Chairman’s Annual Report For The Year Ending 31st December 2008
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this the year 2009 Annual General Meeting and to present the reports and accounts for the year ended 31st December 2008.
The unexpected economic downfall that started in 2008 and looks like continuing for some time has affected all businesses and individuals. GEM Motoring Assist has not been immune from these difficulties although, thanks to some very hard work to publicise and market our services, recruitment of new
members during the year has been outstanding as I will outline later.
Our annual accounts also show a healthy financial situation and I pay tribute to the financial management by our Treasurer Susan Poulton for guiding us through such difficult times.
It is also worth remembering that our prime function is to help reduce the number of crashes on UK roads and, therefore, it was encouraging to note that in 2007 (2008 figures not yet available) the number of people killed on Great Britain’s roads fell below 3,000 for the first time in more than 80 years. Of course 2,946 deaths is still too high and GEM will continue to do its best to help reduce this toll further.
Attracting members to support us in our Road Safety efforts is increasingly difficult. The vast majority of our supporters are now attracted by the additional benefits we offer, the most sought after being our breakdown service. In July a Driver Power Survey of over 32,000 readers of Auto Express magazine voted GEM Motoring Assist the number one breakdown service provider in the UK. Our value for money, service levels and efficiency were deemed to be better than all our rivals and we are extremely proud of this independent recognition of our organisation.
We attracted 7,954 new members in 2008 a staggering 87% increase over 2007. In such difficult economic times this result is truly outstanding. New marketing initiatives, a newly designed website (www.motoringassist.com) and lots of hard work has helped to achieve these excellent figures.
May I also take this opportunity to thank all those members who continue to freely promote GEM to friends and relatives. This marketing initiative is a very cost effective way of attracting new members which I hope will continue in 2009.
Returning again to the gloomy economic conditions, it was disappointing to note that the response to our annual raffle to gain funds for the GEM Motoring Assist Road Safety Charity was again further reduced. Only £5,164 was able to be passed to the Trustees. £2,137 of this figure included very welcome personal donations and while thanking those who have donated I also ask others to consider supporting the Charity in a similar way. A donation form is now included in every edition of Good Motoring magazine and on the Charity section of the GEM website. Such donations also allow us to claim Gift Aid from H M Revenue & Customs increasing donations by 28p in every pound.
Despite this reduction in income the GEM Road Safety Charity was able to support the following good causes:
• Sponsorship of Road Safety Student of the Year
• Sponsorship of Essex Motorcycle Safety Event in conjunction with Essex Air Ambulance
• Sponsorship of research by The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety into Road Safety behavioural change
• Production and printing of Cycling Safety leaflets
• Production and printing of Courtesy on the Road leaflets
• Production and printing Motorcycle Safety leaflets
• Development of skid advice film onto GEM website via You Tube
• Production and printing of Motorist’s Breakdown and Emergency Guides
• Production and printing of Reaction Tester cards
• Sponsorship of Drug Driving national initiative
(although this expenditure will not take place until 2009)
GEM Motoring Assist continues to be consulted by various agencies on safety and motoring issues. A proposed major review of driver training and testing was the most significant item for discussion during 2008 and we now await Government decisions on the suggestions made. Our membership of PACTS also provides the opportunity for us to make a valuable input to transport legislation.
Good Motoring magazine continues to be a very popular membership benefit and we are grateful to the 1,300 members who took part in our recent reader survey. The information gained will greatly help us to further develop and improve the magazine and the articles covered.
Editor James Luckhurst does an outstanding job in gaining and writing interesting and informative articles. He is always keen to hear from GEM members. Contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am grateful to all my colleagues on the Executive Council including our President Viscount Simon, who give up a considerable amount of personal time to ensure ‘our club’ is successful. The help and guidance given by the Council is greatly appreciated.
Finally I pay tribute to all GEM staff, which, although only equates to 13, continues to do a magnificent job in developing and maintaining the
FOR THE YEAR ENDED
Hon Viscount Simon
Honorary Life Vice-President
Miss M E Emms
C Williams MBE
Mrs S Poulton
Mrs P Tyrell-Dann
Mrs V Brindley
Independent Charity Trustee