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February 1999

Jelly Baby Benefit

Editor's Column

National News

5 Things You Never Knew About... Tom Seddon, North Thames & Chilterns Area Chairman

Kickstarting The Federation

Marlow Raft Race 1999

WASH 98 - My First Time

Pen Pal Wanted

National Basketball

Are You Serving Or Being Served?

Put Her Down Santa!

Annual National Conference 1999

Can You Spot The Spice Girls?


Jelly Baby Benefit

Why oh why Delilah did I ever suggest this?It seemed like a good idea at the time. I suggested that Thames Valley & Chilterns Area might run a fund-raiser for the Adopt A Jelly Baby weekend. We had run a karaoke to high critical acclaim about a year before and I thought it was worth putting karaoke on again. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) Tom Seddon, our Area Chairman, thought so too and so it was that on the evening of Saturday 23rd January we found ourselves in fine voice.

There were a few people you could rely on to sing. Lucy Smith (from Watford) naturally was keen to perform. Very appropriately she sang a duet with Sharon Smith (no relation) of Barnet - "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Few people would deny that it's just Lucy's kind of song.

After Colin Rumford (from Stevenage) sang a duet with Alison Brand (Barking and Dagenham), a whip round raised £14 for the "stopping Colin singing again fund". He then offered to pay £15 to be allowed to sing but a further collection stopped that by raising £19 in total. Money well spent considering the first performance.

A bit of a set up job saw Paul Davies and Tom Seddon (both from Stevenage) sing "Leader of the Gang". A good choice for the Area Chairman but unfortunately the singing wasn't so glittering !

I was asked if I would sing my usual "Delilah" (always good for a laugh I'm told). In order to encourage me £12 was raised. I then rounded off the evening with my usual over the top rendition complete with body movements that apparently even Tom Jones wouldn't be seen dead doing !

In total the evening raised £100.60 for Shelter.

The following day Hillingdon 18 Plus collected £55 in Uxbridge shopping centre. Barnet 18 Plus ran their traditional post Christmas bingo to add a little bit more to the coffers.

Mark Hawkins
Barnet 18 Plus

Editor's Column

Thanks to all contributors to this issue. More contributions would be greatly appreciated. I'm still also looking for silly / compromising photos of Andy Bond.

For the next issue I'd like articles and photos about what your Group/Area did for the Adopt A Jelly Baby weekend.

The deadline for the next issue (due out in May) is Friday 9th April 1999.

Katie Hawkins

5 Things You Never Knew About...

...Tom Seddon, North Thames & Chilterns Area Chairman.

Tom and Suzy Seddon1 Whilst taking part in a Generation Game event at his group he had his nappy changed and talc put on his bottom.

2 At an NEC meeting he went to the toilet before heading off to lunch. Whilst he was in there the alarm was set and the office door was locked. Everyone was just starting their lunch and wondering where he was when we got a phone call at the pub asking if someone could stop the alarm bell ringing and let him out !

3 At the end of the ANC the safety curtain fell on him. He saw stars and others thought he was dead (luckily they were wrong).

4 When he was very young he thought it would be a good idea to press the "stop" button on an escalator to see what would happen !

5 He proposed to his wife Suzy in the Sahara Desert whilst on holiday in Tunisia (that's the reason why there were camels on their wedding cake).

National News

It has been agreed with the AMMO committee that AMMO won't go ahead this year as the date proposed was too close to the Marlow Raft Race and TAG. However AMMO will be back in 2000 but in May (on the Whitsun Bank Holiday). Watch this space for further news.

The structure of the TAG committee has been changed. It now consists of two co-ordinators. These were elected at the January NEC meeting and are Sandra Bradshaw and Linda Street.

The post of NGOOT (Now Get Out Of That) co-ordinator was also up for election but no nominations were received.

TAG 99 is moving to a new venue. It will be held at Bangor on Dee racecourse near Wrexham (in the Welsh borders)

Kickstarting The Federation

As Kickstart 98 was the first event I undertook as National Training Co-ordinator, I felt it important to let people know exactly what it is and isn't. It was advertised like this:

"It is NOT a boring training day where you sit down and get lectured from people making little sense ! It IS an action packed weekend for members to get together, solve group problems and brainstorm ideas to get the Federation moving on and up. (As well as a good social at the local pubs on Friday and Saturday nights.) It's not aimed specifically at Group or Area committees, but is there for everyone. New members find out what the Federation's about, and how and why it's run the way it is. Their new suggestions are a breath of fresh air. All ideas are taken back to the National Officers for discussion and possible action, so nobody's input is wasted. Kickstart is there to help you and your Group/Area, and you can help us too."

Now you too know roughly what it is and what people at Kickstart 98 were up to !

Marlow Raft Race 1999

Chingford 18 Plus get a soakingMarlow 18 Plus are pleased to announce the birth of a new National event, the Marlow Raft Race.

This event will be taking place over a hopefully (!!) sunny weekend at the end of July (30th July - 1st August 1999). This event has been run for the past two years, with last year being extremely well attended, with teams from all over the country. This year the weekend will be run on a similar format to last year with only a few changes.

There will be live entertainment on both the Friday and Saturday night, with the raft race starting bright and early at 9am on the Saturday morning. After messing about on the lake you can then spend the late afternoon and early evening sampling the local brews on the Real Ale Trip. On the Sunday various activities will be organised and we will be showing the Grand Prix for all those Formula One fans.

So if you fancy a cheap (weekend pass is still only £25) and entertaining weekend away in Marlow this summer make sure you get your booking in early to guarantee your place.

For further details keep an eye on the bulk postings or call me on 01494 532034.

Gill Quinn
Raft Race Co-ordinator

WASH 98 - My First Time

As an 18 Plus new boy I was asked to write what I thought of my first WASH weekend. This will be fairly difficult given that I was pretty much blotto the entire time, but here goes. I hope my impression isn't so unique but I've found out something of what 18 Plus is like.

Wild Boyz at WASHThe long and lonely roads of Norfolk came eventually to an end and out of a cold and dark Friday evening we arrived to suddenly encounter a hall of partying hundreds and life in East Anglia after all. These were our fellow campers for the weekend, well mingled and pretty much blotto. As we walked in they were cheering the just departed band called "Pump". Apparently there wasn't an error in the programme and we hadn't just missed a performance of Jarvis Cocker and the group from Sheffield. I must stress that drinking is not compulsory for attendance at WASH but it did seem popular.

Another 18 Plus new boy staying in our caravan quickly realised this and we joined him to prop up the bar. He remarked later that maybe 18 Plus referred to the number of alcohol units consumed for an average evening. And if sore heads and hangovers next morning are testimony to a good time, we must have done ourselves proud for our first night.

Over the following two days I heard good songs ruined and brain teasers galore, tasted too hot with 19 others, and saw top 20 hits performed in underwear. Also, I witnessed lawn mower stunts and shunts, Vietnam War machines and semi-famous faces bombarded by sweets. Was it real or all booze-induced hallucination ? The answer is both but refers to: lunchtime karaoke, the WASH quiz, a mass visit to the local curry house, the pop group "Bamboo", enthusiastic go-karting, amphibious landing craft and a comedy and music show besieged by hecklers and an audience of confectionery throwers.

My experience was small compared to what I missed (due mainly to laziness). There were balloon rides, car treasure hunt, film show, swimming pool and many other bands, to mention a few other things from the timetable provided. Late night parties at various caravans were the highlight of less official activities.

Good times were generally had by all and I would say it was thoroughly good value for money. The event was also well organised. It's an impressive venue with good and modern facilities although Hunstanton itself is not a riveting town. We stayed in a decent and fairly luxurious caravan with no complaints. The weather was not as shocking as it could have been. The only worry was that our time went quickly, but I believe this is a good sign. To fully enjoy the weekend you need total stamina. As a survivor I'm impressed about how much of it all I remember.

Adam Ross
West Kent 18 Plus

National Basketball 

This competition was held on Saturday 28th November 1998 in Leicester. It was organised by Jo Woodhead, National Executive Officer, who should in particular be congratulated on the excellent information package she sent out (including a list of possible accommodation, rules of the game and even a diagram of a basketball court !)

The top 4 teams were:

1st Wimbledon
2nd Higham and Wellingborough
3rd Wimbledon
4th Billericay

Katie Hawkins

Are You Serving Or Being Served?

As every year goes by, the National Federation finds itself with fewer and fewer members; it's a consistent downward spiral. While people may dislike me for extenuating the negative, I feel someone has to raise their head above the parapet and ask what's going on.

One of the most important points to make about 18 Plus is that we are a voluntary organisation run by members for members - that means it's up to everyone to play a part in the organisation and running of their group. It's a point that cannot be overemphasised. Any group is only as good as its weakest member but before anyone tries to work out who that person may be they should note that there are a range of variables that have to be considered, the message should be "everyone can do more".

There are so many opinions in 18 Plus as to how we can improve on things that arguments and personality clashes occur all the time. It's not a good way to change things for the better if you believe you're always right, if you're unable to adapt to changes, if you cannot accept that everyone has a right to an opinion. Argument is good if it's constructive. We should avoid all the destructive personality clashes and back stabbing.

So having said that, I may go on to note the ongoing argument about the age change and the involvement of older members, recently discussed in Plus News by Phil Bristow, Terry Drake and Basil Lewis. First the age change was voted for by the majority of groups present at last year's ANC. It came about after a lot of arguing and a long struggle. It had been talked about since the early 1980's, even before the Federation began its long decline.

My point on this has always been that the age range changed itself when the number of 18 to 25 year olds joining declined. The average age quoted at last year's ANC (it's probably higher now) was 29. At least half of the Coventry Group were over 29. Therefore it wasn't a case of protecting 18 Plus for adult youth, it was a case of recognising that times had changed and 18 Plus was struggling against its own regulations to change with them. It was the recognition of reality ! Whilst I respect other people's opinions, I believe that there is still an over emphasis on age within the Federation.

Getting young people to join is important. In Coventry it's now top of the agenda. To do that, surely we should be looking at lower membership fees for 18 to 25 year olds, better liaison with the local youth services and other youth organisations, and a greater involvement in training and community work - aimed at promoting our organisation as more worthy. We also need some professional publicity aimed at promoting 18 Plus to young people.

However, pushing older members out is not a good way forward. In Coventry we have managed to change a group that had a rapidly declining membership, bad venue, zero finance and an average club night attendance of about 6 or 7. We are now a thriving club with 22 new members joining since April. If we repeat that over the next twelve months we'll be close to calling ourselves the largest group in the Federation.

Involving all the members and constantly emphasising the importance of everyone playing a part did what we achieved. It wasn't easy, it's been back breaking and hasn't been without a great deal of problems. The hard work did pay off - all we have to do now is keep it up !

During that process I'd have been mad to turn away any help based on age. I believe older members can play a part on committees and I also believe that the limit of three terms of office enables everyone to get a fair crack of the whip. But especially at this point in the Federation's history we should be looking for the best people for the job.

One of the biggest problems 18 Plus has in my opinion is the constitution. It's like a sheet of red tape that just binds the whole organisation and prevents it from a healthy amount of change. I've consulted a number of people on the point recently, including the regional head of a rival organisation who feels that it's going to be our downfall.

We live in an age of constant change and adaptation. If we, as an organisation, cannot keep up with a changing world and environment we will inevitably suffer. Look at any major multi-national company for drastic and dramatic shifts in image, culture and technology. Look at the Armed Forces - a massive shift in culture was needed to open them up to women and ethnic minorities. Look at BT - how much did they fork out for their image change ?

Modern business practice heavily emphasises the concept of continuous improvement. It's based on the assumption that continually striving to reach ever higher standards in every part of the organisation will provide a series of incremental gains that will build superior performance. In Japan the process is called Kaizen which consists of the organisation creating an environment in which all its members can contribute to improving performance and overall effectiveness.

Change is all about making improvements. To do that the membership have to develop a culture of adaptability and avoid the natural urge to resist change. It's not about destroying 18 Plus, it should be about securing a future for the only social and activities organisation for young adults in Britain today. That I believe is worth doing.

No change can be made without recourse to the past and just as the military rely heavily on history for their strategy, so should 18 Plus look back into its past to see what has worked well. Just as the Japanese came back from industrial devastation following World War Two by copying successful industry in the West, so too should 18 Plus look to its nearest rivals and copy anything they do that's good and make it even better.

Finally, 18 Plus has a mission statement. When I effectively took over as Chairman of Coventry 18 Plus, I'd been a member for just a month. I wasn't sure about which way to go but I was aware of the organisation's aims and I did treat them seriously. Firstly because I knew that media coverage would depend on how capable we were of promoting ourselves as an organisation that seeks to serve society and develop its members, not just an organisation with a fixation on alcohol. Secondly because I wanted to attract people who wanted to put something back as well as receive. We're somewhat unusual in Coventry in that we have 12 people on the committee (most of them people who have joined within the last year) so I feel that something did work somewhere along the line.

18 Plus is about having fun but who says the odd charity event can't be fun ? Who says a Personal Development weekend, paid for by the local council, can't be fun ? Anyone who's met Coventry could never call us a dull group. In common with all 18 Plus groups we believe in the philosophy that life is meant to be lived to the full.

While I've used Coventry as an example, I must emphasise that there is no shortage of talent available within this organisation to make it thrive once more. We all have opinions - I personally feel that the organisation should be looking to set a more informal structure up, that will allow all groups to set their own vision and form their own identity, within a few core national guidelines.

My final request is for the National tier of 18 Plus to work more closely with the groups, especially in the area of publicity. Currently we have a lot of groups out there with no material, be it flyers, leaflets, posters or publicity guides, to use in their promotion. While I accept everyone is working hard, all our members pay their membership straight to the National Federation and most groups paying for venues and their Area levy are left with nothing to pay for the production of publicity material.

Jarrett Smith
Coventry 18 Plus

Put Her Down Santa! 

The Northern Area Christmas Dance took place on the 19th December at the Great Weston Public House in Marsden on the A62.  The pub was in a rural setting with a late bar,  which allowed everyone to get quite merry.  Initial worries about the attendance were unnecessary as the room filled up and we over-spilled into the bar area.

Santa Claus made a brief appearance and at this point the Romiley girls decided to sit on Santa's knee in a not very good girl fashion. Once the raffle had been drawn Santa left, as he was a bit worried about his reindeer.

Everyone enjoyed themselves and now they can't wait until the Valentine's dance.

David Orsler
Northern Area Chairman

Annual National Conference 1999

This year's Annual National Conference takes place in Buxton over the weekend of 24th and 25th April.  The conference and dinner dance will be held in the Pavilion Gardens complex in the middle of the town.  The Pavilion Gardens has been catering for conferences for over 100 years and contains a number of cafes and restaurants, as well as two separate conference rooms.  The dinner dance will be held in the Octagon Room - a superb venue, which definitely calls for ball gowns and dinner jackets !

Jeff Carter of Brentwood 18 Plus enjoying the party atmosphere of the ANC dinner danceAccommodation will be booked in a number of local bed and breakfasts. Rooms closest to the conference venue will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so get your booking in early.  Every effort is being made to ensure that the majority of rooms will be en-suite, but this cannot be guaranteed.  Again, early bookings will take priority.

Conference Rates

One night package  £52.00
Two night package  £74.50
Three night package £97.00
Saturday dinner dance £19.00
Sunday lunch  £8.25
Dance ticket  £4.00
Delegate/observer rate £2.00

Late bookings (per person) £5.00

The late booking rate applies to all forms received after 12th March 1999. The final booking deadline is 26th March 1999.  No bookings can be accepted after this date as we will need to inform the venue of final numbers for catering etc.

Booking forms were distributed to all groups in the recent bulk posting, but if you can't find them, don't worry, as they will be reissued in February.

Look out for further details in the next issue of ANC 99 UPDATE in the February bulk posting.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can contact any member of the ANC Committee - details in the National directory.

Can You Spot The Spice Girls ?

Can you match the Spice Girl names to your ANC Committee?

If so, you could win a bottle of bubbly - to be presented at the Annual National Conference in Buxton !

All you have to do is work out which Spice name best fits each member of the ANC Committee, or office staff.

Carolyn EdwardsRebecca WhiteSandra BradshawChristine GeorgeSue Swan
Just a reminder - the ANC Committee are:-

Carolyn Edwards  Chairman
Rebecca White  Treasurer
Sandra Bradshaw  Bookings Officer

And the office staff:-

Christine George  Administrative Officer
Sue Swan  Administrative Assistant

Choose your names from the following list:


Entries will be accepted at the ANC up until the Sunday lunchtime.  Or you can post your entry to Rebecca White, ANC Treasurer (address as in the National Directory).  The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries received.  Please ensure that your name and group are shown on your entry.


 Last updated 22 February 2007 by