Update from Lynn, Dave and Gareth

Posted by Lynn Robinson on 09/04/2020
BMC president Lynn Robinson and chair of the Board of Directors Gareth Pierce. Photo: Pete Burnside

AGM notification and update from BMC President Lynn Robinson, CEO Dave Turnbull and Chair of the Board of Directors Gareth Pierce.

First of all we hope you are keeping yourself safe and well and we wish you, your family and friends all the best in these challenging times.

It’s been a few weeks since the three of us posted an update, however we hope that you have been keeping up-to-date with all the critical work that the BMC has been doing on your behalf, which has been posted on the BMC website.

The BMC staff, Board, National Council and other volunteers have all been working hard during these unprecedented times. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed and participated. This work will continue to ensure the BMC remains as energised as possible and we will continue to work on your behalf.

We recognise that communication is essential over the next few months and we will endeavour to keep you updated. Thank you to all our members for your continued support.

Access

During the current pandemic, participation in the activities we all love, whether that be hill-walking, climbing or indoor climbing has clearly had to stop for the time being, but alongside sector partners we want to be ready and in a position to influence how everything works out as respective governments in England and Wales develop policies for re-opening access.

The BMC is currently working on submitting a major response to a government consultation on agricultural subsidies, to press the case for inclusion of allowances for farmers to facilitate access to land. Farmers are being paid to deliver public goods for public money and this must include access to their land alongside equitable reward for their role in food production.  

Conservation and sustainability

Although events relating to our initial climate change project have had to be postponed, there is plenty to do in developing the thinking for next stages. 

Membership Engagement

The BMC is continuing to provide support and advice to all members. Please check the website for detailed briefings. Staff from the Membership and Insurance Team are working to answer your membership and insurance queries and please check out the website for more information.

The BMC continues to actively support members’ travel insurance queries. However, please be patient as there is currently quite a backlog.

We are working with partners and clubs to identify available government support packages; and are having regular calls with ABC, Mountain Training, Mountaineering Scotland and Mountaineering Ireland. 

Club Support

A small Clubs and Huts Core Group has been formed by key staff, Council and Board members to provide rapid and enhanced support during this transition phase. The core group currently meets virtually on a weekly basis, supported by medical, legal and insurance advisors and other specialists as needed. In addition to responding to specific queries, we are issuing general guidance via the BMC website and direct mailings. Our first two guidance notes were issued jointly with Mountaineering Scotland.

The immediate focus is now to direct clubs and huts to the support that may be available to them (some of which has already landed in club bank accounts), and to bring together those most in need with Sport England and others to secure additional funding. Following on from our initial advice on the economic implications of lockdown, we are also now assisting clubs in how to get through it compliantly. Our aim is to ensure that all clubs survive this crisis intact, and that our amazing network of very low cost mountain accommodation continues to benefit our community in the future.

Governance

Over the past week, key meetings have taken place, including the Finance and Audit Committee, National Council and Board meetings: all as webinars or conference calls.

At the 28 March National Council meeting, Chris Stone and Jon Punshon, were appointed as Council Nominated Directors.

The Board has instigated weekly calls in order to respond to the rapidly-moving impacts of Covid-19, and these will continue at least until the end of April. Lockdown means that many aspects of our strategic plan need to be deferred or reviewed, and conversely that previously unforeseen priorities have emerged in the last few weeks.

We are currently assessing how BMC finances have already been impacted, and a range of scenarios of how they might be affected over the next year or two. There are clearly many unknowns, but some of our key income sources such as travel insurance and sponsorship may not return for some time. Membership subscriptions are normally about 75% of the BMC’s income, and we express our thanks to the clubs and individual members who are continuing to support us with their renewals. The more support our members are able to offer, the more support we will be able to continue to provide in return.

BMC Office

The BMC office closed its doors on 24 March. However staff are now working from home. It was necessary to temporarily close the BMC shop, as it was run from the office.

BMC Staff

The Board has taken the difficult decision to furlough a number of staff positions, in line with the available government scheme and the restrictions on our operations. If any member emails a member of staff that has been furloughed, they will be directed to their line-manager to respond if appropriate.

Summit Magazine

We know how much Summit Magazine is valued by our members. However, due to the expense of production during this national crisis, the Board recommended that the next edition is produced in digital format, a proposal that was supported by National Council. The BMC will explore whether a form of printed version can be provided for members without recorded email addresses.

Competitions

With the CCPG now up and running, there is an opportunity for doing detailed work on policies and delivery frameworks ahead of the next cycle of competitions activity, even though we don't know when that re-start might happen.

Future Local Area Meetings

Chris Stone, lead Director for Membership Engagement, has started to think and work with BMC Local Area Chairs and Secretaries in relation to how the June round of area meetings will be run, assuming for now that there may be no face-to-face meetings.

2020 AGM

We are required to give members 60 Clear Days’ notice of various aspects of the AGM, and the following is this notice:

On the basis of a proposal from the Board, supported by Council, on which members were last week invited to provide comments, the BMC is able to provide formal notification that its 2020 AGM will be held on Saturday 13 June at 3pm and last for about 2 hours.

Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, the AGM will be held as a "virtual" meeting through electronic connectivity only, and therefore no location for the meeting is specified this year.  Directed and discretionary proxy voting will be open to all our members nearer the time of the AGM, as well as voting on the day. Further details about how to attend the meeting electronically will also be provided nearer the date. 

The purpose of the AGM this year is to pass various procedural resolutions as required under our Articles of Association. Those agenda items will be supplemented by discussion of other relevant themes.

ODG

In relation to the implementation of the Organisational Review Group recommendations, much work has been progressed and will continue to do so. The communications plan is currently been refreshed, taking into account the situation we are in. For more updates please go to the Organisational Development Group (ODG) website.

 

Stay safe during this unwanted adventure,
Lynn, Dave and Gareth.
 
Lynn Robinson, President
Dave Turnbull, CEO
Gareth Pierce, Chair of the Board of Directors  

More FAQs about the BMC and Covid-19

🌳 Can I start climbing / hillwalking? Yes, but be cautious in your actions, respectful of local communities and vigilant in avoiding transmitting the virus. Read our latest advice for June here and for the general return to climbing here

🌳 What's the situation in Wales? Read the full June update here

😷 When and how will the walls reopen?  Read the ABC's advice for walls and watch their live update here

🚗 What have the BMC access team been doing during this time? Read on

📜 Will the BMC keep running smoothly? Read more or watch our weekly live updates from our CEO

🏡 Do you have any advice for clubs and huts? All you need to know

⛰️ Which BMC events are cancelled? Take a look at our calendar 

✈️ I've got a travel insurance question Get your answers

🛒 Is the BMC shop open? Nope - it is now closed

We hope you stay safe during this unwanted adventure and let's come together as a community to help and support each other.


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