Ever wondered how the BMC works as an organisation? Here's the detail.
The BMC functions through a democratic structure that starts with discusssions at local BMC Area meetings and feeds opinion to the BMC National Council and the Board of Directors that is actioned through an office staff of 31 (May 2015) working closely with a vast national and local volunteer base without which the BMC could not operate effectively.
The BMC maintains close co-operation with related bodies such as the Home Nation Training Boards (MTE, MTUK & MTC), the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) and Ireland (MI), the world body for mountaineers (UIAA), the world body for competition climbing (IFSC) and a host of trade associates and clubs. It is tremendously diverse in its areas of interest but in the broadest terms, our work can be divided between Regional programmes, specialist programmes and members services.
Communications and media
The BMC communicates via the BMC website, a monthly email newsletter, our membership magazine Summit (distributed quarterly) and through social media. The BMC press officer promotes the BMC’s work to the wider media and responds to a high level of media enquiries.
The BMC has nine regional Areas, which form the vitally important democratic basis of the BMC. Each region runs Area Meetings about four times a year, which BMC members can attend to join in discussions on local and national issues.
The BMC also has three regional development officers, who cover London, England West, and England East. Their primary objectives are to support climbing wall users who want to make the transition to climbing outdoors, and help clubs recruit new members.
Access Management Group
BMC members consistently vote access & conservation to be one of the most important areas of work. This is the largest development programme at the BMC, supported by three full-time officers, the Access Management Group, a number of time limited specialist working groups and a network of regional access volunteers - and many more who have a specialist knowledge of access and conservation issues in their areas. The Access Management Group concentrates its work around three basic principles:
To improve access to hills, mountains and cliffs for those wishing to enjoy the freedoms they offer.
To conserve these environments, their habitats and the wildlife they support for future generations.
To promote a wider concern for, and support of, the economic and environmental interests of the rural communities which climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers visit.
The BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust (ACT) is a charity whose aim is to promote sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland. ACT funds a wide range of projects encompassing policy-related work, literature production and large-scale environmental projects, including practical site based work such as footpath repair work. ACT also funds sustainable transport initiatives and provides high quality access and conservation information to the public (e.g. good practice publications).
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With the growing popularity of indoor walls the BMC Climbing Wall Development Officer is regularly called upon for advice and information from developers, managers and especially climbers. The collective wisdom of climbing wall experts is contained within the Climbing Wall Advisory Group and offers advice and support for the sensitive management and sustainable development of new and existing facilities.
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The BMC Competitions Development Officer organises the British Leading & Speed Climbing Championships, the British Bouldering Championships, the BMC Leading Ladder, the BMC Youth Climbing Series, the BMC Para Climbing Series and four Open Youth Lead and Bouldering events each year, as well as hosting World and European Cup Events in the UK and supporting the entry of British Team members from all five teams in competitions internationally. The British Teams are selected on the back of the results of the National Championships and the Open Youth events.
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The opportunities for young people to participate in climbing, hill walking and mountaineering continue to increase, through the growth in the number of forward-looking BMC affiliated clubs, climbing walls, youth clubs and outdoor centres and their provision of quality introductory schemes. The BMC has a comprehensive child protection policy and continues to provide advice and support, through a Child Safeguarding Group, for other organisations, the young people themselves and their parents, ensuring that the introduction to these activities is as enjoyable, safe and informed as possible.
The BMC use a wide variety of mechanisms to help hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers develop their skills. Our annual winter and alpine lecture series tour the country in November and April respectively; a range of books, booklets, leaflets, posters, DVDs and web films promote safety and good practice; specialist seminars and bespoke training opportunities are provided for student and non-student clubs; and Plas y Brenin deliver training courses for BMC members. Our FUNdamentals of Climbing coach education workshops are part of the training pathway for Mountain Training’s coaching awards. The BMC supports the Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust courses for young mountaineers.
The International Committee has a wide-ranging brief, covering international events to advising on sustainable mountain tourism. Each year the BMC organises an International Climbing Meet, helping to foster foreign relations and often giving climbers who would not normally have the means the chance to visit the UK. The Meets regularly attract over 100 of the top climbers in the world and national media coverage. The Committee also coordinates the UK's international representation in the outdoor world, producing advice and publications to help those taking their activities overseas. The Committee also administers small grants to assist with international expeditions.
The Technical Committee exists to provide an informed source of technical knowledge and advice on safety equipment and its use in the outdoors. It is responsible for directing research, issuing publications and contributes to work on the International Standards to which much outdoor equipment must conform. The Committee oversees the analysis and reporting of equipment failures and incidents, and produces reports on the causes and what can be done to prevent similar incidents in the future. We work in close co-operation with outdoor equipment manufacturers. As well our formal reports, the BMC provides advice through website articles and videos. In addition, we regularly provide workshops and presentations for clubs and other members.
The BMC supports equal opportunities for all, and encourages members to adopt a positive approach to eliminating discrimination and removing and breaking down barriers between all groups active in the outdoors.
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The Guidebook Committee produces a definitive series of guides to the peak district and other areas, and also assists other groups to publish guidebooks. The guidebooks are produced almost entirely by hard-working regional volunteers, with support from the BMC Guidebook Officer.
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The Huts Group offers support and guidance for individuals and clubs responsible for the management of mountain huts in the UK. Seminars covers issues such as liability, child protection, fire and buildings regulations and user access, and encourages sensitive management of huts.
Many people join the BMC to support the vital work that that the BMC does on behalf of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers on a vast range of issues in a huge number of areas. Additionally, membership of the BMC gains you access to an extensive range of benefits. These include £10m worldwide Civil Liability insurance, £10,000 Personal Accident insurance, access to travel & activity insurance, 10% discount in over 700 outdoor shops, free copies of the BMC Summit magazine; discounts in UK and Alpine huts, discounts on BMC guidebooks, discounts at exhibitions and events and much more. Revenue from membership fees and services supports the good work of the Specialist Programmes outlined above and allows the BMC to increase the range and depth of the services it can offer its members.
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The BMC is committed to providing the best possible travel & activity insurance to its members and is in constant negotiation with its brokers, Perkins Slade, to ensure this is the case. Whether you are a hill walker, adventure traveller, gap year student, climber or mountaineer, you can benefit from a specialist policy developed by one of our active experts.
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