Highlights of the 2017 AGM (part 1)

We held our Annual General Meeting on 1 April 2017 at the Commercial Union House in Newcastle City Centre, a lovely community and artist space managed by Ampersand Inventions. It was very busy from the very start as the room filled with more than 40 members, familiar and new faces too. Many thanks for coming and here is an account of the formal business of the AGM for those who couldn’t make it. For our guest speaker’s speech, Chi Onwurah MP, click here

Photo credit: Peter Wesolowski

Claire Prospert, co-founder of NewCycling and Secretary, presented the annual report of activities. Last year was a roller coaster, a year of extremes as described in the foreword by Katja Leyendecker, the Campaign’s Chair. The focus was again on campaigning for a comprehensive quality cycling network in the city so that people of all ages and abilities can safely cycle wherever they need to go, every day. Sadly a lot of volunteer time, effort and resources had to be diverted in the summer. When we found ourselves fighting the Northern Access Corridor motorway plans. We could not believe it, the Council’s plans to create a motorway across the North of the city! We were not the only ones totally stunned and disappointed in our council. All this has meant that we were not able to get on with our members’ actions but nonetheless we were very pleased to see more people involved throughout the year, contacting us, tweeting, writing about their concerns and also expressing their support to the campaign. Thank you. We will continue to campaign for a better city. This year there also has been evidence of better street design and cycling infrastructure: John Dobson Street is a good example and we list others in the Annual Report. However these projects are still disjointed. The concept of comprehensive network is tentatively emerging but, as we all understand, much more needs to be done to make it real. The Campaign is an expert group; we have more than 6 years of experience and knowledge engaging with the council to make a case and champion quality cycling infrastructure and a healthy and fair city. We are here to help and advise. Our Infrastructure Team led by Scott Dawson, has not only the technical skills and ability to visualise and design solutions which work for moving people (rather than just cars which seems to occupy much of the common council practice).

John Watson, at the 2017 AGM. Photo credit: Peter Wesolowski

John Watson, NewCycling’s Treasurer, presented last year’s account which showed a healthy balance of £3,518.39. In terms of outgoings (total: £947.06), we paid for Paul Gasson’s train ticket to present at last year’s AGM. Paul had stayed in John’s spare room to save us on accommodation costs! Most costs related to travel and attendance at events: Scott went to Leeds on an Infrastructure Safari organised by Leeds Cycle Campaign, Claire travelled to Cambridge to participate in the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain AGM, Katja spoke at the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group meeting in London and claimed £24 for sustenance, Sally presented an analysis of planning policy and cycling in Lancaster in September. We also bought books for our growing library. In terms of income, we again had a very successful Grow Your Tenner campaign, a big thank you to all our donors (a total of £1,742.19 donations was made during the year). We now have 7 direct debits which gives us some certainty of income and more financial security – especically as we keep membership free. We also had a healthy level of corporate membership renewals, many thanks to Apex Acoustics, Macks Solicitors, the Cycle Hub and Saddle Skedaddle.

We then agreed the members of the Management Committee for 2017-18 and who seconded them:

  • Scott Dawson – seconded by John Litherland
  • Roderick Joyce – seconded by Tom Bailey
  • Katja Leyendecker – seconded by Marion Talbot
  • Claire Prospert – seconded by Peter Ward
  • Sally Watson – seconded by Ruth Hayward
  • John Watson – seconded by Bill Dodds

As usual, the constituted posts and other roles will be agreed at the first Committee meeting of the new campaign year, which is scheduled for 9th May.

This year we also had a motion where we proposed to reduce, in our Constitution, the minimum number of members present at AGM to be quorate. The reason was purely practical, and based on previous attendances and successful AGMs. The members in the audience discussed and it was agreed to have a fixed minimum number of 30.

Part 2 (soon to come) will cover the campaign plan and the discussion which followed.