Details of and discussion about club news & events (excluding races)

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Real Name: Phil Richards


Post by WorcsPhil » 13 Jun 2019 14:11

Hi all,

Beacon has always been a cycling club that has taken on a lot of varied activities, and we do them really well, whether that is club rides, road races, crits, track, time trials, audaxes, youth events etc, but for these to continue we are reliant on willing volunteers to organise and assist. To be fair, we somehow are always able to find organising volunteers from our pool of enthusiasts, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to get people to volunteer to help out on these events. We muddle through, only by pleading for support, and repeating over and over again that we need help.

This is discouraging for the organiser (if no one else can be bothered, why should I?) and might also affect our reputation (I don't fancy entering another Beacon event). Several activity organisers have recently made their frustrations known, and just last week there was a lament on Facebook about people not helping out at the Stourport Crit. At the next Committee meeting, we will discuss ways of ensuring that the club only takes on events that it can be confident of organising well (with enough volunteers). It would be a great shame if that led to us putting on fewer activities. So please do consider all volunteer requests seriously, rather than leaving everything to the same old faces.

Remember…most requests for help usually involve just an hour or two, and are light duties, and sometimes involve just cooking bacon! So it would be good to see more people volunteering to help before we go down this road of reducing what we organise.

It’s up to us….happy to hear your views.

Last edited by WorcsPhil on 20 Jan 2020 16:12, edited 2 times in total.

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Philip Whiteman
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Post by Philip Whiteman » 13 Jun 2019 20:56

It is with regret that I agree with Phil’s message in terms of why it had to be said. A disturbing trait has grown within the club of members taking but never giving back. Being a member of any club is not just about consuming its activities, it is also about ensuring that it is a success through effort and some hard-work.

Seventeen years ago there were around 80 members and they managed to fully staff a whole range of events including: three audaxes, the LMTT, Open 10, a road race, the club time-trial series and numerous social events. It is lamentable that we now have over 250 members but struggle to deliver events and activities on our calendar. Even basic events such as club runs struggle to find leaders yet there are plenty of individuals who turn-up week after week and never ever volunteer. Leading a club run, turning up to marshal or helping out an event headquarter is not rocket science. If everyone made one single contribution a year then it would make a significant difference.

Repeated call by hard-pushed organisers have been a struggle. One only has to look at repeated calls for volunteers at recent flagship Beacon events. They have my sympathy were they to throw there hands in the air and say, "bugger this for a game of soldiers".

I have become increasingly despondent with the number of people that don’t even have the politeness to respond to direct approaches for assistance – even if they are unavailable. We all understand that for one reason or another, availability is out of the question due to family or other commitments.

Some members are often all too ready to join as entrants but never support the events on a future occasion. This has become so acute that I am now recruiting volunteers from outside of the Beacon to ensure that these audaxes are a success. It also makes me question why I am handing over the large surpluses to the Beacon when support from member is not always forthcoming. Perhaps some of the finances should be contributed elsewhere, such as Audax UK Ltd or a charitable organisation? Perhaps that move would be far-fetched but it has crossed my mind. Yet I am very thankful to those that do offer and provide support but sadly they are often the usual suspects that support the whole range of Beacon events.

In terms of breadth of activities there have been profligate but well intended decisions to increase the number of activities. That may be down to the lack of any strategic direction or thinking. There has not always a consideration on how the events would be sustainably resourced in terms of volunteers. Again, any gaps created are filled by the usual suspects. When I took over the Beacon’s summer audax (nee Cotswold audaxes) and moved them to the Autumn, scaling back was the only option to ensure sustainability.

If this problem is not resolved by members stepping-up to the plate and making a contribution we will soon be in a situation of retrenchment with club activities and events being cancelled or withdrawn. This club will become worse off for it.

For anybody willing or available to help at future Beacon events, I am currently looking for support at the Kidderminster Killer on 20th July or at the Autumn Audax on 5th October.

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Post by AdeR » 14 Jun 2019 14:47

Forthcoming volunteering opportunities are available at the club track champs on Jun 22nd. See that thread.
formerly BeaconNewb

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