YFC members approve levy rise
NFYFC members have voted for an increase in the national subscription (the levy) but not for the full amount recommended by the NFYFC’s Council.
NFYFC Chair Lynsey Martin, Kent FYFC, proposed a £5 increase to the national levy to help the Federation plug some of the deficit it is facing due to funding cuts. The proposal for a £5 increase had been discussed and approved at NFYFC’s Council in February to be taken to the AGM.
Martin outlined NFYFC’s budget issues, explaining that a lack of funding from HOPS, due to the removal of the SAWS scheme, and an increased demand in support from County Federations was causing pressure on the services offered.
Local funding for youth services has been drastically reduced or removed completely, leaving many County Federations turning to the national office for support. Ed Ford seconded the motion and explained investment was needed at the national office to help the organisation develop and continue to offer the full range of services.
The proposal was met with opposition from Lancashire and Yorkshire – and the two counties joined forces to campaign that the levy should only be increased by 10% (£1.64 per member).
Katy Dutton argued that a 30% increase in the levy was too much in one year and that many counties had already set their annual fees by the time the proposal was announced. Alice Singleton seconded Dutton’s proposal, saying that while the need to invest in national services was recognised, counties needed to look after their own base first.
A range of speakers from the floor took their opportunity to share their views during the meeting – and one speaker from Lancashire FYFC even won the Sidney Fawcett trophy for his ‘short and concise” delivery. It was the first time that Richard Moore (pictured below) had ever attended an AGM, but his off the cuff speech opposing the £5 levy increase made the audience laugh and impressed the judges.
As the vote was too close to call, it went to a paper vote to be counted – which resulted in Lancashire’s amended proposal being carried.
Lynsey Martin, Chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs said:
“While it is disappointing that the proposal for a £5 increase in the national subscription – the levy – was not carried, it was impressive to see so many YFC members speak passionately about the Federation and represent their counties and clubs.
“The approved increase of £1.64, as proposed by Lancashire FYFC, will still go some way to help NFYFC’s finances but is obviously not the amount needed to support the necessary changes. NFYFC will now discuss the full implications of the members’ decision with the Board of Management and will report back to members at the next Council meeting in June.”
Lancashire FYFC also proposed an amendment to a proposal about a new byelaw that would give the NFYFC Council the power to increase the levy by 50% of any levy sum that was proposed and declined at an AGM.
Dewi Parry from Clwyd YFC delivered an impassioned plea in his proposal for the new byelaws – saying that it was a ‘vote for democracy’ as Council was more representative of members’ views than an AGM.
The byelaws have been recommended by the Governance working group – made up of YFC members. The group is reviewing NFYFC’s current governance to ensure the Federation can comply with regulations to become an incorporated charity.
Mary Wallbank, from Clitheroe YFC, proposed the amendment to the motion, saying that there should be faith in what YFC members wanted and that the AGM decision should be final.
After much discussion from the floor for a second time, the amendment from Lancashire against the byelaw proposal was carried.
Lancashire FYFC Chair Rachel Parker later said on Twitter: “Today was amazing. Two motion amendments passed put forward by grassroots members on the top table. Best speaker award to a member speaking his mind. Record number of Lancs members attending the meeting.”
Around 250 people voted on the decisions made for the Federation at the Annual General Meeting. There would be around 1,350 votes cast if all clubs used the two voting cards they are given – this total also includes members of Council.
A recording of the AGM will be available on the Talking Slides site soon and all members can register to watch it in full.
Parts of the meeting were also live streamed for the first time on Facebook – and a recording of this is available to view.