BMC Areas seek new volunteers

Posted by Tony Ryan on 31/10/2018

Do you want to give something back to the activities you love? There are lots of ways to get involved with the BMC, including a range of vital volunteer roles at local area level.

The November round of BMC Area Meetings includes the Area AGMs, where each Area elects or re-elects volunteers to fulfil these important roles.

Volunteer opportunities by Area

The following area volunteer roles have been identified as either currently vacant, or the current volunteer is stepping down at the November meeting:

Cymru North Wales Area Secretary
  Clubs Committee Representative
   
Cymru South Wales Area Secretary
  National Council Representative
   
Lakes Clubs Committee Representative 
  Climbing Wall Representative
   
London & SE Area Chair
  Area Secretary
  Clubs Committee Representative 
   
North East Clubs Committee Representative
   
North West Area Secretary
  National Council Representative
  Clubs Committee Representative
  Hill Walking Representative
   
South West National Council Representative
  Access Representative (West Cornwall)
  Climbing Wall Representative
   
Yorkshire Area Chair
  Area Secretary
  Climbing Wall Representative
  Hill Walking Representative

We also have a number of vacancies for Area Youth Co-ordinators - see below.

About the area volunteer roles

Area Chair
The Area Chair is an extremely important position within the BMC. Together with the Area Secretary it is the Chair who makes the Area ‘tick’. Candidates should ideally have some experience in chairing meetings.

The Chair must be able to ensure that meetings run to time, to enable appropriate discussion on all agenda items. He or she must be unbiased, impartial and diplomatic and be able to ‘keep the peace’ during times of disagreement or unrest, developing consensus and determining when votes are required on agenda items. The Chair should be aware of the BMC procedures and constitutional requirements related to Area Meetings.

The Chair must keep well informed about Area activities, and be able to represent members’ views in a fair and balanced manner at local, regional and national level. In order to be an advocate for the BMC, it is helpful for the Chair to develop some understanding of the BMC’s specialist work areas, finances and structure.

Area Secretary
Secretaries should be good communicators who are well organised and reliable. The main activities of the Area Secretary are to: arrange the meeting venues in accordance with the agreed schedule; work with the BMC Office to publicise and promote Area Meetings; produce agendas (in discussion with the Chair); provide an attendance sheet for meeting attendees to sign; write meeting minutes (note form – not detailed) and send them to the BMC Office; ensure that meeting action points are followed up; and deal with any necessary administration and correspondence between meetings.

National Council Representative
Each BMC Area can appoint two people to serve on the BMC’s main policy-making body, National Council, which meets five times a year in mountainous areas around the country.  After business has been concluded, members are free to spend the rest of the weekend venturing out onto the hills and crags nearby. The BMC covers travel and accommodation costs.

Their role is to represent the views of their Area at National Council and to report back to their Area on any relevant decisions or debates at National Council. Since there are two reps in each Area, meeting attendance can be split if necessary.  It is important that Areas send at least one rep to National Council. Prior to each National Council meeting, one of the reps should provide a summary report of area activities, including a report on the Area Meeting preceding the National Council meeting.

Access Representative
Voluntary Access Representatives are well established within the BMC and they play a vital role in our work with landowners and conservation bodies. Each Area decides how many Access Representatives are required and which geographical areas they cover. 

The role of the Access Representative is primarily to liaise with landowners, conversation bodies, national park authorities and others to maintain and improve access for climbers and walkers; negotiate and review of any seasonal restrictions, e.g. nesting birds; and attend site meetings as appropriate and identify any site information needs, e.g. signage. It is important that Access Representatives attend their local BMC Area Meetings whenever possible; local access issues are often a major part of Area Meeting discussions.

Area Youth Co-ordinator
Area Youth Co-ordinators (AYC) organise the rounds of the BMC Youth Climbing Series (YCS) in their area, and ensure that rounds are run according to BMC guidelines. They also consult with the BMC Officer responsible for child safeguarding in the event of any safeguarding concerns, and should be familiar with the BMC Child Safeguarding Policy. AYCs are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, and be cleared to work with young people. They are encouraged to attend their local BMC Area Meetings (five per year), to report on youth activities and engage with members.

Currently we are seeking AYCs for the following areas:

  • Cymru Wales
  • London & SE (North)
  • Midlands & Peak
  • North East & Yorkshire
  • North West & Lakes

For more information, see Vacancies at the BMC

Clubs Committee Representative
The BMC Clubs Committee provides a forum for the discussion of all matters of concern to BMC Affiliated Clubs. It supports affiliated clubs by advising on specific issues, organising training events, producing general guidance on all aspects of club governance, and championing the cause for clubs.  

Each Area can appoint a representative to the Clubs Committee; all candidates must be a member of and formally proposed by a local club based in that Area. Volunteers should have some experience of club governance to join the committee, although they don’t need to be a current member of their own club committee.  Specific skills (such as legal, accounting, IT experience etc.) are useful but a willingness to contribute to meetings and projects is more important. The Area reps are key for communicating issues from local clubs through to the Clubs Committee and for communicating support, advice and information back to local clubs. 

Committee meetings are held four times a year; twice at the BMC offices in Manchester on Thursday evenings, and twice in the mountainous areas of the country on a Saturday or Sunday for a longer meeting.  Travel expenses are reimbursed and food is provided at the meeting.  For weekend meetings overnight accommodation is provided if required.  Attendance at local engagement sessions with clubs (such as Seminars or Roadshows) is occasionally requested.

Climbing Walls Representative
BMC Areas may choose to appoint a Climbing Walls Representative to liaise with climbing walls and wall users and to refer any relevant issues to the Area.  Amongst other things the Climbing Walls Representative can take responsibility for ensuring an adequate display of relevant BMC literature is maintained at local climbing walls.

Hill Walking Representative
Hill Walking Representatives act as a focus for hill walking members in the Area. They work to widen the scope of issues covered at Area Meetings and increase the appeal of meetings to hill walkers by ensuring that hill walking appears on meeting agendas regularly. The representative communicates developments coming from the BMC Hill Walking Implementation Group back to the Area and relays opinions on priorities from the Area back to the Group.

The representative can also assist the Area in addressing hill walking-related access issues, and suggest ideas and opportunities for new local hill walking events, helping where possible.

Election process and term of office

As you’d expect from a democratic organisation, there’s an election process for these roles. The elections will be held at the November round of BMC Area Meetings.

Area Chairs, Area Secretaries and National Council Representatives are elected annually at the Area AGM, where members have an opportunity to put nominations forward and volunteer for the different positions. Nominees / volunteers are required to have a proposer and seconder, and voting is by a show of hands at the meeting. No person may hold office for more than six consecutive years; in that event a period of at least one year should elapse before they are eligible for re-election. 

Clubs Committee Representatives are elected for a term of three years, and may serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms, after which they are not eligible for re-appointment until the expiry of at least one year. Currently there are vacancies in the following Areas: Lakes; London & SE; North East; North West; Cymru North Wales. Further information is available on the following page: The BMC Clubs' Committee is recruiting

If you wish to stand for election as a Clubs Committee Representative in your Area, please get an official of your club to submit your nomination, including a brief summary of your relevant experience, prior to your November Area Meeting (or as advised by your Area Secretary) to Jane Thompson, BMC clubs officer at jane@thebmc.co.uk and also to your Area Secretary.

All other Area Representatives are elected annually at the Area AGM; there is no fixed term of office for these positions. 

Want to talk to someone about one of these roles?

If you have any questions about these volunteering opportunities, contact Tony Ryan at the BMC office:
Email: tony@thebmc.co.uk
Phone: 0161 438 3334

How many volunteers does the BMC have? 

Overall we have over 500 volunteers; at least 200 volunteers are involved in climbing competitions and around 60-70 help with our access and conservation work. If you add up all those involved with our ten regional groups across England and Wales and ten or so specialist committees, that adds up to another 200 members.

BMC CEO Dave Turnbull said: “One of the greatest strengths of the BMC is the partnership between staff and volunteers. As far as the office is concerned, supporting our volunteer force is one of our core priorities.”

BMC Volunteer Awards

In 2010, to recognise the contribution of volunteers to the BMC, we introduced the George Band Award for exceptional voluntary contribution to mountaineering, and earlier this year, we added two more volunteer awards: the Rehan Siddiqui Award for exceptional voluntary contribution towards promoting equality and diversity in the BMC, and the Young Volunteer of the Year Award for significant voluntary contribution to the BMC by young people under the age of 25.
Find out more about BMC Volunteer Awards

 


MEET: Our Ambassador Team

We have six inspirational BMC ambassadors: Shauna Coxsey, Hazel Findlay, Steve McClure, James McHaffie, Chris Townsend and Mary-Ann Ochota.

WATCH: The BMC Ambassadors series trailer on BMC TV

WATCH: Your backstage pass to Shauna's Bouldering World Championships 2014 experience in Munich on BMC TV

WATCH: BMC Ambassador Hazel Findlay on BMC TV

WATCH: An interview with Steve McClure on BMC TV

WATCH: BMC ambassador James McHaffie taking a fall from the Headwall Pitch of Salathé Wall on BMC TV

WATCH: Chris Townsend backpacking in the Lake District on BMC TV

WATCH: Mary-Ann Ochota in Great Walks: Catbells on BMC TV


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