We held our Annual General Meeting on 30 March 2019 at the Commercial Union House in Newcastle. Here is a brief account of what happened for those who couldn’t make it.
The AGM kicked off with the formal business: Claire Prospert, co-founder of NewCycling and Secretary, presented the annual report of activities and John Watson, Treasurer, outlined last year’s account which continued to be very healthy. A very warm thank you to our corporate members, Saddle Skedaddle, the Cycle Hub and Apex Acoustics, our members and those of have donated money to the Campaign – you are awesome!
We also agreed the members of the Management Committee for 2019-20. Some were already on the committee: Scott Dawson, Roderick Joyce, Claire Prospert, Sally Watson, John Watson and others joined this year; welcome to Julie Hall, Tim Dowson and Beccy Say. Please note that, at the committee meeting which followed the AGM, Sally agreed to be the Chair, Claire the Secretary and John the Treasurer.
Sally presented the 2019-20 Campaign plan. Last year we didn’t see much support and progress towards cycling infrastructure from the Council and we would like them to “get back on track”. We want the Council to start deliver a comprehensive cycling network in stages and we want to be involved in this long-term process with other groups too – clarity is important and having a plan then supports investment decisions. The campaign is committed to work with Councillors and officers, will continue to champion inclusive cycling infrastructure and will collaborate with other groups to amplify the voice to create space for cycling and walking in the city.
We then had a number of speakers who talked about inclusive cycling followed by a discussion.
The first speaker was Mark who writes the Ranty Highwayman blog – Mark who lives in London couldn’t be here today but he sent us a great video for us to show today. Here it is: https://youtu.be/BpZXz2F61dY
Tim Parsons, then gave us an update from the local Cycling without Age group. Cycling without Age is an international movement enabling the elderly and less mobile to experience the thrill of being back on a bike. Each local group is a separate voluntary sector organisation and the Newcastle group is the first presence in the North East. Each group fundraises for triobikes (see picture on the presentation here) which are used by volunteers to take people out on a ride. There are a range of benefits for the passengers (and the ride pilots too!) and formal research in Denmark has begun to assess long-term health benefit too. The group has links with an existing homecare and continues to reach out to partner with dementia and care organisations. Infrastructure matters when riding the triobikes – bollards are not great, surface and width are important. Traffic free rides are best. Older people really enjoy riding and triobikes can be used with visually impaired people too. Tim said that they were interested in working with groups which have access to other kinds of adapted bikes. They are also looking for volunteers to be pilots, and are still fundraising for their triobike.
Before moving on, John presented Tim with a £500 cheque from the Campaign on behalf of the Committee to help the Newcastle group with its fundraising. Best wishes for the future, and let’s combine our efforts!
Sally then introduced our next speaker: Nick Hubble from the new Walk Ride Greater Manchester group, who couldn’t come but kindly agreed to skype and tell us more about this brand new campaign. Nick talked about the recent positive support for cycling in the Greater Manchester area: strong political leadership from Andy Burnham, Chris Boardman appointed as Cycling and Walking Commissioner, the development of the Beelines network and £160m for cycling and walking infrastructure. There’s already an active local cycling campaigning scene. So it was important to define how a new group would fit – combining cycling and walking and championing the car free travel agenda received a lot of support. Walk Ride GM is not a traditional cycling campaign, it is more about designing cities for people, it’s about places. And it’s not about being defined by a single mode of transport. The group is interested in addressing broader issues and providing more inclusive and appealing alternatives supporting car free travel within an urban context. The campaign has 4 goals:
- Traffic-free Deansgate
- Crackdown on pavement parking
- Trial of bikes on trams
- Civilise the school run
The younger generation drive less and communities value their local facilities so the campaign nurtures the sense of place, the “hyperlocal”. Activities include street audits carried out in groups to develop filtered neighbourhoods (like the mini-Hollands in London).
The final speaker was Graham Grant, Head of Transport Planning at Newcastle City Council. His update focussed on three elements: the emerging Network plan, the Transforming Cities bid and governance. He indicated that he was committed to addressing issues about poor cycling and walking infrastructure design.
A fuller account of the AGM will be available soon when we publish the draft minutes.