Minutes of Annual General Meeting 2011

Annual General meeting of West Dorset Branch of CAMRA

Held at

The Colliton Club, Dorchester

16th September 2011

21 members attended, plus Ne Representative Keith Spencer

  1. Apologies for Absence
    Apologies were received from Alastair Tillotson, Brian & Marjory Tait, Jacky & Andy Follet, Alex Bardswell, Jull Diggens, Hedley Ward, Allan Swannell, Dave & Steve Randall, Paul Smith (HOW)
  2. Minutes of the last AGM
    The minutes of the last AGM were circulated and accepted. 
  3. Matters Arising
    There were no matters arising
  4. Election of Officers
    As there had been no new candidates and the members of the existing committee were all willing to continue he proposed that the remaining committee was re-elected. Carried

    The current committee is:
    Dave Harris Chairman/Webmaster
    Tony Egerton Secretary/Branch Contact/BLO Dorset Brewery
    Alastair Tillotson – Treasurer
    Andy Patterson Membership Secretary
    Richard Gabe – Social Secretary/BLO Palmers
    Michel Hooper-Immins Committee/Press Officer/BLO Badger
    Kelvin Nicholson- Committee
    Phil Livsey Committee
    Jill Diggens Committee/BLO Piddle Brewery
    Paul Smith Heart of Wessex sub-branch

    Non-committee members with other specific responsibilities:
    Adrian Patterson GBG Selection Co-ordinator
    Alex Bardswell – Cider Rep/BLO Art Brewery
  5. Chairman’s Report
    Our Branch and our local area have gone from strength to strength this year. It has been a busy year and a lot has been accomplished, so I’m not going to apologise if this takes a bit longer than usual.

    A “Giant Dongle” burst on to the scene around last year’s AGM and has been seen around the West Dorset countryside in various guises since then. Distribution has grown from 500 X 12 pages to 1100 X 16 pages in that time. Can you all please join me in acknowledging Kevin Launder, our Editor for making this happen. We’ll need input from you all over the coming times to feed Kevin info and articles to help keep the magazine growing and vibrant. We also particularly need someone to manage an advertising stream so we get some money from ads to help the magazine grow. We know many people who are likely to put ads in – we just need someone to commit the time to ask them and to coordinate the copy and the payments. 

    We as a branch have grown to over 400 members (thanks to Andy Patterson for volunteering to take the Membership Secretary role on and for his mega recruiting efforts). Our pub guide sold out and has been updated & reprinted (thanks again to Kevin Launder for making this possible by producing the guide). We’ve put all the pub guide info on-line on the web site using Google maps and it doesn’t appear to affect sales of the paper guide. Two of our brewers have won CAMRA Regional awards for their beers (just back from Palmers event). Our three annual festivals are either at capacity (Beerex) or growing (both Wykefest and Octoberfest). Lots of excitement as we move off to a new venue in a couple of weeks;

    Locally we have seen our smaller breweries cooperating to hold their own festivals at Lyme Regis and Seaton and we’ve been able to help by loaning our stillage and equipment. Cider sales at our festivals are enormously up – this is particularly important for the sector as we choose to stock only good, locally produced real cider – so it is a boost for our producers. 

    Our regular programme of interesting trips to breweries, festivals and the like (details from Rich later) whilst continuing to run three festivals ourselves – is only possible due to volunteers. This year we have seen another increase in the number of our members who get involved as volunteers – this is great – please keep doing it! The more people who get involved, the better we can be at campaigning!

    The “LocAle” scheme to help those pubs which not only sell good ale, but commit to keeping at least one available from a local brewery is still running. The accredited pubs are listed on the web site. We’d like reports from you if you find a pub which is no longer up to the mark or if you find one not in our list which should be. Talk to a committee member for details. At our last AGM you voted for Adrian Patterson to be elected in the role of GBG coordinator. Adrian helped us to draw together all the information on our pubs to help us to make the GBG selection process better managed (thanks due to him). I believe that as a result we have an improving method for deciding which pubs have done the best over the year. We are setting up a “Pub Link” scheme to help us to keep in touch with our pubs (~300 pubs spread over 400 sq miles). Andy Patterson is recruiting a team of volunteers to do this in a way that will help us meet some of our longer term goals. Talk with Andy if you want to help us with this. 

    At this point I usually mention my “Wish List”. Those who’ve been to previous meetings will remember that we’ve managed to clear most of the items from those years. I think that is fantastic – can I now thank all those who’ve helped us get to this point. There are now a couple of other things I think we could do (aren’t there always??): Our small rural pubs are having a hard time – what can we do? How about a leaflet like this highlighting the harder to find ones? We might well publish it for free as a campaigning tool. We need a volunteers to arrange distribution of such a thing. And to:

    Write articles and pass on other information to Kevin for the Dongle
    Giant Dongle advertising management (as I mentioned earlier).
    Still some gaps in Pub Link coverage – please talk to Andy P.

    Arranging more local trips by minibus: Nearby pubs of note: e.g.Castle @ West Lulworth or Gaggle of Geese for their auction or a group of our remoter pubs to do a survey. We can do these things but only if a volunteer is prepared to organise the event (book the coach, run the booking list, give me the info so we can publicise it)

    There are still more things, but enough for now to give you all a flavour I think. Next if you have not yet volunteered to work at the Octoberfest this year – I have the staffing list with me – we still have one or two vacancies – Friday evening and Saturday both sessions mainly.

    And finally – nominations for next Pub of The Year and GBG now open – let your committee know which pubs you think should be considered!!
  6. Treasurer’s Report
    The treasurer circulated his report for examination by the membership and was accepted
  7. Membership Secretary’s Report
    Andy stated that he took over as Membership Secretary in mid-November 2010 with a Branch Membership standing at 338. In the 10 months that followed, numbers have leapt to currently stand at 412 – an increase of over 20%. We have had notable successes in recruiting 35 new Branch Members at Dorchester Beer Festival and 8 at Wykefest.  Another push will be made at Octoberfest next month.On the activation front we have started Pub Link where local members take on groups of 8 to 12 pubs and look after them.  This involves doing beer quality surveys, reporting back pub news and acting as general liaison with the licensees. Launched at the beginning of September, we have volunteers in place for 22 out of the 28 areas and surveys and reporting are now coming in. Most notable is that 1/2 of the volunteers are performing their first active role within CAMRA.

    Looking forward, Andy wants to continue recruitment and head towards the magic number of 500 over the next 12-18 months as well as consolidating on the early promise of Pub Link. Finally, if anyone would like to be a Pub Linker, areas still available are Beaminster, Frome Valley, Lyme Regis, Piddle Valley, Sherborne North and Weymouth Esplanade.
  8. Wessex Region Report
    Tony attends the quarterly Wessex Region meetings on behalf of the branch ably assisted by Michel but he stressed any member can attend as observer if desired. The meetings are not nearly as dull as one imagines and, with a NE members attending each meeting it is your way of getting your opinion known to the CAMRA hierarchy. Three points have recently fallen out of these meetings:

    In the past year CAMRA membership across the country has grown by 8%; however in the Wessex Region this is only 5% – that is apart from West Dorset Branch which has seen an increase of 19%! I have suggested to the Regional Director that Andy Patterson gives a talk to the February meeting to tell them how its done. Well done Andy!

    At the 2010 National member’s Weekend it was voted that all branches should set themselves three campaigning goals. I put this to the committee and the following goals have been set for West Dorset branch
    1. Increase Membership and Activate ‘Sleeping’ Members
      Thanks to a very enthusiastic Membership Secretary we have already seen a 19% rise in membership this year, compared the the CAMRA whole figure of 8%. (Post Meeting Note The Weymouth Octoberfest saw another 20 local members join, in addition to other branch areas, giving an unconfirmed total now of over 450. This has been achieved by various means and incentives eg HQ will give branches back numbers of GBGs to use as incentives – this we cashed in on at Weymouth).

      Sleeping membership has been aroused by creating a pub-link system where a member takes ‘responsibility’ for a number of pubs in an area, usually 8-10. They are then the branch’s main contact with that pub for publicity, CAMRA events, etc. There are 28 groups and the majority of posts have been filled by non-committee members.
    2. Support Local Pubs
      Activity on this front has been two-fold. The pub-link system mentioned above is proving very beneficial in creating trust between landlord and CAMRA. They use us to publicise events and importantly alert us to any news that a pub may be in difficulty. We can then help to promote that pub and, if needed, fight closure. Post Meeting Note Secondly is a small publication of which we are very proud – a pamphlet entitled ‘West Dorset’s Hidden Gems’. The criteria for inclusion is that the pub is not on a A road or common through route. This was a idea of Dave Harris our chairman, who did most of the work. We gave away 1000 of these at the Weymouth Octoberfest and they seemed to be well received.
    3. Support Local Beers & Ciders
      The localAle project is expanding and we have a dedicated committee member to oversee this. We also ensure that every beer festival we promote or organise features ALL of the current Dorset breweries and cider producers – nine local breweries at the last two festivals.

      At a meeting at Salisbury, NE member Nik Antona gave a talk on how CBOB was organised. I questioned him why for voting purposes we were lumped together with London and the South East when surely it was more natural for us to be in the South West. He explained the reasons for the original grouping – basically there were few micros in the London/SE area compared to the SW – but this this has now changed to the point that he not only took my point on board but said he would actively encourage moving Dorset into the SW Region as far as CBOB was concerned. It would balance the number of breweries in each region. Post Meeting Note This issue has been pursued throughout the year. We had the support of East Dorset but not Heart of Wessex, who preferred the status quo. The question was taken to the National Executive but was turned down in May 2012.

      All minutes of Wessex regional Meetings can be found on the Wessex Region website. Any subject members care to raise please contact Tony via the branch website.
  9. Social Activities
    Rich reported a good year on the social front. Highlights include:
    November Bays and Hunters brewery visits; Wadworth tasting and social at Rose & Crown Trent
    December Branch Xmas meal at Blue Raddle (27 members attended)
    January Exeter Winter Ales festival with E Dorset branch
    February Beerex – thanks to all Adrian, all staff and sponsors
    March Cornwall away weekend; eight breweries and joint social with Kernow CAMRA
    April 13th Maltings Trip – thanks Tony for organising; £150 raised on raffle.
    June/July Bridport Food & Drink Festival (15 members attending); Hall & Woodhose tasting at Ship, Weymouth. Thanks to Michel for organising
    August GBBF expedition
    September Visit to DBC’s new brewery
  10. AOB
    Following his appointment last year as GBG co-ordinator Adrian reported on the growing success of the points scoring system, over 1000 entries to date. He encouraged members to keep submitting scores as a reliable way to assess continuing quality of our pubs.

    Keith Spencer (NE) then gave a brief talk on membership recruitment (not that Andy needs any advice!)

The meeting closed at 9.20pm