With clubs recovering from the pandemic, and a Clubs Strategy to implement, the BMC Clubs’ Committee has set out its priorities for this year.
In the Autumn of 2020, the BMC Board approved a new Clubs Strategy for 2020-24. This was the result of 18 months of work by the Clubs sub-group of the Organisational Development Group (ODG), who were charged with implementing the recommendations of the BMC’s Organisational Review.
The responsibility now falls to the BMC Clubs’ Committee to implement the Clubs Strategy and we will be working with the club network, BMC staff members, and other volunteers to ensure that its goals are met. We’re keen to clearly communicate to BMC-affiliated Clubs how we’re taking this work forward, as part of a push to better engage clubs in our work, provide visibility on what their volunteer representatives are working on and to ensure they have a voice in the work carried out on their behalf.
We’ve identified four priority areas where efforts will be focussed in 2021, and the key projects we need to deliver for clubs this year. Our plans for each focus area are set out in more detail below.
BMC Clubs' Committee Goals for 2021
It is important that clubs have an input in the work that we do on their behalf and we want to take club views into account. So, if club members or officers want to find out more about the work we’re planning, have comments on the priorities we’ve identified, would like to come and work with us, or even want to point out things we may have missed, then we encourage them to get in touch with their BMC Clubs’ Committee rep, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout this year we plan to use the new Club Networks to consult with clubs as we develop our plans for 2022.
Our plans for each of our focus areas are set out in more detail below:
Pandemic Support & Recovery
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on how clubs are able to operate is going to continue to dominate in 2021, and we’re keen to do all we can to make sure as many clubs both survive and thrive again once restrictions begin to be lifted.
We’ve identified the largest risks being to university clubs where membership churn means there are serious risks of skills within clubs being lost, and to clubs that own and operate huts who have now had to manage nearly a year of closures and severe restrictions. We’ll continue to provide programmes of support to these worst-affected groups, including increased training for student committees and signposting clubs with huts to financial support from government. We will also take care to continually engage with other affiliated clubs to make sure we are aware of issues on the ground allowing us to change priorities and respond to their changing needs if necessary.
Improve BMC & Club Engagement
Club engagement is a huge theme of the Clubs Strategy, and we’re keen to make early progress in this area, particularly as better communications between clubs, and between clubs and the BMC, will stand us in better stead to recover from the effects of the pandemic. In late 2020, we piloted the first of our new Local Club Network meetings in two areas, and in 2021 we intend to continue the roll out to all remaining BMC Local Areas – click here to check the details for your area.
National Clubs will also be provided with their own network when we launch the National Clubs Forum later in the year. We’ll also be building on previous progress engaging with and fostering links between our Student Clubs via social media and interactive events. We’ll also be trialling some behind-the-scenes changes to ensure that the right messages are getting through to the right people in clubs.
Expand & Grow BMC Club Membership
The pandemic has hit the membership levels of clubs of all shapes and sizes, and even beforehand the overall number of club members of the BMC was stagnating. Pandemic restrictions permitting, we want to run a campaign to communicate that ‘clubs are open’, to help clubs wishing to boost their membership.
We will also be carrying out some work to determine the risks and rewards of broadening the BMC’s affiliation criteria for clubs, with a view to welcoming more groups that do not necessarily fit the current tight affiliation-model. At the end of this process, we will look at how we can make more general changes, although none will be implemented without consultation with existing clubs.
In the summer we will be running an initiative to connect our student clubs and their graduates with local and national clubs that are looking to recruit, with benefits both for clubs that wish to expand their membership and student clubs looking for additional support. Towards the end of 2021 we hope to make progress in developing guidance for Students’ Unions on dealing with climbing and hillwalking clubs, to encourage new and retain existing university clubs.
Improve Clubs Committee Effectiveness
The Clubs Strategy, and the previous work of the ODG Clubs sub-group, recommended a number of changes to how BMC volunteers work together to maximise the value they deliver for the clubs they represent. We want to make as much progress in this area as soon possible to give us the best chance of achieving the goals of the Strategy over the coming years.
Chief among these changes are updated volunteer role descriptions, new voting members of the BMC Members’ Council and changes to how committees are structured. We aim to complete these changes by the time of the 2021 AGM.
A number of other changes will happen behind-the-scenes, including making sure clubs are included in the BMC’s policy making processes (allowing us to consult the Networks on upcoming work) and making sure volunteers have the information they need to monitor the progress against the aims of the Strategy. We will also be taking the learnings of our close relationship with the BMC Huts Group and expanding the number of other BMC committees we work with. We’ll focus initially on linking with the BMC Equity Steering Group to allow us to make progress on the sections of the strategy relating to inclusion.