Oxford University Cave Club

AGM Hilary 2003 


Minutes, etc.

"OUCC this term"

OUCC Home Page

Meeting started 9.23pm


Tim Guilford, Chris Pedersen, Matthew Balaam, Gareth Phillips, Steve Roberts, Hilary Greaves, Simon Goddard, John Pybus, Sarah McCullogh, Keith Hyams, Eleanor Packham, Dave Legg, Rosa Clements


  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of TGM MT 2003, AGM HT 2002
  3. Matters arising
  4. Officer's Reports
  5. Elections
  6. The Council of University Caving Clubs
  7. Replacing/repairing trailer
  8. New gear for novices
  9. AOB

Apologies for absence:

Paul Garver, Al Wilson

Matters Arising from the 2002 AGM:

The part of the constitution referring to what would happen to the assets if the club dissolved has been changed from 'distributed as directed by the University' to 'distributed in a manner acceptable to the University'.

Matters arising from the Michaelmas 2002 TGM:

  1. The old club lights are dead. We now have 5 LED headsets: 4 in the hut, 1 in Tim's car, and 1 in Eleanor's room (?)
  2. We still need to agree on a system for the batteries for the LED lights. The expedition batteries have now been depleted. So far we have been using the system that people are responsible for their own batteries, and we thought it would be best to continue with this because if we had a stash of club batteries they might walk. However we need to make people aware that they are responsible for their own batteries and encourage them to have a spare, e.g. the Meet Co-ordinator should remind people to bring a battery on the email about the weekend. Steve suggested including 2-3 batteries on the shopping list for the weekend, then whoever needed a battery could buy one of them, and John suggested we could have a stash of club batteries that people had to sign for, and paint them all pink so it was obvious who was using a club battery.
  3. The 2002 expedition accounts have not yet been closed, but the money has been given to the 2003 expedition as a float. No-one at the meeting was sure how much money this was.
  4. Nobody claimed for money from the weekends with lost accounts, so no-one has had to pay.
  5. Loss on transport- transferred to Treasurer's report
  6. Novices need to be told to read the guidance notes for novices, possibly by giving them a printed copy on the bus (or playing an audio version on the bus?). This should be included in the Meet Co-ordinators' crib sheet.
  7. SRT practice- transferred to President's report
  8. Ropewasher- transferred to Gear report
  9. Chris Densham was mandated to do things with cave radios, possibly training people to use them

Officers' Reports


  1. There was a successful President's Invite, although not many undergraduates went on it because it was 0th week
  2. Steve, Chris Densham and Howard Jeffs have been trying to get an SRT wall at the OUSF building on Iffley Road. They have now agreed on a location, in the main sports hall, and it would have a ladder access platform at the top. They are now waiting for an estimate from Joel. It could turn out to be £15000 with the safety certifications though. If OUSF decide against it, another possibility would be asking for subsidies for the Brookes climbing wall, but that isn't as suitable and it's always busy.
  3. The President has been caving.


It's nice to see so many new people.


The secretary is attempting to organise the annual dinner. St Cross is expensive, so other possibilities would be the Thai Orchid or Blue Palms, although it turns out Blue Palms is in Summertown and Thai Orchid has £5 corkage. John said we'd been to Blue Palms before though. The ceilidh was good.


The treasurer had had a really crap week and thought the AGM was next week. Last weekend we lost £250 of club kit, but other than that the accounts are fairly good. We don't have as much membership income as usual because this year we had less novices, most of whom stayed, rather than lots of freshers coming on a trip and never returning. We are also losing around £50 a weekend on transport. We need to apply for money from the OUSF. They give us a regular amount of money, but there are also supplementary grants we need to apply for. Steve agreed to find out who was responsible for this in OUSF and ask them for more money. Also the mountaineers get a regular grant from the AC Irvine fund for transport. We should find out if we can do the same. Gavin might know.

If we can't get more grants, we have two choices: to raise weekend costs by about £5 a weekend or to raise membership fees. Hilary suggested it should be a priority to keep the weekend costs low because the purpose of the club is caving, so caving is the thing that should be subsidised. Increasing trip charges would mean the people who used the club kit and transport most would be paying more, which is fair, but it might discourage people from caving. The current membership fees are £5 for freshers, £10 for other students, £25 for full members, and £10 for country members. It was suggested the student membership fee could be raised to £15 or £20 since £10, while comparable to membership fees for other Oxford clubs, is quite low as it's only about half the cost of a weekend. We might not get as many University grants if we are seen to have a low student membership fee, and anyway, we should value caving more than that. Other caving clubs have membership fees of around £20, so our full membership fee is quite high and it wouldn't be a good idea to raise it. People who have their own gear and don't use club transport already object to paying £25. Neither would it be a good idea to raise the fee for novices because it would discourage them from trying out caving if they weren't sure. Steve suggested the £5 could cover just a term's membership and people who decided to stay could pay the rest of the student membership fee later. Tim suggested encouraging country members to pay by standing order.

After a while no definite conclusion had been reached so it was decided that it would be best to check out the AC Irvine Fund and OUSF first, then have a whole membership consultation by email, with a final decision being made at the next TGM. When all the club lights are returned to the hut we will buy 3 or 4 more.

Meets Sec.:

 no report

Gear officer:

Matthew showed us his drawing of a ropewasher. He's going to ask Bob Barnes if we can put it on the wall where the trench and tap are. If we can't, we'll bolt the freestanding wall instead which we already have permission for.

Expedition leader:

We have £400 from Ghar Parau, and the Gordon Foundation will tell us the news in April. Simon is sorting out the 1st Aid courses, and Dave's been talking to someone about vaccinations. Come on expedition!

Election results:

President: Steve Roberts
Chair: Paul Garver
Treasurer: Pod if he's willing to do it, John Pybus otherwise
Secretary: Eleanor Packham
Meets Sec: Sarah McCullogh
Gear Officer: Matthew Balaam
Gear Apprentice: Rosa Clements

The Council of University Caving Clubs

Steve will put links from our website to theirs. It will be part of the NCA, but it wasn't clear how much subscription to it would cost. They are going to do T-shirts and seminars and hope to make a small profit to pay for their £60 NCA subscription. The purpose of this organisation was a little unclear. They are nothing to do with the University division of the BCRA, which meets once a year at the BCRA conference when everyone else is listening to expedition talks. The Council of University Caving Clubs is designed to improve communication between University caving clubs, and prevent us getting stick from other caving clubs e.t.c. However this might be counterproductive or divisive- we're more likely to get respect by going caving and doing BCRA talks rather than going to committee meetings. It was decided not to join yet but to send someone to their AGM if anyone wanted to go. No-one did though.

Repairing/ replacing the trailer

The trailer is very old, falling to pieces, and reaching the stage where it's not worth taking to the garage anymore. One expedition can't afford a new trailer though- it would cost £700-£900. Fortunately we have a special projects fund for this kind of thing. Expedition committee should discuss it further.

Novice gear

The novice gear is really crap. If we want to encourage novices to cave, the current gear is not really helping, so we should buy some decent gear. Well, actually the furries have been repaired now, but the oversuits are still crap. We could either keep a stock of decent club gear, or buy new gear every Summer on the gear order, use it for the novice trips, then attempt to sell it to the novices who stayed. The trouble with this is that they probably wouldn't fit very well. Part of the problem is that people use club gear for a whole year before they can buy their own on the gear order, so even if we did buy new gear it would get worn out before long. One solution would be to introduce an earlier gear order, around Christmas say, so people could buy their own gear. However, if the novice gear wasn't so crap, there might not be an incentive to do that. We'd just have to tell people that continuing to use club gear after Christmas if they'd decided to stay wasn't part of the deal, or introduce a gear hire charge. John said there used to be a gear charge but it didn't work as it was difficult to administrate and the piggy bank in the hut kept getting raided. OUSF might give us a supplementary grant to buy novice kit. Simon or John or Pod (if he becomes the treasurer) will ask them.

AOB: none.

Meeting closed: 11.37pm