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Annual Report & Financial Statements 2019

 

Important message about changes to AALA

Please find attached updated information on the changes to AALA from the 1st April 2020.

It details what is changing, the application process and site visits, more information will be available on the HSE website soon and questions should be sent to aala@hse.gov.uk

Valentines Proposal ideas for Outdoor Lovers

You’ve found the one. And as if they weren’t perfect enough already, they love the outdoors just as much as you do. If your ‘significant other’ loves to wake up at 5:00 AM for sunrise hikes, and will jump into any lake, river, or ocean regardless of how cold the water is – and convince you to jump in, too – then you need a proposal that’s going to fit your relationship.

At The Activities Industry Mutual we understand that bearing your soul and going out on a limb to ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you can be a daunting prospect! But for all the adventurers among you, we want to help spark your inspiration for your outdoor, adventurous, and nature-filled proposal. So, here’s the scoop on everything you need to know; from the best time of day to pop the question outdoors, to actually getting down on one knee!

If you don’t want to take a big risk when you pop the questions maybe think about a romantic hike and a picnic instead.

Canyoning Proposal

Activities Industry Mutual Members, Adventure Britain, helped adventure loving Dan propose and caught it all on camera for us to enjoy.
https://www.adventurebritain.com/one-unusual-places-world-propose-marriage/

https://youtu.be/uBhA_ZIX9qo

Paddleboarding & Kayaking Proposal

If you and your loved one have an affinity for the ocean, then a kayak or paddleboard proposal may be perfect for you.

  • Why not surprise your other half by making your way to a beach or island together, and arrange for flowers, rocks, or seashells to spell out the all-important question when you reach your destination – “Will you marry me?”
  • Worried about transporting the ring across the water? Place it in the kayak hatch ahead of time and during a break, ask your partner to grab you some water from the hatch. Surprise!
  • Get your friends and family involved – organise for your partner to go out on the water with their nearest and dearest, and surprise them by paddling out to their location for the grand event

When To Propose?

Do: Sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful times on the water.  Not only is the sky gorgeous, but the water is often calm. Sunrise has the best chance of glass-like conditions!

Avoid: Midday – There is often boat traffic and strong winds or low tide which just makes for a longer walk to the water

Advice: Be flexible! The weather has a lot to do with the proposal. A windy/choppy day would not be ideal, especially if the ring is going to be on board the kayak or paddleboard.

Rock Climbing Proposal

“Imagine you’re reaching for holds above your head, unable to see the ledge until you reach up and grab it, and instead of an empty hold, you grab a ring!”

If your significant other enjoys pushing themselves to the limits, likes trying new things, and is athletic, but you want an outdoorsy proposal that doesn’t depend on the weather, a proposal with climbing involved may be exactly what you are looking for.

Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced

This proposal is recommended if climbing is already a part of your life. For a lot of climbers, it’s an addictive sport that becomes a passion, so it makes sense to propose in a place that is a big part of your lives.

What if this is your first time climbing?

The experts do not recommend this proposal method if you are a beginner! “Climbing is not just physical activity, it is a mental exercise, so it might be overwhelming for you and your partner if it is your first time”.

Creative Proposal Ideas:

  • Before you get there, arrange to have the staff put the ring in a hold halfway up a route. Guide your significant other up the route and at the opportune moment, take the ring from the hold and propose while climbing!
  • Or why not lead your partner to the correct hold so that they reach up and find the ring themselves?
  •  A popular first date is climbing. Try to recreate the same climb or same events from the first date for the proposal.
  • Invite your friends and supporters to secretly come and surprise your partner and celebrate with you.

Do: If you want a crowd cheering you on after you propose, then a weekend or weekday evening is perfect. But, if you want a more intimate setting, then any weekday before 5, especially in the morning, is when you want to pop the question.

Avoid: Any climb that is too difficult! If he/she doesn’t get up to that point, they might not find the ring – or they may get frustrated from the difficulty, which would ruin the mood of the moment

Make Your Proposal Unique:

“Get your local climbing wall to help put the ring in a particular place at a certain time or reserve a particular climb for you and completely manage the process to make sure that it is perfect.”

Credit: Facebook, Bryan Rafferty Photography

Tree-To-Tree Adventure Climbing Proposal

Treetop courses can vary in degrees of difficulty, but pretty much anybody who’s adventurous can find a route that’s appropriate for their comfort level.

Creative Proposal Ideas:

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced

“Each course has about 15-18 treetop rest stops between the obstacles in which to pop the question…There’s just enough room for someone to get down on their knee on the treetop platforms!”

When To Propose?

Challenge your partner to a ‘race.’ When engulfed in the spirit of competition, get down on one knee and propose – they’ll never see it coming! …Don’t worry!

Special twilight climbing hours in the summer provide the perfect time of day to pop the question and then head to a fancy restaurant for dinner.

Do: Any time is ideal. Want privacy? Any weekday, especially in the morning. Like the lime light? Plan for a weekend proposal.

Avoid: Any day that might rain!

A Mountain Top Moment

Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced

Creative Proposal Ideas:

  • As long as you and your loved one are fit and healthy you should be able to make it up the mountain. Make sure you plan your route, have all the relevant equipment, clothing and supplies you need- oh and don’t forget the ring!
  • Take your other half on an adventure up a mountain with a fabulous view at sunset. With the adrenaline from the climb and the sense of achievement once you both reach the top, take a moment to relax, take in the view and tell your other half how fabulous life is with them. Finish your speech by popping the question!

When To Propose?

  • Sun rise and sun set are beautifully romantic times to pop the question, especially with an amazing view.
  • Have Champagne and a bubble bath with candles waiting at home so that you can both refresh after your adventure!

When To Propose?

Do: Any time is ideal.

We hope you’ve been inspired by some of our romantic suggestions.

Good Luck!

 

 

AIM Board Changes – Farewell Tricia

 

This month we said farewell to Tricia Rawlingson-Plant from Mill on the Brue who has decided after 10 years to step down from her position on the Board.  Tricia has been an active participant and a source of great knowledge to the team and we thank her for her valued contribution.  We know that she intends to spend more time enjoying another of her loves which is travelling around the world to some far flung and interesting countries and we wish her well.

If you have any questions about the Mutual or the Board specifically please do not hesitate to contact either sophia.reed@rmml.com or cathy.watson@rmml.com

Play it safe: health and safety fines in the activities industry

Leanne Conisbee of Clyde & Co discusses these changes

With the activities sector continuing to grow, as part of wider trend of increased societal health and wellness awareness, businesses should take note of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) enforcement statistics[1]. These evidence the high level of fines companies now ‘routinely’ receive for health and safety breaches, together with confirmation of the upward trend in the level of health and safety fines, imposed by both the Magistrates and Crown Courts.

Small to medium sized businesses have been impacted most, with the level of fines routinely being a significantly greater percentage of turnover than the fines imposed on large and very large organisations, despite the same harm categories and levels of culpability.

Not every accident can be avoided, but to avoid prosecution and potentially hefty fines, companies do now need to have health and safety at the top of their agendas.

High value fines now commonplace

An analysis of HSE data shows a total of 45 cases in 2017/18 where a fine of over £500,000 was imposed.

There were 19 cases with fines exceeding £1m imposed by the UK’s criminal courts for the 12 month period to 31 October 2018 – with less than half of the cases involving very large organisations, dispelling the notion that only those companies with turnovers in the hundreds of millions or billions receive £1 million plus fines.

Whilst HSE prosecutions were down by 16% in 17/18 to a total of 517, the HSE still revealed an impressive conviction rate of 95%.

Although Local Authority (LA) prosecutions are not included in the 517 prosecutions referred to, the data does reveal a significant increase in the enforcement activity of LA’s, showing an annual increase of 7% to 2,580 in the total number of enforcement notices issued by LA’s in 17/18.

Emphatic and rapid change in sentencing landscape

Stark evidence of increased fines for all sizes of business as a result of the introduction in February 2016 of the Sentencing Guideline for Health and Safety Offences[2] is revealed in the average level of fine rising by over 400% from £29,000 in 2014/15 to £147,000 in 2017/18.

Reported cases affecting the activities industry are few and far between. But that does not by any means indicate any sort of immunity.

Center Parcs was recently fined £250,000 when a young girl fell nearly 10 feet from a tree and broke her wrist during an organised activity. Luton Crown Court heard that whilst the company had systems in place to ensure the safety of guests these were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented in respect of this incident.

A leading leisure centre was also fined £330,000 when a five-year-old boy almost drowned in a swimming pool. Despite being a non-swimmer and staff being informed that he could not swim, the boy was allowed to enter the pool without armbands and without proper supervision. The fine imposed was the largest in any investigation brought by Hounslow Council.

Prevention, prevention, prevention

Whilst the above statistics make for sobering reading, organisations can put themselves in the best possible position to avoid or defend prosecutions, or mitigate any fines imposed, by ensuring that:

  1. Any equipment complies with the relevant British Standards, is inspected regularly and is in good working order;
  2. Robust policies and procedures are in place and followed, and this is checked via adequate supervision and monitoring;
  3. Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out, with control measures implemented;
  4. Training arrangements are reviewed to ensure that staff are properly trained in the policies and procedures; and
  5. Customers are appropriately warned of the risks associated with an activity and they acknowledge receipt of such warnings.

[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/enforcement.pdf

[2] https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/HS-offences-definitive-guideline-FINAL-web.pdf

Manager’s Travels

How are we all doing?

It continues to be a very busy season for AIM with many of you renewing at this time.  I hope that all your businesses and activities are continuing very well, despite more inclement weather than we experienced last summer.  Exams are over (as a mother of a GCSE student this year, I am breathing a sigh of relief!) and the summer stretches out ahead of us, with residential visits and summer camps.  As Members you provide a tremendous array of activities!  I have been lucky to try some of these for the first time recently, more below.

What’s been happening over the past few months? 

We had a wonderful Member event held at Lord’s Cricket Ground in March, followed by the AIM AGM and it was great to see so many of you there.  I hope that you found the day worthwhile.  Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback.  This really helps us to plan our AIM events.  If you have any suggestions for future member events, please let us know we are always interested in your suggestions for locations and speakers. 

What have I as Manager been up to? 

I am very much enjoying my visits to see as many of you as possible, covering lots of different areas of the UK.  My recent visits have included trying caving in the Mendip Hills at Mendip Outdoors which was great fun; visiting Scotland to see the Actual Reality Trust at Ardentinny, via a lovely ferry across to Dunoon, and then on to Ardmay at the top of Loch Long, both of which had stunning sites and beautiful scenery; and meeting up with Xplore and Klub Group in Stowmarket and seeing their beautiful woodland bush craft areas.  I was sorely tempted to don a wetsuit and swim in the lake at Waterland Gear (next time!) and I had a super walk around the historic house and site at Sealyham in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire.  I also had my first attempt at stand up paddle boarding with SUP Bristol, managing not only not to fall in, but successfully stand up paddling along the river in Bristol.  Thank you all for making me feel so very welcome at these visits and for your time in showing me round. 

James and I attended the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) two day conference in Sheffield at the end of June and met many of our current Members and hopefully some new ones too!   So many of our enquiries come from recommendations- thank you for those.  The conference was very well attended and a great event.

What’s to come over the next few months?

I’m off to the North West at the end of July then Wales and Scotland in October.  We have a Member event in Okehampton on the 7th October – details to follow but please let Cathy know if you would like to attend on cathy.watson@rmml.com.

As always, the team is here to help you with queries and any issues.  Please do get in touch if we can help you at all.  I’d be delighted to come and say hello so do let me know if you would like me to come and see you as well.