bar.
They came to the Award Ceremony and we talked to them there and hope they are going to enter something next year.
The Jaguar Ipace which is the only all electric 4-wheel drive of sorts: anywhere else that has any towing capacity it limited to 750 kilos, which is not very much.
The situation is changing by the day. The idea that diesel is always the dirtiest fuel has been turned on it’s head quite recently. The first 5 or 10 cleanest cars are diesel again! Under the latest Euro standards, and those are the ones that are measuring this correctly apparently. BMW is being recalled: Mercedes and VW are having problems over emissions. It’s watch this space! The Club is keen to put anything that has towing capacity into the competition and see what happens. We do get hybrids. We had the Mitsubushi Outlander; two of our Regional Managers have those and both have caravans. They are pleased with them. The engine and battery have been improved and they are up from 30 to 40 miles capacity now. It is a minefield and Rodney thinks it will be another 2 years before something becomes available for purpose.
Mercedes are working on a series of engines that are diesel / electric which might be the best hybrids for towing with, but we wait to see.
is 60% electric now; they have a subside which virtually pays for the car.
Rodney buys the Motoring press most weeks: recently there was an article regarding charging. If you live in some places how do you plug the car in?
The electric side of things – there is a lot to happen before we can have lots of electric cars.
There are 80 hydrogen stations now in and Hyundai are selling a hydrogen car at £60,000 for a Ford Focus type car. It needs to come down in price. All that comes out the back of the car is water. It’s the cleanest car of the lot, but making the hydrogen is highly dangerous! It is work in progress and the Club is trying to be on the leading side of towing and the automobile industry.
12. Date and venue of 2019 AGM:
Paul asked Karen for the details.
The West Surrey Centre will be our hosts next year.
The 2019 AGM will be held on Saturday 9th November, 2019
Commencing at 2.30pm at , , .
13. Meeting closes:
Paul thanked Liz Manning for taking the minutes and she was presented with a gift.
Paul thanked Tony Crawford for the P.A. system.
He then thanked the Chairman, Committee and members of the West Kent Centre for hosting
our weekend and supplying refreshments for the meeting.
Flowers were then presented to Sandra Potten and Shirley Child.
Paul then thanked anyone who has helped with the running of the meeting in any way.
He thanked everyone for their support and time in attending the meeting.
He then thanked all of the guests for giving up their time to be with us today.
Presentations were made to Diane and Rodney Lambert; Paul endorsed the help that Rodney has been to the Region and especially to himself.
Sue and Stuart Johnson; Karen and Tony Shipper; Mark and Karen Sinclair-Watson and Jen and Mel Fuller.
Paul then handed over the Chair to Mark.
Mark then handed over to Gary, Chair of West Kent.
said thank you for a very professional and interesting meeting. It was a clear and well-run meeting.
then ran through housekeeping for the evening’s meal and entertainment.
Mark then made a presentation to Paul, thanking him for his time on the South East Region.
Mark, on behalf of the Committee and Officers of the South East Region, wished all present a very
Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year.
He hoped everyone would enjoy their caravanning in the coming year and would drive safely.
He asked that all Centre Members of the Regional Council to stay behind for a short meeting.
The meeting was declared closed at 4pm.