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RECORDS OF OUR ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 27th June 2017 at SRSB, Mappin Street, Sheffield

1. CHAIRMAN
Christine welcomed everyone.

2. APOL0GIES
Betsy and Mel.

3. MINUTES of the last AGM were accepted as a true record.

4. MATTERS ARISING
None.

5. TREASURER'S REPORT Stan Wainwright (Treasurer). The Treasurer's report was circulated. Stan commented that this last financial year has not been a good one in that we have not had as many donations and fundraising is down on the previous financial year. Eric and Stan have written 24 letters to local companies requesting financial assistance. We have only had 4 responses, 2 to say that they support other groups and 2 one off donations, one from Towsure £25.00 and one from our Building Society of £100. The accounts were audited by Colin Newton on 29th May 2017. The Treasurer's Report was accepted as a true record.

6. CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

A - WALKS
Walking is what we do so let's talk about that first. In the last year SVIWG has done:
12 Tuesday walks including 2 specially designed to enable Betsy to join us
12 Wednesday walks including a Christmas lunch walk
12 Thursday walks
12 Sunday walks including a New Year lunch walk
4 walks we did on the group holiday in Berwick on Tweed
1 coach ramble walk around Buxton
The Sheffield Round Walk - all 17 miles of it
Total of 54 walks in the year
If we add it all up this is again not far short of 300 miles. All of this has been reported in the newsletters thanks to Gail.

The lynch pin of this walking programme is John Bater who finds leaders for us and who also organises guides for Thursdays and Sundays. A very special thank you to John. Thanks also to David Cadet and Norman Pearson who organise and lead the Tuesday walks. Their efforts are much appreciated. Thanks also to Philip Tims and his hearing-impaired group of walkers who contribute to the cost of the coach ramble and who joined us on that day out. The bottom line is that we are keeping up with our record of about 300 miles per year. All of this reported in newsletters thanks to Gail.

B - SAFETY ON WALKS:
I make no apology for reminding everyone about safety on walks. Not letting the group get too strung out because of the risk of losing people or of an incident occurring that we are not aware of. Leaders set the pace to suit the group as a whole. Do not walk in front of the leader. Pause at stiles, the tops of hills etc to allow others to catch up. Use the radios and if you are back marking and do not hesitate to call the leader to wait. We have a bought new set of radios. David and Norman will have the radios on all Tuesday walks in the future.

C - DOGS ON WALKS: We spoke about this at last AGM, and it is still an issue. There have been one or two incidents recently where a dog has knocked into a VIP walker and nearly caused a nasty accident. We have Alan here tonight to talk about guide dogs.

D - MEMBERSHIP: 7 new members have gone onto our database in the past year, 6 of whom are VIPs, but I am not sure how many of these have been out on walks. I only recognise 1 name as a regular walker. That suggests we need to be better at following up new members and ensuring that they get the support they need to come out on walks. Overall membership stands at 90 of whom 34 are VIPs. That compares with 135 at this time last year of whom 50 were VIPs.

E - LOST FRIENDS: This has been an especially sad year. We have lost dear friends in Mike Anderson, Mick Charlesworth, Ted Ellerton, Norma Jackson, June Hegarty and Chris Darling. They will all be sadly missed and our thoughts are with their families.

F - PUBLIC ATTENTION: We know that Matt Writtle's book 'Sunday: A Portrait of 21st Century England' is being published. SVIWG feature as one of the chapters in that book with some good photos of the group out on a Sunday walk last year. Sarah Bell a researcher from Exeter University is engaged in a research project on visual impairment and the natural environment. She has been out with the group twice and will be joining us one more time. She is also talking to VIPs on an individual basis. Charlotte Jacoba Conelia van di Lijn a student from Sheffield University now has approval for her dissertation research project into use of Geographic Information Systems by visually impaired people. She is hoping to join walks in July/August.

G - HOLIDAYS: In September 2016 some 32 of us set off for Berwick upon Tweed. Local Ramblers were more than helpful in devising and leading walks for us. We walked round the old ramparts of the city, around Holy Island (both in the fog as I recall), along the banks of the Tweed (in the rain), the coastal path from Berwick to St Abbs Head (in glorious sunshine) to see the launch of their lifeboat and the coastal path from Craster to Beadnell. We found it especially helpful to have our own coach with us for the week so that we were quite independent of public transport. That seems to have set a precedent for future holidays. We decided to go to Whitby for the 2017 holiday. Special Tribute to Hilary. At this point I want to pay a very special tribute to Hilary. All arrangements for the holidays, sorting out hotels, getting the best deals on accommodation, working out room allocations, arranging transport etc. is down to Hilary. Hilary also sorts out the pub bookings for the Christmas and New Year lunches, makes all the arrangements with SRSB for this AGM supper and gets us a coach for the coach ramble. We are ever beholden to Hilary, thank you.

H - FUND RAISING: My thanks to all those valiant folks who did the Sheffield Round Walk on 17 June. It will be a while before we know how much we raised but early indications suggest a goodly amount. A vote of thanks to SRSB for all they do for us. (Printing, Room Space, Database, distribution of newsletter).

I - WEB SITE: Thank you to Christine Whittaker. We are still the only visually impaired walking group on the web. We get quite a lot of enquiries from other parts of the country.

J - TO DO LIST FOR 2017-2018 : 1) Fundraising 2) More recruitment, especially of VIPs 3) Fostering new members 4) Holiday venue for 2018 5) Coach Rambles - possibly to the seaside? 6) Look towards a new Executive 7) Last but not least GUIDES. If it wasn't for you this group would not exist. A vote of thanks for all guides. 8) Dogs on Walks. We will always try to have some free running for the dogs, but this is not always possible, especially where there is livestock in the fields or where the path is narrow. Firstly, it is up to the leader to say when dogs can be let off the lead. In making their decision leaders will be bearing in mind that dogs should not be off the lead near roads, anywhere there is livestock, either in the field we are in or adjacent fields. Nor should dogs be off lead if we are walking on a narrow path where dogs running up and down the line of walkers runs the risk of knocking people over, especially if they pick up a stick in their mouths as some of them are prone to do. Once the leader has said that dogs may be let off the lead it is up to the guide dog owner to release their own dog but they must make sure that a sighted guide takes responsibility for keeping an eye on the dog. If the sighted guide is you, then YOU DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE DOG. Ask the guide dog owner to call the dog back the minute you spot a possible problem. Finally, remember that dogs must be on leads for coffee and lunch stops. Š We may have to restrict free running to one dog at a time.

7. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Christine is standing down as Chair this year. After confirmation from members the new Committee will be:
Officers:
Chair: David Cadet
Vice Chair: Christine Hewitt
Walks Planner and Co-ordinator: John Bater
Membership Secretary: Brian Hirst
Treasurer: Stan Wainwright
Social Secretary: Hilary Myers
Minutes Secretary: Pauline Bullivant
Newsletter Editor: Gail Fagan
Other Committee Members: Eric, Sue and Carol (co-opted, and who may take up membership duties)

David, on behalf of all the members, gave an enormous thank you to Christine for all the hard work that she has put in during her time as Chair. She will be a hard act to follow.

8. HOLIDAYS
A Canal Trip is planned for Tuesday 15 August 'Ethel' 57 ft canal barge moored at Thorne, Doncaster. She carries 12 passengers. The trip is planned to start at 10 am and be back for 4 pm. Christine is taking a car and asked for 2 other car drivers so that we could accommodate 12 people. The cost of the trip is £8 per person on a first come first served basis.

9. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Gill Thompson - When Ted died in January, Jill was in charge of his wake. As part that Jill took the opportunity to attend the AGM and arrange for everyone to have a free drink on Ted. Jill proposed a toast to Ted and everyone raised their glasses.
Dogs on Leads - comment from Mary on behalf of Ken - The walks leader should inform walkers when dogs can be let off the lead as soon as possible.
Walks for visually impaired youth - Martin who organises the Youth Club took the AGM as an opportunity to promote walks for the visually impaired youth.
SRSB staff to promote SVIWG for newly registered - comment from Olwyn - it is important that SRSB staff promote SVIWG for newly registered. Social Services - comment from Jack - wanted a reminder to go to Social Services to point people towards us (SVIWG). Doctors Surgeries - Carol suggested we explore the possibility of promoting SVIWG in doctors' surgeries.

10 GUEST SPEAKER - Alan Thorpe.
Alan gave a talk about Guide Dogs and how they have an impact on the walking group. He gave a thought provoking talk, bringing ideas to the table for discussion. Topics he touched on included:
The merits and pitfalls of one or more dogs being let off the lead.
Free running - who is responsible?
Calling the dog back?
Burning off steam. Throwing sticks.
Dog sitting service. Members engaged with Alan offering their opinion. As time was running out it was agreed to bring the discussion to and end, and Alan said he would be willing to come to talk to us again on another date. David gave thanks to Alan.


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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 24th July 2014 at SRSB, Mappin Street, Sheffield

1. Chairman
Christine welcomed everyone and gave thanks to Hilary and Steve for all their help and thanked Sue and Norman for organising the raffle. Christine also thanked Rob for the catering.

2. Apologies
Steve Brown and Ann Batty.

3. Minutes of the last AGM held on 12 July 2012
The minutes were accepted as a true record.

4. Matters Arising
No matters arising.

5. Chairman's Report
Christine gave an excellent report on the Group's activities over the last 12 months.

Walks: the group has been on 11 Wednesday walks, 11 Sunday walks and 11 Thursday walks including a Christmas lunch walk in December and another walk in January this year. Special thanks and praise must go to John Bater for his brilliant effort. Also our thanks go to David Cadet and Norman for organising the easier and shorter walks on Tuesdays. We have had 9 walks and these have proved very popular. In addition we have had a day trip to Saltaire with the Hearing Impaired Group and a walk on the wild side on Blacamoor with Sheffield Wildlife Trust. If we add it all up - not far short of 300 miles.

Membership: currently we have 111 members 40 of whom are VIPs. 15 new people have joined since July last year but we have lost 10 names from our membership in the same period. We distribute leaflets to the main hospitals eye clinic, the SRSB and Social Services rehab teams. Our experience with recruitment is similar to that of other walking groups in Sheffield, people getting older and dropping out but not getting the same level of new recruits coming in.

Our guides are very important to us without them we would not be able to function and we cannot thank them enough. Other activities not strictly a group activity but we were pleased to celebrate George Napier's 90th birthday with a buffet supper provided by George back in January this year.

Two dry stone walling days were held one in October last year and one in May this year. Thanks to Jack and Ann Allen and to John for organising the participants.

Two guide awareness training events took place one in September 2013 and one in July 2014. Ten new guides have been trained thanks to Ann Rolf who delivers the training for us and to Gail Fagan for her invaluable assistance. We have 7 guides awaiting training.

Holidays: Everyone enjoyed the holiday in Grassington 2013 there were 18 participants including 6 VIPs. Llandudno is planned for September this year and we are well on the way to having a holiday organised for 2015 in the Isle of Man.

Fundraising: Ann Allen raised £400 from the Sheffield Half Marathon that never was! Thank you Ann. Also thanks to Eric for organising Scafell Pike 2014. We are busy training for this during the Summer. 25% of what we raise will be for our group the rest to SRSB. A vote of thanks to SRSB for all they do for us, they do a tremendous amount including letting us have room space, printing, distribution of our newsletter, database and much more.
Next year will possibly be Morecombe Bay - not for dawdlers!

Thanks to: Website - Our thanks to Christine Whittaker.
Guides - Once again, our heartfelt thanks go to all our Guides.

Next Year - More guide training, more recruitment, hopefully a First Aid refresher and a Coach Ramble (Todmorden to Hebden Bridge).

6. Treasurer's Report Stan Wainwright, our Treasurer distributed copies of his Treasurer's Report showing the Group's Income and Expenditure Account together with the Balance Sheet as at 31st March 2014. The accounts were audited by Colin Newton on 26th June 2014. Stan gave thanks to Sue Pearson who handed over the books to Stan last year. The books he received from Sue were impeccable. Stan went through the report and asked if anyone had any question. No one had any questions therefore the report was accepted as a true record.

7. Election of Officers
All the posts on the Committee are to remain the same as last year as there were no other nominations made for any of the posts.
Chair: Christine Hewitt
Vice Chair: Eric Andrews
Walks Planner and Co-ordinator: John Bater
Membership Secretary: Brian Hirst
Treasurer: Stan Wainwright
Social Secretary: Hilary Myers
Minutes Secretary: Pauline Bullivant
Newsletter Editor: Gail Fagan
Other Committee Members: David Cadet

8. Holiday 2014 and 2015

Llandudno: Hilary distributed an information leaflet to all participants along with luggage labels. She particularly mentioned Guides asking them to please share your 'Buddy' with one of the other guides.
Isle of Man 7 September 2015 5 days - Hilary has sourced a hotel and a guest house and distributed a leaflet to those who wish to go on the holiday asking them to give their preference. At the end of the meeting it was decided that the guest house was the preferred option. Hilary needs confirmed numbers within the next two weeks along with £50 per person so that she can send off the deposit. Hilary answered queries during the course of the evening.

9. Any other business

1. Blind Veterans We have had contact from the Blind Veterans. Tom joined this group who are eager to make ex-serviceman aware of the Blind Veterans. If anyone knows of any ex-serviceman in our group please make them aware of the Blind Veterans. They are putting our publicity leaflet in their Review Magazine.

2. Parachute Jump Betsie's parachute jump scheduled for July was cancelled due to bad weather, however it is now scheduled for 3rd August. So far she has raised £614.11. Betsie is still looking for more sponsorship.

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Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 4th July 2013 at SRSB, Mappin Street, Sheffield

1. Chairman
Christine welcomed everyone and said what a pleasure it was to see everyone and in particular those who we haven't seen regularly including Peter and Brenda and Barbara. Christine also thanked our chef Rob and his staff for their excellent food and service, a really wonderful meal. Christine went on to thank Hilary and Steve for all their help organising the drinks and to Sue and Norman for the raffle.

2. Apologies
Bob Priestley and Don Tales.

3. Minutes of the last AGM held on 12 July 2012
These were circulated with the newsletter last year. Christine reiterated the key points regarding the Constitution that we increase the maximum of officers on the Committee from 7 to 9, the majority of officers to be made up of visually impaired members, i.e. 5 must be VIPs. The minutes were accepted as a true record.

4. Matters Arising
No matters arising.

5. Chairman's Report
Christine said she believed we had had another good year walking regularly once per month on Wednesday, Sunday and Thursday and sometimes on Tuesday. We were very grateful for the support of a range of people, the Ramblers, National Trust, and the Peak Park Rangers and our own guide members. She paid special tribute to John Bater for organising the walks tirelessly and with such dedication, he deserved all the applause we can give him.

The Trip to Saltaire unfortunately has had to be postponed as Philip Timms from the Hearing Group is ill as is his wife. We all wished them both well and will pick this up later in the year. Last year's holiday to Hawes was successful and we are looking forward to this year's holiday to Grassington. Hilary made some points. We would leave at 9.30 am. The walks would be led by Ted on Tuesday, Colin on Wednesday and Rachel on Thursday. Hilary suggested that we have an away day in Skipton on Friday where our own guides could lead us on a canal walk and we could have a meal of fish and chips there. She also mentioned that we could eat at the Black Bull on Monday and perhaps try the Fountain another time but we would see how we feel when we get up there.

Christine went on to thank Jack and Ann particularly for organising the stone walling and Betsy for the motor cycling. She also thanked Eric for raising £265.00 for our funds on his Coast to Coast tandem bike ride with his son Fraser - a really good effort. We are all impressed. We are also impressed with Ann's half marathon she raised £255.00, many thanks Ann - we are very grateful. Christine has been thinking about getting a shorter easier walk once a month on a Tuesday as we are getting older and some of us would welcome this but we need to have enough guides. Christine will put something in the next newsletter. Christine gave a special tribute to Sue Pearson our Treasurer for being Treasurer for the past 5 years. On our behalf Christine thanked Sue for her dedicated service, we are very grateful, thank you Sue.

Finally Christine gave thanks to the guides as none of this would be possible without them.

6. Treasurer's Report A copy of the Treasurer's Report is available if anyone wants a copy. The Treasurer's analysis was read out to members. The report was accepted as a true record by members.

7. Election of Officers
Stan Wainwright was elected as the new Treasurer The posts of Chair (Christine Hewitt), Vice Chair (Eric Andrews), Walks Co-ordinator (John Bater), Social Secretary (Hilary Myers), Membership Secretary (Brian Hirst), Newsletter Editor (Gail Fagin) and the Minute Secretary (Pauline Bullivant) to remain as last year as no other nominations were made for any of the posts. David Cadet was elected on to the Committee.
Chair: Christine Hewitt
Vice Chair: Eric Andrews
Walks Planner and Co-ordinator: John Bater
Membership Secretary: Brian Hirst
Treasurer: Stan Wainwright
Social Secretary: Hilary Myers
Minutes Secretary: Pauline Bullivant
Newsletter Editor: Gail Fagan
Other Committee Members: David Cadet

8. Any other business
Jack Burling telephoned Hilary to say he can't go on the holiday to Grassington due to ill health but wished to be remembered to all and hopes to get to see you all again. Christine closed the meeting with a big thank you to everyone.


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Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 12th July 2012 at SRSB, Mappin Street, Sheffield

1. Chairman
Eric welcomed everyone and also welcomed his guests Harry and Wendy Johnson, who had helped Eric out with the group's trip to Austria during his first year as Chairman. Eric also thanked our Chef Rob and his staff for their excellent food and service and asked them to come out and receive the group's applause. Eric went on to thank Hilary and Steve for all their help and to thank Norman and Sue for the raffle which raised £55.

2. Apologies
Ray Johnson, Ken Bower, Stan Wainwright and George Napier.

3. Minutes of the last AGM held on 22 July 2011
The minutes were agreed as a correct record.

4. Matters Arising
It was noted that the Constitution had been changed as agreed and therefore this would be the only General Meeting of the year.

5. Chairman's Report
Eric believed we had had another successful year. Last year's holiday in Wales included climbing up Snowdon had given him the idea of climbing Ben Nevis and raising funds for SRSB and SVIWG. To date sviwg has raised £2,680. Thanks to members and friends and help from Sue and Jane of SRSB.

Eric gave his commiserations to Ann Allen for her gallant attempt to run the Sheffield half marathon this year. He also welcomed new members, including the several students, who members enjoyed walking with.

6. Election of Officers
Before the election began, Christine Hewitt proposed that the Constitution be amended to allow the number of committee members to be increased from 7 to 9. However, the majority must still be visually impaired. The amendment was seconded by Betsy Wilson and was agreed unanimously by members
Chair: Addressing the meeting, Eric reminded everyone that he intended to retire as Chairman this year, and went on to recommend Christine Hewitt as an excellent candidate for sviwg's new chairman. Christine was voted in as Chairman.
Vice Chair: George Napier, who was standing down, was thanked for his service as Vice Chair over the last 3 years. Eric offered to fill the post of Vice Chair temporarily until Brian Hirst, who had requested to be considered for the role, had gained more active experience as a committee member. Christine Hewitt said she would value Eric's experience, but would also like to see Brian take a more active role on the committee. A paper vote was carried out, and Eric was voted in as vice chair.
Walks Planner and Co-ordinator: John Bater
Membership Secretary: Christine Hewitt
Treasurer: Sue Pearson (for 1 year only)
Social Secretary: Hilary Myers
Minutes Secretary: Pauline Bullivant
Newsletter Editor: Gail Fagan
Other Committee Members: Brian Hirst.

7. Treasurer's Report The treasurer's report was accepted as a true record.

8. Any other business
8.1. Eric thanked Norman Pearson for taking Mick Charlsworth out for walks. Nigel Robb offered to help, and Eric asked for more volunteers.
8.2. Christine Hewitt thanked the guides, and reminded them to let her and John know if the were going on a walk.
8.3. Christine informed members that David Jardin, of Sheffield Ramblers, had recently died.
8.4. Betsy Wilson proposed that the members thanked Christine Hewitt for taking on the role as Chair and wished her luck in her new post.


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Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 22nd July 2011 at SRSB, Mappin Street, Sheffield

1. Chairmanís Opening Remarks - The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, including his own personal special guests Steve Hambleton, the General Manager of SRSB, and Neville, one of the volunteer drivers, and his wife Jean. He then extended thanks to the chef and the SRSB staff, who had produced and served us with an excellent meal, and to Hilary and Steve for organising the event and for the wine.

2. Apologies - There were no apologies.

3. Minutes of the last AGM held on July 2011 - The minutes were agreed as a correct record.

4. Matters Arising - It was noted that the Constitution had been changed as agreed and therefore this would be the only General Meeting of the year.

It was also noted that a new website had been set up by Christine Whittaker. The Chairman thanked Christine for her efforts.

5. Chairmanís Report - The Chairman said that SVIWG had had another successful year Ė thanks to the efforts of the Committee and the support of members. Members had continued to raise funds for the group e.g. Ann Allen who had once again run the Sheffield Half Marathon. Well done to Ann and to all those who had helped to raise funds.

During the past year we had also done our best to support SRSB who relied so much on fundraising/donations to provide a second to none service for visually impaired people. Thanks were also due to those who took part in the recent Chatsworth Sponsored Walk which was so successful. SVIWG continues to be most grateful for the support we received from SRSB. Due to the current financial situation in the UK it will continue to be difficult to raise funds for volunteer groups such as ours. We have to be as thrifty as possible. Generally we try to be self-financing. The recent new activity, water sports, was funded by those who took part. Sailing and canoeing proved to be very stimulating and good exercise enjoyed by all. A return trip next year is possible. If anyone is interested they should contact Eric. Also, if anyone has other suggestions for eye catching/challenging nature fundraising events, please let Eric know.

We have recruited number of new members this year. A warm welcome was extended to new visually impaired members Euin Hill, Julie Hart, Ruzhana Nasvilli, Mike Beck, Graham Marshall, Steph Harris, Lee Teesdale Smith and Craig Moss and to new guides Carol Scanlon, June Wright, Jane Rogers, Joanne and Brett Marshall, Graham Taylor, Julie Graham, Gordon Kitching and Mike Mellors. However, it was with great sadness that that we noted the death of Neil Maw and we extended our sympathy to his family for their loss.

Finally, Eric made it clear that, although he was prepared to stand again as Chair this year, he intended to resign next year. He strongly recommended that a person capable of taking over the chair be elected to the Committee at this meeting, or join the Committee during this year with a view to having an orderly progression to a new Chairman in 2012. This person did not have to be visually impaired. A Special General Meeting could be called at any time to take a vote of members if an applicant came forward later in the year.

6. Treasurerís Report - A copy of the Treasureís report was circulated at the meeting. Hilary read the report out to members. The annual income was £5,747.00 and the outgoings £7,189.93. There was a balance in the bank of £4243.65 and cash in hand of £9.08.

7. Election of Officers - Officers who had indicated that they were prepared to continue were elected unopposed. The were:
Eric Andrews: Chair
George Napier: Vice-Chair
John Bater: Walks Planner and Co-ordinator
Christine Hewitt: Membership Secretary
Sue Pearson: Treasurer
Hilary Myers: Social Secretary

There were no nominations for Secretary to replace Christine Whittaker. This post remains vacant although Christine will continue to do the newsletter and website.

It was noted that Mike Burgin had resigned as Special Advisor. Eric thanked Mike for his long and valuable service to the group.

Brian Hirst was appointed to the Committee to take Mikeís place.

8. Any other business - There was no other business.


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