Woodcraft Folk AGM 2017

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Woodcraft Folk AGM 2017 was held on Saturday, 23rd September, at the Birmingham Midland Institute.

The meeting was intended to pass the Annual Report and Financial Statements,

 to elect General Council and Standing Order Committee members and to consider proposed Motions.

After the opening address by Lloyd Russell Moyle, newly appointed MP and member of Woodcraft Folk, the Annual Report and Financial Statements were passed and the elections were held.

We extend a big thank-you and welcome to the following;

  • Nadia Asri, Holly Carter-Rich and Pip Sayers (General Council 16-24yrs)
  • Sapna Agarwal, Millie Burgh, Tom Gower, Ralph Sleigh and Stuart Walker (General Council Lay)
  • Jeni Dixon (Standing Orders Committee - 2 places unfilled)

On the day we had enough proxy votes from our delegates to agree the accounts and hold elections. However, the meeting was not ‘quorate’ so, although the discussion of motions went ahead, attendees were able to express their views and vote, the decisions were not be binding under our constitution. Quorum numbers for meetings are set to ensure fair and representative voting and with your help we'll be working towards increasing participation at next year's AGM. 

Despite not having as many members as we'd like, in true Woodcraft style we had lively debate and enjoyed the democratic process. Of particular interest was the motion submitted by General Council on postal and online voting. We look forward to AGM 2018 so we can discuss this motion further and vote on the possibility of members voting remotely either before the meeting or during the AGM. 

The Chair, Stuart Walker, tells us a little about what happened on the day.

'A lively discussion was held across a broad range of areas.  Strongly held opinion was aired, nearly entirely in a comradely fashion.

Indicative ballots were taken which will inform General Council as they take the motions forward and find effective ways to implement them. Groups will be canvassed as to thoughts on how to ensure we reach out to members all over the country and find ways to engage in national decision making in properly democratic and participatory ways.'

Especially welcome was newly elected MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle who brought the following greeting from the Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn: 

'My good friend Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP is bringing my message to the Woodcraft annual meeting.

I am a huge supporter of the principles and traditions of The Woodcraft Folk of peace, protecting and sustaining the natural world and the rights of all people to live in peace and dignity.

Through many Woodcraft camps I have learned so much and enjoyed the wonderful sense of community. Everywhere I go somebody always says to me how much they learned from Woodcraft.

My solidarity support and greetings to you all and my best wishes for the great future in helping to make a decent world.

WOODCRAFT...'

We also welcomed Steve Davies, from Mondelez International, who has been cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for several charities, including Woodcraft Folk. For more information about Steve's fundraising, see our article here. 

The day was enjoyed by all and one of the delegates, Veronica Hammerstone, Clapham District shared the following about her experience this year.

'I like going to this AGM meeting as I enjoy learning what’s going on in the organisation and meeting new Woodcrafters, which I did. 

It was a great shame that the meeting was not quorate since just a few more delegates turning up or getting the proxy votes in place from their groups would have achieved this.  Hopefully the moves to getting postal votes and perhaps even online voting will solve this in future years.  It meant that there was a lot of discussion about the validity of the voting, since we still discussed all the motions, but the votes would be just an indication of the meeting’s views not binding.

Nonetheless the discussions on the various motions were interesting and varied and, at times, quite passionate, and I was pleased to see quite a few younger members expressing their views.'

The Woodcraft Folk movement believes passionately in equality and co-operation and we want to encourage broader participation from our members in our democratic process. We'll be taking steps to evaluate how we can ensure that we hear enough voices and foster enough open dialogue to do that. So, in preparation for next year we have all put our listening ears on at General Council & HQ.

Please, do get in touch with your thoughts at info@woodcraft.org.uk. Please, also take the time to discuss ideas with those in your groups & districts and we promise that we’ll work together to improve participation at AGM 2018!!

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