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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Thanks again to John Bailey for trying to sort the WSR out and for continuing to participate actively in the discussions here, even if we don't all agree with all that he says.
    However, a little way back he said
    In response to that I asked
    His response was
    Those are valid generalities but do not identify any specific area where any money has actually been spent that would have been better spent on something that was more urgent but that was outwith a charity's scope. Nor AFAIK has anyone identified a pot of money that one of the charities is sitting on but unable to spend because of a restriction, apart from the SDRT's funds which the PLC got excited about but which are presumably not large anyway.
    What is painfully clear is that the WSR family as a whole has received a far smaller total in donations and/or grants recently than some other major preserved railways. We all have our ideas of why that is so.
    The WSR is now in a crazy situation where all parties agree that change is needed, and even on the general direction of change, but they continue to squabble over the details and the timing.
    EDIT: Deleted extraneous word.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  2. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Re the WSSRT, noted on their Facebook page this morning:-

    "The West Somerset Steam Railway Trust regrets that it is having to suspend the acceptance of new member applications from Friday 18 September as a result of the huge level of demand which is beyond our ability to process at this time.
    The Trust is a small charity run by volunteers and hitherto has been processing applications at the rate of one or two a month. Over the last month we have been overwhelmed with new applications, and those in the pipeline awaiting processing far exceed the total number of members we had prior to June.
    We need time to take stock and to develop a system that can handle an unprecedented number of applications, and to support a membership size two or three times what the current arrangements were designed to deal with.
    We welcome the unprecedented interest in the work of the Trust and would ask keen applicants to bear with us while we sort out how best to manage the process without putting undue strain on our hard working volunteer trustees.
    When we are able to resume receiving applications we will publish details on our website."

    Interesting :)

    There may be some here on NP who have 'missed the boat' to join up before their AGM....
     
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  3. 6960 Raveningham Hall

    6960 Raveningham Hall Member Friend

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    Call me a cynic, but I wonder how many of those new members will renew their membership in 12 months time when they have (presumably) achieved their objective.
     
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  4. Piggy

    Piggy Member

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    So will their current administrator(s) act promptly or go slow ....?
     
  5. All active members and volunteers should be obliged to be in membership of a sole member-led charity entity, in the event that goal be achieved.
     
  6. Sounds like they need some more hard-working volunteer trustees......
     
  7. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    Call me a cynic, but I wonder if those in the pipeline will get their membership confirmed before the AGM...
     
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  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    That may depend on how they feel about the conduct of the Trust over the next year. Speaking personally, I’d be more likely to maintain membership where I felt valued as a full member than mistrusted as a cuckoo in the nest.


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  9. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    What a great problem to have in these difficult times.

    However, it isn’t clear to me as a prospective Trustee, how pausing applications is in the interest of the Trust. Taken at face value and working on the minimum annual donation of £12, there is over £1,000 To be collected.

    Presumably the log jam will be sorted soon, as will new arrangements for the WSSRT AGM.

    I would urge all those who support the good works of the Trust (whether you support the proposals of the ‘10’ or not) to make your application for membership.

    Robin
     
  10. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Sad to say, but that was exactly my first thought on this. It would be 'interesting' also to have a breakdown of the 'extra new numbers' for before and after the nominations of the '10' became known.
     
  11. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    I fundamentally disagree. Apart from the obvious that a member is already a member (!), to force all.volunteets to be members just won't work. The problem is defining a volunteer. A few weeks ago I was on one of the weeding parties. We dragged in family members to that. They were volunteers, but if I'd said to them, you can't weed until you've paid £20 membership each, then they would just have walked away. The only way it would work is if membership was conferred automatically and gratis with your ID card. Maybe a very basic membership which you might upgrade if you wish.
    But I still dislike the principle of forcing people to take out membership as if it were a closed shop. I see no possible advantage in doing so.
    Ian Coleby
     
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Surely for health and safety reasons, insurance etc, it makes sence to make it mandatory that all working volunteers have to be joined up members of what ever new charity body is eventually brought into being, especially if the PLC is to become the trading arm of said charity the id card and pts, may well be in the company name, but the volueteer recruitment can be done by the charity, plus, a lot of charities have agreements where if you show your membership card, you can travel either at members rates, or for free on other lines,
     
  13. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    "Working volunteers" as opposed to "non-working volunteers"? But that was my point. The plc issued all of the weeders temporary ID cards for the day so insurance etc was covered. But if there had been the added burden of paying to become a member, then it wouldn't happen.
    It depends on what is meant by membership.
    Ian
     
  14. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    One probably needs to distinguish between the written charitable aims (which are both pretty broad, ISTR), and the actual focus (since the WSRA's seems to be wider).

    Noel
     
  15. Lplus

    Lplus Member

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    A non working volunteer is a contradiction in terms. There is no need for a volunteer to be a paid up member of any charity or other organisation for H&S or insurance purposes.
     
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  16. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    As an outsider it has never been clear to me who supervises volunteers on the WSR. These days it’s really important. In the good old days on heritage raIlways you might be invited by one of your mates to come along and have a go. Rather like the weeding families mentioned. These days who can volunteer should be covered by your Safety Management System. That’s probably the key compliance document for the ORR.
    The expectation these days is the no one can actually work as a volunteer unless they have gone through a suitable induction programme including a job relevant safety briefing. Whether or not they are members may be secondary. It does seem very muddled. For instance is a WSRA member a “ member” for the purposes of WSR PLC insurance cover? It probably needs an insurance expert to look at it.
    If volunteers are just turning up with their mates/ family it’s likely they are uninsured for any damage or injury they might sustain and, more importantly, any injury they cause to others. That means everyone involved could be faced with financially crippling liability. Apart from having attended an induction course insurance cover probably depends on whether whoever runs the railway ( presumably the PLC) having asked for or approved the volunteers undertaking the work. It’s sad but the world today is bound by regulation designed to make spontaneous volunteering a memory. One other railway I volunteer for requires you to have your volunteer work permit available for inspection at all times and you only get one after completing a half day induction course.
     
  17. ikcdab

    ikcdab Well-Known Member

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    John, just to be clear. Anybody who does active work on the railway must have a plc ID card for the reasons you mention. That includes the weeding parties etc. There is no confusion and I don't want to start hares running. The team I was in were all issued with cards and it was led by a PTS qualified person who gave a briefing.
    Ian
     
  18. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

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    Except that the charity / society / whatever is disconnected from the volunteers. It's AGM, and possible effect on PLC policy is, in the worst case, unlikely to reflect the views of the guys who actually make the wheels turn. You have exchanged one problem for another. That said, I understand that persuading volunteer non-members to join up (= cough up) will not be easy.
    Pat
     
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  19. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I welcome this imaginative solution to a particular situation. But as “hard cases make bad law”, I’m reluctant to draw general conclusions from a one off event.


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  20. Lineisclear

    Lineisclear Member

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    Thanks Ian.

    I should have guessed!
     

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