Sheffield & District CAMRA’s Annual General Meeting for 2018 took place on 3 April at Shakespeares on Gibraltar Street. Around 20 members were in attendance, despite resurfacing works on West Bar roundabout making it a little trickier than usual to get to the pub (not to mention causing several disruptions during the meeting!).
Following the customary apologies for absence, declarations of interest, appointment of tellers and confirmation of the minutes from last year’s AGM, departing chairman Mick Saxton gave a report of the branch business from the past twelve months. This started by singing the praises of last year’s Steel City Beer & Cider Festival, which saw more than 6,000 visitors over the four days and attracted a record number of new campaign members joining at the membership stall.
Next up was recognition of the huge success of the recent Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs e-book, which at the time of writing has been downloaded more than 58,000 times. Its success has paved the way for other CAMRA pub heritage books to be released in the same format, with editor Dave Pickersgill leading a national task group on this front. An updated edition of the book is currently being prepared and is set to be released at this year’s Steel City Festival.
Mick also mentioned the improvements made to Beer Matters magazine in the last twelve months, with a move to a new local printer bringing with it enhanced paper quality and more reliable deliveries. Demand for the magazine is increasing across the city, with more pubs than ever now receiving copies every month.
In June 2017, we undertook our annual Beer Census, visiting as many pubs as possible on one day in order to get a snapshot of the range of real ales available around Sheffield. Although we were not able to make it to quite as many pubs as in previous years due to a decrease in surveyors, we did still visit 136 pubs and found 590 handpumps with 360 unique real ales. The average cost of a pint was £3.12 and the most popular ale was Abbeydale’s Moonshine.
After the chairman’s report came an update on branch finances from treasurer Paul Crofts. The balance sheets showed that the festival had made a good surplus, which was enough to cover other branch expenses. We were also able to send funds back to the central CAMRA campaign office. The accounts will be audited externally before being approved.
The next action was to appoint the branch committee for 2018/19. With a number of committee members leaving their roles, some restructuring will take place with existing members taking on new responsibilities. More details will be given following the next committee meeting at the end of April. The departing committee members were thanked for their efforts over the last year.
After a short beer break, it was time to announce the results of the Pub of the Year, District Pub of the Year, Club of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year awards. The winners were the Kelham Island Tavern, the Red Lion at Litton, Interval Bar at the University of Sheffield Students’ Union and the Clubhouse on London Road respectively. Congratulations were extended to all the winners and runners-up.
The last point on the agenda for the evening was to vote on a number of motions for debate. Firstly, an updated branch constitution in line with the CAMRA model constitution (submitted by Dave Pickersgill) was accepted by the members present by a 17-3 vote. Next was a motion moving that the rules for the Pub of the Month competition be updated so that a pub which is no longer eligible can be removed from the running without the consent of the nominator. Again, this motion was passed (15 votes in favour, 0 against).
The final two motions instructed the new committee to investigate two issues. The first involved looking at possible changes to the format of the Pub of the Year competition to give pubs outside the more popular parts of the city an equal chance of winning. The second instructed the committee to review the format of branch meetings. These motions were both passed unanimously.
We would like to say thank you to all members who attended the AGM. More details about the new committee for 2018/19 will be included in next month’s Beer Matters.