New committee, new start

At the branch AGM we elected a new Chairman and appointed the committee members for the year ahead. The new Chairman is Andrew Cullen, editor of Beer Matters, and we also welcome some new committee members in the shape of Branch Secretary Sadie Skipworth who has recently moved to Sheffield from Norwich, Beer Festival Organiser Louise Singleton and Pubs Officer Mark Boardley. Some old faces remaining on the committee, other than Andrew, are Mike Humphrey, Dave Pickersgill and Alan Gibbons. Their roles will be confirmed at the committee meeting taking place on the day this magazine arrives from the printers. There are still some vacancies on the committee so volunteers are still welcome! Commenting on the changes and the plans for the years ahead, new branch Chairman Andrew Cullen said “Thanks to those who supported me returning to this role after 2 years doing other things in the branch, I’ve been talking to various people recently including a variety of CAMRA members, brewers and publicans and I feel we need to breathe some fresh air into the branch. There are some things we are already doing well: Beer Matters and the website are both looking good and our beer and cider festival proved an incredible success at Kelham Island Industrial Museum last year. We now need to make our programme of socials good again, make the branch meetings a bit more enjoyable and purposeful, and raise our profile around the pubs of Sheffield & District.” He also commented on his wider campaigning views “I think we should also be communicating CAMRA’s national campaigning priorities louder locally. Although we are called the Campaign for Real Ale and our heritage is all about ensuring drinkers have the choice of quality real ale on the bar that really isn’t a concern right now. There is plenty of real ale coming out of an ever growing number of breweries and the wider beer scene beyond real ale is starting to embrace quality and craft. Any arguments about changing CAMRA’s policy and definitions of beer is somewhat time-wasting, I feel. Where our efforts are needed, are saving pubs. We have seen threats from the way some pub companies do business, from property developers, from convenience store chains, from the tax man and from planning rules that are causing potentially viable, good pubs to close their doors for good.”

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