Motions Passed at Annual Gathering 2008

  • Charity Commission in Scotland

This Annual Conference resolves to amend section C of the constitution of the Woodcraft Folk as follows:

Add a new third paragraph:

"Throughout this constitution a 'charitable purpose' is a purpose that is regarded as charitable both in the law of England and Wales and in the law of Scotland, and the term 'charitable' is to be interpreted in accordance both with the law of England and Wales and the law of Scotland"

  • Finance: Payment of Adult Membership

This Annual Conference notes:

(1) the importance of registering adult members in the most cost effective way such that it also appreciates the pressing requirements upon our volunteer’s time,

(2) that late payment of membership fees has a negative impact upon balancing the national budget,

(3) that various methods are currently available to members for paying their membership, i.e. cheques, cash, standing order and card payments.

This Annual Conference instructs General Council to:

(1) implement a direct debit scheme that would ease the burden on members having to remember to pay their annual fee and ensure that payments to Head Office are received on the due date.

  • Management of Woodcraft Folk Staff

This Annual Conference notes:

(1) the importance of excellent staff to a small charity like the Woodcraft Folk.

(2) that remuneration for such posts is generally limited by the yearly budget cycle.

(3) that an organisation’s greatest asset is its people - volunteers and paid staff alike.

(4) that our staff should be professionally managed and that being a voluntary organisation is no excuse before the law for inadequately trained or supported staff or managers. This potential failure in a duty of care is alarming.

This Annual Conference instructs General Council to bring forward policy proposals that will ensure all our staff are managed professionally, and that all line managers receive adequate training.

  • General Council Meetings

This Annual Conference notes;

(1) that General Council meetings are held in various locations across Britain.

(2) that these meetings normally run over a full weekend.

(3) that the associated cost may not always be matched by the effectiveness of the meetings.

(4) that from an equalities angle such organisation of meetings may act as a disincentive for members with caring responsibilities from standing for General Council.

This Annual Conference instructs General Council to:

(1) examine more cost effective and equal opportunities ways of delivering business, especially looking at central locations for meetings - like London and Birmingham for example,

(2) look to reduce General Council meetings from effectively Friday to Sunday, to one overnight and a full day Council.

  • Woodcraft Folk Charter

This Annual Conference notes the old Woodcraft Folk charter that stated:

“WE DECLARE THAT IT IS OUR DESIRE:-

To develop in ourselves, for the service of the people, mental and physical health, and communal responsibility, by- Camping out and living in close contact with nature; By using the creative faculty both of our minds and our hands; And by sincerity in all our dealings with our neighbours; To make ourselves familiar with the history of the world, and the development of man in the slow march of evolution that we may understand and revere the Great Spirit that urges all things to perfect themselves;

We further declare that the welfare of the community can be assured only when the instruments of production are owned by the community, and all things necessary for the good of the race are produced by common service for the common use; When the production of all things that directly or indirectly destroy human life cease to be; And when man shall turn his labour from private greed to social service, to increase the happiness of mankind, and when nations shall cease to suckle tribal enmities and unite in common fellowship.”

This Annual Conference further believes that nowhere is our vision clearly expressed in easily understood terms.

This Annual Conference instructs General Council to consult widely on a modern charter for the new century that embraces the Woodcraft Folk’s continued commitment to peace, co-operation, environmentalism and world wide social justice. This new charter should be presented to Annual Conference 2009, and if accepted by the movement, included on all membership cards from 2010.

  • Venturer Camp

This Annual Conference notes the important development of Venturer engagement in the organisation of Venturer Camp over the past decade and sees this as paramount. This Annual Conference instructs future camp organisers to ensure Venturers are involved from the beginning of the camp planning process and their views are respected.

  • Childcare During Events

This Annual Conference believes that:

(1) childcare responsibilities are often a significant barrier to greater participation by many members in Woodcraft Folk events

(2) an important step to ensuring greater inclusion and increasing member participation in Woodcraft

Folk decision-making processes and other events is the provision of reliable and affordable childcare. With this in mind, this Annual Conference instructs the organisers of all Woodcraft events to seek the widest possible participation of members by making the provision of childcare and other family friendly arrangements a priority.

  • National Woodcraft Folk Websites

This Annual Conference notes:

(1) the excellent work by volunteers on the national websites,

(2) that some time ago members were promised a secure login area with forums, resources etc,

(3) that this work appears to be no further forward and should now be prioritised,

(4) that many organisations, especially unions like Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), have constructed websites that allow individual members to have control of their data or for new members to join on line. This frees up time for Head Office, but still allows updates to be input manually for those uncomfortable with Computers.

This Annual Conference instructs General Council to:

(1) make the on line history archive operational again as a priority (if this has not yet been done by Annual Gathering 2008.)

(2) complete the work on the secure area of the national website either by volunteer input, by finding the resources within the budget, or by seeking grant funding.

(3) make available a system which allows members to update their personal data through an on-line membership login.

  • Woodcraft Park Farm, Lurgashall

This Annual Conference welcomes the positive move by Chichester District Council in granting planning permission in order to reinstate camping at Woodcraft Park Farm.

Further this Annual Conference recognises:

(1) Volunteers who have worked to ensure the site is ready and complies with the planning permission order,

(2) Members who have worked together and applied pressure on local and national government in order to reinstate camping and ensure that children and young people have access to the countryside and their own campsite,

(3) Continued support from General Council to ensure that we get planning permission and the exemption certificate from DEFRA,

(4) Support from members of the Lurgashall Community in order to get camping back at Woodcraft Park Farm,

This Annual Conference:

(1) urges all members to maximise the planning permission to ensure that the 60 days (100 people per night) is used to as full capacity as possible. We believe that through careful monitoring, good management and governance we can build upon the camping numbers and nights in the future,

(2) believes that the work done by many Woodcraft Folk members both young and old is a good demonstration of people power and is an opportunity for educational work to show the power that people have when they come together,

(3) would like to express it’s thanks to all those who have and continue to work with and for Woodcraft Park Farm to ensure that this site can continue to contribute to the education of children and young people.

  • Amendment: Woodcraft Park Farm, Lurgashall

In Line one after “granting” - delete all of the rest of the sentence and add: “camping and recreational use of Park Farm, Lurgashall by the Wimbledon Woodcraft Folk, subject to a number of conditions.

Now reads:

This Annual Conference welcomes the positive move by Chichester District Council in granting camping and recreational use of Park Farm, Lurgashall by the Wimbledon Woodcraft Folk, subject to a number of conditions.

Note: This Amendment recived more votes in favour than against but was wrongly declared not passed by Standing Orders Committee, an officially apology can be seen in the minutes of the 2009 Annual Conference.

  • Folk Symbol

This Annual Conference instructs General Council and staff to desist from using the 75th Commemorative Badge as a corporate logo, and to return to using the circular Folk Symbol until such time as a future conference decides otherwise.

  • Fare Pool at National Events:

This Annual Conference recognises that, due to the large geographic spread of The Woodcraft Folk, some districts will be disproportionately represented at national events. This Annual Conference therefore instructs event organisers to coordinate a fare pool system for all such events to enable maximum participation.

  • Strategic Review of Northern Region

This Annual Conference notes with concern the continued decline and lack of co-ordination and support for the Northern Region of The Woodcraft Folk. This Annual Conference therefore instructs General Council to facilitate a strategic review of what is happening in the region and develop an Action Plan with clear time scales to reverse the decline. The overall aim of the plan is to have a more sustained and co-ordinated region. The strategic review will pay particular attention to the following aspects;

(1) Regional Boundaries

(2) Publicity and Promotion

(3) Staff Support

(4) Committee Structures

(5) Regional Events

  • Make Your Vote Count Campaign

This Annual Conference recognises that many civil and public servants play important roles in protecting society, the environment and young people as well as providing support for their education and development.

We welcome the ‘Make Your Vote Count campaign’ being run by our national affiliate the Public and Commercial Services Union which seeks to promote the participation of members of society in the democratic process of elections in order to ensure that civil and public services are based on quality delivery to the point of need and not on private profit. We support the employment principles of equality and fair and equal pay.

We recognise the importance of promoting equality throughout society and encouraging future generations to participate in democracy and undertake to:

(1) Advertise to our members any Make Your Vote Count events being held that are open to the public encouraging them to attend where possible

(2) Educate our members about the importance of voting and the threat to democracy posed by fascist and far right groups

(3) Send a message of support following this conference and Gathering to the PCS Make Your Vote Count co-ordinator.

  • Free Open-Source Software

This Annual Conference resolves that the Woodcraft Folk use FOSS (Free, Open-Source Software) wherever possible and practical within Districts and within central administration.

  • Emergency Motion: Free Education

This Annual Conference notes the motion recently put to the British Youth Council (BYC) to change their focus for education funding from a principled free education standpoint to a “Fairer Funding System” (In England and Wales). The motion believes people should pay fees but restrict the ”cap” of £3,000 per year at university (HE) and regulated at college (FE).

The Annual Conference also notes the National Union of Students has dropped their free education campaign and is saddened by the fact that the NUS ignores the majority of young people planning to go to University and College who believe that education should be free.

These recent developments are not without opposition and this Annual Conference calls on the Woodcraft Folk and members to reaffirm our commitment to free education. Education at all levels is a right and not a privilege and should be available free at the point of access to everyone regardless of nationality, gender and financial means.

The Annual Conference calls on General Council to put an amendment to the BYC Annual Members Conference so as BYC supports the campaign for free education working with all partners fighting for free education funded by a progressive taxation system.

This Annual Conference also calls upon General Council to support proposed united action against fees and for free education in Universities (HE) and Colleges (FE). It also calls upon General Council to help the Woodcraft Folk coordinate other with partners fighting for free education such as Education Not for Sale.