Members' Update: The Aims and Objectives of the Trust

Maureen Ellis and Mike Slater

During 2004 several meetings were devoted to consideration of the whole of the aims and working of the Trust. It was felt that there might be room for improvement in all aspects of the programme and how we might work more efficiently, to save wear and tear on Committee members, and to control costs. Individual members of the Committee set out their views independently and in later discussion a surprising degree of agreement was evident in ideas for change and improvement. A smaller group then tried to crystallise the discussion into a set of more tightly defined actions which then were discussed at a further special meeting. The practicality of implementation then became an issue and finally decisions were made on progressing those ideas which found most favour.

It was agreed to take no action to change the Constitution which seems fairly to reflect the work of the Trust. To increase public awareness of the Trust and to promote its cause the development of a logo was undertaken and several members of the Trust have been most energetic in suggesting ideas; a combination of a number of concepts eventually has led to a choice made by the Committee, aided by the comments of members at the AGM in October 2004.

Better communication with Members is thought to be important. For example, the website address has been added to the programme card so that walk leaders can supply more information on-line on the Trust website prior to the event. In the light of our duty of care of walkers and the various needs to be met some winter walks have been shortened. The system of writing reports on walks which appear in the Journal will eventually be made easier by use of an on-line process of sending an email report directly to the website. This is of course not compulsory but it would help the Journal Editors.

Much discussion centred on having a single-sided newsletter suitable for display on notice boards in villages but there are several problems and no action has yet been taken. We would like to improve notification of future events to non-members but the matter requires more thought. A new leaflet about the Trust has been produced to spread word about our existence to new comers to the region.

To keep costs under control the increasing use of computer technology in committee work appears inevitable but in no way do we intend to exclude members by use of such technology or make life more difficult for anyone. We may increasingly be able to communicate with some of the members by emailed notices which can markedly reduce our costs or resolve problems of distribution of literature by hand. The subject of subscriptions was discussed at length and a slight increase has been made while recognizing the problem of static incomes for many members. The cost of any postal distribution of literature is significant and a major deterrent to issue of special notices; the cost of the Journal printing rises every year but increased and rationalized advertizing rates have been introduced to offset the cost for the next few years. A more rigorous approach to marketing of publications will be taken. A number of members help with distribution of the Journal but volunteers for Settle, Giggleswick, Burton and Bentham are needed still.

More interaction with other groups in Craven with similar objectives is desirable, particularly in seeking contributions to the Journal. Action has been taken to improve our facilities for our speakers, with slide projector and screen now owned by the Trust. New portable display boards have been bought to use at various functions, and we have an agreement with the North Craven Historical Research Group to use an electronic projector suitable for Powerpoint displays by speakers.

The website should make the outside world more aware of our activities and it is hoped will help to sustain membership, as well as becoming a prime source of heritage information about North Craven. The running cost is only a few pounds a year and the capital costs similarly were very small. By making the Journal available on the website some months after issue to Members we can reduce the extra costs of printing spare copies and also make local studies available to a wide audience.