Committee Members

The Dorset Young Walkers committee is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the Group in accordance with the Ramblers Association’s constitution.  Its members carry out functions ranging from arranging walks and socials, to welcoming new members, to ensuring that the Group stays solvent.  Many of the committee’s duties are described below, but in addition to these, each committee member is expected to:

  • Attend meetings.  These are usually held four times a year in the evening.  The location varies, but is normally either the Brewhouse and Kitchen, Poole or The Vivo Lounge, Dorchester.  Observers are always welcome to attend.
  • Attend walks.  We don’t need to come along every week (or I’d be in trouble), but it is considered good form to turn up reasonably regularly.
  • Attend Area Council meetings on a rota basis (if no Area Council Rep is elected).  Area Council is the committee covering all Ramblers’ Groups in Dorset (North, South, East, West and Young Walkers), and is an intermediary between us and Head Office.  Subjects discussed at meetings tend to be updates from the Groups and Area-run local events.  Meetings are held in the evenings about four times a year, at the Colliton Club, Dorchester. 

The committee posts are listed below, with the names of the current post-holders.  All post-holders can be contacted either on the Group mobile phone (07765 497887), or on the Group email address:

Chair - Stacey Howlett

Mat Benfield - DYW Chairman

The Chair’s primary role is to lead committee meetings once a quarter (a meeting held without either the Chair or Vice-Chair in attendance is inquorate).  They are the main voice for the charitable aims of the RA, and responsible for ensuring that the Association remains accessible and welcoming to all comers. 

Vice-Chair - Vacant

As well as deputising for the Chair in his or her absence, the Vice-Chair (if elected as a stand-alone post) tends to be something of a Jack-of-all-Trades, helping out other committee members at busy periods.  One of the most versatile positions.

Secretary - Matt Benfield

The Secretary’s main task is to arrange, create an agenda for, and minute committee meetings.  The Secretary also serves as the Group’s ‘post-box’ for anything except membership enquiries, and is the main point of contact with Head Office.  Beyond that the role is relatively flexible, and tends to depend whether there’s a Publicity Officer in post.

Treasurer - Janine Bartlett

Does exactly what it says on the tin.  The Treasurer is responsible for the good management of Group funds, including the half-yearly payment from Area.  Payment of volunteer expenses and ensuring they are properly evidenced is another aspect of this role.  The manager of the bank account, they also keep records of all incomings and outgoings, reporting them to committee meetings.  A final duty is to compile the end-of-year accounts and financial statement, which are sent on to Area Council for inclusion in the RA’s overall annual Statement of Accounts. 

Membership Secretary - Faye Cutler

This post is responsible for keeping track of, and increasing, the number of paid-up RA members in the Group.  The Membership Secretary is a reasonably social character, as they are responsible for welcoming new members, ensuring they have all the information they need about the RA, and arranging recruitment activities.  They also act as the membership enquiries ‘post-box’, and as liaison with the Area Membership Secretary. 

Walks Coordinator - Matt Benfield

This post is the planning behind the walks programme.  Responsible for gathering and publishing details of all walks in advance, the Walks Coordinator ensures variety in the programme - both of area and difficulty of walk.  

Social Secretary - Katie Herriman

These posts are responsible for the growing social side of the Group.  An identified weakness in the recent member survey, the current post-holder has expanded the number, location and variety of socials on offer.  These post-holders are responsible for ensuring variety in the social programme, as the Walks Coordinator is for the hikes.

Publicity Officer - Vacant

The Publicity Officer is responsible for all Group publicity apart from the website (though it has been known in the past for this post to be combined with that of Webmaster).  As well as general recruitment publicity, the Publicity Officer is involved with our Group’s contribution to Area and national events such as the Festival of Winter Walks or Discover Dorset.  This post has a lot of contact with Head Office in respect of publicity materials.

Webmaster - Shaun Miles

Responsible for the major content and layout of the Group website.  The website is our main recruiting tool, and the post-holder selects content to appeal to members and the general public, together with accessible layout and navigation.

Footpaths Officer - Vacant

The Footpaths Officer is partly responsible for the RA’s charitable aim of countryside protection.  The post involves being the main point of contact for the reporting of path problems, contributing to the maintenance of footpaths (including, potentially, arranging path clearing events), and with the other Group and Area Footpath Officers, keeping the Groups up to date on the ‘blocked paths’ situation.

Countryside Secretary - Vacant

This position entails keeping up to date with changes in the countryside, particularly in respect of how they will affect walkers (e.g. wind farms, mobile phone masts etc), and involves regular contact with Area Council to ensure a coordinated RA response to countryside issues. 

Area Council Rep - David Ryder

Area Council is the committee covering all Ramblers’ Groups in Dorset (North, South, East, West and Young Walkers), and is an intermediary between us and Head Office .  Subjects discussed at meetings tend to be updates from the Groups and Area-run local events.  Meetings are held in the evenings about four times a year, at the Colliton Club, Dorchester.  This post-holder is responsible for attending Area Council meetings to present the views of the Group, and bringing any relevant issues discussed at Area to the next Group meeting.

Social Media - Vacant

This is a new position responsible for overseeing the security and acceptability of posts for the Group Facebook account.  The Facebook Administrator also approves new members of the Facebook group.  

Members Without Portfolio - Vacant

The Member(s) Without Portfolio is/are the voice of the membership on the committee, existing to represent the views of all members.  They are also drafted in to help out other post-holders if necessary.

The Group is always seeking to fill the posts shown as being vacant, so if any of them take your fancy, please do get in touch with the Secretary - people new to committee duties are always welcome. 

(The Ramblers’ Association promotes Equal Opportunities in its volunteer posts.  Nominations/offers of assistance from all sections of the hiking community are welcome, and volunteering/life balance initiatives such as job share will be considered).