Thursday, 8 January 2015

Recent Changes in the CTC

Over the last 12 months there have been many changes in National Office, with the executive team having to respond to a ever more challenging budget. Sadly many of those changes have impacted on staff. Recently I have had a number of representations from my members in connection with the latest changes which impacted on the function providing dedicated touring support.

The CEO Paul Touhy and his team of directors have a very challenging job, tasked with sustaining and growing CTC with a reducing budget and as a result had to look hard at how to achieve this. In reality in such a small organisation the options are few. The reality was that a very small number of people accessed the dedicated technical assistance that was available and this did not sustain retention of that function as it was. Council were consulted on this change and we could see that whilst it was regrettable, it was a decision taken in the best interests of the organisation.  Matt Malinder, the Membership Director intends to strengthen support to member groups as a result and will be liaising with you in coming weeks and months as he will want to know what you would like to see happen.

Paul and his team have already been very successful in bidding for central government funding so crucial to our long term plans and which also allows the CTC to get involved in activities which will raise its profile nationally and to all those cyclists who currently are not aware of its existence, or do not think its for them. Amongst other things this has enabled a successful pilot of The Big Bike Revival and puts the CTC in a more optimistic position starting 2015.

The emails I have received talk of technical touring functions being eradicated completely and this is not true. Members will continue to be able to access Technical and Touring features, Q&As and reviews in Cycle magazine, on CTC website and by dipping into the breadth of CTC members’ experience via the CTC forum.

Cycle touring remains a key strand of our strategy along with the many other forms of cycling in which people participate. What is different about the CTC is that we are potentially able to attract and represent the interests of all those cyclists. However as much as this is a unique positive feature of CTC it also presents a challenge for the executive, who have to determine how best to serve all of those interests. 

I assure you also as your councillor and someone who is very active in matters in and supporting council, that we are all fully involved and there is no sidelining taking place. In fact as well as being on the Operations Committee I have also undertook additional work supporting events for members, recruitment of the CEO, organising discussions with council itself on future facing challenges. I usually go to all the formal national committees and meetings. At AGM time I try to get to 2 or 3 member group meetings and I attend the East Midlands AGM and meetings a couple of times a year. I am also the equalities champion. I feel very strongly about the issues faced by cyclists in rural areas, as is the case in many parts of our region, more recently I made representation on the consultation on closures and changes to rail crossings across the region and how this impacted on the wonderful lanes we enjoy.

I can assure you also that for me personally it is important that CTC continues to be the natural home for people who see themselves as cycle tourists. I don't get out as consistently as many of you reading this might but I enjoy nothing more than a ride around the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire countryside and touring across the UK and beyond. For the first 8 months of this year I was doing a lot of rides trying to improve my cycle fitness and during this time undertook some sportives. Whilst I enjoyed these I can honestly say that a perfect cycling day for me involves being with friends on a leisurely bike ride, at least one long stop for coffee, cake and a chat and being able to soak in our beautiful ever changing scenery.

I will be at the East Midlands AGM later this month and I hope to see you there. Your emails and views are shared with Matt Malinder, the Membership Director as they arrive and I will provide updates to this blog accordingly.

Jaki Lowe
CTC East Midlands Councillor

1 comment:

  1. I am puzzled when you refer to “an ever-more challenging budget” and “a reducing budget” in terms of change at National Office and the impact on staff.

    At our 2014 national AGM in Glasgow, Gordon Seabright reported that income from membership subs was £1.8 million. I remember him saying that he was satisfied with the budget.

    What had declined, Gordon explained last May, were the grants which the government pays CTC. Now you say that "Paul and his team have been very successful in bidding for central government funding”.

    I would presume that membership subs pay for membership services. With between 65,000 and 70,000 members and the ordinary subscription raised at the 2014 AGM, subs and services should remain healthy.

    I would presume that government grants pay for additional projects, “activities which will raise (CTC’s) profile nationally". These too should remain healthy.

    Government grants - whether they rise or fall - won’t be paying for membership services.

    That is why I am puzzled.