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WSRA Trustee Election Hustings

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Robin Moira White, May 26, 2014.

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  1. Know all

    Know all New Member

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    Robin

    Working members seem to have a choice Travel free with the PLC or Travel Free with the WSRA how can you be sure they will do the former because if you are wrong you are going to probably lose money. If I were still volunteering on the WSR I would use my WSRA trip as its one way to make a donation to the PLC and I assume at the moment most of your gang are doing just that if not why ever not.
    Of course if working members don't need the WSRA concession why give it to them as well as discounted membership? This would keep the far flung members more on side and you are going to need them now is not the time to alienate them. I believe in working members concessions don't get me wrong but its not me you have to convince its the masses......

    It does not seem the WSRA makes much money or any out of memberships. Are they actually making a profit or is it a John Lewis type of operation. Out of £24.00 for our twin membership does anybody know how much goes into projects after all costs such as journals staff costs postage and free travel are deducted?


    Know all
     
  2. baldbazza

    baldbazza Member

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    I'm a far flung / remote / armchair member and I've seconded the proposal. Volunteers and employees keep the railway alive for when I (and other remote members) are able to visit. Why not give them a small concession? If anything, I think £20 is remarkably good value compared to what I pay similar organisations...
    Barry
     
  3. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    All

    My suggested Amendments to Resolution 8 achieved wide circulation yesterday, and I had a number of helpful suggestions, including from Jeff Price, in particular suggesting the inclusion of WSRA (and subsidiary) and the offer of free membership for our apprentices.

    I set out below the text of my e-mail sent at 0752 this morning to David Williams and Susan Kaufman.
    kind regards

    Robin White


    David and Susan

    Following my e-mail to you yesterday, my proposed Amendment to Resolution 8 has achieved wide circulation and considerable support. I have received two suggestions which are worthy of inclusion in amendment 8.2. These are (1) to include WSRA and subsidiary employed staff, and (2) to make provision for free membership for apprentices.

    I therefore set out below a revised version of my text supplied yesterday for transmission to Members with the resumed AGM arrangements. As before, I would be grateful if this could be passed on to the Members unaltered.

    Kind regards

    Robin White

    PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO WSRA AGM RESOLUTION 8

    In view of the need for the WSRA to re-connect with the working volunteers, employed staff and the WSR plc in general, the following additions (8.1) and (8.2) to Resolution 8 (Membership subscriptions) are proposed.

    (8.1) A £5 reduction shall be available to any class of membership where, at the time of joining or renewal, the member, one or more of the members in the case of joint or family membership, is a working volunteer, in that they hold a WSR plc-issued ID card.

    (8.2) A 'privilege' rate of membership be available at the rate of £5 for any class of membership to any person employed (for at least 20 hours per week) by the WSR plc, WSRA or any subsidiary thereof at the time of joining or renewal. Apprentices so employed shall be offered free membership.

    These two items are likely (at worst) to be cost-neutral for the WSRA in that working members are a small proportion of the total membership (estimated to be 500 at most). Likewise staff memberships are a vanishingly small number. In both cases judged against the 5-6,000 WSR memberships in total. It is to be hoped that this initiative would encourage membership recruiting which would (1) more than outweigh any losses, (2) raise membership amongst vital opinion-formers on the Railway, and (3) make a positive contribution to the WSRA's standing on the Railway generally.

    Proposed by:
    Robin Moira White
    WSRA Life Member 2221

    Seconded by:
    Barrie Nicholas Childs & Dee Childs
    WSRA Members 5647

    Tim Cowen
    WSRA Member 9904

    Kenneth James Davidge
    WSRA Member 12300

    Robin Fisher
    WSRA Member 4216

    Barry Alan Kitchen
    WSRA Member 6557

    Geoff May
    WSRA Member 12932

    David Smith
    WSRA Member 6691
     
  4. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    That is a sensible, obvious solution. Of course it is easy from me to say, as I have my long service pass. Could we have a comment or two from other working members? I would have thought giving up the (useless?) travel concession against a £5 reduction in membership rate would be the right thing to do?

    kind regards

    Robin
     
  5. Tiffer

    Tiffer Member

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    Like Robin, I have a long service pass,and have no need for the concession.It would probably stay unused in the wallet for the year. How WSRA is to identify who has company passes of one form or another needs some thought ! The trips I and many others make off duty annually are very few. Until recently, volunteering for either WRSA or PLC duties at a variety of locations well before and well after train services meant using personal transport,I shudder think what the annual cost was, but given willingly.The £5 Robin proposes is a recognition of this input.
     
  6. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Robin

    please don't overlook the joint WSRA husband & wife membership where (as in my case) the husband is an active volunteer whilst the wife is unlikely to volunteer but does use & enjoy the members travel concession. It is unlikely that we are the only ones in this situation.
     
  7. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    That's helpful, and the admin would need some careful thinking through.

    I guess that we would be easily able to identify who were working members at the time of joining / renewal by providing the four-figure number from the WSR plc ID card which could be checked, if necessary.

    Under the new rates, a sole member will pay £20, joint members £30, but joint members only get one journal, I believe, so are a significant saving in journal costs? I think the simple solution is that a sole member who claims the £5 concession gets no travel voucher, but joint members can only claim one £5 concession but if they do, will still get one voucher, not two. Sounds a little complex, but I am sure can be worked through.

    kind regards

    Robin White
     
  8. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
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    One similar society of which I am a member now offers two types of membership which confer the same rights but differ by:

    a. Traditional receipt of printed & posted communications- £25 pa
    b. Magazine & all other coms are by e-mail - £17.50pa
     
  9. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    Very good BUT there is a little government department that would very interested that is HMRC because in effect if you are giving the members who opt out of the free trip a discount then the free trip has a value (the price of the discount) I am pretty sure that the charity commission would also be very interested that it could be argued that a charity was selling trips at a discounted price. Ask me a whole can of worms would be opened.

    Rodders
     
  10. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Rodney

    We (and HMRC) know the trip has a value at present, because the WSRA pays the WSR plc for each one which is taken up.

    kind regards

    Robin
     
  11. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    But does the HMRC realise yet? This was only brought in this year. It is the association that is paying not promotions. We must have an accountant or tax expert on the forum to tell us if this could be problematic.

    Rodders
     
  12. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I agree that some advice would be helpful - but the suggested alterations don't affect the position, as far as I can see.

    However, the need even to think this through does neatly illustrate the problem that charitable status poses for an organisation that we all think is supposed to be the WSR supporters' association........

    kind regards

    Robin
     
  13. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Whilst on the subject of membership fees, can someone please clarify the qualification(s) for Senior Citizen? Amongst the various societies to which I belong this seems to vary between (at least) 3 different options: 60 and over for all, 60 and over for women and 65 and over for men, or 65 and over for everyone (the first of these seems to be the most common now) .
     
  14. daveb

    daveb Member

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    WSRA membership application page says "60 or over" and the PLC ticket prices says "60+". But I agree, it can be confusing at some places.

    Dave
     
  15. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for the clarification. As you say, it all gets very confusing, and can be rather embarrassing too if you ask for a concession at one location and be turned down, yet qualify for it at another place. I have to send my wife out to buy the bread in our local bakers, as she gets it cheaper than me!
     
  16. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    A good friend used to be a booking office clerk at Sevenoaks. There were a fair few 'Senior Citizens Railcards' to issue. There was a box on the form entitled 'proof of age' in which driving license number, pension book number etc etc was expected. My friend had a rather contemptuous approach to administration and used to write 'looks old' in the box before sending it off to the admin department in Darlington. He tells me that no-one there ever sent a form back.....:)

    But then, we are all looking younger and living longer these days?:D

    kind regards

    Robin
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
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  17. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Bean counter should have an idea about it as he is the NYMR accountant maybe you could drop him a pm for advice as I am sure he wouldn't mind.
     
  18. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I'm sure the HMRC have other rather bigger fish to fry than looking at 'free travel' on preserved railways.
     
  19. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    You would think so....
    I would like to agree with you but then we would be both wrong...
    Having been on the receiving end of a tax inspection they are not pleasant. they go through everything with a fine tooth comb I am a small sole trader and they found time to spend a fruitless day with me so Iam sure that they have plenty of time to look over the accounts of the WSRA. When the man from HMRC came I was not worried because at the time the person doing my accounts was a tax inspector who went to firms to check them out. They told me the story of a visit to a company one day where she said she felt something was up and wasn't quite sure so she waited for the boss to go on the shop floor and then asked his secretary for the "other set of books" which she duly handed over. That is how the revenue work.
    As you say maybe Bean counter will have a view.
     
  20. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Surely the distinction is between the benefits people get as a member of a society (which may affect the society's eligibility for Gift Aid on those donations), and any benefits that someone gets in connection with their employment (in which case there may be a benefit in kind)?
     
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