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8th Management Group Meeting

8th Management Group Meeting, 22nd July 2020 (from notes by JEB)

Don Jones (DJ) chaired the meeting, attended by Rev. Clive Thrower (CT),
Lynne Newton (LN), Sue Peach (SP), Martin Whiteley (MW), John Fisher (JF)
Glen Fiddy (GF), Alison Barnett (AB) and Jane Boden (JEB).

1. Welcome: DJ welcomed everybody to the meeting, held via Zoom.

Before the meeting began Paul Jopp was invited to explain the benefits of holding virtual meetings as this could be useful for future DDA business meetings. He stated that this was not a substitute for a ‘traditional’ ringing meeting (i.e. ringing and a face-to-face business meeting) but an alternative format that had clear benefits during coronavirus and perhaps beyond. He believed that the technology to hold a large-scale business meeting was there and Zoom was the best in the field. Need to send out meeting papers by email prior to the event and the meeting is chaired by the President, but it’s probably better to have somebody acting as facilitator, who may find it easier to use a large TV screen (using a HDMI connector) if there were more than 20 people involved. Zoom allows up to 100 people to participate and secure voting can take place. Would need to set up a registration system to allow members to dial in; to set up an automatic entry and put members onto ‘mute’ so they can signal when they wish to speak.

Advantages are that virtual meetings are environmentally friendly (e.g. no travel or printing involved) and particularly useful during social distancing; people can join from anywhere on a wide range of devices; and additional guest speakers can be involved. Disadvantages are that not everybody has the technology and know-how to be included and problems with voting representation when two or more members are sharing a device.

Paul was thanked for his contribution.

2. Apologies: Received from Neil Westman.

3. Minutes from meeting of 26th June 2020: Taken as read and accepted.

4. Matters Arising
i. Rope store – information should be put on the website and the facility advertised.
ii. Training towers – it has been agreed to consider this topic in the broader Education Committee review.

iii. Re-opening of churches – Sunday service ringing was taking place in a limited fashion depending on local circumstances. It was felt good to do so as some parishioners have missed the sound of bells.
iv. Zoom subscription – a licence had been obtained for £11.99 + VAT per month.

5. Items for Discussion
i. October meeting/AGM and format – some difficulties were recognised with a meeting held by Zoom. We could only have 100 participants unless we paid for the upgrade (which would allow up to 300 participants but would need more hosts and greater costs) and some of our older members do not have computer access. AB reported that she was a regular user of Zoom with another organisation and experienced c.50% attendance. CT reported that the Diocesan synod had been held by Zoom where it was felt legally there was to be no substantive voting. An option may be to hold a ‘mixed’ meeting (i.e. physical and Zoom, provided the venue had a high ‘band width’ and social distancing was possible).

AB would prepare a questionnaire to put to the membership, asking if they wanted an AGM and which format they preferred.

ii. DDA activities – several members had enquired about activities during lock-down. The Education Committee had arranged some training events and various towers were using ‘Ringing Room’ and, more recently, handbells. The Peak District uses an email network and quarterly news-sheet to keep in touch with members, and many towers arrange social sessions (e.g. quizzes and coffee mornings). Sue Hall, as PRO, has promoted a range of activities, including those hosted by other organisations, to the membership.

LN asked about the Young Ringers; JEB to contact Christian Peckham and Anthony Cotton to see what they have been doing.

Ruth Jopp was taken up on her kind offer to arrange an online quiz for the DDA on Saturday 15th August at 7.30pm.

iii. Subscriptions for 2021 – it was agreed that subs should remain unchanged next year, even though we will incur slightly greater expenditure this year because of mailing out the Annual Report. This will be offset to some extent because most ringing events are cancelled this year.
iv. Email system – this was being investigated by Andrew and Sue Hall with advice from Paul Jopp. It was understood that the provider had recently been altered, but there are still issues to resolve.
v. 75th Anniversary events – a programme has been arranged for next year but whether it goes ahead depends on Covid-19.
vi. PRO remit – it was suggested that Sue Hall be asked to share key information with the Management Group before circulating it to the membership; Sue is happy to do so.

6. AOB: It was suggested that we publicise ‘what we have done’ on the website; JF to draft an entry and circulate to the Management Group before DJ posts online.

7. Date of next meeting: To be considered depending on the response to the DDA questionnaire.