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Pathetic!


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#1 pwilson

 
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Posted 01 October 2011 - 19:07 PM

Just got back from an excellent end of season meeting which was marred by the poorest attendance of ANY CP meeting that I have ever attended, and I've been to a few. Apart from Vic Brown who was our speaker, and the six committee members who had come up for a committee meeting in the morning we had THREE people who bothered to come along. How embarrasing!!

For several years I have been pushing to hold CPS meetings in other parts of the country and thanks to a lot of hard work, Dianne, our meetings coordinator found an excellent location in Birmingham. It's close to the motorway so easy travelling for people coming from quite a large part of the country. About an hour and a half from the east midlands for instance and around two hours travelling or less from Manchester, Liverpool and other places in that part of the country. An hour and a half from Bristol too and equally close to South and North Wales. Not on everyone's doorstep but significantly closer and more convenient that either of the two traditional locations we've used in the past (Reading and Wisely).

So for everyone who has complained, either privately or on this forum about not having meetings in their part of the country, thanks for making me feel a complete twat! Will we be holding any more meetings in the west midlands or indeed in any other parts of the country other than the south east? I can say honestly that at the moment I don't know though if I were asked to vote on it at this moment I would definitely vote against it. At least when we hold a meeting at the Universiity of Reading or Wisley (actually the community centre close to Wisely Gardens now) we can expect a reasonable turnout of members.

I feel most sorry for Dianne, who has put a lot of effort into finding a new location and organising speakers etc and for Vic Brown and Tim Bailey, our two speakers. Tim stood in at the last minute too because one of our other speakers had to cancel. For the record all those who couldn't be bothered to come along missed two excellent talks - Vic Brown spoke on Pinguiculas and followed this with a practical demonstration on propagation. He even gave away free plants at the end! And then Tim gave a really interesting talk on the three native Drosera species. I didn't know there was so much to say about three species of Drosera! Plus there were some fantastic bargain plants on sale. I came away with far more Pings than I ever thought I needed!

For the three people who did make the meeting I also extend my thanks. I hope you all found it worth braving the Birmingham roads. For the rest who couldn't be bothered - no doubt you will all find some nice excuses; the fantastic hot weather was on a lot of people's minds for instance. How unfortunate if you don't get another chance to have a meeting in your neck of the woods.

Phil

#2 mobile

 
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Posted 01 October 2011 - 19:32 PM

Did you proactively promote this event? I can't see anything about it on the CPS website homepage and I don't recall receiving an email about it.

#3 manders

 
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Posted 01 October 2011 - 19:45 PM

interesting that a majority of the normal reading crowd didnt aparently turn up either, how far are people willing to commute? for me a 4 hr round trip is not ' in my neck of the woods' anyway, so i'm out. Besides which i suspect im not currently a member and i'm on my way to asia anyhow and there was no free neps, sure i can think of some more excuses.

seriously though i suspect it would take more than one meeting to attract regular meeting goers, which is what you need to keep numbers up.

#4 Greg Allan

 
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Posted 02 October 2011 - 00:54 AM

I have to agree with Mobile. I think the problem was with the promotion of the event. Having become accustomed to many of the events being held in the South, I didn't even think to check where this year's end of season meeting was to be held. Historically, I have generally only looked out for Mike King's or Stan Lampard's open days in the calendar. I live around 1/2 mile from the venue where this event took place, but I had no idea about it. Had I known, I would have certainly attended (I spent the afternoon mowing the lawn and running a few household errands!!!), plus I would have made any attendees welcome to eat at my place, view my plants (for what it’s worth), and come for a drink afterwards. I would also, of course, have made myself available to assist with the organisation/logistics/setting up, etc. I am, in fact, really, really gutted to have missed a CP event that was almost literally on my doorstep.

Whilst I unreservedly admire the Committee Members’ dedication, it has to be understood that checking the CPS calendar is generally fairly low down on the list of priorities of even those obsessed by CPs (after spouses, kids, work , social life, etc.). Perhaps I ought to have noticed the thread on this forum, but as it was titled ‘CPS End of Season Meeting’, without the location being highlighted in the title, I presumed it was in the South once again and, to my regret, didn’t bother reading it. I imagine that most CPS members are busy and generally pushed for time, like I am, and don’t have time to scrutinise all CPS-related info that is presented to us.

Clearly, the CPS Committee has the willingness to accept, and act upon, criticism. This is hugely encouraging, but it is clear that the CPS has to do more to communicate with its members (such as, for example, sending more emails). As for the level of interest in the West Midlands, or the willingness of interested parties to travel to this region, one only needs look at the attendance at Mike King’s open days (in nearby Shropshire) so see that a properly promoted event in this area will attract large crowds. Finally, I’m not convinced that ill-tempered rants directed at many of those upon whose subscriptions the continued existence of the CPS depends are the most appropriate means by which progress will be made.

What a shame!

Greg

Edited by Greg Allan, 02 October 2011 - 01:38 AM.


#5 manders

 
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Posted 02 October 2011 - 03:48 AM

i also agree with the above, if i see a headline 'cps meeting' i dont actually read any further as i just assume its down south somewhere.

#6 ada

 
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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:49 AM

I can understand Phils anger,some members put in alot of time and effort to arrange these meetings.Even more so when they aren't in their neck of the woods,so to speak.
But i think it has been a poor year for open days generally,with attendance being down on many.
Possibly due to the cost of petrol or people putting more hours in at work,if they still have a job.

I didn't go, i took the family to the coast on a gorgeous sunny day and enjoyed the sun,a dip in the sea and fish and chips!
We all had a great day,and i didn't get any 'ear 'ole over being out "with the plants" again!
If it had been a typical october saturday i would have been there.

Anyway enough of my excuses :flag_of_truce:

ada

#7 mobile

 
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Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:16 AM

I can understand Phils anger,some members put in alot of time and effort to arrange these meetings.

I'm sorry, but directing his anger at members is unacceptable in my opinion. I am sorry that well meaning committee members feel disappointed that their efforts were in vain, but perhaps a little more effort in promoting it would have been more fruitful. I admit that I would not have attended myself, as the 1000 mile round trip is too much, but I simply did not know it was happening anyway even though I am a CPS member. I always know when Mike King's open days are though, so perhaps the CPS need to learn from this.

#8 Ian Salter

 
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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

I know Phil along with other key CPS Committee members put in an incredible and daunting amount of work
and it's been constant throughout the year I don't envy a single one of them.
Every Committee member had over a 200 mile round trip and always the fuel money and comes out of thier own pockets and the time comes away from thier families.
When the bullets keep flying there is sometimes a tendancy to shoot back, great efforts are being made by all.
I do agree people have life events and the cost of living is crippling especially when there is great distance involved and not everyone has a partner sypathetic to our beloved plants but that's not an excuse everyone can use I feel.
I believe the information was to hand in several formats and it would have been very convenient for some members to turn up on the day and I'm sure it was not a priority for others,
Regards.
Ian.

#9 Mike King

 
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Posted 02 October 2011 - 19:03 PM

I was the speaker who had to back out at the last minute, because of work commitments has meant I have hardly been at home in the last 3 weeks.

It could have been better publicised with the location, but I will say to people who want to go to meetings and can't afford the petrol is to share lifts.
I have a car that can have 6 passengers and can hold a lot of plants so atking people to meetings is never a problem for me. The lifeblood of the CP year are the meetings and the one chance people have of seeing great collections, acquiring new plants and knowledge.

I am willing to fill my car with as many CP enthusiasts for the spring AGM as I can fit in!

#10 pwilson

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:01 AM

Sorry - I was away yesterday at the Bideford tri enjoying (sic) the weather so I haven't been able to reply. :sun_bespectacled:

Reading through the replies there seem to be two basic reasons why some people never bothered to come along on Saturday.

1. They assumed that any meeting was in the south because that's where they've always been to date. I suppose this is a fair point though I'm only going to give that one begrudgingly. Should we have made more of a song and dance about having a meeting out of the usual comfort zone? Well maybe though I have to admit that I assumed that more members would read the posts. See I can make assumptions too...

2. An apparent lack of publicity. Well it was on the CPS website in the meetings calendar. I know because I put it there. Maybe there wasn't enough notice though I put it up on the 25th August (I just checked) which should have been plenty of time surely. Plus Denis made an announcement on this very section of the forum on the 4th Sept - again that's quite a bit of notice isn't it? And while he had zero replies he also has had 364 views so someone had read about it!

I don't see that we could have done any more considering the limited resources to hand at the moment. And yes, before anyone mentions it, the website is a mess and needs a complete revamp. It's in hand but it won't happen overnight.

Phil

#11 pwilson

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:08 AM

interesting that a majority of the normal reading crowd didnt aparently turn up either, how far are people willing to commute? for me a 4 hr round trip is not ' in my neck of the woods' anyway, so i'm out. Besides which i suspect im not currently a member and i'm on my way to asia anyhow and there was no free neps, sure i can think of some more excuses.

seriously though i suspect it would take more than one meeting to attract regular meeting goers, which is what you need to keep numbers up.


Yeah agree that there's a limit to the commuting time, though a 4 hour round trip is really only a couple of hours there and back. I've spent longer than that on the M25 getting nowhere fast. :sarcastic_blum: Good job Dennis, Tim or I don't have that attitude otherwise Vic might have been talking to the man who was running the cafe...

And yes, I would expect more than one meeting to attract some regular attendees but I did expect to have started from a few more people than three. I think the question this really raises is about apathy though. If no one makes the effort then nothing will happen and all the doom and gloom merchants just get proved right. I'd quite like them to be proved wrong that's all. And that's why I was so angry about Saturday. It's nothing personal - honest!

Phil

Edited by pwilson, 03 October 2011 - 09:11 AM.


#12 pwilson

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:16 AM

Did you proactively promote this event? I can't see anything about it on the CPS website homepage and I don't recall receiving an email about it.


My link

We do send emails out to members but I'm not sure that it's appropriate to send emails about local events to all the members.

Phil

Edited by pwilson, 03 October 2011 - 09:21 AM.


#13 mobile

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 09:30 AM

I honestly was not aware it was happening and, as mentioned above, I wasn't the only one. It's sort of hard to believe that people did not turn up simply becuase they couldn't be bothered, aftereall surely such events are of interest to the members?



#14 manders

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 11:17 AM

Yeah agree that there's a limit to the commuting time, though a 4 hour round trip is really only a couple of hours there and back. I've spent longer than that on the M25 getting nowhere fast. :sarcastic_blum: Good job Dennis, Tim or I don't have that attitude otherwise Vic might have been talking to the man who was running the cafe...

And yes, I would expect more than one meeting to attract some regular attendees but I did expect to have started from a few more people than three. I think the question this really raises is about apathy though. If no one makes the effort then nothing will happen and all the doom and gloom merchants just get proved right. I'd quite like them to be proved wrong that's all. And that's why I was so angry about Saturday. It's nothing personal - honest!

Phil


If you want people to go you have to promote it, I for one was not aware it was being held in Birmingham for reasons allready mentioned. If it was/had been, regularly held in birmingham I would have been more aware, and might have been more inclined to pencil in the date well in advance and make diary space for it, although unable to attend last weeks one in any case.

We simply can't attend something we dont know about, and you cant expect us to immediately spot it in some, from my point if view, obscure posting. In 30 years of on and off membership i have got used to it being an essentially southern 'club' with a variety of benefits only easily available if you live in the south (attending meetings, kew visits etc).

Edit:

Perhaps it was the marketing of this landmark event that was 'pathetic'? At least put the location in the title and then people would have seen it!

Edited by manders, 03 October 2011 - 11:50 AM.


#15 mantrid

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 12:56 PM

I don't see that we could have done any more considering the limited resources to hand at the moment. And yes, before anyone mentions it, the website is a mess and needs a complete revamp. It's in hand but it won't happen overnight.

Phil


I think most menbers have emails and check them daily. However they wont visit the site daily. So maybe an email to each member a week or two weeks before the event. If your members are already on a database or your email account then that can be done in one go as easily as sending one email.

#16 pwilson

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 13:19 PM

I think most menbers have emails and check them daily. However they wont visit the site daily. So maybe an email to each member a week or two weeks before the event. If your members are already on a database or your email account then that can be done in one go as easily as sending one email.


Actually a lot of members don't register email addresses. Only e-members have to register an email address (for obvious reasons). I think the split is something like 160 members out of 400 who either do not have email adresses or who haven't given us email details. I'm always slightly against sending mass emails because details of an open day is probably of no interest to the majority. Even so, I agree that it would have been a good idea in this instance.

I think the important thing is that lessons are learned and that we don't hide behind excuses. This goes for both the committee and the general membership though. It's no use saying things like "I assumed it was in the south and didn't bother to check" for instance. That's a reason not an excuse!

And we could have promoted the meeting on the front page of the website - though again no excuse, but the fact that we don't have a dedicated Internet Office doesn't exactly help. For what it's worth, I'm standing in at the moment but like everyone, my time is stretched between many things and the CPS website doesn't get much priority at the moment.

Put quite simply - if the members want another meeting in the West Midlands you should be saying so not attacking me for stating the truth.

Phil

#17 pwilson

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 13:29 PM

I was the speaker who had to back out at the last minute, because of work commitments has meant I have hardly been at home in the last 3 weeks.

It could have been better publicised with the location, but I will say to people who want to go to meetings and can't afford the petrol is to share lifts.
I have a car that can have 6 passengers and can hold a lot of plants so atking people to meetings is never a problem for me. The lifeblood of the CP year are the meetings and the one chance people have of seeing great collections, acquiring new plants and knowledge.

I am willing to fill my car with as many CP enthusiasts for the spring AGM as I can fit in!


Good idea Mike. Can you pick me up? :thumbsup:

And while it's nice for you to own up as the speaker who had to pull out - we all thought it was someone else so you're in the clear mate!

On a serious note, car sharing is an excellent way to cut the costs to get to open days and meetings. Bring a few plants to sell and you might even make your costs back again. Though on a less serious note, anyone sharing with Mike needs to remember that he might insist on playing Rush all the way there and all the way back.... Of course if you live in Telford and like Rush and CPs you may well be in hog heaven. :biggrin:

Phil

#18 mobile

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 13:31 PM

Phil,

Perhaps your first post should have asked why people didn't attend, rather than assuming they couldn't be bothered? Whilst no doubt it's not everybody's thing, I would be very surprised if this is the case for all members. Personally I think that it's a good move to have it centrally located but it needed more promoting.

#19 manders

 
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Posted 03 October 2011 - 14:05 PM

It's no use saying things like "I assumed it was in the south and didn't bother to check" for instance. That's a reason not an excuse!
Phil


It's nonsense to assume that I or anybody else would have checked the detail of everything written by the cps in the last 30 years on the offchance that you happened to one day move a meeting less south ( birmingham is hardly north), i hope you can see the complete lack of marketing (common) sense employed here.
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#20 David Ahrens

 
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Posted 04 October 2011 - 19:18 PM

I find it rather funny that the two people that have the most to say on this subject had no intention whatsever of going to the meeting.
Phil's main point was that people are always moaning about meetings being in the South. When you have a meeting north of the Waford Gap Services, hardly anyone turned up. I didn't go, I had the VAT to do and fuel is getting prohibitively expensive. Anyway, I don't moan about the meetings, I usually just go to them.
I had visions of there being a big motorway pile up near the meeting then being taken to Smethwick hospital. I could see me waking up in the hospital and saying
"Nurse, have I come here to die ?" and she replying
"No, you came here yesterdie"

Edited by David Ahrens, 04 October 2011 - 19:21 PM.