May 03, 2012

Chairmans Chunk - Spring 2012


Judging by the mixture of sleet, hail, wind and sporadic rain over the past few days coupled with the hosepipe ban in some of the southern regions of England I think it safe to say that our wonderful, if somewhat enigmatic, British springtime has arrived!

I have something of a love/hate relationship with the start of spring.  On the plus-side the You’ve Been Nabbed rally is nearly here, we have a new issue of Open House magazine, I have a healthy run of comedy shows and a busy motorcycle events calendar to look forward too.  The down side is that organising the latter aspects of the You’ve Been Nabbed rally, writing/editing a new issue of Open House magazine, booking and confirming line-ups for my comedy shows and sorting out stuff for a number of other motorcycle events tends to make March and April the two most frantic months of the year for me.  Despite this, I am ever so chuffed that this issue of Open House has been completed on time!

Still, it’ll all be worth it in May when the real fun starts!

 

OK, let’s get down to business.

 

Open House:

Issue 69 came out a little later than I had hoped due to one or two unavoidable ‘teething problems’ but on the whole I think we and the folk at Red Hen Promotions Ltd, who took over production of the magazine in January, did an excellent job of rescuing the magazine after we were so badly let down by A2B Media Ltd.  I feel confident now that we are set to see a steady overall improvement in the production standards of Open House and a firm return to our traditional four issues per year.

One huge step-forward is the development of Open House magazine ‘On Line’. 

We have talked for many years about having a dedicated web site where back issues of Open House can be made available to everybody in an easy-to-use format.  Now thanks to those clever people at Red Hen Promotions Ltd, the wish has become a reality.

A few aspects of the magazine may be omitted from the issues on the web site to avoid out-of-date information remaining in a public forum where it may lead to confusion but the vast majority of it will be freely available for anybody to read.

Members will of course continue to receive the Open House magazine through the post two weeks in advance of it being mounted on the new site.

There are many advantages to having an on line version of Open House, perhaps the most obvious being that people who are thinking of having a bike adapted will be able to look through back issues to find particular types of adapted controls featured in articles.  From a commercial point of view it is obviously more attractive for advertisers to have their adverts featured on line as well as in the printed issue.  This can only improve things for the NABD because the sooner the magazine begins to generate a profit the better we will be able to keep up with the increasing demand for grant assistance.

The Open House web site may already be on line, featuring the last six issues; by the time you receive this magazine.  Please bear in mind that it is a “work in progress” and it will no doubt be under development for a while yet until we are happy that it ticks all of the boxes.  Personally I think this is the greatest step-forward for the Open House magazine since we went from black and white to colour.  Maybe one day I’ll even be able to read it on my Kindle (but I’ll not hold my breath while waiting for that).

Take a look at the new site at www.openhousemagazine.co.uk and let us have some feedback.

How can you help?

What we are constantly short of for Open House are interesting articles that have a relevance to our members.  In recent issues we have carried articles about the BPI support group and the PHAB charity.  I’m sure some of you are involved in other groups or charities relating to disability.  Why not ask them to supply us with an article for Open House? Or maybe even write one yourself.

We have also recently featured articles from members about their involvement in the NABD, which have been both informative and entertaining.  Each of us has a personal story to tell (in most cases many personal stories).  Where that story is related to the NABD or just motorcycling with a disability it could be of interest to many other members.  I can’t guarantee that every submission will get published but it would enhance the magazine greatly to have more input from amongst the members. 

Submissions can be hand-written and sent to the NABD office through the post or typed and emailed to office@thenabd.org.uk (in either case please mark it “Open House” so it gets passed on to me).  I look forward to receiving some interesting articles and/or stories because the more submissions we receive, the less I have to write.

 

NABD Funds:

In the last issue of Open House I had the sad duty of announcing that in December we were forced to make the decision to suspend the grants system temporarily due to the fact that in the first seven months of the 2011/2012 financial year (the financial year is April 2011 – April 2012) we had awarded over £74,000 in financial grants to help disabled people with the cost of adapting motorcycles and trikes.  If we had continued processing grant applications at that rate we would, in all probability, have awarded total grants of over £100,000 by the end of this financial year.  Unfortunately we simply do not have the funds to cover that sort of amount.  I also printed a copy of an open letter I had written to the motorcycle press in a bid to reinvigorate support for the NABD.

I am pleased to say that the appeal letter has brought in some immediate response and many pledges of support from events to be held throughout the year.  Recent events in support of the NABD have ranged from normally sensible NABD members hurling themselves out of aircraft to acoustic musicians giving up their time for free to raise money.  Another NABD member has just completed a mammoth test of endurance under a tattooists needle gun (almost breaking a record in the process).

Members and supporters in Lincolnshire, Lancashire and several other counties have organised fundraising rock nights to raise funds and many clubs around the UK have pledged some or all of the proceeds from their 2012 events to support the NABD.

I will of course feature more information about the results of these events in Open House as and when I receive the details.  Some future events in support of the NABD are advertised in this issue of Open House.  If you can support them with your attendance it may well convince them to make it an annual thing in support of our fine association.

The decision to suspend grants was not taken lightly but it has proven itself to have been the right thing to do.  The 2011/2012 financial year has now ended and the figures confirm that if we had continued processing and awarding grants we would now be in a serious financial mess.

The good news is that taken as a whole the amount paid out on grants over the 2011/2012 has still been one of the highest annual totals in our history and it exceeds donations received by well over £10,000 once again showing that every single penny donated to the NABD has gone directly on helping disabled people to enjoy the freedom and independence of motorcycling.

Another piece of very good news is that we are now in a position to reinstate the grants system.  Though we have devised a new structure to ensure that we never again have to suspend the awarding of grants.  The official announcement of the reinstatement of the grants system will be made at the You’ve Been Nabbed rally on May 12th but I thought it only fair that members should be given the word in advance.  Of course there is a backlog of grant applications to be dealt with so it still may be several months before we have caught up with it but it is a great relief to all of the committee and trustees that we will once again be providing the financial assistance that is at the very core of the NABD’s existence.

 

You’ve Been Nabbed 21 (11th – 13th May 2012):

By the time you receive this magazine our national rally should be just a couple of weeks away.  If you haven’t got your tickets yet, get onto the office now on 0844 415 4849 or get them via www.nabd.org.uk

I think it fair to say that this event is generally accepted as the best value for money event on the motorcycling calendar, so if you only do one event this year it really should be this one. 

Full details of the vast array of entertainment on offer at the event can be found on www.nabd.org.uk and we will once again be featuring a huge range of real ales in addition to the usual beers, wines and spirits.  I am very pleased to say we have had an excellent response to the “Sponsor a Barrel of Ale” appeal and our thanks go to all of the clubs, groups and individuals who have chosen to support the NABD in this way.

Come along and join the party, meet new friends and old friends and support the NABD by enjoying yourself immensely.  (See full page advert in this issue for further info).

 

The Nabdonia Rally (July 6th – 8th 2012):

Following the success of last year’s Nabdonia Rally at the Swallow Falls Hotel we will be using the same venue again.  Many people enjoyed the event having a somewhat different pace than our other rallies and I know a lot of people enjoyed having the option of YHA rooms and hotel rooms as well as camping.  These options will all feature in the event again this year and with the lessons we learned last year we should be able to improve the event even further.  This event has a strict 250-ticket limit and I would certainly advise you to book your accommodation early if you want to go in the hotel or the YHA.

It was a lovely laid-back event last year in a beautiful part of Britain if you were there, we would love to have you back.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should!

 

NABD AGM 2012:

Just a date for your diaries: The 2012 Annual General Meeting of the NABD is set for Saturday June 30th and will be held at The Barton Sports and Social Club, Eccles, Manchester.  There are further details elsewhere in this issue of Open House.

 

Learner Loaner Bikes:

Our small fleet of ‘Learner Loaner’ adapted 125cc motorcycles has been producing excellent results throughout the past year with all of them being out in service for the majority of the time.  Unfortunately one or two of them are getting toward the end of their working life.  What we now need are 125cc bikes, in very good condition that can be converted to suit various disabilities, to replace these worn-out vehicles.

The learner/loaner bikes are loaned to disabled people for the purpose of training and/or test and provide a valuable service to many people who would otherwise have to adapt 125’s at their own expense for this purpose.

If you are a member of a club/company/association or group that gets involved in raising money for charities, maybe you could put this forward as a proposal.  Sponsoring and/or supplying one of these bikes would actually continue to help many people to gain or regain their independence and freedom for many years.  In the past, sponsored learner/loaners have even been sign-written with the sponsor’s detail or in some cases to commemorate people who have died. These bikes serve a tangible purpose that can be seen to be working over and over again, lets get the word out there and see if we can rebuild the fleet!

For further info about Learner/loaners contact Dave Silburn on loaners@thenabd.org.uk

 

As always there is more I would like to say, but space and time are both short (despite what Dr Who may say on the subject) so I will sign off with a wish that springtime weather improves greatly before the YBN21 rally and that we see the majority of members in attendance.

Hasta la vista muchachos y muchachas.

 

Rick Hulse