Wheel Easy Leisure Company Limited Annual Report to the AGM on 25th November 2020
Aside from the current problems and before lockdown started it had been another busy year, but then Covid-19 struck and along with everything else Wheel Easy went into lockdown and indeed continues to be severely restricted in what it can and cannot do. We continue to live in strange times and although the immediate prospects for major change are not good and subject to any rule changes arising from the current rise in infections, the easing of some restraints to allow small groups to meet under defined circumstances and/or cycle together does bring hope for the future.
Ever resourceful members have set up Facebook, WhatsApp and other informal small groups to ride together and the Board/Committee have been working to come up with a workable plan for the gradual reopening of the Club on a slightly more formal basis. It is hoped the current arrangements can be built on and expanded as and when possible in accordance with Government regulation and guidance from Cycling UK and British Cycling. Keep an eye on the Website for further details in due course.
Turning to Club matters generally, once again may I say a very big thank you to all members for their willingness to give freely of their time, skills and energy which ensures we have the vibrant and inclusive Club that we have today.
The Web Site has continued to evolve and improve under the expert guidance of Allen and Vince and I hope members will agree that this both looks good and works well and that the wholehearted thanks of Club are due to Allen and Vince for the considerable time and effort they put into this. During the course of the year a change in the hosting was made and both the Domain Name and the Web hosting are now under the auspices of TSO, which means there is just one company to deal with involving a single annual payment which, as is apparent from the Accounts, is of modest proportions.
Unfortunately Allen has left us for pastures new in Durham so Vince has taken over the lead role on the Website and, although Allen has agreed to assist remotely where he can, further help would be appreciated from anyone who would be willing to join with and shadow Vince. Please contact either Vince or myself if you can help.
May I report at this time particularly that Vince has taken on this role wholeheartedly and has devoted a lot of his time and IT expertise not only in the running and development of the Website, but particularly with all the development of the functions on the Website and the detailed work required to restart the Group Rides and he has been at the forefront of this work generally. His enthusiasm and determination to make this work has been tremendous and have ensured where we are where we are today with Group Rides up and running once again and the grateful of thanks of the Club are due to him. Many thanks also to John Hackett who put in a lot of time in setting up the Risk Assessment that allowed the rides to restart and also in drafting and finalising all the documentation and actions required for such restart.
Since the last AGM in May 2019, there have been changes to the News Team and Maris Williams has joined the Team and after a very full stint Alan Simpson has retired and Tim Ling has taken over in his place. Many thanks to Alan for his excellent contributions and the work he has done. Al Davis, Peter Jackson and Dave Siswick continue on the Ride Reports Team and a big thank you to all these members for the time and effort they give to keeping us all up to date with the News, Events and Ride Reports and also to Chris Rogers who has continued, prior to lockdown, to do an excellent job with Ride Leaders Rota and the Rides Calendar.
As I said last year, the intention with the new look Web site is to encourage members to look at it regularly for updates on News and Events in the same way as they look for the Ride Reports and the Sunday and Wednesday ride information and everyone is encouraged to get in the habit of doing so even though at the moment there is not a lot going on, but hopefully this will be gradually changing.
May I also encourage other members to step forward and volunteer to help with these tasks in the same way as Tim has done so that the burden is shared and therefor made easier and hopefully new thinking can be brought to bear on these and the way they are undertaken.
Since the last AGM the Medium and Medium Plus Routes have been refreshed and revised and an excellent job has been made of this by Steve Wright on the Medium rides, with the assistance of Al Davis and Brian Nichol and Jill Fellerman, ably assisted by Kevin Douglas and Grant Dorward, on the Medium Plus rides. Vince has also recently spent a lot of time updating the yearly rolling Calendar for these rides.
On the Social side members have once again enjoyed the Christmas Lunches at Spa Gardens and the Hockey Club in December last year and Travellers Tales in January of this year.Thanks are due to Paul Tindle for organising the Spa lunch, to Helen Bevis and her team, together with all who helped on the day, not least Alan Simpson who was back in charge of a kitchen again, for the Hockey Club lunch and to John Russell for a very entertaining and enjoyable Travellers Tales evening which was generally regarded as one of the best we have had for some time. The Anniversary Tea at Spa Gardens was once again well supported and enjoyed by all who participated and thanks to Jill Jackson for organising and arranging this and to Caroline and her team at Spa for looking after us so well both at the tea and Christmas lunch.
In 2019 we enjoyed the rare experience of not only having the UCI Road World Championships on home soil, but of it being based in Harrogate and despite some atrocious weather this proved a great showcase for Harrogate and cycling generally and I am sure was enjoyed by all who attended. It also gave the Club some unexpected television exposure with items featuring members on both BBC and ITV.
At the last Directors/Committee Meeting before lockdown the resignation of Gia as Joint Vice-Chair was reluctantly accepted and it was agreed that Vince Grealy would join Helen as joint Vice-Chairs, so many thanks to Helen and Vince for taking this on and ensuring that continuity is maintained.
Gia’s contribution to the development and running of the Club over the years cannot be over stated and although she has wanted to take a back seat for some time now she has put the interests of the Club first and continued as she has. So a huge debt of gratitude is due to her from the Club and also from me personally for her support since I took over the Chair. She has kindly agreed to continue as a Director and so her knowledge and wisdom will not be lost to the Club.
On Company matters generally, John Hackett has continued to quietly and efficiently deal with all the formalities of running a Limited Company including the actions and returns required by Companied House. He has also done a great job organising the Long Ride routes and leaders which I hope members will support if and when we are able to operate them by either going on some of the rides tailored to those who have not experienced a Long Ride before or by stepping up and volunteering as a Leader.
As always we are short of Ride Leaders so when we are able to run full Club rides again please do support your Club and Chris who puts in a lot of work on this and volunteer to lead a ride, particularly where there are gaps on the Calendar. There is plenty of help and support available for anyone who is not too sure, but would willing to try.
I would like to offer my personal thanks, as well as those of members, to all the Directors and Committee members who have met regularly and dealt with a wide variety of matters affecting the Club to ensure, as far as possible, it runs smoothly and members can simply enjoy their riding without any administrative concerns. Apart from those I have already mentioned this includes Treasurer Dave Rang, who keeps us financially on the straight and narrow and deals with the returns to Companies House of the Annual Accounts and the tax accounts to HMRC and has now succeeded in persuading HMRC to exempt WELC from annual tax returns. It also includes Mike Inglis and Richard Leake and also Zoe Cooper who acts as Independent Examiner of our books and accounts.
I would like to make a special mention of Jill Fellerman, our hard working Secretary as she is retiring this year after many years carrying out with her usual efficiency and dedication the work of Club Secretary. She has done this almost, but not quite, since the beginning of Wheel Easy and her contribution to the smooth running of Club and Board/Committee meetings and other aspects of the Club that she has been involved with has been exceptional and very much appreciate by all who have any involvement with the running of the Club and particularly by me since I took on the Chair. I am only sorry not to be able to do it in person in the present circumstances, but the grateful thanks of the Club are offered to Jill with our best wishes for her continued association with the Club as member and rider.
Thank you also to membership secretary, Monica Webber, who, working away in the background, puts in a lot of time organising and collecting the subscriptions and generally keeping our membership records up to date. At the year end on 31st March we had 177 male members, 100 female members, making a total of 277. Currently there are 286 on the Membership List, which includes 8 new members, although quite a substantial number of members have not renewed their subscription so far for this year.
Jean Battison and Jill Jackson are retiring this year and thanks are due to them for their contribution on the Board/Committee and towards the general running of the Club. Jill particularly has a done a great job in organising the Anniversary Tea day and both she and Jean have been amongst the first to volunteer when any ad hoc help was required.
The monthly Away Days have once again proved very popular and many thanks to Kevin and Colin for the excellent organisation and the routes offered and also to those who have volunteered to organise and lead a route so it does not all fall on Kevin and Colin. Thanks are also due to Liz Pugh for her organisation of the Wanderers which seem to run very efficiently and to Terry Smith who not only seems to be organising most of the Long Ride Routes on a Wednesday but also works away quietly in the background with the Sustrans Rangers organising the work areas and equipment, marshalling the troops and rolling up his sleeves on the second Tuesday of most months. Although cancelled for most of the 2020 summer, we look forward to the return of these events once the Covid-19 restrictions permit.
The period since the last AGM has seen a number of accidents involving members and it is good to see all those either recovered or well on the way and such events are a timely reminder to members to check that they are fully insured for any potential Third Party claim arising from an accident. There is information available on the Website for members about this.
On a more pleasant note and as will be apparent from the Accounts, the Sustrans Group of volunteers received a Grant of £250 from Bettys & Taylors under their Good Cause Award Scheme. This was through the initiative and efforts of Terry Smith and Peter Lawley, for which many thanks to them, and the Grant will be used to renew the tools and equipment used by the Rangers on their workdays on the second Tuesday of each month when these can restart.
Although not everyone uses Facebook, the Club page has now been secured so the posts can only be read by members who have been authorised to access it and so if any member who does not already have it would like such authorisation they should contact
Malcolm or Gia. Would others who are not on Facebook also consider joining as it is a useful means of passing information round.
Finally can I thank all who have helped on an ad hoc basis when the occasion arose such as last minute volunteer ride leaders and apologise and say thank you to any one I have missed.
I look forward to the time when we can all meet freely again at Hornbeam and ride without restriction!