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a regular column for our Hon. Sec. Tim Large

The Midsummer Buffet was attended by a smaller number than last, but all the same was very enjoyable. Those who preferred a barbecue would have got rather wet that evening!

It is becoming increasingly apparent that our financial situation is not comfortable.  With the shortened financial year reducing the subscriptions to £2.00 it has been necessary to draw from our building society account - in other words - reducing our capital.  It is inevitable that the subscription rates will have to be increased at the AGM - but it is debatable what they will be.

The major expense is the printing and distribution of the B.B.   With the increase in postal charges it will cost each subscription paying member £2.50 per year.  The only way to reduce the figure would be to have a bi-monthly BB.  In the past our paper supplies have been very cheap, but now even buying at the cheapest commercial source the costs bear no comparison. The last AGM agreed to the purchase of a new (second-hand) printing machine.  This still has to be bought and could cost as much as a £100.  Sett is still attempting to get the machine he knows of at his works.  At the present time we could barely afford the machine.

However you look prices are rising, not to mention the recent VAT increases.  In order to make up the losses of tackle and renovating existing stock it is necessary to spend £170 a year (some £1 per sub paying member).  Our Third Party Liability insurance works out at 61p per head at present - next years premium is likely to be more.

At present the Belfry is expected to be self financing but it would appear that disregarding the Navy groups fees it is running at a slight loss.  It would be dangerous to rely on the Navy as their usage is unpredictable.  The Belfry takings at present also cater for the rates and insurance.  It is not unreasonable to expect 50% of these expenses to come from membership subscriptions.  This would leave some money for Belfry maintenance costs.

So far I have not mentioned all the other Club expenses including library purchases; various subscriptions to CSCC, BCRA, BMC etc; Secretarial and the occasional non-recurring costs.

Finally we have never specifically allocated a yearly sum towards the Belfry improvements or structural repairs.  I think it is important we look to the future and make provision for these.  Facilities at the Belfry could be improved but initial could be £1,000 - £1,200.  With inflation running at nearly 2% per year we may never be able to afford this type of project if not catered from the subscriptions now.  With only allowing £1.00 per member per year for any such improvements the subscription works out to be at least £7.00 - £8 would be much better.

Ed. note:  Tim's calculations come as a bit of a shock, I was thinking of somewhere between £5 - £6, roughly doubling the current sub rates. Speaking personally I wonder if there is another approach to the problem of expensive maintenance and improvements to the Belfry.  ‘Way-back’ in 1967 Bob Bagshaw  started a hut fund by getting members to sign a bankers order for £1 a month for three years - this raised about 800 pounds and was a valuable nest-egg when the new Belfry had to financed.  At the current rate this would be about £4 - £5 per month.  I wonder how many of our current Belfry regulars would be prepared to do this?  Perphaps Sue Tucker might like to think about it!

True or false?

Ben Lyon at the Symposium on ‘Caves and the Community’…”Old cavers never die, they just get married or join the Pengelly Cave Studies Trust”