We get asked many questions by BMC clubs. Here the answers to some of them. We hope it's helpful.
Please note that this is a guidance document only, and the answers may well change from time to time. Please contact us if you are at all concerned that the advice might not be up to date, or you have specific questions that are not covered here.
Do club members need qualifications to teach skills to other club members?
No you don’t; see this article about qualifications.
Does BMC insurance cover me if taking novices out climbing, walking or mountaineering?
No. The BMC Combined Liability insurance does not cover supervising or instructing members of the general public. However, if more experienced members are passing on benefits of their knowledge and experience to club member novices on a club meet then this is OK as long as it's not formal or professional training.
If non-members wish to participate in the same way, then the Club must treat them as Prospective Members, keeping a record of their brief details, dates of attendance etc. and then submitting their names on the next quarterly declaration along with the appropriate fees. A period of three months maximum is suggested as sufficient probation period for both sides to decide on membership.
How can the BMC Clubs Committee help my club?
The committee is here for any club-related issue, whether that is a dispute within your club or to answer technical and legal questions. The list is too long to put down here but if we can help, we will help.
What are the benefits of joining a club?
Clubs provide a social focus for anyone interested in hillwalking, climbing and mountaineering. Within clubs, there is a very wide range of skills and experiences which can be used and drawn on for your own benefit. Clubs have a much bigger buying power than an individual, and there are things that are often easier/possible to do as a club than as an individual. The main advantages of joining a club boil down to a vastly increased social circle of likeminded individuals and a deeper and wider knowledge pool.
Why is BMC Combined Liability insurance important for clubs?
The BMC Combined Liability insurance is designed to protect Clubs, Committee members, Trustees and other Members against legal liability for claims under Civil Law, due to their negligence. This could be a claim for damages as a result of - sharing knowledge, and lending or supplying equipment; libel, slander or defamation in books, newsletters websites or other publication; negligent mismanagement ; failure of a duty of care to children etc. and use / ownership of a club hut. The cover also extends, of course, to members participating in the hill walking, climbing and mountaineering sports whether with the club or alone.
What are the benefits of upgrading to full BMC membership, and how do I do it?
If you're currently a member of a BMC affiliated climbing club, you can help support the work of the BMC by upgrading to full Individual membership at a reduced rate.
How can I get a refund if I’m in more than one club?
We have a process for BMC members who are members of more than one BMC affiliated club to reclaim their multiple membership payments.
A prospective member of our club wants to bring their child on a club meet. Is that permissible?
Yes, providing it is permissible within the club rules. The general point, for insurance purposes, is to keep a list of all prospective members and declare them to the BMC on your club’s returns once they have been attending for 3 months, even if they are not yet full club members. Child Protection Policy does not need to be adopted as the childs parent will be in attendance.
Can under 18s to attend club meets without a parent/carer or adult in loco parentis.
Yes. The requirements are as follows:
(1) the Club adopts the BMC Child Protection Policy
(2) The club should have a designated Youth Officer who is responsible for child protection within the club. It is desirable that this person should know how to respond if any allegation or concern is raised and that they should know what to do next.
More information can be found in the Club Guidelines: Child Protection document (pdf download).
We’re asked if we can take under-18s on our mid-week climbing meets. Is this OK?
Yes, providing it is within club rules. If the under 18 is accompanied by a parent/carer who will eventually join the club after a period of being a prospective member, or if one of your existing members will be nominated by a parent to be in loco parentis, then Child Protection Policy does not need to be adopted. If club rules allow the under 18 to attend without a parent/care or adult in loco parentis, the Child Protection Policy does need to be adopted.
I believe that when a parent – or an adult acting in loco parentis - accompanies a child, they can make decisions about the sleeping arrangements that might be available for that child. Is this correct?
Yes. If possible, both parent/specified adult and child should be happy with the arrangements prior to the trip taking place. If you are acting in loco parentis it is wise in these circumstances that in addition to obtaining parental consent, you make clear to the child(ren) and parent(s) before the trip precisely what the sleeping arrangements are likely to be in the hut (or on the campsite). If the parent, child or you as the in loco parentis adult are not happy or not satisfied with the arrangements it is best that alternative arrangements are found or that the child does not go on the trip.
Ultimately, whatever the situation and whoever is also in the hut (or on a campsite), if a parent - or a specified adult in loco parentis – is with the child at a hut (or campsite) they can decide whether they are satisfied and happy with the sleeping arrangements available for that child. Some clubs have rules about this and only allow children in certain rooms or certain huts. However, the club and its officers do have a duty of care, for example to make parents/specified adults and children aware of known hazards and risks. It may also be wise to suggest that other hut users respect the fact that there are children in the hut. More details here
What funding is available to clubs
There is a range of funding available to clubs set out here
How do I apply for a hut improvement loan from the BMC?
Unsecured loans of between £5000 and £20000 are available for BMC affiliated clubs to a maximum of 75% of the total project cost. Secured loans of between £20000 and £50000 are available to a maximum of 80% of the project cost. Rates and terms vary. In the first instance, applications should be made to Alan Brown, Financial Controller, at the BMC Office, with as much detail about the project as possible.
How do I set up a new club?
Start checking out the BMC Club Guidelines which should give you all the information you need. Information on how to affiliate a club to the BMC is here. If u feel that you meet the criteria and want to go ahead you need to send all the relevant information to Lynda Buckley at the BMC.
How do we manage club equipment?
Read the Equipment advice for clubs article.
How can clubs obtain legal advice?
In the first instance, we recommend that clubs seek advice from anyone suitably qualified in their own club. Failing that, there are two options. The first is to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor found through Yellow Pages. The second is to refer the matter to the BMC which has its own legal advisor. If the matter is relatively simple, it might be possible to obtain advice for free. However, more complex situation will incur a charge at a normal commercial rate.