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 2020 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MINUTES

Wed 12th Aug – 18:00

in Crieff Succeeds Marquee, James Square, Crieff PH7 3HX

 Attendees:  Gil Martin (Chair), Ian Buchan, Carol Buchan, Karin Greevy, Des Greevy, Jim Harley, Richard Haseltine, Alistair Hepburn, Chris McIntosh (Secretary), Robert Bone, Claire Sanville & Fiona Bryce.

  1. APOLOGIES

The Secretary received apologies from Marjorie Bourne, Julia Greenlees, John Redhead & Lorne Graham.

  1. CHAIR’S REPORT

The Chair thanked all the Trustees for work done and time given over the past 15 months (last AGM on 09 May 19).  He specifically thanked past Trustees: Karin Greavy (Secretary), Carol Buchan (Social Secretary) & Richard Haseltine (Treasurer) for their invaluable work in their respective areas – and their individual contributions to a successful (albeit wet!) 2019 programme.

He also welcomed two new trustees: Jim Harley (Treasurer) & Alistair Hepburn (Membership and Communications).

The Chair emphasised the following 2019/2020 highlights:

  • During the Summer of 2019, The Tryst ran a series of basic & more advanced navigation courses aimed specifically at walk leaders and assistants. We also ran a tailored 1-day navigation training course for the Woodland Trust. All courses combined classroom theory with practical navigation in the hills and proved to be both enjoyable & useful.

  • In Sep 2019, The Tryst funded the British Association of Ski Patrollers (BASP) to run a 1-day Emergency First Aid Course for Walk Leaders & Assistants. Again, an excellent day – and all those who participated acknowledged the terrific benefit. This training provides walk leaders & assistants with invaluable skills & expertise in mountain outdoor first aid.

  • The 2019 Tryst took place during October 2019 – and despite it coinciding with a wet & windy week – it was deemed a success, with lots of positive comments back from participants.

  • Overall 80% of the 350 places (on 30 walks) were sold – a small decline on the numbers in 2018 (2018 had also been a wet week – it seems that this had impacted 2019 bookings).In addition there were a variety of social activities – which both walkers & townsfolk thoroughly enjoyed.

  • There was no Hairy Coo event in 2019 – as the amazing recent expansion of the Comrie Croft Experience had meant that they needed to prioritise activities – and align with their limited resources.

The Chair thanked his Walking Team for organising a varied and thoroughly engaging 2019 programme.

With regards to finances – The Chair reported that all was well – and emphasised that the Tryst’s balances remained in good order. There were adequate reserves, despite suffering a small loss in income (and additional expenditure) in 2019. More explanation is provided in the Treasurer’s report under item 4.

The Chair concluded by noting the very immediate need to encourage more walk leaders and volunteers – as without the giving of the precious time – the Tryst would find it difficult to sustain into the future.

  1. SECRETARY’S REPORT

Chris McIntosh confirmed that:

  • He had taken on the general secretarial duties and the management of the website, from Karen Greevy.

  • Ian Buchan had kindly agreed to maintain the registration activities rota i.e. managing the daily participants lists & the volunteering rota for reception & drivers etc.

  • The Tryst now has 99 ‘signed up’ members. In line with the Chair’s comments this was deemed a good baseline – but urged all Trustees and members to encourage others to join. A sustainable future for the festival would rely heavily on ensuring these numbers could be maintained or increased.

  • More alarmingly the number of active volunteers had dropped to circa 25 – this would need addressing in future years to avoid ‘over burdening’ those who have already given of their time & energy to support the Tryst.

  • The Tryst website (albeit now quite old) was still performing well. Indicative of the resilience & flexibility of the site – it quickly refunded over 80 participants who had made bookings for the 2020 programme.

  • Nonetheless, the Trustees were looking at an opportunity to redesign & relaunch in the future. However, doing so in a very uncertain pandemic year would not be wise (but a revamped – and more interactive website – remains an aspiration).

  1. TREASURER’S REPORT & 2020 BUDGET

 Jim Harley reported that:

  • Income was down over the 2019 reporting period, principally due to a significant drop in sales in 2018 (following poor weather during the October 2017 & 2018 festivals).

  • This poor weather record largely contributed to the decision to move the Festival to May in 2020 (and into future years).

  • Also 2018 had been an exceptional year in which 100% of the walk places were sold – and additional income had accrued from the Hairy Coo cycling events (since cancelled by Comrie Croft in 2019).

  • Expenditure had also been significantly increased in 2019, following two large purchases of Tick Cards and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) – as endorsed by the Trustees. These items accounted for over £1200 – and is unlikely to recur in future years.

  • The Tryst also incurred the cost of two sets of liability insurance in the one year (bringing forward the 2020 festival to May required the premium to be paid earlier – falling into the 2019 accounting period).

  • Furthermore – and in line with OSCR’s recommendation to reduce our asset base), the Tryst had made donations to 3 local charities in 2019 – totalling £1,500 (£500 to each of: The Perthshire Air Ambulance, the Crieff Logos Youth Project and Tayside Mountain Rescue.)

  • Overall – the Treasurer reported an operating loss of £440 for the 2019 reporting period (Trustees considered this acceptable given overall assets). This was in addition to a reduction in the Tryst’s asset base by nearly £2,000.

  1. NOMINATION FOR, AND ELECTION OF, TRUSTEES

The Chair reported that Ian Buchan & Alistair Hepburn were standing down as Trustees (as required under the Constitution).  Chris McIntosh confirmed that he had received nomination papers for both individuals to re-apply as Trustees (seconded by Carol Buchan & Chris McIntosh respectively). The Chair asked for any other nominations from the floor – and in the absence of any names coming forward – both Ian & Alistair were duly re-elected.

  1. FIXING OF ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

All agreed that there would be no annual subscription fee charged to members (in line with previous years).

  1. THE REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL EXAMINER

Jim Harley had approved the 2019 accounts (following endorsement by Edward Elworthy – as reported under Item 4 above). They would now be submitted to OSCR with the covering letter from the Chair.

  1. APPOINTMENT OF THE INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL EXAMINER FOR 2020

Jim Harley reported that:

  • Following signing off on the 2019 accounts, Edward Elworthy would be standing down as the External Examiner.

  • Edward would be replaced by Johnston Brown – who was a local retired accountant. This transfer had been endorsed by the Trustees.

  • The Chair proposed a vote of thanks to Edward for all his diligent efforts – and asked Jim to send Edward a small gift in appreciation.

  1. DROVERS’ TRYST 2021 & BEYOND.

 The Chair’s & Trustees thoughts are summarised below (we would welcome any comment from Members):

  • It’s too early to tell where we will be in 2021 – likely that we are not the end of the COVID pandemic yet.

  • Furthermore, it is reasonably certain that it will be a lengthy process of recovery, the effects of the last few months is likely to change both our economy and our society for many years.

  • This may mean a significantly different future for the Tryst, to accommodate new rules as regards: the management of group events, transport, hospitality, accommodation etc.

  • Getting ‘back to any kind of normal’ is no certainty, so the Trustees plan to look at other options/adaptations, between now & Christmas.

  • We do propose keeping to a May Festival date, as there is little appetite to revert to October in future years, despite that date giving us more ‘breathing space’ to plan for 2021.

  • Whatever we do, we need to be cognisant that Jan/Feb/March 2021 – will remain our key period for bookings – so decisions (and some outline planning) will need to have been completed before that time.

  • It’s too soon to understand what other UK walk groups/festivals intend to do next year. But we will keep close – and remain in touch with them.

  • Also, we need to maintain close contact with our other key support organisations – PKC (minibuses), insurance, sponsors/advertisers & Crieff Succeeds, to understand their positions.

  • At the heart of what we do next has to be with our customer base, so we must understand how they feel – and what/where/how they see the Tryst evolving? So, we plan a series of communications – to seek their views (starting in Autumn 2020)

  • Whatever we decide, members & volunteers will remain at the centre of providing any kind of worthwhile future festival. Hence the need to keep recruiting diligently – and maintaining all lines of communication to our local support base.

  • So, on behalf of our membership & volunteers, the Trustees have suggested the following timeline – leading to us delivering a 4-day festival in May 2021 (the default position – i.e. running a similar programme as proposed for 2020):

  • Nov 2020. Options appraisal – what type of Tryst can we deliver/do we want?

  • Dec 2020. Go/No Go decision on Tryst 2021 – to allow for planning, staffing, insurance, posting to website to start etc.

  • Jan 2021.Website goes live for bookings (at latest delay to early Feb).

  • May 2021. Deliver Tryst programme (or no Tryst at all?).

  1. AOB

Two items were raised:

  • First Aid Courses. Given the cancellation of the Festival in 2020 (with no income accruing), it had been decided not to offer BASP First Aid Courses this year. They were likely to be reinstated in 2021.

  • The acquisition of some Tryst Tartan accoutrements (as endorsed by the Trustees) – a large tablecloth & 20m of bunting. Both items would be used to promote the Tryst at future events.

  1. CLOSE OF MEETING

The Chair thanked everyone for attending, and closed the meeting at 19:30.

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