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Chair's update

Posted on 07/06/18 |

Hello everybody. 

This is my last update as Group Chairman since, after seven years, I'll be stepping down from this role at the AGM tonight. I’ve had the privilege to be your Chair through the period of greatest change that the Group has seen since it was formed in 1985. The ‘IAM’, now ‘IAM RoadSmart’ has changed almost beyond recognition and as a Group, we have had to change, to keep up with national initiatives and embrace modern technology. If you could just bear with me I’d like to outline what are we doing now that we weren’t doing seven years ago …

  • We now meet in the lounge area at the ibis on Sunday mornings rather than on Birchley Street Car park in the St. Helens Town Centre. We and our Associates can buy drinks and even go to the WC!
  • We now give presentations to new members and Observers in comfortable meeting rooms using large computer screens.
  • For those of us who meet the public - Observers and Committee members - we now have IAM RoadSmart branded jackets, polo shirts and i.d. badges.
  • A nationwide Observer Training scheme is now in place that is recognised by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). All our Observers are now IMI qualified, holding either National or Local Observer qualifications.
  • We have led a trial of ‘Group sign-off’ in the region and are in a good position for all the Observers to meet the necessary requirements.
  • Seven years ago, we became members of the Senior Road Users Thematic Group of the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership. This group is led by the St. Helens Council. Through this involvement we are now regularly being asked to give presentations at Senior Road Users events across Merseyside. Thanks go to Jim Cunliffe who has done most of these presentations but also to Anita Clift and Martin Brady.
  • For the past four years the Group has supported NSG-Pilkington’s Safety Day at the Lathom and Greengate sites by providing driving assessments and presentations. We have become an established feature of these safety days.  
  • Over the last 12 months we have been developing a relationship with the St. Helens College to enable us to have a direct route to reach young drivers – something that we have not previously had. 
  • The Group now has access to an IAM RoadSmart database for members who are registered with the Group – this simplifies our admin procedures and removes paperwork.
  • Associates now receive direct from HQ a professionally put together Associate Booklet for their training. This removes the need for the Group to supply its own Associate booklet, which it did for 28 years, thereby saving group time and money.
  • The Group has a new IAM RoadSmart branded website that has taken the great website we already had to the next level.
  • The Group is now on Twitter.
  • New Associates now complete electronic forms on the website rather than having to submit paper forms, thereby speeding up our admin procedures. The forms they complete online are the pre and post-course questionnaires and the Documents Disclaimer. We are the only group in the country that provides an online Documents Disclaimer.

All of this has been achieved through the commitment of both Observers and Committee members over the last seven years. Actually, two thirds of the Committee were not on the Committee and three quarters of our Observers were not Observers seven years ago. This shows that the Group does move forward, new active Members come through and pick up where others left off. I plan to continue as an Observer and if all goes according to plan tonight I will become Vice-Chair to support your new Chairman Tom Field. I also plan to continue as Newsetter editor and webmaster. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last seven years. Its been quite a journey. I wish Tom well in his new role.

Well, that’s it from me. Safe driving and good observing.

Mark Farnworth
Group Chairman

Post AGM Comment by the Group Secretary

The 33rd AGM of the St Helens Group of Advanced Motorists was held at the Ibis Hotel, Haydock on the 7th June, 2018, at which time it was recorded that the current Chair, Mark Farnworth was standing down from this position.

Following the official course of business and presentation of competition prizes by the AGM acting Chair, Deputy Mayor Councillor Janet Johnson the Vote of Thanks was given by the Associate Coordinator, Alan Prescott.

The Group Secretary then gave a short speech describing the many contributions made by Mark, noting his untiring and dedicated service to the Group in his role during the past seven years.

In recognition of his achievements, many of which have been ‘behind the scenes’ and not generally recognised, the Secretary offered Mark a presentation on behalf of the Committee and Observers.

Whilst still performing his other duties as Observer, Newsletter Editor computer and communications manager Mark will continue with the Group as Vice-Chair supporting Tom Field, his successor.

John Matthews
Group Secretary

Mark Farnworth (left) and Group Secretary John Matthews