CNCC Meeting 21st October 2023

CNCC

Well-known member
Hello all!

**** CNCC Committee Meeting Saturday 21st October, 9:30am, Clapham Village Hall ****

The agenda, officer reports, and also several items of 'AOB' are now available to download from our website:


In particular, the Officer reports are well worth a read as they highlight the scope of the work the CNCC is now involved with.

Although this is a Committee meeting, we welcome all attendees who are interested to see what goes on, contribute to the discussions or raise any matters relevant to northern caving. You will receive a friendly welcome, and you can participate as much or as little as you wish. Our meetings are usually only a few hours, so you will be done before lunch with plenty of time to go caving (as many of us will be doing).

Tea and coffee making facilities are available at the venue.

Although we generally encourage in-person participation because we find this offers the best experience (and occasionally technology goes wrong), you can also attend online via Zoom. Please email our Secretary (secretary@cncc.org.uk) if you wish to receive Zoom joining details.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
Looking at the AOB:

I have to say that while I sympathise with York Uni about their SRT training facility, £5000 is a lot of money! (specifically around £1 per BCA member).

EUSS have to train in a tree (and not even their usual SRT tree at the moment due to over-running building works). They also only have 5 SRT kits across the club (hopefully this can become 6 at some point), and while they have more helmets than they did previously they need to buy some more lights in the near future to replace broken Duos and a few broken Pixas. £5000 is probably at least twice (I would guess) their entire annual budget (I don't think they usually get any regular money from the Guild)
I'm sure there are plenty of other student clubs working on a similarly limited budget (despite a big increase in membership cost from £30 to £50 this year to try and buy some new gear) and limited/broken equipment...
 

JoshW

Well-known member
Looking at the AOB:

I have to say that while I sympathise with York Uni about their SRT training facility, £5000 is a lot of money! (specifically around £1 per BCA member).
EUSS have to train in a tree (and not even their usual SRT tree at the moment due to over-running building works). They also only have 5 SRT kits across the club (hopefully this can become 6 at some point), and while they have more helmets than they did previously they need to buy some more lights in the near future to replace broken Duos and a few broken Pixas.
I'm sure there are plenty of other student clubs working on a similarly limited budget (despite a big increase in membership cost from £30 to £50 this year to try and buy some new gear) and limited/broken equipment...
I’m inclined to agree with Andrew on this.

On the topic of replacing duos, feel free to message me (might have a source of cheap ones).

Also, I’m sure I’ve said directly to EUSS before but message y and d and they may be able to help with replacing broken/old PPE etc. I never got contact during my time, but Jono may have received something since
 

cavemanmike

Well-known member
I’m inclined to agree with Andrew on this.

On the topic of replacing duos, feel free to message me (might have a source of cheap ones).

Also, I’m sure I’ve said directly to EUSS before but message y and d and they may be able to help with replacing broken/old PPE etc. I never got contact during my time, but Jono may have received something since
We have a really good discount deal with fenix if that’s any help for supplying lights
 

Cavematt

Well-known member
The above are valid points. But YUCPC have put forward a well written, costed and carefully researched proposal as part of their request for funding to deal with a complex one-off situation, and I'd like to commend then for this.

Have any similar requests been received either on local or national level from other student clubs? Have any been turned down?

So yes... lots of student clubs are struggling... but have any reasonable, well costed and properly presented requests for assistance been declined?

Also worth bearing in mind that this request is very different to just asking for financial help with annual gear purchase/replacement budgets. This request is a one-off expense to restore access to a well-established training facility that has been in use for at least three decades. Usually the loss of university-run training facilities is a one-way decline, and not many clubs are ever offered a lifeline such as this to keep a facility going.

I therefore think that declining this just because all student clubs are struggling would be an over-simplification of the situation.

Yes, £5000 is a lot of money. But three years ago BCA gave out more than this to an initiative called 'Adventure Academy' to support younger people getting into caving. I don't know what became of this investment (and how many people this has actually helped introduce to caving), but it does mean that there is precedent for spending on this magnitude to support youth caving initiatives.

Ps; I am very biased in this discussion; YUCPC was the club that introduced me to caving nearly 20 years ago.
 

Benfool

Active member
Also if CNCC are looking at buying some DistoX's for training, they could consider renting them out to expeditions :)
DistoXs are also in very short supply.

There were some boards available from China, but they have some downsides and I don't know if there are any remaining. They now require the newest version of the x310, which due to the fact that it's out of production, are rather hard to source. It can also be rather difficult to determine which version you're buying from a photo on eBay.

Due to this I've stopped making them as the risk of getting it wrong and ruining hardware is just too high. Therefore it might be worth the CNCC rethinking this!
 

snebbit

Active member
I think one point in particular sways me, I have to admit: its location. Other student clubs are unlikely (in my opinion) to be staying in or near York as part of a caving trip where they might also use those facilities (why deviate so far, when you could use e.g. YSS or Greenclose (when it's finished) and also cave from your doorstep?), so in practice it's going to be largely for YUCPC use.

Following a lot of the student caving clubs on Instagram, and from what I've gathered, all are doing basic training on nearby cliffs/trees/local climbing walls, then heading to an SRT facility in a caving area for more in depth sessions. Not saying it's the ideal system, but plenty of student clubs are coping fine with it, so could that amount of money be put to better use making that system easier/cheaper for all? For example subsidising student prices at existing facilities where student clubs will actually use them.

Only piping up because of the amount involved, 5k is a fair old chunk of CNCC reserves, so if it were to be spent on helping students learn SRT it should probably have the maximum impact per student. 300 students each year getting an SRT session at an existing caving area wall for a subsidised £1 instead of £3 over 8 years would be more fair than one club of students getting free SRT facilities on their doorstep, speaking in a CNCC scope of course.

But either way it's good to see CNCC funds being spent on novices/students in general :)
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
5k is a fair old chunk of CNCC reserves
It would be, but it is not being proposed that CNCC pay 5k. The proposals (see AOB paper in link) are for CNCC to formally support the project (which I assume would increase the chances of BCA or anyone else funding it) or to agree to make a smaller contribution (£500-£1k) if necessary.
 

snebbit

Active member
Oh okay, I've got swept away in the hysteria and not read the actual proposal properly then if I'm honest. I retract my message and accept that I look like a bit of a dick now.
 

Mark Wright

Active member
Also worth bearing in mind that this request is very different to just asking for financial help with annual gear purchase/replacement budgets. This request is a one-off expense to restore access to a well-established training facility that has been in use for at least three decades.
Also worth bearing in mind that the anchors will require annual 6kN proof load testing which the building owners will be responsible for. This could easily cost £1,500 + Vat every year which I imagine they would want to pass on to the only people who use it
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
the anchors will require annual 6kN proof load testing
The summary that YUCPC have provided (appended to the AOB paper) says:
Funding for future yearly testing and inspection will be factored into the club’s budget requests to the Students Union, and should therefore be funded without any external support.
 

Babyhagrid

Well-known member
The proposal does sound very good. However it doesn't mention whether their facility would be able to be used by other groups? Visiting clubs or students who want to use a training rig. Like the Wessex tower, the YSS rig ,the bullpot farm wall?
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
The summary that YUCPC have provided (appended to the AOB paper) says: "Funding for future yearly testing and inspection will be factored into the club’s budget requests to the Students Union, and should therefore be funded without any external support."
Ambitious if they really are looking at £1500 a year... that's more than I think EUSS have got so far this year in total from membership :p
 

HeathJ

New member
Immediately declaring a bias as a YUCPC alumni who still hangs around a bit. That said I'm not too up to date with committee goings on, so am not the person to ask specifics of the proposal.

However my thoughts on a couple of key points:
Whilst the overall cost is £5k, the club isn't asking for all of this from the CNCC, it is effectively asking for any assistance it can get with this unforeseeable expense. For those concerned about the upkeep cost of yearly pull testing, I *think* a deal has now been reached with the university that this will be done as part of the annual testing of all the rope access bolts on campus.

In terms of the value of the wall to other clubs, whilst a bit out of the way for some, it does provide an all weather venue with a capacity for around 20 people on rope. This is something that as far as I'm aware isn't available elsewhere, with venues such as the YSS being limited to smaller numbers. So it does offer something unique in the context of larger scale training events, something that could potentially be useful with the ever growing, and always oversubscribed CNCC SRT training sessions?
Additionally the set up is substantially larger in both floor area and height than most other available walls, offering the opportunity to train particularly complex SRT rigging and techniques.

Finally, most years the club will use the wall to introduce between 30 and 50 unique individuals to caving and SRT. Clearly the club doesn't retain all these people, that'd be obscene! However, this does represent a significant number of people getting involved with caving and therefore spreading general awareness of the sport. Without such a large venue available the number of people YUCPC have been able to introduce to caving this year has been significantly lower. This is of course "an us problem" but it is a shame to loose such positive exposure of both caving as a whole, and student caving more specifically. This is of course more of a positive byproduct, than a core value of the wall.
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Great to see the OP generate some discussion ahead of the CNCC meeting.

I can see value in all the points raised. I would like to point out on top of those points that British Caving (in general) has a lot of money tucked away in bank accounts being eaten away at by inflation. I would much rather see it be used for the YUCPC SRT wall than sitting in those accounts. What is there to loose. The devaluation of buying power from the BCA pot since 2010, for example, is huge. Say you had £200,000 in an account in 2010 you'd need £293,000 now to have the same buying power (BoE figures). Get it spent.

I suggest everyone should support this spending in case, one day, your club or group find themselves in the same situation as York.
 
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