Important Updates From Committee Meeting
Monday 19th August 2019
The WDCC committee met on Monday 19th August to continue to plan the next year's programme. At the meeting, Chairman Dave Edwardson announced his plan to step down from the Committee at the next AGM. None of the existing committee members are able to take up the reins as Chairperson, and therefore we will need to identify a new Chairperson to take over in March 2020.
Without a Chairperson, we will be unable to have a duly constituted committee, which has a number of ramifications. Firstly, without a constituted committee we will be unable to be a member of the Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union (L&CPU) and in turn the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB). This would mean that we would be unable to enter regional and national competitions, but the reality is that we don't enter that many anyway. We would also be unable to make use of L&CPU guest speakers and judges (of which we use 4-6 per year depending on the programme). Finally we would be unable to make use of the L&CPU negotiated rates for public liability insurance, and would have to arrange our own.
It would not be the end of the club per se, we could still meet as a common interest group, but it would severly limit our ability to create a programme in a similar vein to what we have now.
So, we are looking for a prospective Chairperson. If anyone is interested, I would recommend that they discuss the role and responsibilities (and the committment needed) with current Chair Dave Edwardson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and attend the next committee meeting on Monday 11th November (7:30pm at the Bellhouse, Grappenhall).
In addition, the current Treasurer, Sean Constable will also be stepping down, but we believe we can cover that role from within the ranks of the existing committee, but that shouldn't be a barrier to anyone else that would like to perform the role from doing so, again if you are interested speak to a committee member at the next meeting.
As well as the talk about committee makeup, we did discuss the remainder of this year's programme, notably the location shoot on 23rd September, and the Inter-Club Battle on 7th October. For the location shoot, we have settled on Dunham Massey as the location. I am aware that it is only a couple of years since the last visit, but due to poor weather conditions last time, quite a few didn't attend, so fingers crossed for better weather. The house and carpark itself will be closed, but the deer park will still be open and we will be able to walk around the grounds. Further detail will come out in the relevant newsletter, but we will meet at the "Swan with two nicks" pub for 7pm - patronage at the pub strongly recommended after the walkabout!
The Inter-Club Battle does not look to be going ahead, we have had limited if no response from prospective opponents, we are therefore currently trying to arrange an additional club speaker to fill that night. Details to follow when confirmed.
In respect of the programme, looking ahead to next year, we have followed our usual format. 4 competitions, a few guest speakers, some critique nights / show your imagaes, a couple of model nights, 3 or 4 location shoots, some table top nights etc. However, the membership numbers have dropped this year, meaning our spending power is much reduced. This restricts our ability to pay for guest speakers and models. Model nights in particular are our most expensive, and actually not the whole club take part, so is this an expensive indulgence for a small number of club members?
Our location shoots, the last one in Chester had 4 attendees - these are our cheapest events as we don't even have a venue fee to pay, but if not even a handful attend, does this indicate that we as a committee are failing to produce a worthwhile programme?
Before we get too far into the planning for next year, let's have a conversation about the programme. Is there too much of one thing, not enough of something else? Are the locations too far? Are the competition subjects uninspiring? As one of the only clubs in the region that meet all year round, we have quite a few nights to fill. Some clubs have monthly competitions, but we have never really had that much of a competition focus - it does help fill the calendar though. Some clubs have a location shoot every week over the summer. Again this really helps reduce costs, but do we run out to places to visit? Should we be thinking smaller and actually go to the likes of local points of interest such as Walton Hall, Grappenhall Heys, Pickering's Pasture etc.
Remember this is your club, we absolutely should be meeting the needs and wants of the majority, not just going with what the committee say we should be doing. With such as small membership, and a low turnout on location shoots, and with a couple of low competition entries, we do need to question, are we meeting your needs?
A final consideration is the venue. As you know we moved to Winwick in order to rescue the club as Grappenhall was no longer financially viable. At the time this was absolutely the right decision, and not only did the club survive, we did get a big influx of new members. This year however, membership numbers have dropped again, and some ex-members have cited the venue (not the location) as being a big turn off. We are open to the idea of another venue - Warrington Photographic Society are in the process of moving to a new home too, they are heading to Birchwood - it's a fine balance between cost and comfort. It is clear that comfort at Grappenhall was great, but the cost too high, and have we gone too far the other way in reducing our costs, sacrificing our comfort levels? We are open to the idea of another move, but not for the sake of it. It would need to be the right move to address a number of needs. Suggestions always welcome.
Lawry (Webmaster) on behalf of the WDCC Committee