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1995/96 Hut Warden's Report

Officer: Ivan Sandford

I hereby submit the annual Hut Warden's report to the members of the Bristol Exploration Club.

This report has been compiled to review hut income and discuss the club's progress during 1995/96 and prospects for future years.

The schedule attached illustrates the income received from the hut, together with details of other revenues that have been collected from the Belfry safe.  The 1996 figures relate to the year ended 7 August 1996, whilst the comparatives relate to the year ended 7 August 1995.

Note: These dates do not fall in line with the club's accounting period and therefore will not agree with the disclosure in the accounts.

From the table it is immediately apparent that the Belfry has suffered a bad year on the hill.  The number of guests staying at the hut has plummeted by 35%.  This can be attributed to three factors.

1. Reduction in visitors to Mendip.

We are not the only club to be faced with a marked decline in the number of people visiting Mendip. Student groups account for a high proportion of the guest fees.  The student caving clubs are increasingly feeling the financial pressures of restricted grants and reduction in sports club funding.  In addition to this, other caving areas have increased in prominence. The discovery and continued exploration and extension of Ogof Draenan has increased interest in South Wales in particular.

2. Competition from other club huts

We are meeting increasing competition from other clubs, especially the Wessex.  The Wessex have undertaken extensive work on their country club in the past year, including installation of a stainless steel kitchen (yuk!).  Admirable work has been undertaken on the Belfry in the past few months by Estelle et al. This work has covered some much needed maintenance and made the hut a more pleasant place, but it has not substantially improved the service that the Belfry offers.  With a reduced market the Belfry can no longer afford to be complacent. It must form a strategy on how to compete, or it may become a liability and constant drain on resources better spent elsewhere.

3. Reduction in Hut policing

Due to pressure of house & work etc, I have not been able to give as much time to my post as I would have liked, nor been able to chase after people who have forgotten to, or not been willing to, pay their hut fees.  In my opinion, it is up to every member who stays at the club to ensure that all occupants have documented their visit.  Every bed night that an individual stays in the hut without paying is costing the club £1.50 or £3.00.  This soon adds up and reduces the funds available for the important things in life, like equipment.

The movements in other income show a good increase in revenue from CCC permits.  It seems that this year most of my time at the Belfry has been spent filling in permits and giving out keys.  I suppose it serves me right for living and working so conveniently close.  However, it does help to emphasise that the system of retaining the tackle store key in the key cupboard can easily work.  This protects the tackle in the store whilst maintaining it's accessibility by the nearest key being situated at Glenview (Andy Cave, Angie Cave and Andy Sparrow's ex-residence, sans hangers) or Priddy Garage.  Perhaps now all the SRT rope can be moved into the store, where club members will have better access to it.

One other point on permits. Maybe we should consider charging a nominal administration fee per party, as does another club less than a rocket flight away!

Cuthbert's fees have also increased mainly due to Chris Castle, who must easily account for 70% of the fees received.  Keep 'em coming Chris!

It can be seen from the table that the telephone revenue has increased.  However, the figures shown have not been adjusted to reflect the lowest point of the year.  At some point in June or July someone managed to pick the lock on the telephone and stole the contents therein, amounting to £62.60. It would be futile to accuse anyone of this act, as the suspects in all fairness should include every member who holds a key to the Belfry.  To avert a witch hunt, and as I feel so guilty that there was so much money in the phone, it being my job to empty it, I am donating £30 towards the phone bill. To ensure that this does not happen again, I shall see if I can construct an additional brace for the telephone, to improve its security.

It has been one of those years.  What is more, with demand for caving accommodation on Mendip decreasing, we must find new ways of ensuring that the Belfry stays on the map in the future. The BEC does not need to promote itself, but for the sake of its members it must promote its hut.  Already some active cavers are threatening to join the Wessex, due to lack of tackle and general support from their club.  This situation must stop, and with the help and guidance of the club's members, both old and new, it will.

Finally, thank you to the people who have made the hut a more hospitable place.  Well done Estelle et al.  My greatest thanks go to Becca without whom my job would have been almost impossible.

BEC Income Summary

 

Hut Usage

Revenue

% of Hut Total income

% (Decrease)/Increase

 

1996

1995

1996

1995

1996

1995

Usage

Income

 

days

days

£

£

%

%

%

%

 Members;

714

782

1,071.00

1,173.00

40.63%

33.32%

-8.70%

-8.70%

 Non-Members;

502

767

1,504.00

2,301.00

57.06%

65.37%

-34.55%

-34.64%

 Reciprocals

3

-

4.50

-

0.17%

-

 

 

 Davyfees

 

 

56.50

46.00

2.14%

1.31%

 

22.83%

 Hut Totals

1219

1549

2,636.00

3,520.00

100.00%

100.00%

-21.30%

-25.11%

 Hut fees as %

 of total income

 

 

 

82.25%

86.71%

 

 

 Other Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Cuthbert’s Fees

 

 

86.51

92.50

2.70%

2.28%

 

-6.48%

 CCC Permits

 

 

218.00

189.80

6.80%

4.68%

 

14.86%

 Cuthbert’s   Reports

 

 

18.00

9.00

0.56%

0.22%

 

100.00%

 Showers

 

 

55.40

83.40

1.73%

2.05%

 

-33.57%

 Telephone

 

 

167.00

149.70

5.21%

3.69%

 

11.56%

 T-shirts

 

 

15.00

15.00

0.47%

0.37%

 

0.00%

 Donations

 

 

9.09

-

0.28%

0.00%

 

 

 Total Income

 

 

3,205.00

4,059.40

100.00%

100.00%

 

-21.05%