One hundred and thirty people attended this year’s AGM, making it one of the best attended in recent memory. And there was some lively debate as they discussed membership fee proposals, how to make our sport fair to all and its future strategy.
There was also a chance to meet our new elected directors and prizewinners as well as electing a new President. And there were fond farewells to old friends.
Membership Services Manager Freddie Collier got things under way by outlining Fair And Open To All – the plans for restructuring membership fees.
He said: “We need to put participation at the centre of our thinking, meet the needs of members at a price that represents value for money and, most of all, from the club secretary and Archery GB’s perspective, it needs to be easy to administer.”
One of the proposals was a flat rate of 25 per cent of senior fees – which would work out at £10.50 – for junior members, 18 to 24 year olds and all archers with disabilities. Direct senior rates (25 and over) would rise to £50, club seniors to £42, school and Scout troop clubs would pay £75 and university clubs £140. And they would work out to be cost neutral.
Why were the changes needed? Freddie pointed out that, because of the en-bloc system in operation in junior clubs, some members paid nothing or as little as 50p while other junior club fees were £26 and Direct members were paying £47.
He said: “This issue was addressed at recent roadshows and was well received by audiences – and the attendees understood that this was about fairness and not about generating income. This way every junior would pay the same membership fee.”
A coincidental benefit would be a saving of £5.17 Employers’ Liability Insurance for each en-bloc club that amalgamated with its parent club.
Cutting the fees paid by 18-24-year-olds would help keep young adults in the sport at a time of real change in their lives. And the simplest way to administer the plan was by using dates of birth.
“This is important,” he said. “We need your help. If you can get somebody in their late teens to stay in sport though their 20s, they stay in sport for the rest of their lives.”
Equally, archers with disabilities would each pay £10.50 whether they were shooting in specialist or ordinary clubs. Freddie hoped that by getting rid of the en-bloc status, disabled archers would feel confident to stay or to move to other clubs on an equal basis.
He said it would be a trust-based system where archers who wanted to benefit would self-declare themselves as disabled.
No changes were proposed for university clubs because it was believed that this could have an adverse effect on participation, which might have an impact on Sport England funding. More work had to be done before making any decisions.
It was also decided not to change the fees policy for school and Scout troops to maintain participation where there are no established family links to the sport.
He also discussed pro-rata fees and the proposal to simplify them from quarterly to half yearly to make the process fairer.
The changes put forward generated lively debate during the AGM. Some members worried that the changes to junior fees could hit low-income areas and families, leading to people – particularly juniors – leaving the sport.
Maggie Woolf pointed out that ending en-bloc status for disabled clubs could cause them difficulties in attracting funding and make it more difficult for archers to participate.
Addressing these concerns, new Chairman Mark Davies said that a way had to be found to alleviate financial pressures caused by the changes and he would look into creating a Chairman’s Fund.
The motion to adopt the membership fees was carried by a 55.4 per cent majority, with 5,240 votes for, 4,216 against and 117 abstentions.
A resolution to change the Articles of Association so that the Board could, if necessary, be expanded to 14 was also carried. Mark Davies said: “I am not saying we will expand the board but it would be useful to have the flexibility if needed. It would allow us to bring new people in and keep the corporate memory. That way we will be more effective in holding the executive to account.”
The vote on pro-rata membership was also carried with 55 votes for, 27 against and one abstention.
The result of the ballot for seven new Executive Directors was announced. The seven successful candidates in alphabetical order were:
- Simon Cordingley (4536 votes)
- Dave Harrison (5343)
- Muriel Kirkwood (4877)
- Lizzie Rees (5796)
- Erik Rowbotham (3911)
- Julie Ryan (5104)
- Steve Tully (4594)
Trish Lovell was elected as President.
Retiring Chairman Dave Harrison thanked everyone for their support during his time in office and asked members to give his successor Mark Davies and the Board the same level of help and support. Dave was thanked on behalf of members by Susan Custance.
Archery GB’s Strategic Plan
In the afternoon, Chief Executive (Interim) Neil Armitage presented Archery GB’s Strategic Plan 2016 to 2020.
The strategic objective he outlined were to grow and sustain participation with effective facilities, coaching and competition strategies, deliver and sustain Olympic and Paralympic targets and to reduce the reliance on external funding.
People are at the very core of the strategy and its five main pillars are:
- To develop new places to shoot that are accessible and easy to find.
- A strategic facilities lead to support facilities development
- Funding for two schemes: New Place for Target Faces and a club signage programme to make clubs more prominent in local communities
- Update and review facilities research
- To develop coaching and competition systems and structures that address the long-term needs of the sport.
- To bring a further 10,000 people into the sport, either shooting or volunteering. This will be achieved by delivering our progress and places strategy, working with young people, adults and communities and integrating Archery GB’s Performance and Talent Pathways.
- To achieve UK Sport medal targets for the Olympic and Paralympic programmes for Rio and Tokyo, making sure athletes have all the support and skills they need and building on our Performance Pathway.
- To promote strong and effective leadership that is fair, balanced and inspires and recognises everyone in the organisation. This will be underpinned by a sustainable funding model achieved by diversifying income streams.