Mountaineer Calum Muskett explains why he’s helping to build a better BMC by voting for our new constitution.
Like many of their 80,000 + members, I’m a big fan of the services that the BMC provide. From holiday insurance and a reciprocal rights card, through to retail discounts and access to expedition grants, and alongside all that I get a nice glossy magazine through my letterbox each season.
For many of us, insurance and membership perks are the main reasons we pay our yearly subscription, but the BMC does so much more. Just a few things: they help secure access to the moors, mountains and crags of England and Wales so that we can enjoy them. They negotiate access to new climbing areas that lie on private land and reassure landowners over liability issues. The BMC also put huge amounts of time and effort into youth sport, from indoor climbing competitions through to getting young people active outdoors. They have also been running a Mend our Mountains campaign to raise money for vital footpath work in England and Wales to protect our hillsides from broad bands of erosion.
The BMC is a national representative body. In their own words they "champion the interests of climbers, hill walkers, mountaineers and ski mountaineers in England and Wales". They are also recognised as the national governing body for competition climbing. Mountaineering is a nuanced activity – we all find our own areas and niches and no mountaineering activity is mutually exclusive of another, in other words, it’s a broad church.
The BMC has been having a tough time of late, from the name change debacle through to the vote of no confidence, which has had knock-on effects with funding issues with Sport England that have meant that several members of staff lost the funding for their jobs. Following an independent organisational review, they suggested changes (Option A) and seemed to be on the right track again - except a tiny number of members have once again attempted to thwart progress with their proposal of Option B.
As a BMC member, I can see a real issue in the current constitution when a really small number of members can group together to force a vote of no-confidence, or suggest an alternative option that can hamper positive recommendations from an independent review due to an archaic voting system.
I want the BMC to represent all of us. The BMC is a diverse body of over 80,000 members who walk, mountaineer, climb and ski – we should be represented by a cross-section of this membership and supportive of newcomers to our activity and, for many of us, our lifestyle.
Climbing and mountaineering are still the same activities they have always been. Mountain biking, horse riding, sailing and kayaking - none of these activities have changed as a result of their national governing body restructuring so that they can access funding support from Sport England.
Ultimately that is why I feel we should be voting for Option A: to maintain stable funding from Sport England, which will support the work that the BMC has been doing for years. If Option A doesn’t get passed then we jeopardise more jobs at BMC, risk higher membership and insurance fees, risk losing support for our competition climbers and eventually the BMC could lose funding to the likes of the Ramblers Association and the ABC Training Trust.
I feel the answer is a simple one: vote Option A.
This is an article promoting Option A. The recommended option from the BMC National Council (supported by the Organisational Review Group, BMC Board of Directors and BMC staff) and Mountain Training.
Please do vote in our upcoming AGM
We need 75% of the votes to be in favour of one option in order to adopt a new constitution. If you're a BMC member, please check for an email from ERS for your personal URL to vote. It's quick, simple and only takes a minute. If you haven't recieved an email, please fill in the form here: https://intouch.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-agm/
Your AGM: Thanks for your vote!
This year's historic AGM had a record voting turnout, with 6,796 of those votes being made online. We want to thank everyone for having their say and helping to shape the future of the BMC.
Detailed info on the BMC AGM 2018
Find out more about the last AGM. It's a complicated topic, so start with this one:
We were asking our members to vote on some significant changes to the BMC's constitution. Part of the discussion was the relationship between the BMC and Sport England.
There were two constitutions to vote for: Proposal A (as recommended by National Council) and Proposal B, proposed by a group of members. To learn more about the two proposals, you can read a detailed comparison written by BMC honorary solictor Martin Wragg.
How did the recommendations get decided? Read more about the process that lead to this stage, including the reports from the Organisational Review and more.
Watch the Open Forum debate
We held a debate in Manchester on 15 May for both options to be discussed. You can watch the livestream here:
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