Feb 23, 2012

Chairmans Chunk - Winter 2011

I would like to start by wishing you all, albeit somewhat belatedly, “Happy New Year!” As you will probably be reading this in February it may seem rather incongruous to be offering such a wish but I have always considered it to be a wish for happiness throughout the coming year so, at least in my mind, it still has some relevance. OK, that’s the pleasantries over with.  Now let’s get down to the serious stuff, there’s plenty of it too…

Open House: (The Bad News)
As members undoubtedly noticed, the Autumn issue of Open House completely failed to appear. The reason for this is disappointingly straightforward. A2B Media Ltd, who have been involved in selling the advertising to fund the production of Open House for the previous eighteen months, have gone broke.

Basically the arrangement was that £1,500.00 of the advertising revenue from each issue was to be paid to the NABD (on an annual basis) with the remaining revenue covering the production costs and A2B Media’s costs and profits.

In October I had a meeting with Andrew Brown of A2B Media Ltd where explained that he had a temporary cash-flow problem that would be resolved within a few weeks. He then presented me with a set of five cheques each dated one month apart adding up to a grand total of £11,500.00 to cover the previous issues of Open House, the 2011 year planner and the Autumn 2011 and Winter 2012 issues of Open House. Unfortunately, the first cheque we presented to the bank bounced like a rubber ball.  On speaking to Andrew Brown of A2B Media about this he apologised profusely and said he would, within the week, set-up BACS payments to cover the value of that cheque. These BACS payments never happened, and then he stopped returning our calls. (You can probably see where this is going by now?) Suffice to say, that after several more fruitless reassurances from the A2B Media office that he would call me back I told them in no uncertain terms that they were not to sell anymore advertising space in our magazine or on the proposed 2012 year planner until we had been paid up-to-date in full.

As funds were already limited more than usual due mainly to the effects of the current economic recession we could not afford to produce the magazine without advertising revenue so we made the unavoidable decision to cancel the Autumn issue of the magazine. Things have progressed somewhat since then.  We have now found that A2B Media Ltd has continued until recently to sell advertising space, purportedly in our Autumn issue and on the 2012 year planner. I have recently had an assurance from Andrew Brown that the NABD 2012 Year Planners will be delivered to our office by him no later than February 3rd. If this is the case you will have a copy of the year planner with this magazine. If not, we will be taking further action.

Andrew Brown of A2B Media has also assured me that when he delivers the 2012 Year Planners he will also sign a written agreement to pay off the £11,500.00 owing to the NABD in instalments to be agreed with the NABD. If this agreement does take place then the NABD will still get its money (albeit over a longer period of time than previously agreed) if not the NABD trustees will pursue this matter through the civil courts and by any other means we can. I will keep you all informed of developments.

And just to make it very plain: Andrew Brown and A2B Media Ltd have no right to use the NABD name in connection with any form of business.

N.B. If you have paid A2B Media for advertising in the Autumn issue of Open House or on the 2012 NABD year planner please get in touch with the NABD office on 0845 415 4849 0r e-mail office@thenabd.org.uk as soon as possible. We need to add your details to the file we are building on this issue and, although we have no legal liability for the actions of A2B Media, we will do what we can to honour the advertising you have paid for because we don’t want to see our supporters ripped-off.

Open House: (The Good News)
The reason you are now reading this magazine is that Graham Swain (NABD Vice Chairman) made contact with a chap called Keith Wild of Red Hen Promotions Ltd in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.  I then had a meeting with Keith and we hammered out the basics of a deal for producing Open House in the future.  Keith’s company will sell advertising, sort out production and printing and also run a website version of Open House and profits from the advertising are to be split 50/50 between the NABD and Red Hen Promotions. 

Keith is fully aware of the problems we have had with A2B Media and the fact that he has something of an up-hill battle on his hands to rebuild the confidence in our magazine with advertisers.  Keith has offered to produce this issue (69) of Open House knowing that it is unlikely to cover any wages for him or himself sales staff.  We are hoping to sell at least enough advertising to cover the printing costs of about £2,500.00 (we have agreed to cover any shortfall in this amount from NABD funds) but there is every chance that he and his staff will be giving their time and effort without pay and he sees this as an investment in our future business relationship. Here’s to a long and fruitful relationship between the NABD and Red Hen Promotions.

Hopefully when we get to issue 70 in March/April things will be back on track and back in profit. You can contact Keith’s advertising team via advertising@nabd.org.uk and if you require any confirmation of the legitimacy of anybody contacting you about advertising in any NABD publication please phone the NABD office on 0844 415 4849.

NABD Funds:
I’m afraid the bad news doesn’t just involve the issues with Open House. The funds of the NABD are at their lowest level since the turn of the century.  In many ways this is due to the recession. More people than ever have been asking for our help with their adaptions and the general rising cost of living and the despicable rise in VAT have all taken their toll. 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 current 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.  This in itself was a record amount even when compared with our largest total in any full financial year, which was just over 70,000. If we had continued processing grant applications 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. We are now looking at many avenues for raising more funds and raising more support for the NABD but in the short-term we have no option but to hold the grants system in abeyance until things improve.  Hopefully this will be a temporary glitch of no more than a couple of months but I am certainly not in a position to make any guarantees other than the fact that all previously agreed grants will definitely be paid when the adaption work is completed.

I have also taken the unprecedented step of writing an ‘open letter’ that is being circulated in the motorcycle press and through web forums and Facebook etc.  This is already generating a response so if you can help circulate it further please go to the NABD website and copy the link http://www.nabd.org.uk/appealdec11.htm or telephone the office for a hard copy.  I will include a full copy of the letter at the end of this “Chairman’s Chunk”.

You’ve Been Nabbed 21 Rally (11th – 13th May 2012):
Due to the low funds we put the rally tickets on sale a month earlier than usual so sales are already going well.  Don’t leave it too late or you may be disappointed, this event has sold-out in advance for the past three years.

Most of the changes we made to the site layout worked very well last year so we plan to use the same layout again.  However we had to add a few extra toilets in the main arena during the event last year so these will now be added to the original order.  We will also be relaxing our rules somewhat on the number of cars we allow on the site car parking areas.  We have been forced to do this because of complaints from local people about some of the people attending last year’s rally dumping their cars all over the village.  However I must make it very plain that we will not allow any cars onto the general camping areas for any reason whatsoever. 

There is a full-page advert for the event in this issue together with details of sponsorship opportunities available.  Please take a look at these because you may be able to help by passing the information on to somebody else or you may even decide (as several members did last year) to sponsor a barrel of real ale in your name or the name of your club or business.

In the next issue of Open House I will feature information on the 20+ live bands and artistes we will have at the event.

Committee Changes:
At the 2011 Annual General Meeting, Graham Swain was elected as Vice Chairman of the NABD and Gary Flett became our new Sponsorship Coordinator.  Both men have made an enthusiastic start and are very welcome additions to the NABD national committee.

NABD 2012 Prize Draw:
We have recently had a painting donated to us by artist Alan Lees of Scotland.  It is an original painting of a rally scene based on the NABD events, which even has NABD patron Billy Connolly featured amongst the figures on the painting.  Alan Lees has donated paintings to charities before and the last one sold for over £3,000.00.

After much cogitation we decided that this marvellous painting would make a wonderful first prize in the NABD 2012 prize draw. This way, at one pound per ticket, we all have the opportunity to have an equal chance of owning an original painting by a hugely talented professional artist. There are also plans afoot to have the painting shown in a gallery amongst other related motorcycle lifestyle paintings and maybe even at a motorcycle museum or two.

I will give you full details of the other things you can win in the prize draw in the next issue of Open House but for now all I can tell you is it will be officially launched at You’ve been Nabbed 21 in May and the Draw will take place at You’ve Been Nabbed 22 in May 2013. All members will receive two books of tickets (five tickets per book) with the summer issue of Open House in July, which they can buy for themselves or sell to their friends. I hope you will all make the effort to support this fundraising exercise, as I believe we should be able to raise at least £10,000.00 if we all pull together.

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!

Gift ideas:
In the “NABD Emporium” section of this magazine you will find details of a special exclusive CD made for the NABD of TBone Jones performing live at You’ve Been Nabbed 21. TBone Jones is both extremely talented and extremely funny and he has kindly donated this CD to the NABD so that ‘All Profits’ from it go to NABD funds. There are seven hilarious songs and the marvellous and original “NABD Blues” featured on this CD and it’s just a fiver. Also both Stevie Simpson (NABD Patron) and NABD rally regular Tracey Browne have CD’s for sale that not only contain damned-good music, they also support the NABD with £1.00 from each CD sold. (See “The NABD Music Emporium” article in this issue for further details).

Elsewhere in this issue you will see an advert for comedian Martin Mor’s (The artist formally known as Martin Bigpig) DVD featuring his performance in my Smacked Arse Comedy Show at the Farmyard Party 2011 in front of 4,000 bikers. The DVD also features ‘extras’ with guest appearances by myself, Ruff Daddy and Bad Mutha. Martin is selling these via his web site but we have 25 copies at the NABD office from which all proceeds will go to NABD funds. So call 0844 415 4849 now and get-em while we have them.  Once we sell out, it is still worth buying from his website because he is a fantastic comedian.

Sponsor a Barrel of Ale at You’ve Been Nabbed 21:
Following the great success of this project at YBN20 and Autumn Nabd’ness 2011we are offering people the chance to sponsor a barrel of real ale in our hugely popular Real Ale Marquee at YBN21. For a mere £75.00 sponsors can have their name on a barrel of ale, they will also be included in the sponsors list and receive a laminated Certificate of Sponsorship from the NABD. If you are in a club, why not propose that they sponsor a barrel?  If you are self-employed and you pay tax, why not sponsor a barrel yourself? Promotional expenses and charitable donations can all be written off against tax.  If you work for a company, why not talk to your boss about it? It’s very good publicity and it has to feel better than handing your money over to the Tax Man! There are full details in this issue, but if I’ve already convinced you; e-mail office@thenabd.org.uk or telephone 0844 415 4849 and we will let you have a simple form to fill in.
Help the NABD celebrate its Twentieth Anniversary by sponsoring a Barrel of Real Ale!

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. This is where the reconvened 2011 AGM took place after failing to meet the minimum required attendance at the original venue. More details in the next issue of Open House. Well, as you have gathered it has been a tumultuous end to 2011 for the NABD but our optimism hasn’t been diminished.  We are determined to rise to these challenges and any others that 2012 has to offer because bikers matter and the NABD is the leading disabled bikers support group in the world!

Please take a look at the following letter; it may help to put a few things into perspective. And with that I once again offer you all my very best wishes for 2012.

Rick Hulse