... carriage driving news ... carriage driving news ...
WHERE WE ARE TO DATE
The background for the proposed changes is the fact that membership of the Association is dropping and members' comments about the high cost, both in time and money, of National Events borne out by a drop in National entries this year and culminating in the Newnham event being cancelled.
At Sydney Smith's suggestion a ?Think Tank? meeting was held at the end of January at Stoneleigh attended by approximately 45 people, representing a true cross section of the sport facilitated by Rosemary Neale and chaired by Lord Onslow.
Two main themes arose from that meeting.
One was a clear need to pull the sport together and to halt the polarisation into club members who either are unable or do not wish to compete at Nationals and those who do compete at Nationals and, in some cases, at clubs as well.
The other was a clear need to look again at the competition structure, to try and meet the requirement of competitors for lower cost, Two day events providing a step up from club competition but less demanding than most of the current Nationals.
In addition it was felt at the ?Think Tank? that a change in the administration incorporating regional representation would be beneficial.
Prior to that ?Think Tank? the Council had been working on the problem of the falling membership and the polarisation of the sport to try and halt the growing number of club members who do not compete at Nationals and see no need to join the BHDTA.
The Council approved, at their meeting in March, a change in membership structure which, if approved by the members, will result in a substantial reduction in the subscription fees and an obligation on the affiliated clubs that their members are also members of the BHDTA.
A briefing meeting has been held in April with the representatives on the Club Liaison Committee at which some suggestions for improvements were made.
Following that meeting the Club Liaison Representatives are arranging meetings of club Chairmen or the Secretary to brief the clubs on the proposals so that they in turn can go back to their members with accurate and full details of the changes in the pipeline.
Finally, on the subject of membership, before any change is introduced, there will be a full discussion on the subject at the Clubs meeting at the National Conference at Coventry in October.
The second theme of competitions is also being addressed and the Council have asked the Competitions committee to come up with proposals to address members' concerns about the big jump both in terms of the standard of competition and the cost of the present three day Nationals, both in money and time.
It is hoped that a structured progression from first year club one day events, through two day club events to two day regional or less expensive nationals to ultimately very demanding premier national events, can be devised but this may have to evolve over a period of time.
The council have also asked the Finance and General Purposes Committee to look into the question of regional representation and how the association?s administration could be changed by introducing some form of regional admin.