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Committee Minutes - 22 July 2019

Summary of Actions

Number Action
5.1 SB and RN will liaise about sending an email to the club to see if there are any volunteers to take over the role of auditor 
5.2 SB and RN will liaise on taking the bookkeeper issue forward
8.1 RN will follow up in relation to the Treasurer role
8.2 KB will prepare a list of the role responsibilities for the Communications role, and a proposal identifying aspects that might be delegated

1. Attendees and apologies

Attendees: Lan O’Connor (LO’C), Rhiannon Needham (RN), Sue Barty (SB), Sid Wills (SW), Tom Poynton (TP), Peter Clarke (PC), Mark Smith (MSmith) (by telephone), Samantha Day (SD), Sarah Maisey (SM), Kim Boursnell (KB), Alex Elferink (AE).

Apologies: Jamie Giles (JG), Maureen Seguin (MS).

In attendance: Lee Tolentino (LT)

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting, Matters Arising, Outstanding Actions

The minutes of the previous meeting were duly approved.

All attending reviewed the summary of actions which were reported as duly completed, save as identified below.

Outstanding Actions: 17 June

Number Action
4.1 PC and Rachelle Dinsdale to provide information to help to prepare a business case for a second paid coach and MSmith to engage with Everyone Active to see if they will be prepared to help with payment for a second coach
4.2 RN to liaise with juniors team to encourage greater participation with the track and field sessions
6.1 SB to confirm any 2017 Lanzarote training only participants
7.1 TP to prepare a one page document to discuss restructure role to cover coaching, track and field, and cross-country and team events.
7.2 Review of arrangements for AGM to be undertaken with MSmith to research school hall availability and price, LO'C to provide contact details for Greycoat Hospital, and SM to confirm the latest date for confirmation/payment of deposit to current venue
11.1 Race director for New Year's Day 10k to be identified

Outstanding Actions: 

Number Action
5.3 SW to explore putting a poster for Lanzarote up in the club room for Lanzarote 
6.1 Committee members to provide SB with wording for Life Member certificates 
7.1 RN to follow up in relation to the club’s athletics offering 
7.4 MSmith to discuss possible new juniors coach with Everyone Active 

15 April

Number Action
2.2 SD will liaise with Royal Parks and discuss options for a duathlon in Hyde Park 
4.2 RN will see if there is any indication of the time spent by the previous bookkeeper in the invoices
7.1 SD will pull together details about the financial position in relation to the New Year’s Day 10K race
7.2 SB and KB will liaise on issues relating to promotion of the NYD 10K race
7.3 KB will review possibility of a year planner for communications

 25 February 2019

Number Action
7.1 RN and LO'C to discuss club support for tri events with AE

3. Change in committee role

Having previously notified the committee by email, SD confirmed that she was standing down from the Race Organisation role in advance of the AGM due to other commitments. This meant that there was therefore a casual vacancy on the committee. Lee Tolentino (LT) has agreed to take over the role. LT left the room and the members of the committee at the meeting unanimously confirmed his appointment to the committee in the Race Organisation role. LT will duly retire at the forthcoming AGM, in accordance with the club rules, but will be eligible for election at the AGM. The committee thanked SD for having been on the committee since 2017.

4. Conflict of interest report

There were no conflicts of interest reported.

5. Finance update

RN reported on the current state of the club’s accounts. Nicola McGlennon is stepping down as auditor after this year’s audit and AGM. SB and RN will liaise about sending an email to the club to see if there are any volunteers to take over the role. RN suggested that in future she would recommend an audit or review of the accounts every quarter which should make the annual audit more straightforward, particularly if there is a new bookkeeper in role. Richard Jones has kindly been helping RN with the accounts leading up to the AGM. All on the committee thanked Richard for his help. SB reported that she had contacted someone about taking over the Treasurer role and had made some independent enquiries about bookkeepers and had passed the information on the LO'C and RN. SB and RN will liaise on taking these issues forward. RN reported that the previous bookkeeper had spent about 70 hours in a 6 month period. However, there were a number of complications which meant that more time had been needed. RN estimated that the likely number of hours required from a bookkeeper would be about 45 hours over the year. 

6. Lanzarote

After a number of chasing emails, details have been received for almost everyone identified for the Lanzarote refund. RN has begun to make some of the refunds, but work on the club’s accounts has had an impact on the amount of time available. SB reported that Catharine Sowerby had kindly agreed to review the refund process to give an independent view on the process.

7. Track & Field issues

TP referred to recent emails sent by him on the subject, including a recent email from Ian Hodge on his concerns, particularly as to whether the club will be able to host events in the future in the absence of sufficient qualified officials, and generally on the concerns if Ian and Sally Hodge are no longer able to devote as much time to supporting track and field events within the club. The committee discussed the possible consequences of not hosting next year. RN pointed out that all clubs are finding it difficult to find officials, but she was confident that the club will have enough officials, particularly if we carry out a recruitment drive, which RN is currently planning. Josie Wildridge is happy to continue to champion qualification as an official for track and field events. All on the committee thanked Josie for her support.

8. Committee roles and AGM planning

The committee reviewed the likely committee changes and those roles where there was no clear offer to take on the role. SB has been in contact with someone about the Treasurer role and will connect them with RN by email, and RN will follow up. RN is hoping to remain on the committee, in a different role, so will be available to support any new Treasurer. TP has spoken to someone interested in the Participation role to see if certain of the aspects of the Endurance Running role might become part of Participation. It was also identified that there was someone who might be interested in supporting the Participation role. TP confirmed he would be available to support anyone taking over any aspects currently covered by the Endurance Running role. He will continue discussions with anyone who might be interested in taking over the role. The committee also discussed the skill set best suited to the Communications role, and whether some aspects of the role could be delegated at sub-committee level to members with the relevant skills and experience. KB will prepare a list of the role responsibilities, and a proposal identifying aspects that might be delegated.

9. Website update 

KB reported that she was meeting with the website redevelopment team following recent informal discussion with them. The likely next step is to map a limited number of website user journeys, and KB said that additional support from the committee would be helpful to the team. LO'C said she was interested in exploring whether certain elements of the redevelopment might be accelerated.

10. Club strategy refresh

L’OC raised this briefly. This will be kept as an agenda item. LO'C will try and find a date for those interested in being part of the strategy review team. For example, one issue is as to the impact of events such as Park Run – is this an opportunity or a threat? The committee all agreed that this was much more of an opportunity than a threat as anyone participating in Park Run should be interested in developing their running beyond running just 5k once a week, as well as other benefits offered by the club – such as training, experience of other events, socials. LO'C is also interested in exploring how green the club can be. 

11. Items from committee reports

The date for the collection of kit for the Malawi athletics team is being moved to September, as reported in the Communications report.

MSmith reported that he had been in touch with George Allan about the Seymour redevelopment and will be meeting up with him to discuss what pre-emptive action the club might take.  

8. Any other business

Summer party tickets are selling, but still a little slowly. All on the committee agreed to encourage others to attend.

The committee discussed the accident which had happened in the US on the Race Across America, although this was not a Serpentine official event. However, SB had reported this for information to the Welfare team, who had raised the issue as to how the club responds to accidents that take place at sports events attended by club members and as to how the club handles medical emergencies at club events and how the club responds.

At the next meeting one of the committee members will be appointed to help ensure the meeting keeps to time.

9. Next committee meeting

The next committee meeting will take place on Monday,  2019.

Committee Reports

Honorary Chair

I was away for a large portion of the last period. Most of my time when back in London has been spent on following up on committee issues, including new roles/nominations, the finalisation of the Lanzarote 2017 payments schedule and responding to issues as they arose. Travels unfortunately meant I missed most of the Club championships races, but send congratulations to racers and thanks to organisers both. It’s all to play for at the 5k on the 25th.

Honorary Treasurer

As we gear up for the AGM and with us still not having a bookkeeper, my focus has been trying to reconcile the accounts in Xero in which I have made some good headway. I want to thank Richard Jones for his initial help in showing me exactly how to do it and for bearing with me whilst we started slowly to breakdown correctly expenses and income. I still have a lot to do as the Worldpay account needs to be broken down and reconciled.

Because my focus has been on getting the accounts ready for the AGM, I have made slow progress in processing the refunds for the 2017 Lanzarote trip.
As usual the expenses and regular bills have been paid.

Nicola McGlennon the current Serpentine Auditor has decided to step down at the AGM. If anyone is interested in taking up this position for the 2020 accounts please let me know. I'll be happy to talk to anyone interested. Whoever takes up this role ideally will need to have an idea of how Xero works.

As many of you know by now it's my intention to step down as treasurer, so if anyone is interested in the role, please reach out to me.

Honorary Secretary

I have been spending a significant amount of time on Serpentine matters since our last meeting, particularly on the Lanzarote refund, but hope we are very much on the home straight on that. I have been sending out reminders to a few people whose details we didn't have. Apologies to Rhi for the delay in sending some details through and to those few whose responses I missed.

Lan and I have had a couple of useful meetings to discuss some of the committee matters. We spent some time focusing on the committee roles and also on the vexed question of finding a bookkeeper, where I have been making a number of enquiries, with some possible options which may be worth pursuing. I hope we get some real interest in the vacant committee roles and can make progress now with a new bookkeeper.

On top of that, just the usual secretarial duties. I am a bit sad to be signing a change of first claim club for Jen Bradley - but I guess Serpentine is a bit far from Edinburgh to be a first claim club.

I was also pleased to be at Sid's tea event - it is always a good opportunity to see people.


Not much to report on.

We have 1 entry for the tri relays in Nottingham in August.

Several Serpies in line for top 3 in London League. Debbie Clarke will email those who could win a prize to encourage them to compete.

Given the lack of interest in the club champs Olympic race I am not planning to choose an alternative duathlon race for the planned one which has been cancelled.


We’ve been busy preparing for and competing in the last 2 MYAL fixtures (Parliament Hill and Copthall). The number of enquiries about joining has been very high lately and several kids have come along for taster sessions in the last week or so. Succession planning continues in advance of 3 key departures in September and we (with Strategic Partnerships) will shortly be asking EA/Westminster about bringing in another paid coach as rising numbers and key departures will make reliable and consistent delivery of the sessions more challenging. We will take a 2 week break from training in mid-August.

Club Kit


Subsequent to my June meeting report, I have been in touch with the club website modernisation team, and will meet with a couple of members this week, to plan next steps in the project. We will be looking to speak with content creators/editors of the existing site, to map existing processes and better understand requirements.

The collection of second-hand training kit for the Malawi athletics team - referred to in my June report - is now earmarked for September, and formal communication and instructions will go out nearer the date.

I have decided to step down from the committee at the upcoming AGM in September. Anyone interested in learning more about the role, please do get in touch. I am at the club most Wednesdays, and happy to discuss.

Club Runs & Mentoring

Carried out my normal Wednesday night and Saturday morning duties.

Nominated and sent details of new Mental Health Champions to England Athletics. The leaflet to encourage those apprehensive about running is still in progress with the Saturday Run and Talk Group. I applied and was accepted as a England Athletics Mental Health Ambassador for the London Area which may include advice to other clubs.

I attended a Safer Parks meeting at the Police Station.

I have maintained noticeboards, updating rotas and organised cover while I am away on holiday.


Men’s team captain
I am in the process of finding a new men’s road relays captain as Dani de Palol has now returned to Spain. Dani has done a great job in his time as captain and I would very much like to thank him for all his hard work. Phil Whitehouse will continue his role but we do really need two people doing this rather than one, so please do let me know if you would like to do this.

Welsh Castles Relay
Ladies team were confirmed as being in second place, and the 20 medals for this, plus the long-sleeved tops for the 6 women who won the Queen of the Mountains competition are now being distributed.

Club champs races
Continue to promote the half-marathon club champs race (Maidenhead on 1 September) and the 10k club champs race (Middlesex and Open on 29 September). Both offer good value for money on reasonably flat fast courses with lots of team-mates for company, so please do consider taking part.

Grand Prix
This is the responsibility of race secretary, but working with them to ensure these go smoothly - the 1k, 1m & 3000m races have all gone well, with good level of turnout at each of them, and now looking forward to the 5k on Thursday 25 July. Thanks in particular to Malcolm French, Ian and Sally Hodge and Daisy Gladstone for all their work on this.

Athletics (with input from Ian Hodge)
Looking ahead, for next year at least we are unlikely to be able to host any track and field meetings as we will not have sufficient officials. Nearer to that the club needs a team manager for the Met League - this needs to be someone who can attend all the meetings and is not a competitor. Ideally also someone happy to take a laptop or tablet (with internet access) to each meeting to be able to finalise declarations quickly on the day. Please contact Ian or myself if you are interested in this.

Sports Injury session
Pure Sports Medicine have offered to put on another session, after their well-received event last October. This is provisionally arranged for 30 September, and an announcement will go round shortly.

Finally, I am intending to stand down at the AGM so please do get in touch if you are interested in taking over. I would like to restructure the role by moving some tasks to other posts, so would welcome views on that too. I've really appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the club, and its been a great way to get to know more people in the club, but after three years in post it is time to make way for someone new and give them the chance to stamp their mark on the role. I'm not going anywhere though, and will happily provide whatever support and guidance is needed.

Strategic Partnerships

Primary focus since the last meeting has been gathering information and preparing the case for a second paid coach to support the Tuesday juniors programme at Paddington Recreation Ground. Other priorities remain consistent with past reports.


Tickets for the summer party have gone on sale and been advertised through the Serpie Facebook page, website and at club runs/ the handicap etc (an email will be put out shortly). Whilst many people have said they will be coming, initial ticket sales have been slower than anticipated. I am therefore holding off on booking extras (most notably the band we have in mind) until I have a clearer idea of whether we are likely to sell enough tickets to make this financially viable.

I have been in communication with the VSC and also the Holiday Inn in Kensington about a venue for the AGM. The latter initially offered a much better deal but, after some negotiation, the VSC have dropped their room hire rate by £1000 and, given their more convenient location, this now seems the best option for this year if no further alternatives are forthcoming.

There have been some informal discussions with members about the possibility of changing the regular Wednesday night pub. Numbers going for post run drinks at the Royal Oak have dwindled significantly in the past few months. Whilst this is probably due to a drop in people attending on a Wednesday evening and/or members choosing not to go for drinks, there is a feeling that the Royal Oak is often prohibitively busy (with non runners) and expensive - particularly with regard to food. I will therefore investigate possible alternatives and (assuming one or more viable alternatives can be found) seek wider member opinions via the Serpie Facebook page etc.

Race organisation

Since the last meeting it has been business as usual.

Debbie Clark has initiated finding a new date with the Royal Parks for ntge Jekyll and Hyde duathlon which we hope to reinstate in 2020. Thank you to Debbie for volunteering to help.

Thank you also to all our volunteers who have helped to organise and run our club championship races and home track and field events.

This is in addition to the help with summer league, Handicap and Last Friday of the Month.

It has been difficult to find enough volunteers at times and so I want to emphasise how much each volunteer is appreciated especially those who volunteer for multiple events.