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Author Topic: Papers prepared for the Coffee Shop / Planning and Constitution meeting 9.2.19  (Read 616 times)
grahame
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« on: February 09, 2019, 07:16:45 am »

Papers for/from today's Westbury meeting

http://www.passenger.chat/cs_20190209.pdf - Main Presentation
http://www.passenger.chat/ccif_cs.pdf - Coffee Shop review behind CCIF application

http://www.passenger.chat/vcrp_forward.pdf - What could we do as a virtual CRP

http://www.passenger.chat/mrug2019_c.pdf - Melksham RUG agenda / events for year
http://www.passenger.chat/cric_apply.pdf - application for Community Rail in the City

Prepared in the back room - to be move public after the event; it will then be followed up too
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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 04:28:22 pm »

Good to see everyone today ... I am just home and have moved the papers / representations referred to today onto this public thread.  I will rock other threads on the same / similar topic and redirect all comment here so that it's in the one place.

Great to meet everyone.  Lots of useful discussion ... will leave others to comment first (off for a coffee and a nap - was up early).

I feel ... happy and invigorated ....
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 05:13:28 pm »

You could also try and lock other threads as well  Wink

Glad to meet new people (in real life anyway). As was mentioned towards the end, plenty of ideas moving forward, not enough time to discuss answers or actual solutions. Looking forward to hearing thoughts and ideas from those who weren't there as well.

Thank you Graham and others for arranging today, good choice of venue. Well enjoyed and look forward to meeting others again and also whatever the future of the forum brings
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 06:02:24 pm »

Echoing Adelante_CCT. Great to put faces to names (forum and real) and to meet up again with previous acquaintances.

I felt it was a very productive meeting with plenty of ideas and inputs to provide a sense of where the forum needs to head in the future. Organic and measured change, consulting the wider forum membership as we go, rather than a big bang, is the feeling I got from the group discussion.

Very interesting to hear from the representative from GWR. Nice to hear that despite the occasional critical tone toward GWR on this forum they see us as a useful and necessary group, who they are comfortable working with going ahead.

I have my own bit of research to do that follows from today's discussion, and I'll do that over the next day or two. I'll be copying the Admin team in on that research and feeding back here when I've had responses to my queries.

Thanks to grahame and bobm for their work behind the scenes gathering input from industry bodies, and for organising today's meeting.

Like grahame I was up early too, so I will be putting my feet up this evening. It's been a while since I've done a medium-ish distance drive (120 mile round trip)* and I'm a bit cream crackered. A glass of cider and Finn on my lap. I'll probably doze off too. Cheers! 🍻



*Yes, I know. Driving to a rail forum meeting at a venue right next to a major rail interchange is somewhat sacrilegious, but sadly it was the most convenient way for me to do the trip. Particularly with Finn in tow.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 06:07:49 pm by bignosemac » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 08:08:42 am »

Photos from yesterday







A group photo, and pictures during the event - with our Bobm presenting part of the morning, and Jane Jones of Great Western Railway talking - and in a very positive way - about how GWR see The Coffee Shop, learning and discussing with us how we move forward into the future. You'll see much of what was suggested in the slides and that will be re-inforced in follow up notes - a lot of that latter being really practical stuff as we move forward.   This was a meeting about the Coffee Shop; we did not major on  GWR / industry issues though we did go through "meet the manager", customer panel and various other items effecting the customer and TOC relationship, and also other questions of the reach direct to customers and potential customers too.  There are elements here where the Coffee Shop can help provide a piece in the jigsaw.  We also have clearer routes as to contacts with whom to interface in GWR (been an issue as we are a community group and yet not one that comes under any region) both on a regular basis and as emergency backstops.  A very positive session - I've document that section in particular as it's not in the slides.  Further documenation espcially of the afternoon to follow.

You could also try and lock other threads as well  Wink

I *think* I have found most of them ... by the time we had threads in the main forum, News and assistance and Frequent posters, and a diary / event thread keeping yesterday's date to the fore, there were quite a few of them ...

Quote
Glad to meet new people (in real life anyway). As was mentioned towards the end, plenty of ideas moving forward, not enough time to discuss answers or actual solutions. Looking forward to hearing thoughts and ideas from those who weren't there as well.

Thank you Graham and others for arranging today, good choice of venue. Well enjoyed and look forward to meeting others again and also whatever the future of the forum brings

My pleasure to arrange and so good to see everyone there.  The "Railway Inn" did us proud.  And a big "Thank you" to all the members who made it to Westbury.   For a widely spread online group across a big territory, it was quite an "ask" to have you step out of your normal environment (and normal Saturday activities) and travel all that way to an obscure important railway junction in Wiltshire and help us look forward.

We have direction for some of the answers; members headed off to research a couple of issues from where we can build - a "what now" item. 

Bob's session covered responses / wishes from other rail industry partners - Network Rail, Transport Focus, DfT (Franchise Management), DfT (Community Rail Management) and ACoRP. The moderator / admin team really wanted to ensure that these national bodies were aware that we're looking and planning ahead and are strongly wanting to do so in partnership with them as we move forward.   All responses were positive; I'm not quoting them in detail here / in this thread as many (all?) are very much personalised messages from people who I have known for many years and work well with from the Melksham Rail User Group though to TravelWatch SouthWest and the Coffee Shop.   ACoRP is a particularly interesting case ... as part of our approach was to ask about our potential position as a "virtual CRP" - which is (oops!) something that doesn't naturally slide into their "line CRP" or "Station Friend" categories, but never the less strongly and substantially meets their four pillars for Community Rail.  ACoRP is an ongoing subject - agreed it would be useful for us to be formally "in there", but it's not a "make or break" thing for the Coffee Shop.

We did not approach local bodies - individual rail user groups, campaign groups, station friends, councils, etc for inputs into yesterday's meeting.  Many / most of our members wear multiple hats so quite a number were represented yesterday, and members of others had sent their apologies.  Other had had the opportunity to come along if they wished by signing up for the event.  The admin / moderator team takes the view that we are delighted to work with such groups / members and we very much do. However this is very much our own re-organisation for the future, and local groups with zero active interest so far really have not earned themselves a place on what essential was our 'committee' yesterday.

I had hoped to be able to publicise / talk about financing of our changes in more details but CCIF bids entered in October are still with the DfT awaiting confirmation of what's to be supported. We are aware that the fund was oversubscribed many times over but never the less I remain optimisic that our bid is more likely to come in than not, and (surely) we should know soon?   What this long lead time, and the movement from franchise to annual direct awards each of which differs in its community support, does suggest to me is that we should be making full use of these potential streams - we don't need much funding - but that we should explore / ensure we have other ways of updating / upgrading the Coffee Shop's activities and keeping the show on the road.  It's highly dangerous, and time consuming, to fund through annual competitive applications to schemes and systems that keep changing.

For the absence of doubt, current operational funding has been in effect zero - the Coffee Shop runs on what was spare space on a dedicated server I have for other (my business) purposes.  That server is getting old and like me will be fully retired in the next handful of years.  Domain name registrations, etc, are not a big cost / have been donated too as has technical programming time.
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GBM
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 09:41:02 am »

A great day out.
Again, as said, lovely to meet members in real life.
My first trip in an IET, and to experience door issues with the return run, so a later arrival home.
Left at 5am, home by 9pm.
Well worth the day out; thank you one and all
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bobm
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 10:20:06 am »

Although I was only able to stay until lunchtime, I thought it was a very worthwhile day.   The fact we are thought enough of that a senior member of GWR thinks it worthwhile to make a round trip of over 300 miles on a Saturday to be there speaks volumes.

Just to complete the trio of speakers.

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rogerw
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2019, 04:38:58 pm »

I have agreed to provide some feed back on the afternoon session.

The background papers prepared by Grahame are linked in the first post above and it is not my intention to repeat their content, merely to reflect on some the issues raised and the discussions that took place.  I have probably missed some points so please feel free to add any views you feel I may have missed.

The key issue for discussion is where coffeeshop goes form here.  At present the forum is hosted on a Grahame’s served at no cost.  This in not a long term solution and in future server space will need to be obtained elsewhere at a cost if the forum is to be maintained into the future.

In view of this the forum will require its own bank account.  In order to move that forward the forum would need to be set up as an organisation with a constitution and officers.  It was agreed that research could be carried out to identify whether suitable draft constitutions were available on line which could be adapted.  BNM also agree to approach a contact connected with the RailUK forum to ascertain how they were set up to manage their finances.

Means of raising finance were discussed and a number of suggestions were made.  One source of income could be for the forum to carry adverts -through Google ads – and the suggestion was made that they could be a membership fee which would allow the viewing of the forum without adverts.  To encourage people to pay the fee the numbers of posts for non-members cold be limited.  Money could also be raised through sponsorship although the forum should not be put in a position which would prejudice its independence.  More than one source of income is essential.  Another suggestions were the marketing of souvenirs (mugs, tee shirts etc) through a third party company although it would need to be checked whether the returns would justify the effort that would need to be put in.  Would we actually sell sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile?
Grahame also touched on other matters arising from the possibility of becoming a virtual CRP although no decisions were made on this (see the VCRP paper)

My overall impression was that members wish the Coffee Shop to continue and are happy to support measures to achieve that into the future when the measure of support that Grahame currently gives is not available.

Thanks were given to Grahame for the time and effort he puts into Coffee Shop.
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TonyK
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2019, 12:59:24 pm »

I have in the past drafted constitutions for a couple of societies, and there is plenty on the web to guide the process. Happy to help.
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2019, 04:09:30 pm »

I have in the past drafted constitutions for a couple of societies, and there is plenty on the web to guide the process. Happy to help.

Thanks, Tony. One of our members is researching a near-equivalent constitution and business model, and we have a couple of other guidances too; also have helped draw up several.   Can we take you up on the "help" offer when there'  draft together ... perhaps even meeting up somewhere near you ... when you're in the UK.
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TonyK
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2019, 07:24:25 pm »

I have in the past drafted constitutions for a couple of societies, and there is plenty on the web to guide the process. Happy to help.

Thanks, Tony. One of our members is researching a near-equivalent constitution and business model, and we have a couple of other guidances too; also have helped draw up several.   Can we take you up on the "help" offer when there'  draft together ... perhaps even meeting up somewhere near you ... when you're in the UK.

Certainly! I'm missing from Brexit day until the end of April, though.
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Adelante_CCT
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2019, 02:51:29 pm »

I think as a group (those of us at the meeting) seemed to be in agreement that we would be willing to put up with advertising if necessary. Obviously having different amounts of adverts can affect viewing pleasures and I for one would not be happy with the level you see on many newspaper sites that appear to pop up with every ad / video it can get away with. However having one banner advert (thinking along the lines of RealtimeTrains) is far more acceptable and doesn't ruin my browsing experience.

Graham - I know many factors are at play, but would you have a rough idea of what something like that could generate per annum based on this forum, and how far would that go towards future forum expenditure costs?
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2019, 03:36:35 pm »

Graham - I know many factors are at play, but would you have a rough idea of what something like that could generate per annum based on this forum, and how far would that go towards future forum expenditure costs?

I'm waiting for intelligence back in our sector ... having said which it's cheeky to ask others who may even consider we complete with them, so I may hear nothing intelligent.   The briefest of research gives very diverse results ...

https://www.quora.com/How-much-money-can-I-make-from-AdSense-with-1000-visitors-per-day

Quote
11. Problogger
 Daily visitors: 42 731
 Daily pageviews: 85 462
 Alexa Rank: 50323
 Owner: Darren Rowse
 Income: about $1,600/day
 Similar to Smashing Magazine, Problogger is a resource for people who already have their own blogs, except with a focus on generating traffic, monetizing, and improving blog content. It’s slightly ironic that one of the top earning blogs is dedicated to helping other blogs become strong earners, but hey, if it draws traffic!

12. Kotaku
 Daily visitors: 1 031 350
 Daily pageviews: 1 938 939
 Alexa Rank: 1289
 Owner: Nick Denton
 Income: about $1,600/day
 Kotaku is somewhat like Joystiq with just a dash of Perez Hilton. While it features mostly more video game news, the editorials tend be a little more scandalous and the hard content-to-fluff ratio leaning a little bit more to the fluffy side.

And that gives a figure of anywhere between 77c and $101 per day when scaled to our traffic levels of 400 to 600 users per day, typically each coming to visit us just under 4 times, and around 5,400 page impressions per day. 

If we raised £3 per day that's around £1000 per annum - not to be sneezed at, covers server costs probably 1.5 times over but not ancillaries and means the thing's still going to run as someone's labour of love unless a further sources is generated.  Now - promotion could / should bolster the traffic hugely - that may involve promotional expenditure, but will not increase server costs in the same way so we're headed towards benefits of volume.

For the last week I have been snowed under with "real work"  Grin ... and there is no wild rush to establish this new footing.  And the advertising is just one potential string to the bow.
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2019, 08:06:11 pm »

I think as a group (those of us at the meeting) seemed to be in agreement that we would be willing to put up with advertising if necessary. Obviously having different amounts of adverts can affect viewing pleasures and I for one would not be happy with the level you see on many newspaper sites that appear to pop up with every ad / video it can get away with. However having one banner advert (thinking along the lines of RealtimeTrains) is far more acceptable and doesn't ruin my browsing experience.

Graham - I know many factors are at play, but would you have a rough idea of what something like that could generate per annum based on this forum, and how far would that go towards future forum expenditure costs?
Agreed about the banner advert. Pop up adverts and autoplaying videos are really, really annoying but that banner I hardly noticed.
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2019, 08:14:31 pm »

Agreed about the banner advert. Pop up adverts and autoplaying videos are really, really annoying but that banner I hardly noticed.

Are adverts hardly noticed are hardly clicked through and hardly generate any income.  But you will note that my figure estimates are way down the range from the two sites I quoted.
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Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
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