EM Region 2015 minutes

East Midlands Region Annual General Meeting - Minutes

Held at Raddison ParkInn Nottingham

Sunday 15th March 10.30am


Martin Vaughan, Geoff Blackwell, Hazel Blackwell, Anthony Cooper, Mark Flatman, Mike Smith, Judy Smith, Robert McGregor, Peter Morley, John Pyatt, Malcolm Brown, Ralph Bennett, Stewart Wall, 2 speakers


Non Received

1) Chair’s Welcome

The meeting was chaired by East Midlands Regional Organiser (RO) Ralph Bennett ARPS CPAGB

2) Conflict of Interest - non declared

3) Minutes of AGM 2013 The 2013 meeting was cancelled and so no minutes were available

4) Matters arising from 2013 minutes N/A

5) Chair’s report


We moved to Nottingham two seasons ago after it was indicated that our former meeting room at Newark might no longer be available. 

We searched various sites and were once offered a venue in Derby at three times the fee we pay here and at Newark!

An overview of member location based on postcode found that we currently have about 516 members in the EM region, which starts at Northampton and ends at Grimsby. To be able to get 10% attendance at events would be brilliant. 

We have 142 NG; 105 DE and S – which is Derbyshire; 61 in DE; 98 in LE; 63 in DN and LN Lincolnshire; 72 in NN Northampton, and 19 in PE South Lincolnshire. Geographically, Nottinghamshire is not big in size, so the majority are within Nottingham, with Leicestershire and Derby being only about 20 miles away. Hence the reason this venue was chosen.

However, this has not converted into more people attending, as you can see today, though we are competing with Mother’s Day and NEMPF knockout / AGM.

Last year we had to cancel two events, which I was reluctant to do but the costs involved were extreme. This year, apart from the Distinctions meeting, again the numbers were quite poor. I am at a loss as to what to do. I can only consider that most members want a distinction but not what we offer. 

I have considered running the meetings on Saturday afternoons apart from the advisory meeting. This would mean less need for meals and only having to provide drinks. It may also allow us to look for village/church halls. The biggest problem with this would be blacking out rooms when using PDI.

My remit is to provide quality speakers with variety. Good speakers do not come cheap, and we don’t get a subsidy from HQ other than around £1.50 per head for newsletters. I have next year’s programme fully booked so the events will all be on the third Sunday of the month. I again hope to run these, but if numbers are poor, it eats into our reserves and HQ would want to know why. 

Next year will be my last full season and I will retire in April next year. We are lucky that we have a volunteer to take over from me if elected and approved by HQ. He will probably run some meetings next year and arrange the following year’s meetings and location. 

I have to thank those who have helped me, especially Geoff Blackwell as my treasurer while also being the National Treasurer. Bob MacGregor helps me with the equipment both at the beginning of the day and at the end when most have gone home. Thanks also to Peter Yeo and Mark Flatman, plus any others who have offered help. 

I have to apologise to those who have struggled with the website to make a booking especially when trying to book the buffet. I unwittingly became a Guinea pig last month when I discovered we have a field that could be customised but it was basically still in beta and did not work well at all. 

The booking is still rather clunky compared with so many other sites. I know others have reported this as well as myself, but please do report it if you have problems. I wonder how many bookings we have lost due to this? I am quite happy to take bookings the old fashioned way until it improves, so please don’t let the booking site put you off attending. 

Finally please remember that members, non members, and non photographers are welcome at all meetings with the exception of FRPS advisory days, so please let everyone know. 

Next year’s programme: 

September 20 Advisory Day LRPS ARPS VA & Nature subject to numbers; 

October 18 B&W master class day with Andy Beel FRPS Bristol; 

November 22 mixed day. John Bullpit FRPS Sport and nature Alex Hyde Close Encounters, Borneo etc Macro work; 

February 21 Clive Haynes FRPS panels and more; 

March 20 AGM Ladies Day ¬– Two Annes: Anne Sutcliffe and Ann Miles both FRPS;

April 17 Advisory Day LRPS ARPS VA

Ralph had been to a Board Advisory Day the day before and reported that there was now a method of doing an online member’s survey on the website and that the distinctions would be losing the method of projected images and replacing this with 80 inch monitor.


He also reported that enough members were not sending in nominations for the RPS Council and urged members to do so before the deadline of March 31st


6) Treasurer’s report


Geoff Blackwell ACCA ARPS who is both The Groups and The RPS’s treasurer reported that whilst meetings and events were not currently always covering costs the group was in a healthy balance and so he saw no reason why it could not run with the proposed events for the next year.


                                                                                   £              £

        Members’ and Guests Attendance                                 864.85

        Headquarters Funding                                                    683.10

        VAT refunded                                                                    35.27




        Speakers’ Expenses                                 1285.04

        Venue Costs                                               333.36

        Equipment and Repairs                                74.40

        Printing and Advertising                                93.43

        Irrecoverable VAT                                         86.43    1872.66


        Excess of Payments over Receipts                           £-289.44




        Bank Balance at 31st December 2013                       4168.05

        Bank Balance at 31st December 2014                       3752.27


        VAT Debtor                                                                    126.34


Treasurers Report

Whilst it is never good to be reporting a loss, the results for 2014 are a significant improvement over 2013. Given the varied programme that was arranged for last year it is difficult to understand why attendances have not been higher but the Region is clearly moving to a point where the costs can be covered by income and we have sufficient resources to support the activities for the coming year.

He reported that the breakdown of all RPS members was 4% under 25, 8% over 80, 26% 55-65 and 26% 65-75

That the new RPS Journal had received three prizes in a recent competition for publications

That The RPS had revealed they were looking for new premises somewhere between Bath, London and Birmingham.

Geoff Blackwell FCCA ARPS 17th February 2015


7) Election of Committee Members


Ralph intends to step down as RO in 2016. He proposed introducing a role of Deputy Regional Organiser so that the person in that role could gain an understanding of the role

Ralph Bennett Regional Organiser

Geoff Blackwell Treasurer

Stewart Wall Deputy Regional Organiser

Committee Member PeterYeo, Mark Flatman

All were nominated by Peter Morley and seconded by Bob Mcgregor, all present in favour of.

It is hoped that Bob Mcgregor and Peter Yeo will continue assisting at future events.

The meeting closed at 11.12am