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May 1999

ANC 99 - A "Virgin's" View

Editor's Column

National Quiz

Chairman's Quote

Shelter Presentation


New National Chairman

ANC Motions

Chess Challenge

Give Me Shelter

Home Pages

Football Crazy In Coventry


Barking in the Buff-et

National News

Experiencing The "Horizontal Position" In Andorra !

ANC Trophy Results

Email To The Editor

It's Fun And Frantic Or Just Plain Relaxing

Charity begins in Reading !

Billericay Break

5 Things You Never Knew About...
...James Harvey, Eight Rivers Area Chairman

All change at WASH !

Plus Products

The AMMO Experience

Judy Speaks

Watch Out For Yellow Snow

Letter To The Editor

Quiz Answers

National Diary


ANC 99 - A "Virgin's" View

During the last couple of years I have attended many 18 Plus group and area meetings which made me gnash through my teeth HURRY UP AND GET IT OVER WITH ! I was expecting my first ANC this year to be a two-day version of these ramblefests. How wrong I was.

As a delegate, I not only had to listen but take part. I found myself getting more wrapped up in the discussion than expected. Hey, it was even exciting at times. The setting for the conference, Buxton, was a great help. A lovely place, with good facilities at the Pavilion Gardens, and a pleasant hotel within staggering distance of the venue. 

Solihull Group had much to look forward to. Our very own Viv Squires was running for National Chairman, and with our badges and posters Solihull were batting strongly on her behalf. The group was also up for the President's Trophy, for best group of the year.

Suzy Seddon and Tony Burgess - Winners of the Best Dressed Competition at the ANCAlthough many said the motions were not as controversial as last year, I found them interesting and spoke on more or less every one. The debates were always good and well thought out. I found the discussion on Direct Membership surprisingly passionate considering it affects only a small percentage of the organisation, and our attempts to propose an amendment floundered with embarrassment !

The main topic of conversation nearly always surrounded the contest for National Chairman. Most expected the vote between Viv and Jarrett Smith to be close, as both gave good speeches, but no one expected Viv to win as comfortably as she did. Congratulations from Solihull.

The dinner dance was also very enjoyable, with good food provided plus lots of drink and dancing. When you see so many delegates bladdered, you wonder whether or not a 9.30am start on the Sunday is some kind of sadistic joke.

The awards section of the proceedings bought mixed blessings from Solihull's point of view. We didn't get the President's Trophy (well done to Havering), though we got a special mention and Mark Hewson won a National Chairman's Merit Award for his work with the web site and for 18 Plus in general. Along with Viv's election, most of what we hoped for was fulfilled, even exceeded.

And I enjoyed myself too. I met lots of new people, got an insight into how 18 Plus really works, came back with lots of new ideas and was just generally impressed with how smoothly it all ran. I'm still unsure whether or not an organisation where the emphasis is on enjoyment needs all that politics, but at the same time when a weekend feels longer than it actually is without being boring, you know that politics CAN be fun.

Peter Sharples
Solihull 18 Plus

Annual National Conference
Solihull 18 Plus

Editor's Column

Thanks to all contributors to this issue. The deadline for the next issue is Friday 9th July.

You may have seen at the ANC the advert for a new Plus News Editor. Some people seemed to assume that I was resigning. This is not the case. My second term of office ends in October by which stage I will have been editing Plus News for over four years. The more observant of you at the ANC may have noticed that I am pregnant (seven months so far). I therefore don't feel that it would be practical  for me to continue as Editor. I've enjoyed the job but as I cannot depend on getting articles and photos in for all major events an Editor is needed who would be more able to attend events in person.

Please note that articles submitted for Plus News may be used for other purposes in connection with the National Federation of 18 Plus Groups. This includes but is not limited to publication on the world wide web.

Katie Hawkins

National Quiz

This quiz was held over the ANC weekend.

1 What was 18 Plus originally ?
2 Name the National Chairman's four predecessors
3  Name the External Public Relations Officer, National Training Co-ordinator and Plus News Editor
4 What was the venue for last year's ANC ?
5 Name 3 people who have been awarded Honorary Life Membership in the last 3 years
6 What was the venue for the 50th ANC ?
7 Name the 5th Teletubbie
8 And who is it ?
9 Name the 2 Office staff
10 What was put into Room 101 ?
11 In one word, describe each of 18 Plus's three logos
12 Which Area Chairman tested the new alarm system at the Office ?
13 What is the Gold Trail Trophy awarded for ?
14 What is the Office address ?
15 Who won the President's Trophy ?
16 Describe it
17 Which events are organised by National ?
18 Who was the first National Chairman ?
19 Which Groups proposed motions last year ?
20 Which National Officer had a "Hen Weekend" at Pontins ?

Tiebreaker - In no more than 20 words complete this phrase

18 Plus is the best because ...

The answers appear later in this issue.

Chairman's Quote

Andy Bond and a yard of aleIn the absence of a Chairman's Column here is a quote from Andy Bond as heard at a recent NEC meeting: "I may be an oddbod but I'm Chairman Oddbod". No comment Andy !

Shelter Presentation

A cheque for £1,602.41 for the proceeds of Adopt a Jelly Baby campaign was presented by Judy Horsburgh, External Public Relations Officer, to a representative from Shelter at the ANC. Well done to everyone who helped to raise the money.



to Sue Thompson (of Redbridge 18 Plus) and Damien Calvert who got married on 10th April. They met in a pub whilst watching a band play and the singer from the band gave an impromptu performance at their wedding reception.

New National Chairman

Viv Squires - National ChairmanOur new National Chairman is Viv Squires (pictured here at the ANC) who is a member of Solihull 18 Plus. She is also Recruitment Officer for Midland Area. Her daytime job is being nanny to a 2 year old. Apparently when she was deciding whether or not to stand as National Chairman she spoke to a lot of people about it. This included the 2 year old who didn't say much but was very supportive !

There were no nominations for National Chairman by the official deadline (approximately four weeks before the Conference). However delegates had a choice between two candidates who subsequently came forward for the post. Congratulations are also due to Jarrett Smith of Coventry 18 Plus who was a worthy runner-up.

ANC Motions

The motions passed at the ANC were:

£100 to be awarded to groups that increase their full membership during 1999 by 10% or by 5 members (whichever is the greatest) based on the membership figures as at December 1998.

A National Think Tank is to be set up.

The post of National Activities Officer is to be created.

Various points concerning the running of the Direct Membership scheme are to be adopted by the NEC.

Chess Challenge

Thurrock 18 Plus Charity Chess ChallengeOn Saturday 6th March Thurrock 18 Plus Group held their 12 hour Charity Chess Challenge in aid of the local branch of Cerebral Palsy. The event, which was sponsored by the hour, began at 6pm and continued on through the night, culminating in over £1000 being raised. A representative from Cerebral Palsy said that the money would be used to buy garden furniture for their new respite / holiday home at Walton-on-the-Naze.

In all, 21 members took part in the Chess Challenge which also included people from Barking, Brentwood and Rochford Groups. This is the third year that Thurrock 18 Plus have supported this charity - last year's proceeds were used to buy a special hoist.

Gary Dunnings
Development PRO
Thurrock 18 Plus

Give Me Shelter 

Coventry 18 Plus got their Shelter Charity Campaign off to a flying start with a mock auction. A poor group night turnout was off-set by the generosity shown by those present.  Vice-Chairman, Nikki Young said " The members were marvellous, they brought all kinds of gifts in, we had so many items to auction on the night it took most of the evening to get through, we even managed to sell the Chairman's out of date chocolate mousse".

At the end of the night Lisa Stanley and Nikki Young had managed to sell everyone's unwanted Christmas presents, some adult novels to whipped cream, diaries to quiz books, alcohol and toiletries. At the end of the day the group had raised £112.55. Rumour has it that both girls have since been head hunted by the Trotter's Used Car Lot.

Within a week, the group was raising money again. It was January 23rd and the National Federation's Charity Day, 12 members turned up for a night on the town. A rather eccentric lot of Plussers made their way through packed city centre pubs, shaking tins and wearing silly cardboard banners.

Secretary Steve Ashton said, "It gave me the excuse to speak to lots of women - they thought I was homeless and kept offering me a bed". (It was just a pity you were with Charlotte, Steve - but I promise I wont tell anyone...promise). Even the homeless offered this unlikely dozen some money, taking pity on them, as they made their way through the cold wet streets of Coventry.

The following week found yet another motley crew from the Coventry 18 Plus Group shaking tins - this time in the foyer of Coventry's Central Rail Station. Not exactly Waterloo but this was one occasion when Virgin's late running trains worked in someone's favour - the homeless.

Seven members took turns in collecting money and were met with quite a bit of generosity, especially on the part of visiting football supporters. General Committee Member Mike Sutton said "It was my Star Trek T-shirt, it attracts people that way, they wanted to take me to the match with them!"

Now a regular 6 monthly affair for Coventry 18 Plus is their New Members Night. It included a free buffet, circus juggler and comedian or, as Treasurer Nicola Poppitt put it, "A juggler with a sense of humour" (no comment).

There were about sixteen new members present and quite a few of the group, the group managed to raise £45.25 from their raffle that night - prizes included two bottles of wine, an atlas and some card games, kindly donated by group members.

The group eventually raised a grand total of £654.66 for the National Federation's adopted Charity - Shelter. Group Chairman, Jarrett Smith said "It proves that young people in general and 18 Plussers in particular care about the society they live in. It is poignant that 18 Plus, an organisation for young adults' social needs, raised money for Shelter an organisation raising money for homeless people, many of whom are young and quite isolated".

Jarrett Smith
Coventry 18 Plus

Coventry 18 Plus

Home Pages

Have all groups in the Federation, ever thought of ways on how to recruit new members ? Why not start by contacting the Internet Co-ordinator for the Organisation, Mark Hewson, to arrange having one created, if the idea has not been considered already. Having a home page is an excellent way of publicising, because it enables you to get your message across to people, saying who you are, the service you provide, and how to contact people for further details.

For ideas why not go into the Southern Area page, look at the Abingdon 18 Plus Group home page, to see what I've done in order to try and receive publicity, I'm convinced all the other remaining groups in the Federation could do exactly the same. I think that if all groups in the Federation took up the idea of having a home page, not only would the 18 Plus website look complete, but they would be giving themselves the chance of attracting potential members.

In the Oxfordshire area I have already featured our home page on other websites which exist, and doing that has given us the opportunity to spread our message more widely. I know that if all groups were committed in the same way the same could happen for them. So come on, why not give it a try and show everyone around the country what 18 Plus can do for people "out there", because those are the people we are desperately looking to attract. Without pain, you won't find gain.

Alexander Hickson
Abingdon 18 Plus

Abingdon 18 Plus

Football Crazy In Coventry 

Midland Area Five a Side - April 1999

When boys and girls come out to play, the result is sweat, exhaustion, sore legs and a cramped car park. All these things and more could be found at the Midland Area Five a Side Football Competition, held in Coventry in April.

Solihull organised the event on behalf of Midland Area, as it was considered we were heavily into football. So we had an organising committee comprising supporters of Liverpool (Paul Hampson), Coventry City (Pete Strawbridge) and Birmingham City (Luke Bull). Hmm. Anyway, once everyone had finally found somewhere to park at the venue, Ernsford Grange Community Centre, the "Champions League" got underway.

The seven teams (two each from Sutton Coldfield, Solihull and Coventry, plus one from Halesowen) were split into two groups. Coventry A, Sutton A and Solihull Jaguars quickly marked themselves out as the form teams.

Halesowen decided to withdraw after one of their members fainted during a match. Thankfully she was fine and the competition resumed.

Coventry A, Sutton A and Solihull Jaguars all secured semi-final berths, which meant Sutton B and Solihull Tigers had to play-off for the final place in the last four. A late penalty saw Sutton B through, 2-1.

Sutton B then went on to upset the odds considerably by knocking Coventry A's strong squad out in the first semi. The second game saw Sutton A make the final a "local derby" with a comfortable win over Solihull Jaguars.

Wiinners of Midland Area 5 a Side - Sutton Coldfield AThe wooden spoon game saw Coventry B pick up the day's least wanted prize, Solihull Tigers restoring their tarnished pride with a 6-0 triumph, David "Shearer" Parfitt  knocking in five goals. The third place play-off was a tight battle, Coventry A and Solihull Jaguars carving out a goalless draw. Extra time failed to break the deadlock, and the unmoveable Dave Filer in Coventry's goal gave them victory in a penalty shoot-out.

So to the final. In a close game, Sutton A beat Sutton B 9-0. But everyone enjoyed themselves and, at the end of the day Brian, that's all that matters.

Well done to Sutton A and all the other competing teams; thanks also to Ernsford Grange Community Centre and, of course, the three organisers, Paul, Luke and Pete, the last of whom ran himself ragged refereeing all the matches.

All being well, there'll be another one next year.

Peter Sharples
Solihull 18 Plus

Midland Area 5 a side Football Competition
Solihull 18 Plus


Simon George was standing in the local council elections on May 6th for the ward of Stoke (Slough north). He has been a member of Slough, Windsor & Eton Group for 17 years and is also North Thames & Chilterns Area Development Officer.

Barking in the Buff-et

On the 27th February, Barking and Dagenham 18 Plus held their annual disco at the Barking Football Club. This year's event seemed beset with problems, but in the end it turned out to be one of our best ever.

To start with, when the final checks were being carried out, it turned out that the hall had been double booked, even though we paid the deposit back in March 1998. Luckily the hall was free for the following week (the disco was originally booked for the 20th), and also the DJ was free for that date. The next problem came when we applied for a bar extension. We were told that food would have to be provided, and not just crisps, they meant a buffet that would cater for all the attendants !

Chairperson, Dawn Petty, explains. "When I was told the cost would be £200 if Barking FC laid on the food, I just could not believe our luck". Her next step was to ask the committee what they thought, and the unanimous decision was to "make our own".  Dawn said "I could not believe the response.  Everybody made the effort, and in the end it looked like a buffet put together by professionals. We put on a spread to feed the 140 Plussers that attended the evening, and it cost less than the £200 that we would have had to pay". Asked if she would do it again, Dawn replied, "I hope it will be a one-off, but now we know it is possible, I think we would not hesitate to do another one".

At this point, we would like to thank all the Plussers who turned up to support our event, and we trust that they all were well fed and watered!

Gavin O'Mahony
Barking & Dagenham 18 Plus

National News

Due to the resignation of the National Development Officer, the post will be up for election at the July NEC meeting.

Experiencing The "Horizontal Position" In Andorra !

The Eight Rivers Area skiing holiday kicked off in controversial fashion. After a flight in which the pilot initially tried to take us to St Etienne airport before he remembered that he was supposed to go to Carcacone and then executed an horrific landing when he decided to bank hard right 50 feet from the ground (scaring the willies out of me !) we were then subjected to a farcical experience on the coach. We were just trying (unsuccessfully) to digest what had appeared to be a cheese and custard, half- toasted sandwich - which is what lunch at this awful French cafe consisted of - when the nervous little northern guy who was one of our holiday reps, charged with escorting us to our resorts, put on this promotional video for the thermal baths in central Andorra. It all went smoothly until the narrator on the video invited all those watching to "relax and experience the horizontal position with us !" Now I am sorry, but you just do not say that to a coach load of British tourists, especially one which contains 18 Plus members !

Booking in to the Hotel, ah well, therein lay another problem. The four single guys did not get two twin rooms as promised, instead we got one room with four beds and enough space for two people ! After five minutes of Mick's protestations in sign language to the dumbstruck staff, I decided that it would be a good idea to speak to the staff in either French or Spanish and explain our problem. Our problem was sorted out 24 hours later but, for some reason, Mick took exception to the fact that I had let him stand there for all that time making a complete twat of himself. As far as Mick is concerned, my Area nickname is no longer Flossie, it's Bastard ! (I wouldn't mind but Professor Jeff Carter proceeded to correct me on my French grammar afterwards !)

Our ski instructor - whose name will be withheld in case of the unlikely eventuality that he ever gets to read this article - was a crusty old git but he really knew his stuff and always stood his round at the bar. When we got on the slopes for our first lesson we were given a little test. We had to ski about 50 yards down part of a "red" (intermediate) run. We were first told to rate how good we thought we were, then we were given a bit of the mountain to ski down of varying difficulty. Our little party were all modest and most of us got put into the high ability group of the intermediate classes but some people really fancied themselves and ended up on their jacksies ! (Maybe they were trying to experience the horizontal position.)

Not all our people were skiers; Mick, James, Steve and Dunc were snowboarders and Jeff "Franz Klammer" Carter was a very advanced skier who did not need lessons, but things worked out nicely because some of us had lessons in the morning and the others had them in the afternoon so we could all ski together at different times and we could meet up for lunch.

During our little skiing "get togethers", Mick decided that I had cut him up and took his revenge by boarding right in to me and accidentally snapping my ski pole. It made a pathetic sight to see Mick grovelling an apology and me (according to Jeff) on the verge of tears holding my neatly severed appendage. Fortunately the pole was replaced without any trouble, unfortunately the same cannot be said for Mick's shades. He had thrown mine away on the grounds that they were cheapo rubbish that would not protect me against snowglare and told-me to wear his £80 pair. These were broken in another mishap on Thursday but Mick said it did not matter too much as they were his old pair !!!

On the last day, we got together with some people who we particularly liked from our ski school and did our own thing. We explored most of the runs in the resort but Jeff was the only one who could do one of the black runs (which looked like a sheer drop to me). We then had a race on a bit of one of the runs dubbed "the motorway" by the snowboarders. Jeff went well into the lead and I did not watch where I was going and, when we got to the end, I took my little group of about three other people down the wrong side of the mountain ! It was two hours before we met up again but we had done some great skiing in that time (the conditions were brilliant due to heavy snowfalls all week).

I was followed by the 6 year old daughter of one of the people we met in the ski classes, her parents told her to follow me at all times for safety - although she was a good skier - and she stuck to me like glue, even down the really dangerous bits. When we finally got on the last stretch, I asked her parents if it was all right to leave her behind now so I could really give it some welly down the final run. They agreed and she promptly fell over for the only time during the whole day ! We arrived back at the hotel to find that Mick had broken his ankle and lost his second pair of ski goggles at the hospital. (I helped him make a report at the police station as recompense for the broken shades.)

The night life in Andorra was something else, alcohol was cheap and delivered in vast quantities and was likewise consumed. At one point we held our heads back on the bar while one of the reps (who organised some of the night life) walked up and down the length of the bar pouring alcohol in our mouths. I have witnessed new limits to the great British alcohol tolerance level on that holiday ! Andorra is a place where you can drink and dance all night if you go to the right places and there are also some good food places (even a kebab shop !)

A good time was had by all and next year we will probably go skiing again, this time the venue will be either Italy or Bulgaria.

Mat Garland
Thurrock 18 Plus

ANC Trophy Results

The President's Trophy (best group)
Havering Group

National Recruitment Trophy
Havering Group

Best New Group
West Kent Group

Treasurers Trophy
Jeff Carter, Eight Rivers Area

Charities Trophy
Reading Group £2093.08

Norbury Trophy (best magazine)
"Get Active" from Havering Group

Gold Trail Trophy (novel way of raising charity money)
Reading Group

Award Scheme certificates
Silver - Terry Drake    Bronze - Emma Hudson

National Chairman's Merit Awards
Mark Hewson and Keith Israel

Reading 18 Plus

Email To The Editor

I have just received the opportunity to join the initiative that Jarrett Smith of Coventry Group has posted on the internet - see Its a good initiative and when I queried this with Jarrett he explained his concern to see 18 Plus thrive again. This is what I wrote back to him:

I am a busy businessman as you state, but much of what I learnt with 18 Plus stands me in good stead (still !) and I'm sure I would like to keep abreast in a small way with your doings now,  so I shall go back to your original e-mail and register.

The truth is that the Federation's members have the answer in their own hands and what you allude to as success at Coventry is what the Federation has to do through its current membership.

As I said to you last time we corresponded,  18 Plus has to get on with expanding not navel watching !  Development of new groups is vital alongside consolidation and support for ailing ones. You could all do well to read the Corporate Plan for the 70's and 80's which my NEC drafted and which was subsequently endorsed by the ANC in 1974/5. Refer also to the various guide documents that were published by the NEC in the Guide to 18 Plus - if they haven't been thrown away when sorting the archives !!   Had the plans been fully implemented and regularly reviewed and updated by each NEC and enthusiastically supported by groups,  then we would have had 100,000 members by now.

It's not too late for the Federation to set that target for the year 2010 but who's bold enough to do it ?   It can be done and even if we only get to 20,000 the Federation would be twice as big as I left it in the 70's. Every member has it in their hands to succeed;  money helps, but success breeds success. My favourite expression for my NEC was "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" (Elton Mayo);  you can't fund or buy enthusiasm can you ?!

I am sure 18 Plus has made two very serious misjudgements in the last ten years - raising the age limit to 35 is a nonsense and will put off the younger element on whom 18 Plus depends and for whom it was founded. Also, it should have retained the HQ. The cost may have been high, but activity and membership should have been raised to pay for it. The NEC followed entirely the wrong priority and are spending the capital raised I hear on little that will achieve growth. Certainly the decline continues by all accounts.

I can't really get involved in great debates about what you all could do about the future, but it is full of promise. Has anyone thought about the Diamond Jubilee opportunity in 2001 ? I have seen no planning for this or for the millennium so far from the NEC or Groups;  are they and National/Areas/Regions planning anything ?

I shall expect to hear replies to this "hard-hitting" criticism from the discussion list.

Hope you can use this.   Love the Web site !!

Nigel Corby

It's Fun And Frantic Or Just Plain Relaxing

It's TAG 99, the August Bank holiday camping weekend, which takes place from Friday 27th to Monday 30th August at Bangor-on-Dee race course, near Wrexham.

The weekend costs a mere £34 up to 1st August (there's a £5 surcharge after this date). For this you get three nights camping, three nights entertainment, Saturday evening picnic and barbecue, rural ramble, all the sports and games on the campsite, a pop quiz and treasure hunt. The evening entertainment consists of a disco on Friday night and a band and disco on Saturday and Sunday nights.

The organisers guarantee that there will be no rain (inside the venue that is !) and sunshine will be subject to availability.

The sports and games available will be 5-a-side football, field volleyball, petanque, rounders, golf chipping and sporty skills. The real ale trip is an optional extra at a cost of £3.50.

Bangor-on-Dee is a picturesque village situated just south-east of Wrexham and a short drive away from Shrewsbury and Chester. There are several pubs and restaurants in the village and there is an excellent local supermarket within a short walk of the campsite.

If you live locally and don't want to camp then evening tickets are available at £4 for Friday night and £5 for Saturday or Sunday night.


Charity begins in Reading !

Reading 18 PlusReading 18 Plus has had a very good year concerning charity and community work, probably its best ever ! The main events have been as follows:-

1 Hosted National 18 Plus 6-a-side Football Tournament on Saturday 6th June 1998 - £100 donated to the Reading Branch of The British Red Cross following a group night talk. This money is to be spent giving a special needs child a summer holiday.

2 Collecting for Imperial Cancer Research at Henley Regatta on Saturday 4th July 1998 - £585.34 raised.

3 Group night talk by the Chief Executive of Wokingham Town Council on Tuesday 8th September 1998. Donated subs of £14 to her term of office charity Crossroads Alzheimer's Project (promoting information and where carers can get help.

4 'Only Fools but no Horses' Fun Run over the horse cross country course at Blenheim Palace on Sunday 13th September 1998. Eight members ran and raised over £654.80 between them and we purchased eight T-shirts raising another £60.

5 Group night Chinese Auction on Tuesday 5th January 1999. £35 was raised and added to our charity account.

6 Adopt a Jelly Baby for Shelter on Saturday 23rd January 1999 - £397 raised.

7 Group night slide show about the Berkshire Museum of Aviation Tuesday 26th January 1999. Subs of £12 were donated to the museum.

8 Millennium Intergroup Brit Quiz on Tuesday 23rd February 1999. Four team entries of £8 each meant £32 was raised and added to our charity account. The event was won by Hillingdon 18 Plus Group.

9 Harry Ramsden's Big Fish Challenge for Comic Relief on Saturday 13th March 1999. £289.94 was raised on the day and we purchased ten T-shirts raising another £80.

The grand total raised was £2260.08.

The last event is the one we entered for the Gold Trail (most novel method of raising funds for charity) Trophy. The idea for this event came from an informal brain storming session on the group night only three weeks beforehand. A great effort was made by several members beforehand, led by our Chairman Phil Spratling. Although we received a Comic Relief pack, we still needed to produce our own posters (using scanned in images and a visit to the Comic Relief web site). Banners and sponsorship forms were also produced. The event was staged outside Harry Ramsden's world famous Fish and Chips restaurant in the Macarther Glen Designer Outlet Village in Swindon (see photo). Eleven members took part, from meeting at 10am to returning to Reading at 9pm.

Briefly the event consisted of 8 members taking part, collecting money and inviting shoppers to guess how much four members of Reading 18 Plus Group would eat, when faced with the massive 24oz of Harry Ramsden's world famous Fish and Chips at 5.30pm that day. People's guesses were written down, together with their names and addresses/telephone numbers. Two members completed the Challenge, and received a signed certificate while the other two only left 6oz between them. Three people correctly guessed 90oz, so a draw was made by the manageress of the restaurant and the winner received a £25 Harry Ramsden's voucher.

Terry Dixon
Reading 18 Plus

Reading 18 Plus were awarded both the Charities Trophy and Gold Trail Trophy at the ANC.

Reading 18 Plus

Billericay Break

Three cars went to Billericay. Charlotte, Steve Ashton, Mike and myself set off from Coventry at 11am. We stopped for a bite to eat before arriving in the camp site. We put our tents up and then we went for a walk into Blackmore Village. There we called into a shop for some beer and ice cream. Then we went to the pub where we met up with Pete, Jarrett, Nicki and Mark. When we got back to the camp site, all our tents were holding up to the wind except, oh dear, Jarrett and Nicki's tent which collapsed in the middle.

At 5pm we went to a barbecue, organised by Billericay 18 Plus. There we all had hot dogs and beef burgers with all the trimmings. Later on, we all got changed and went to the Billericay 18 Plus disco. We all had a very good time drinking, socialising and dancing with other people.

On the Sunday some of us went to the local newsagents and bought some breakfast. Then we packed our tents and left for Coventry. On the way home we stopped for lunch at a pub in Much Hadham, just outside Bishop's Stortford. The food was excellent (for those who could stay awake) but, oh dear, Jarrett was told off by the pub landlady for not eating his vegetables.

All in all, it was an enjoyable weekend break for those who went on the Billericay Break.

Rob Barber
Coventry 18 Plus

Coventry 18 Plus

5 Things You Never Knew About...

..James Harvey, Eight Rivers Area Chairman

James Harvey1 Whilst on an 18 Plus holiday he was given the nickname of "carpet man" due to his very hairy back.

2 He is now a good IT consultant but an earlier job was working in Little Chef.

3 He used to take part in role playing games such as Wizards and Goblins on places such as Lundy Island. These involved the wearing of costumes and makeup.

4 He used to own an XR2.

5 Whilst on a school sailing trip James and a friend hung a particularly annoying younger student upside down by his ankles from the rafters !

All change at WASH !

It's been a busy year so far for the WASH 99 committee...

WASH committee changes
Keith Israel, WASH 99 Chairman, recently moved house and can now be found at 2 Gresham Close, Kings Lynn PE30 3EJ. David & Katherine Thompson, WASH 99 Treasurer and Group Liaison Officer respectively, are also moving house shortly. And Sue (WASH 99 Bookings Officer) and Paul (WASH 99 Administrator) are getting married in May, so have been busy planning their wedding. (Or at least Sue has; Paul has been more interested in planning his stag night!)

Put the WASH 99 dates in your diary
The dates for WASH 99 are now confirmed as Friday 5th to Monday 8th November 1999. WASH 99 will be held at Searles Holiday Park in Hunstanton, North Norfolk, providing 3 days and nights of quality events and entertainment. Don't forget to put the dates in your diary now and book time off work.

Upgraded accommodation for WASH 99
If you have not been to WASH before, the accommodation is in luxury caravans. Searles Holiday Park have upgraded the accommodation since WASH 98, meaning an even higher standard of accommodation for those attending in 1999.

You loved WASH 98 !
The WASH 99 committee have been busy collating the results of the survey carried out after WASH 98. The questionnaires you completed gave your views on the event and also what you would like to see in the future.

Over 90% of people attending WASH 98 told us they were likely or very likely to go to WASH 99.

96% of people attending WASH 98 told us WASH is value for money.

We also asked you what type of music you would like to hear at WASH. The most popular music by far, requested by 50% of 18 Plus members was 80's music; probably not surprising given the age range in 18 Plus. Other musical eras mentioned were all the decades from the 60's to the 90's, with dance and rock music also featuring high on the list of requests. Overall, most people felt it did not matter what music was played as long as there was a good variety to suit everyone.

The WASH 99 committee will continue to work hard to give you what you want and always welcome any views on how we can improve things, so if you have any ideas, please let us know...

Booking forms out soon !
Booking forms for WASH 99 will be sent to all Groups in June, once Sue and Paul get back from their honeymoon in Malta. In the meantime, if you would like to be added to the WASH 99 mailing list, or you have any questions about WASH 99, then just call Sue or Paul on 01603 665690.

Sue Rowland
WASH 99 Bookings Officer


Plus Products

Some new Plus Products were unveiled at the ANC. The range now available is as follows:

pens  75p  personal organisers £9.00
stress balls £1.75  sports bags £9.50
mugs  £2.50  umbrellas  £10.00
mouse mats £5.00

Some of these can be purchased direct from the office for an extra charge for postage & packing. This is only possible for items that will fit through your letter box and won't cause physical harm to your postman ! Otherwise look out for them at National events.

The AMMO Experience

Friday July 3rd - Monday July 6th 1998 on Mersea Island, Essex

At about 1pm on Friday, I was picked up at my home by Steve Ashton on the way to the Annual Mad Mini Olympics. First I made a quick stop at the Resource Centre to pick up my hired tent and fly sheet (more later) before going to pick up Nicki. When we got there, we went into reception to check in and receive our events passes. After that we pitched our tents in the field. Then Steve, Nicki and I played basketball for about half an hour.

It was whilst we were doing this that life (not human) began to form around my orange tent. For instance if you thought that a fly sheet was supposed to keep the flies away you couldn't be more mistaken. When we decided to go back to our tents, on top of my tent yes there they were - about a thousand, on the pull, were the flies. After having swept the flies off my tent, we helped Jarrett, Nicki (Noo Noo) P, Kurt and Debs to pitch their tents, had a drink and then went to the canteen to have some tea.

Then it was off to the disco. Steve, Nicki, Jarrett & Nicki P, Kurt, Debs and myself went for a drink in the bar whilst watching Brazil beat Denmark 3-2 on the television in there. Then we all got steaming drunk and when Adam and Pete came in, we got up on the dance floor and danced all through the disco. When that was finished, I went to the AMMO bonfire for about half an hour before retiring to bed.

After breakfast in the canteen on Saturday morning Steve, Nicki, Jarrett, Nicki P and myself played basketball. Unfortunately, it was during this exercise that yours truly sprained his finger and later had to have it looked at by the camp's first aid officer. Then we split up. Some of us went roller skating, leaving yours truly to have a go at archery, at which the usual happened - I came last. We all met up again on the basketball court before heading to watch the go-karting. Pete, Jarrett and Nicki took part and the rest watched in horror as Pete's go-kart did a complete somersault and landed off the track, in the hay bales outside it.

Then in the afternoon came THE GAMES. The 1st event in which we took part was the water tower, which involved getting as much water as we possibly could into a large metal tube. We had a minute to do it in and we came 2nd in our heat. Then came the wheel barrow event, in which the objective was for two people to carry one person in a wheel barrow with as many tins as possible, across the running track and back and which ever team had the most tins won. We came 4th in our heat.

The 3rd event was the brainboxing which I sat out to make way for somebody else. We came 2nd in that event. The 4th event was the bicycle event, in which one person from each team had to ride a bicycle around the track, with a basket on his back, and other members of their team had to try and get as many balls into their rider's baskets. We came 5th in that event. Finally, the 5th event was the pool event. The object was to swim across the pool with as many balloons as each team could carry. We came 3rd in that event.

The overall result was that, out of 38 teams which took part in the Annual Mad Mini Olympics, Coventry 18 Plus finished 8th. After that I had to go and have my sprained finger looked at by the camp first aid officer.

Later on, we all went into West Mersea for a walk along the beach. Whilst we were there, we saw an old life boat. Then we stopped at a pub called "The Victory" for an evening meal, before back for the 70's night disco. We danced all night to the disco and got extremely er, er, oh sorry, drunk. Unfortunately, some of us decided that we couldn't stand the pace of the night and decided that the floor was the better option.

Sunday started with Nicki, myself, Nicki P and others taking part in a music quiz. Then, Jarrett and I both competed with two basketball instructors (or some of us tried to) at basketball. After that, the group split. Some of us went on a trip to Colchester Castle, some went on the 'Real Ale' trip whereas Nicki, Jarrett and myself went for a walk along the beach to West Mersea.

Then, it was back to the tents to join in with the fun and frolics with everyone else until we decided to go and have some tea. Then we got changed, and went to the evening disco and had a wonderful time. After that it was back to the bonfire for one last night and then to bed.

On Monday we packed our tents and decided to head for Colchester for a wander round. We had a meal in a restaurant, which we enjoyed so much that Jarrett, our beloved chairman, fell asleep on the table. We had a look around a record store and then decided to spilt up into separate groups and head for home. That was the end of the Coventry 18 Plus AMMO experience.

Rob Barber
Coventry 18 Plus

Coventry 18 Plus

Judy Speaks

I am writing in reply to the article in the February issue of Plus News "Are you serving or being served ?" There were some very good points raised, some I agree with more than others, but all guaranteed to evoke discussion.

I would however like to reply to the points raised about publicity. Jarrett mentioned better liaison with local youth services. I think this is an excellent idea but it will only work if done from a group or area level. It is something that needs a local contact keeping in touch with the organisers of local youth groups. If a good impression is created then hopefully those organisers will actively encourage young adults to join 18 Plus. Alternatively approach them about organising a joint event - fun and promotional at the same time.

Promoting 18 Plus as an organisation that seeks to serve society and develop its members is also a good approach. As Jarrett said it attracts people who want to put something back. However it is important to ensure that all publicity promotes 18 Plus as being fun as well as active.

Jarrett's final request was for "the National tier of 18 Plus to work more closely with the groups, especially in the area of publicity". I am not sure how this is supposed to work. As EPRO it is not possible, or practical, to telephone or visit every group in the Federation. However it is always possible for groups to contact the EPRO through the directory or to talk to their Area committee who are also there to help. As for groups having no publicity material, again it only takes a phone call. The office have available a wide range of publicity material which is currently being updated. Many groups are also willing to exchange ideas and copies of posters or flyers that have worked for them.

Sometimes it is easy, especially within a successful group, to become insular and assume that others are doing nothing because it is not being shouted about. The Federation is a national organisation with members at all levels doing their best to ensure the future of 18 Plus. To find out what is working we need to stop pointing fingers and talk to each other, exchanging ideas and motivating each other to promote 18 Plus with enthusiasm.

Judy Horsburgh
External Public Relations Officer

Watch Out For Yellow Snow

Despite a disjointed arrival at the airport this year, there being more people than a car can handle from a wide catchment area, no-one even came close to missing their flight. I got to go through the metal detector four or five times and was coming to the conclusion that the dental work that cost nearly as much as the holiday was showing up on the monitors, until I found my substantial boots also happened to be steel toe capped. The flight was packed but uneventful, the food supplied was nice too plus the extra bits others left. Let it be known airline food is great. I don't normally eat egg, especially for breakfast, but the stuff that is served up is nothing like egg ! Other than being yellow. On arrival at Salzburg airport little snow had been seen from the air giving growing concern that we might not be doing much skiing.

Southern Area Skiing HolidayThe great thing about going to unheard of ski resorts is that while everyone else piles on to large coaches off to Kitzbuhel or where ever, we got our very own mini coach with lots more room. In travelling deeper into the mountains snow became evident and our driver informed us that the skiing was good, a working knowledge of the local language is a great help in the lesser known parts too.

For those of you who read the advertising before the event, I can confirm that the Forsterhof hotel does indeed serve drinks between 4pm and 10pm that are free to residents with the exception of spirits. They call it schnapps, I call it rocket fuel. The company through which the holiday was booked did not see fit to provide a rep for the guests booked through them, we were however referred to another company's rep. He was unavailable at that time since he was with a previous guest in hospital who was suffering the effects of alcohol poisoning. I never realised certain members of Sutton Coldfield came here on their holidays !

Being a learn to ski holiday what did we learn ? The people not skiing learnt they wished they had done because the rest of us were having a far better time. Don't throw snowballs at short people on skis if you can't out run them, they are likely to bury you when they catch you. Don't stand down range of the Southern Area Chairman when he's trying to show off his parallel skiing unless you want to take part in an improvised, high velocity, multi party toboggan, he's not as clever as he thinks he is ! When skiing through woods, avoid trees. Never share a hotel room with anyone who is afraid of things that go bump in the night and doesn't go out for late night drinking in town. When you return to find the front door is locked you can spend over an hour snowballing at a window on the first floor before they finally pluck up enough courage to look out of the window. Do beware of cheats on the toboggan races whom upon the word GO ! simply push their opponents either side of them off their charges and then zoom off down the slopes. Don't be afraid to tell the instructor that you will happily follow them down the Olympic run the day your brain is replaced by a cabbage of a particularly low IQ ! Never be afraid of captaining the Austrian bowling team to massive victory, your average Plusser partakes in such activities more often than most other parties. Don't be afraid to gate crash the welcoming quiz night if no reps are available to book you in because it is equally winnable (we got hoodwinked on that one this year). Relevant to some groups out there we discovered what happened to a wayward member in one slope restaurant we visited, dish of the day was 'William & chips !' 

Everyone who went wishing to learn to ski did and all of them wish to return next year to better themselves. With free drinks in the hotel it was amazing how little extra money was required to have a great time. 
Next year is likely to be the same deal and place - the Forsterhof Hotel in St Wolfgang.

Adrian Barnard
Southern Area Chairman
and okay skier

Letter To The Editor

I had a rather disappointing telephone call the other day from Sandra Cawthra, the National Training Officer.  Two members of my 18 Plus Group (Malvern 18 Plus - the closest to Newent), myself and Michelle Mitchell (our group administrator) had booked to attend the Personal Development course in Presentation Skills and Leadership on February 27th to 28th. Unfortunately this had to be cancelled due to the poor expected attendance.

We had different reasons for attending. Michelle was attending paid for by our group through grant money, as she intends to stand as Group Chairman at our next Bi-AGM in May. My reason for going, paid for by myself, was to gain some experience on presentations that I feel I require as part of my job, as well as running training sessions for the Midland Area. I was definitely looking forward to the weekend away.

I don't think many 18 Plus members realise that just participating in these events can increase their employment prospects. In the five years I have been a member of 18 Plus I have gained much more in self confidence to project myself better, especially at putting ideas across at meetings. I would definitely not be in the job I am in now without 18 Plus. I know that at least of one of the trainers that would have been present on the development course changed her career because of her experience in 18 Plus.

Back in 1992, when I was doing my HNC in Electronic Engineering at Worcester College of Technology, one of my lecturers mentioned the following startling fact - 63% of managers within the UK have no formal management training. This is even to the degree that attending an 18 Plus Personal Development Course would be considered management training. Attending such a course would give an 18 Plus member a considerable advantage for future employment. I am not in management now (I am an Electronic Design Engineer for Froude Consine in Worcester - a manufacturer of automotive test products), but the way my career has gone in the last two years, who knows where they will be in five or ten years time.

When you consider the bargain price of £49.50, instead of a typical £500 for a professional course to the same standard, why aren't you causing a huge traffic jam in the centre of Newent ?

Liam Wright
Malvern 18 Plus

Quiz Answers

1 Debating society for young men
2 Anne Dunkley, Karen Grey (Powell), Corinna Haywood and Sandra Bradshaw
3 Judith Horsburgh, Sandra Cawthra and Katie Hawkins
4 White Rock Theatre, Hastings
5 Rebecca White, Sandra Bradshaw and Carolyn Edwards
6 The Metropole Hotel, NEC, Birmingham
7 Poopsie
8 Andrew Bond
9 Christine George and Sue Swan
10 Car shades, negative talk about 18 Plus, doves and tower logo earrings
11 Lion, tower and nautical
12 Tom Seddon
13 Most novel way of raising money for charity
14 Church Street Chambers, 8-10 Church Street, Newent, Gloucester GL18 1PP
15 Billericay
16 Lion on a plinth
17 TAG, ANC, ArT and Kickstart
18 Dr John H Nicholson
19 Hillingdon, Romford, Brentwood and Rochford
20 Jo Woodhead (Shaw)

Some of the slogans submitted were:

18 Plus is the best because ...
... Life is about having fun and Plus is fun
... Life is what you make it

... It simply is
... For more years than Heinz has varieties, 18 Plus has provided the best opportunities for social life in the world

The winner of the quiz was Ellie Jones of Bradford 18 Plus.

There was also another ANC competition, as publicised in the February issue of Plus News. This consisted matching Spice names to the three members of the ANC committee plus the two "office girls". The answers were:

Carolyn Edwards (ANC Chairman)  Tight Spice
Sandra Bradshaw (ANC Bookings Officer) Hot Spice
Rebecca White (ANC Treasurer)  Mummy Spice
Christine George    Rainbow Spice
Sue Swan     Flighty Spice

The winner of this competition was Dave Filer of Coventry 18 Plus.


 Last updated 22 February 2007 by